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Guest Post: It's Impossible To "Get By" In The US

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Mon, 04/12/2010 - 12:18 | 296475 Almost Solvent
Almost Solvent's picture

BINGO! And most folks are earning less than 50k per year as a married couple.

And don't forget daycare expenses and the health insurance premiums out of your pay!

Mon, 04/12/2010 - 14:11 | 296736 pbmatthews
pbmatthews's picture

The problem with this analysis is that it does not include property tax calculations.  So tack on another $3000 to $6000 in expenses for Joe Six Pack.



Mon, 04/12/2010 - 16:31 | 296984 Ripped Chunk
Ripped Chunk's picture

$6,000???? Check out NJ.  $6k is a 900 sf. one bedroom.

Mon, 04/12/2010 - 21:48 | 297383 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

When I worked in NJ I knew a guy that was kevetching about having to pay $14K a year with the norm between $6K - $10K a year.

Mon, 04/12/2010 - 22:08 | 297411 tmosley
tmosley's picture

I'm in Lubbock County, TX, and I only pay $250.  PER YEAR.

And I do not live in a shit hole.  I have 2 acres, an orchard, and a nice garden.

Tue, 04/13/2010 - 00:15 | 297572 Rusty Shorts
Rusty Shorts's picture

 - my bad, Lubbock County, Texas... Luckenbach, Texas...well, enjoy anyway.

Thu, 04/07/2011 - 05:42 | 1144498 george22
george22's picture

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me. GoSeeq act tests

Tue, 04/13/2010 - 08:20 | 297889 SWRichmond
SWRichmond's picture

I am insanely jealous.  No, really.  A mature, producing orchard?  Damn.

Tue, 04/13/2010 - 11:25 | 298145 Ripped Chunk
Ripped Chunk's picture

NJ is not a shit hole if you don't mind paying a couple of million for a nice home with some property. Then pay another $30k in property taxes every year.

Never been to Lubbock County, TX. What is the weather like there?


Mon, 04/12/2010 - 23:40 | 297527 Cursive
Cursive's picture

I also didn't see anything about payroll taxes.  Add another 7.65% is Joe is employed, another 15.3% if self employed.

Tue, 04/13/2010 - 05:11 | 297703 Voluntary Exchange
Voluntary Exchange's picture

I would ask you all to focus on the big picture. Here is the short version. You are all slaves. Every one of you that supports the so called “government” by even one penny is partially responsible for the murder of millions upon this planet, as well as theft, fraud, and other crimes that are done in it's name.

Taxation is theft. Any entity that would presume to provide any service to anyone must pass the test of voluntary exchange. Almost all tax does not pass this test. It is not voluntary as you must pay some one or group even if you do not want any of their “services”. If you do not they will initiate force against you to take what they want and then some. Elections are are a tool of deception. They produce no contract and encourage people to view the world in a deceived way. You must never pay anyone for something you do not want to buy voluntarily. It is false that the things that need to get done will not get done unless some people are “forced” to pay them. That is a lie. Think it through clearly in your mind if you can. If you can't, ask for help from those who can explain it to you.

We make choices in life. The liars and cheats and murderers who call themselves “government” are very strong now as they have not been challenged in their crimes. Their organized looting has been going on so thoroughly and so long that things are about to collapse under the unsustainable weight of so many crimes in so many places. Criminals become more and more bold and more and more pervasive until they are stopped by the non-criminals or the natural laws of nature step in to cause their final destruction. If not challenged, ultimately everyone becomes a criminal and unending war among criminals ensues. Then everyone who has made their “deal with the devil” relearns a few basic moral lessons. Crime does not (ultimately) pay. You shalt not steal. You shalt not lie. Choose life that you may live.

You must stop using fiat money. It is the mother lie and deception that is the foundation of all organized crime that calls itself “government” on this planet. You must learn how to provide for yourself and others what you need to survive and do it through honorable voluntary exchanges; use gold or silver as money or something of value your neighbor will agree to. Anyone or group (government usually) that initiates force or deception is your ENEMY and the enemy of every decent person on this planet who is willing to live by voluntary exchange. Some parasites have the capacity to become productive and live by voluntary exchange. When you choose to feed the parasites you become partially responsible for their crimes. Friends, the bullies have multiplied. You must organize to defend yourselves. Surviving the storm by yourself is almost impossible. People of good will must organize to sustain each other. When you try to do this some of you will be attacked. Organize carefully. Get to know your actual neighbors again. YOU MUST! Perhaps you could introduce yourself and first find out if they are basically trying to survive honorably or by “government”. If things look promising perhaps you could show them a message like this one and ask them what they think of it? You must act and you must act fast. Time is short. Be encouraged. Ultimately there will be peace on Earth among men of good will.


Tue, 04/13/2010 - 08:02 | 297870 Voluntary Exchange
Voluntary Exchange's picture

I am encouraged that someone was riled enough to vote this post as junk. You might have some emotional energy at your disposal and future change is a possibility under those circumstances. I would be even more encouraged if you offered to explain why you feel it is junk. Maybe we could benefit from the exchange? Maybe you could convince others that what I write is “junk”. Could you explain your vote please?


Tue, 04/13/2010 - 08:25 | 297897 SWRichmond
SWRichmond's picture

I find absolutely nothing to disagree with in your post.  The path for me has included Locke; we are all equal here on Earth, there is no subordination.  Since there is no subordination, any exchanges between us that are not voluntary are criminal.  Simple. 

Tue, 04/13/2010 - 08:44 | 297919 Voluntary Exchange
Voluntary Exchange's picture

Just so that others are not confused, I like to explain what I mean by "equal". We are equal with respect of rights, in that they come from the same origin that man came from and are (unalienable) enate within him. The colonist were close to the solution but the "Hamiltons" snuck in.

There is nothing special about a group with guns that calls itself "government". It is a creation of people, a tool that some intented to preserve life, liberty and property but it inevitably attracts those who would use it as a different tool.  That is why there should not be a monopoly of secruity or adjudication services in a region (usually refered to as "government"). It is not "governement" that creates man and thus it is non-sequiter to think that rights come from such an invention. SWR I would feel more secure having you as a neighbor.

Mon, 04/12/2010 - 19:56 | 297257 Buck Johnson
Buck Johnson's picture

Right on, that 50k is a pipe dream to alot of people.  Most make less than that as you said even married.  Single they would be making 10 11 12 bucks an hour.  Our pay hasn't gone up with the REAL INFLATION (you know the one that doesn't take out that pesky food and fuel consumption, the two things that people can do without ;)), and now the corporate and govt. is trying to not let things deflate to their true prices.  Much of the prices we see today was due to speculation, monopoly and inflation.  

Mon, 04/12/2010 - 12:48 | 296533 Cursive
Cursive's picture

Bankruptcies always peak as the economy starts to recover.

Who says they've peaked?

Mon, 04/12/2010 - 13:07 | 296575 TCA
TCA's picture

No kidding.  They increased 19% YOY and 35% MOM.  I don't see anything to indicate this number is headed down.

Mon, 04/12/2010 - 13:59 | 296699 Ripped Chunk
Ripped Chunk's picture


Mon, 04/12/2010 - 14:01 | 296704 merehuman
merehuman's picture

Leo , thats bullish

Mon, 04/12/2010 - 23:01 | 297471 reading
reading's picture

you forgot the "it"

Mon, 04/12/2010 - 23:58 | 297548 i.knoknot
i.knoknot's picture


Mon, 04/12/2010 - 13:35 | 296604 B9K9
B9K9's picture

I swear I cannot determine whether you are really a clueless comic relief dunce or a paid dis-information troll.

There isn't going to be any economic "recovery" of the FIRE model - it's mathematically impossible. There can only be an economic miracle; this is what pretend & extend is all about.

Something, anything, needs to be developed to increase what Travis refers to as economicalness aka ROI. It can come in the form of huge new energy reserves priced at a comparable oil $USD/BTU ratio, tremendous breakthroughs in GM crop yields, and/or unimagined productive efficiencies in new, high-value goods & services.

To help explain these concepts, here's a brief economic history of California:

As most everyone knows, the discovery of gold set off an unprecedented gold rush. But what many people don't know is that gold was only the beginning of a major, resource extractive economic base.

The water & rail infrastructure requirements for oil, timber & agriculture laid the groundwork for the human immigration to follow. Employment was provided by the big 3 industries: first entertainment, followed by aerospace, then high tech computers & communications.

Each stage required successive layers of investment that were handsomely rewarded by fabulous output gains and productivity increases which dramatically increased the overall level of wealth.

Now, compare those previous cycles with the FIRE economic model that was based on nothing more than new (credit) money chasing older (credit) money. All those realtors, all those loan officers, all those transaction/legal workers, all that construction activity, all those home consumer items (kitchens, baths, etc) ad infinitum, was based on nothing new, nothing productive, nothing useful.

IOW, it was all based on nothing. Now, how is this supposed to 'recover'? It isn't supposed to recover! The bailouts and gross illegal activities are being undertaken in the name of national security simply because if something doesn't come up out of the blue, we are truly hosed.


Mon, 04/12/2010 - 14:09 | 296731 Seer
Seer's picture


Mon, 04/12/2010 - 14:11 | 296735 The Disappointed
The Disappointed's picture

The bailouts and gross illegal activities are being undertaken in the name of national security simply because if something doesn't come up out of the blue, we are truly hosed.

There's always cold fusion. Got Palladium?

Mon, 04/12/2010 - 19:56 | 297258 Seer
Seer's picture

Well, I was a fan of "simple" hot fusion (much more do-able) until I realized that abundantly cheap energy presents problems- it is, after all, how we've come to over-power the environment: energy is applied to "natural" resources, more energy means more pressure on the world's natural resources.  The trajectory isn't a good one...

Tue, 04/13/2010 - 08:28 | 297898 SWRichmond
SWRichmond's picture

That's just not true.  Abundant clean energy makes it possible to economically recycle things.  Recycling is incredibly energy-intensive.

Tue, 04/13/2010 - 14:48 | 298594 Seer
Seer's picture

I'm confused, which is it, economical or not economical ("incredibly energy-intensive")?

I'm ALL for recycling, but recycling isn't going to save our butts as we continue to dig up more and more fresh resources.

Tue, 04/13/2010 - 20:31 | 299149 SWRichmond
SWRichmond's picture

There are of course limited resources, but there are observable self-limiting influences on human population.  Mature educated societies can barely maintain a positive birth rate, and many can't (Japan, for example).  Abundant clean energy affects the recycling economics equation in a manner that makes recycling more attractive, helping to lessen demand for "new" materials, and makes new resources economically recoverable that might not have been otherwise. 

Wed, 04/14/2010 - 16:49 | 300710 Seer
Seer's picture

Those "mature" societies that you mention are the greatest consumers of materials (which are predominately new/fresh).

It all sounds good until you dig into the facts...

Look up Jevons Paradox.

Thanks for playing!

Mon, 04/12/2010 - 14:22 | 296767 ThreeTrees
ThreeTrees's picture


Credit expansion can temporarily increase people's/business' ability to consume, thereby influencing production upwards, but real economic growth (ie: gains in efficiency, new technologies, more efficient allocation of capital) is needed to sustain an increased level of output in the long run.  

Mon, 04/12/2010 - 17:37 | 297091 akak
akak's picture

Anyone who would be naive, clueless or disingenuous enough to call our currency economy in "recovery" would also logically have to call the convulsion of a cardiac patient's body after having the electric paddles applied as an indication that he was "back to health".

Mon, 04/12/2010 - 17:57 | 297122 sgt_doom
sgt_doom's picture

"There isn't going to be any economic "recovery" of the FIRE model - it's mathematically impossible."

Thank the gods, B9K9, someone who understands arithmetical relationships and how variables correlate (ain't too many of us left, evidently)!!!!

But as long as the various propaganda networks reframe every fact to their fiction***, few will comprehend that if the top five banks make up 63 percent of the GDP, and they are technically insolvent in the traditional assets versus liabilities model -- but only sustain themselves and their obscene bonuses by the aid of trillions in dollars of free Fed/Treasury monies plus TARP bailout funds (and further hidden bailouts, high freq. trading, constant and consistent ultra-multiples of wash sales) -- then, not even considering the remaining percentage of the fantasy finance sector (bringing their portion of our fantasy finance GDP to over 83 percent) -- this is the most back-ass-wards socialist plutocracy around!!!

Thanks, B9K9, always glad for any and all company in the realm of human thinking machines.

***latest Great Reframing: a soon-to-be media report showing that the OTS was either ignorant or not concerned with all the fraud-related predatory lending.

Completely ignoring all the documented stories of how the Bush administration, via the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and with the criminal collusion of the rating agencies, especially S & P and Moody's, did conspire to halt the individual state governments and consumer-protection agencies from intervening against said predatory, and illegal, lending practices --- by threatening to lower the state's bond ratings.

Mon, 04/12/2010 - 18:45 | 297182 B9K9
B9K9's picture

It goes way further back than Bush - more like 2,500 years & longer. I posted this reply to Mako on another thread which appears to be going stale. Same appeal for comments & suggestions applies:


Mako and others, I've been working on a short & succinct manifesto that has two-fold aims:

  • Address the defensive concerns Cognitive Dissonance has raised; and
  • Provide some sort of road map for the future.

I'm trying to tighten it up so that it provides a quick & easy read for any & everyone - informed and uninformed alike. Comments, criticisms & helpful suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Don't allow yourself to be placed in a position of defending that which is obvious & self evident. It is the odious task of economic holocaust deniers to take the morally repugnant position of defending crimes committed against humanity.

The historical record of usury is quite clear, with specific admonishments dating back over 2,500 years:

(Exodus 22:25-27)
25If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.

 26If thou at all take thy neighbour's raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down:

 27For that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear; for I am gracious.

The exponential math is irrefutable; compounding principal+interest always outruns loan serviceability. Thus, the end result is preordained: usurers take possession of forfeited real property and productive assets pledged as collateral while borrowers are reduced to a state of debt peonage.

Deniers are merely earning their respective thirty pieces of silver as paid apologists for their banking masters. Let deniers make ridiculous spectacles of themselves attempting to explain the unexpected hoocoodanode.


More to the point - it doesn't matter if the money-lenders' collateral is seized and re-distributed to the People. They still have their bullion reserves safely stored in Zurich & Tel Aviv, along with the ability to restart the money-credit game. Yet it doesn't really matter either if these countries are invaded and the respective gold holdings seized & re-distributed to national entities, because the money-credit game can still be re-instituted via pure fiat.

No, the real game changer, the one thing that would spell their ultimate doom, would be the permanent destruction of the money-credit system via some impersonal, scientific means of creating & maintaining a medium of exchange, unit of account, and store of value.

Nathan has the right idea with Freedom's Vision, but he is hopelessly naive in intent. It's about as rationale as arguing with Heinrich Himmler that it would really be a much better idea not to try & exterminate certain peoples.

The bankster's will never willingly give up their advantage. It will have to be taken from them and denied in perpetuity by permanent controls.

Tue, 04/13/2010 - 01:31 | 297616 fUny1
fUny1's picture

Amen to that. There is a reason why usury is an abomination.

The reality is most, if not all, humanity is prone to bouts of laziness.

The compounding interest of usury spurs that laziness. Everybody cannot pass the buck. Some people may be able to pass the buck but someone has to pay for it and in an ever expanding bucket of thin air printed bucks, you need an ever expanding list of those that service the buck passing .


This planet is incorrectly governed. It cannot be sustained. It is said that there are three things which provide zero value(aka solutions):Politics,Religion, and money.

If we destroy the Earth's ecosystem beyond repair, it would take almost twice the GDP of the entire world to pay for doing the work that nature was programmed to do.

For a long time, we have been busy failing at the game of GOD while destroying the one creation that gave rise to our species and the ability to interface with this reality.

Either we are insane, or we do not want to interface with this reality and believe that a better one awaits.

If it's the former, we'll end up testing the latter.

If it's the latter, we better hope there is no usury in that reality and we do not fall prey to the "bored to death" syndrome that will tempt us to want to return to this type of reality.

This reality is unsustainable in my varied ways.

As Woody Allen said: Eternity is very long, especially towards the end.


Tue, 04/13/2010 - 02:42 | 297670 merehuman
merehuman's picture

keep it simple. common sense and a map of the USD in decline, with a few websites tossed in for verification. Better yet to have some utube video and a one page flier. Many that i know will print and deliver across the usa. I will certainly help distribute as long as its not for demducks or the repugnants.

Mon, 04/12/2010 - 20:03 | 297263 Seer
Seer's picture

Finally!  I've been fairly lonely out here talking about exponential growth!

Is there, between either one of you, any recognition that ecomies hinge on not number theory, but physical resources, and exponential growth as applied to the consumption of physical resources is the real underlying issue?

Tue, 04/13/2010 - 00:04 | 297559 wake the roach
wake the roach's picture


Finally!  I've been fairly lonely out here talking about exponential growth!



Is there, between either one of you, any recognition that ecomies hinge on not number theory, but physical resources, and exponential growth as applied to the consumption of physical resources is the real underlying issue?


I cannot speak for others but in my opinion, yes...

Net ENERGY gains produced from the increased (exponential) rate of extraction and consumption of finite energy resources... All finite resources being mathematically impossible to consume sustainably but just as importantly, the rate of extraction cannot be increased all the way to the point of physical resource depletion (bell curve)... The exponential growth of credit required to sustain the ponzi has hit the brickwall of physical reality... Global rates of net energy production and consumption are falling (in developed nations anyway, for now). And as all goods and services we consume require energy to produce, transport etc. Each monetary units energy value is also decreasing (inflation/deflation, same thing).... Game over, bummer... 


Tue, 04/13/2010 - 14:51 | 298606 Seer
Seer's picture

Oh, yes!  There IS intelligent life on earth after all!

I've gotten so tired of people believing that there can be sustained (read "indefinite") economic growth; it's like they completely ignore the physical world.

Mon, 04/12/2010 - 19:10 | 297206 Sam Clemons
Sam Clemons's picture

Also, keep in mind that most jobs that are actually here and actually get raises, those raises are pegged to the CPI which has been understated for years.  Originally intended, I hope, to simply hide inflation to sedate the masses and enable skimping on entitlement program payouts, it has inadvertently destroyed the ability to consume in this country as our "leaders" would like us to. Whoops.  I don't see any way out of this vicious cycle until public employees are fired, federal spending is slowed and private taxes reduced.

Mon, 04/12/2010 - 20:04 | 297267 Seer
Seer's picture

And what exactly is it that you would be expecting when the vicious cycle is broken?

Mon, 04/12/2010 - 21:53 | 297394 Sam Clemons
Sam Clemons's picture

Only a slightly-better version of the current unsustainable version.  Either way, there are finite limits to the game of fiat attached to interest and finite limits of natural resources.

Tue, 04/13/2010 - 14:53 | 298610 Seer
Seer's picture

Only a slightly-better version of the current unsustainable version

But... this contradicts your statement that there's a "way out."  I mean, suggesting that we all fire eveyone in govt, though it will slow the bleeding, it won't SOLVE anything.  The slinky analogy!

Tue, 04/13/2010 - 01:15 | 297609 Tethys
Tethys's picture


...gold was only the beginning of a major, resource extractive economic base.

The water & rail infrastructure requirements for oil, timber & agriculture laid the groundwork for the human immigration to follow. Employment was provided by the big 3 industries: first entertainment, followed by aerospace, then high tech computers & communications.


Now don't get me wrong, I'm as disgusted with the hopelessness of the current clusterphuck as many who post here.  But it is good to test one's beliefs from time to time (one reason I like to read the comments of Leo and other contrarians here).

There is one thing to consider in the list you provide above.  Each development or industry was followed by a new and profitable endeavor as the previous one ran its course and wound down.  In such a string of successes, it is to be expected that occasional failures such as FIRE occur.

And just as it was impossible for the early entertainers to foresee the transition to computer and communications industry, it is difficult for us now to imagine what may come next. And it is precisely times of turmoil which breed the conditions that push people from comfort to innovation.

Not saying it's likely, or, given the impending supernova-scale phuckedness approaching, that it would be enough to reverse the slide if some new innovation such as zero-point energy generators or transmogrifiers or warp drive or those little gizmos in the cafeteria of the Starship Enterprise which make food out of nothing were to come about.  Just saying that whenever I become as certain of anything as I am of our impending doom, it is usually time to step back and pan out, because nature and life are full of surprises.

Assuming that there exist any powers-that-be who are not corrupt (outside of the land of skittle-shitting, rainbow pissing unicorns), it is likely that they are trying to extend-and-pretend us towards just such an event.  In my more optimistic moments such as this (rare and elusive as they may be), I hope they succeed.  Because if they don't, its down to three day old leftover coyote for dinner and corn cobs for TP.



Tue, 04/13/2010 - 08:18 | 297887 Grappa
Grappa's picture

Well said. Sure would like to have some hope in this.

Also regards to Leo and other contrarians for pointing out things that might be otherwise left out.

Mon, 04/12/2010 - 14:53 | 296809 Dirtt
Dirtt's picture

"You don't like this arrangement? Tough luck. Go protest and they'll haul your ass in jail."

Funny Leo.  This fits neatly with the anecdotal data of the pathetic Greek nymphs and playboys in the streets pissing away German productivity.  I think the last time the "tough luck" or "let them eat cake" attitude became this pervasive was in the late 1700's.

We ain't talking protest in the US Leo. That is so French. One thing that must be remembered when comparing everyone else in the world to the USA....Americans are armed to the teeth.

"Let them eat cake?" NO. How about La Guillotine shall claim her bloody prize.  And those holding US debt will have to kiss their ass-ets goodbye.

Mon, 04/12/2010 - 17:28 | 297082 Mr Lennon Hendrix
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Leo, are you sarcastic....half of the time, without insinuating it?

Leo, how is it that you do such brilliant work on pensions?  Your solar picks tell me you are aware of peak oil....how can you ever insuniate we are in a recovery?  Let alone that we will ever recover from the absolute pillaging of all things considered? 

"Go protest and they'll haul your ass in jail."  Thats our point!  It appears you would welcome the NWO, but at the same time, tell us of the impending doom and gloom, and that it will be best to accept our given fate.  To paraphrase your overall tense, "The shit is hitting the fan!  But if you accept it, they will give you a cookie.  The cookie is laced with mercury, but it tastes good.  Enjoy!" 

Man, what gives?

Mon, 04/12/2010 - 17:37 | 297092 sgt_doom
sgt_doom's picture

Great post, BTW!!!

Leo, you keep reporting on this and it keeps getting by you.

North America, most definitely the USA and Mexico, have reached critical mass (starting around July 1999) as far as the offshoring of jobs is concerned.

Now, Prez Obama sent everyone his message loud and clear when he appointed the NON-ECONOMIST, Diana Farrell, the number one jobs offshoring specialist (BPO Specialist) to his economics council post.

This is what happens when the cannibals have dismantled one's national tax base, destroyed income for too many, and are feasting on the final cannibalization of the remains.

Mon, 04/12/2010 - 20:07 | 297271 Seer
Seer's picture

The US reached critical mass when its oil production peaked in 1970/1971.  Mexico reached critical mass a few years ago when its oil production (Cantarell - third largest oil field in the world) peaked.

Mon, 04/12/2010 - 23:30 | 297506 Mr Lennon Hendrix
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

...and the world reached critical mass when its oil production peaked in '08.

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