Guest Post: Poverty In America, Part I

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles High Smith from Of Two Minds

Poverty In America, Part I

Poverty is on the rise in America, and buying passivity with cheap bribes has limits when applied to a fraying middle class.

If jobs are not coming back, then we as a nation need a conversation about poverty in America. The Status Quo assumption is that this is just another garden-variety recession, and that employment will bounce back, along with the "animal spirits" that drive borrowing and spending.

As of August 2011, it will be three years since the global financial meltdown. In three years, the Savior State has borrowed and blown $6 trillion maintaining the Status Quo, and the Federal Reserve has printed almost $3 trillion and shoveled that vast sum into "risk assets" to keep housing on life support and the stock market rising. The Fed has also devalued and debased the dollar, stealing wealth from the citizenry and holders of U.S.-denominated debt in the process, to serve two goals: 1) spark inflation and thus avoid deflationary deleveraging of the nation's fast-growing mountain of debt, and 2) to enable servicing that debt with cheaper dollars.

None of these grandiose manipulations has healed the economy or fixed the structural problems which made the meltdown inevitable. The irony here (among many) is that so many people believe the Power Elites controlling the nation have some sort of god-like ability to maintain their grip on the levers of power.

While it's certainly true that the wealth of the Power Elites has increased as a result of the meltdown and Fed/Savior State response, ultimately the Financial and Political Elites' power depends on the passivity and complicity of the citizens. This means the Power Elites must buy off or co-opt the majority of citizens to keep them politically neutered and mallable.

The Status Quo has two basic methods of buying the citizen's complicity: a vibrant economy that supports a middle class that thus has a stake in maintaining the Status Quo, and cash bribes to everyone else to keep quiet, i.e. "social benefits" a.k.a. entitlements and welfare. This renders everyone either dependent on cash payments from the Savior State or a stakeholder in the Status Quo.

Corporate welfare is not a bribe but a mutually beneficial power grab. The Cartel Corporatocracy seeks to eliminate competition from below and guarantee low-risk profts via cartels and quasi-monopolies. It achieves these goals by purchasing the partnership of the Savior State, which smothers competition with thickets of regulations and greases the quasi-monopolies sought by the Corporatocracy. But it's hardly a one-way exchange; in extending its control over the economy and society to serve the Corporatocracy's interests, the Central State's own Elites gain more power, too.

Some observers see the middle class as the natural enemy of the State and Corporatocracy, but this misses the essential relationship of the Power Elites to their citizenry: the need of the Elites to buy complicity and passivity by the cheapest methods available.

It's certainly possible to use repression to keep a populace under control, but repression is expensive and it doesn't encourage productive "buy-in"; rather, it encourages opting out and resentful compliance. This leaves less for the Elites to skim off.

Over time, it's rather obvious that regimes that rely on heavy-handed repression tend to fall while those that offer a small, low-cost stake to citizens are much more profitable to the ruling Elites and also more stable.

The crumbling of the credit-bubble economy has mortally wounded the middle class, and this has created a serious problem for the Power Elites. In extending the credit-bubble economy--that is, "wealth" is created via exponential expansion of debt--to housing, the Power Elites undermined the multigenerational bedrock of middle class wealth.

With housing equity stripped away, the erosion of middle class income and non-housing wealth has now been exposed.

The Power Elites' other wealth technique, globalization, has also gutted the middle class below the top 10% level of technocrats, and decimated the working class that had aspirations of joining the middle class, i.e. the lower middle class.

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Jobs (in the U.S.) (February 9, 2011) Global Corporate America has decoupled from the American middle class; its interests are now international rather than domestic.

The Power Elites' response--borrow and blow trillions to prop up the engine of their own wealth, the banks, borrow trillions from future taxpayers to maintain the current Status Quo, and devalue the U.S. dollar--have all failed to reflate housing or middle class incomes. Rather, these actions only succeeded in enriching the top 10% who own the majority of stocks. The prop-job in stocks has yielded a propaganda coup, as the Status Quo has successfully identified a rising stock market as "proof the recovery is here," but this propaganda is starting to wear thin as 90% of the populace are realizing they are still poorer than they were three years ago.

Buying Off Washington To Kill Financial "Reform".

The Power Elites cannot understand why making credit cheap isn't creating jobs. Like decrepit generals fighting the last war, they keep sending waves of credit into the system to overpower deflation and reignite "animal spirits," but the waves of credit are being mowed down by deleveraging and the exhaustion of credit as a stimulus.

In other words, they are clueless to the reality that conventional economics has failed. They have no Plan B. Their only plan, such as it is, is to borrow more money and spend it propping up the current Status Quo. Unfortunately for them, the middle class is unraveling at the edges, and the surest evidence of that is the loss of middle class jobs.

Without good-paying jobs with benefits and rising housing equity, then the citizens have no stake left in the Status Quo.

That leaves entitlements and welfare as the cash bribes for keeping quiet. What's remarkable about the current pastiche of social benefits is how cheap it is to the Power Elites; extended unemployment ($158 billion), food stamps ($68 billion), Section 8 housing ($20 billion), and Veterans Administration medical care for vets ($47 billion)--all together that's $293 billion, a mere 7.7% of Federal spending.

(These statistics are drawn from
Is the Recovery "Self-Sustaining"? Here's a Test (March 22, 2011)
Social Welfare, Socialism and Healthcare (May 19, 2009)
Can We Please Stop Pretending the GDP Is "Growing"? (June 2, 2011)

And of course it's the taxpayers who will foot the bill for the deficit spending, not the Elites.

The ideological political-theater stages faux "combat" over welfare, but this is for show: outside the circus, cash bribes for complicity and silence work equally well for both flavors of the Status Quo political Elite.

The "Left's" concern for the poor is transparently phony; the "Left's" only concern is to keep the underclass fat, dumb and distracted while enriching its own private fiefdoms such as education: public school fiasco in Atlanta. What terrifies the "Left" is the same thing that terrifies the "Right"--that the citizenry might break free of the bonds of dependency on the Savior State and start demanding a real stake in the economy rather than just a cash bribe to keep quiet.

This is why welfare and middle class entitlements (in various flavors) have continued growing for decades, under both "Left" and "Right" regimes.

It's been quite a scam: the Savior State borrows immense sums from future taxpayers to bribe the current crop of citizenry, and these same citizenry pay the rising interest on that growing debt via their taxes.

In other words, the debt-serfs pay for the bribes that keep them complicit.

The problem is that the Status Quo has overshot systemic equilibrium. To keep the game going, the debt load is rising at almost $2 trillion a year at the Federal Level, and the Fed's manipulations are requiring a cool trillion a year in printed money shoveled into risk assets.

The interest on that skyrocketing debt will eventually crimp the borrowing binge, and the Fed's games are igniting not job growth but inflation, which further saps what's left of middle class purchasing power.

The Fed's manic manipulations are losing their effectiveness. Like insulin in a pre-diabetic patient, the Fed's massive injections of money are not stimulating jobs or productive investment; each new announcement of "easing" generates a smaller jolt of ever-shorter duration. At some point the economy will respond to the Fed's "easing" injection by going straight into diabetic shock.

There are two cultural issues in play as well. One of the key characteristics of the middle class is high expectations for future power and prosperity. The poor have lower expectations and so it's relatively easy to buy them off with small sums.

The middle class, however, is less satisfied with crumbs, and getting paid to stay home and watch TV does not appeal to their values or expectations of life in America.

The other issue is the destructive nature of dependence on the Savior State, a dynamic I explored in The Cycle of Dependency and the Atrophy of Self-Reliance (July 2, 2011).

Making people dependent on the Savior State is not "ending poverty"--it is creating a deeper, more pervasively destructive poverty of lost opportunity and shriveled enterprise. People naturally want to contribute to something meaningful and to be respected, and being paid to sit home watching TV does neither. What it does do is fuel a low-intensity resentment against dependency and a pathological incentive for victimhood, neither of which are healthy for the society or those reduced to dependency on the Savior State.

The Power Elites are slowly losing their grip on the middle class. Once people no longer have a stake in the Status Quo, then they might become dissatisifed with the cheap bribes to stay home and rot away, consuming Pringles and "entertainment" on the telly.

Those citizens who are paying the tab for the Power Elites' debt excesses are also seeing their stake in the Status Quo slip in value: being reduced to a tax donkey does not fulfill their expectations.

The bottom line is poverty on several levels is rising in America, and cash bribes are not a stable "solution," though they certainly are a cheap one to the Power Elites.

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cougar_w's picture

I hear that same admonition a lot here. It's not a bad list, but I don't see how any of that will matter:

1) Debts will be eliminated by economic collapse. No action required.

2) Cost of living will become meaningless in a barter society. No action required.

3) Invest? Nothing that exists today might remain standing. Or none of the things we think are valuable today may have much value in the future. You can't eat gold comes to mind, though I suppose it can't hurt to hold some. You think you buy what you need? You won't. I won't sell you my hard-won produce if I might go hungry later. You can use gold to raise an army and buy friends ... but you just became my enemy.

4) Leave the city. That sort of makes sense, if you intend to work the land and become self-sufficient. But here's a clue for all you erstwhile farmers; it's hard work, the payoff is poor much of the time, and any group of people more desperate than you are who wants your land can take it in less than a minute. And all the John Wayne movies not withstanding, if you don't quickly run out of nerve at all the killing then you will run out of bullets.

I don't know what it means to "prepare". I think a huge part of preparation is letting go of things that will hold you back when the time comes to make a fast move. Learning how to do basic and important things like raise vegetables, sew clothes, tend animals. Skills in carpentry, herbal medicine, metal working and construction will probably serve one well, and might be leveraged to monetary gain when nothing else pays. And more than anything else ... flexibility. Have no blind spot, suffer no illusions, keep an open mind, build community with whom you are with, pull together, find alliances where they are offered.

There is no formula. There is only wariness and constant motion.

earnulf's picture

The Boy Scouts motto is "Be Prepared".   That takes planning which may not always turn out as one expects.   The ability to react may be the most important preparation along with the wisdom to make the right choice at the right time.

LFMayor's picture

Invest:  I could see 12 gauge, .223 and .22 long rifle becoming a type of currency. at least until it calms down after the great die off.  Heirloom seed packets?  Bicycle tires/tubes and those pull behind kiddie hauler carts?  Calcium Hypochlorite packaged for convienient 1 gallon purification dosages,  free milk jug if you trade for 10?
Lots of tangibles will be worth a great deal to people. 

++ for your advice on skills or on manuals to impart those skills.  And Networking.

Caveman93's picture

Excellent post! Well written and easy to comprehend!

the left behinds's picture

It is time for those complaining about other people on unemployment

to instead take a look at where your 'TAX' money is REALLY going, not where CNN tells you it is going!

JW n FL's picture

Tarp $800 Billion..


Cost of Un-Employment Benefits.. $1 Billion per Month per 10% Un-Employed.


So, TARP.. not TALF, POMO and or other(s).. just TARP would cover Un-Employment Benefits for 30 plus years.. $800 Billion ='s 30 Plus Years of coverage for working Americans who no longer have a Job because TARP and TALF and POMO cost TRILLIONS!

DCFusor's picture

Of course, what's called middle class has changed quite a lot over my own lifetime.  As a child, in late 50's and early '60's, we were considered middle class.  Both my parents worked (unusual at the time), both had degrees, got decent pay, bought a house within our means -- about 1k sq foot, tiny lot (for then) of about 1/3 acre, two cars that ran, bikes but no go-karts for the kids (3 of us).  It was alright, we ate a lot of mac and cheese, which Mom apologized for, but we kids loved -- and due to being true conservatives (not right wing-nuts), when my parents died they left us quite a stash -- all us kids were millionaires after that (I was before, having followed much the same path in life).


Now, on MarketWatch, there's a video of what they are calling middle class, and to me that's not middle -- it's not uber rich but gawd, those people are living in a palace, new cars all around, infinite toys, and acording to them "doing real well" with about 100k income between them, but worried as what they do for a living isn't real secure work just now.  If that's not just a huge pile of debt, I'd love to know how they got there on a "mere" $100k/yr.  Never mind my parents did well on a lot less, before inflation made the buck so worthless and did wind up living in such a palace near the end of their lives, one that had gone up almost 10x during their ownership of it and which sadly had to be sold when they died, none of us could afford the upkeep and taxes, being, well, conservative types.


If this is who's doing the whining -- just let me remind you that what defines middle class has certainly changed a lot, and these people complaining about having to go down the the standard of living I grew up in don't impress me a heck of a lot.  We did fine from that point.!F051E28C-6F93-420E-8777-F296DD1C26D4


TruthInSunshine's picture

Critical point:  To live a middle class lifestyle in the U.S. in the 1950s to about 1982 (lag effect from Bretton Woods getting smashed in 1971), it was commonly done with one wage earner per household, and the accrual of little to no debt.

By middle class, I am admittedly using a broad descriptor, but I associate this with quality housing, quality food, quality medical care and quality education, as well as being able to meet transporation and retirement needs without going into debt.

Today, while the houses may be larger, there are more motor vehicles, electronics and accessories, the price paid to rotate into this new era has been two incomes per household while racking up record levels of household debt (barely off recently made highs circa 2007).

Debt slavery has fueled the clinging on of the notion of a large middle class.

AnAnonymous's picture

it's not uber rich but gawd, those people are living in a palace, new cars all around, infinite toys, and acording to them "doing real well" with about 100k income between them, but worried as what they do for a living isn't real secure work just now.


Dont ever imply on this site that the US has grown richer since the 50s, that the middle class is living lavish life style, that globalism has largely improved US standard of life.

On this site, the middle class must be struggling, must be ripped off by the rest of the world and its standard of living  been plummeting.

TruthInSunshine's picture

AnAnonymous, your idiocy truly knows no bounds.

If you manage this (difficult for you) task, check out these simple charts (simple is good speed for you) and see if you notice anything peculiar and/or worrisome about them:


Urban Redneck's picture

As much as I deride the notion that debt is wealth, I'll give AnAnonymous points for progress towards reality, he used rich (wealth) once and standard of living/life twice.

Over the past decades the standard of livingin the US has increased measurably (house sizes, closet sizes, cars, garbage volume, electronic and communication devices).  However, the standard of living is not wealth, it is consumption.  When growth of the standard of living is financed by relatively increasing debt as opposed to relatively increasing income or wealth, it becomes very easy to mistake increasing poverty for increasing prosperity.

jemlyn's picture

I agree with most of what Smith says, the part about how and why we got here, but in looking at our current crop of young people, I'm not so sure they wouldn't rather stay home and sit on the couch. 

jemlyn's picture

I agree with most of what Smith says, the part about how and why we got here, but in looking at our current crop of young people, I'm not so sure they wouldn't rather stay home and sit on the couch. 

Stuck on Zero's picture

The power elites know one thing only - keep trillions of dollars rolling around through the program in any manner whatsover and they can take their 10% off the top.  Whether it's trade deficits, M&A, bankster loans, liquidity injections, bankruptcies, credit cards, or any other manner of financial phooey just keep it going.  The power elites live off of the movement of money through their institutions.  The job of the middle class is to keep all of their money out of the hands of the power elite.  Cash in your IRA, buy a rental property.  Cash in your MMF and buy PMs.  Cash in your CD and buy a Glock.  Get everything out of NY.

DCFusor's picture

dupe, board software issues.

Ricky Bobby's picture

"Global Corporate America has decoupled from the American middle class; its interests are now international rather than domestic."

Can you say Empire.



Oh regional Indian's picture

Not sure how many know that the US has one of th ehighest poverty rates in the world, by any definition. I've driven the length and breath of the country, I can attest first hand. Lot's of pathetic lives in the world's richest country. Trailer Trashing and Inner City Hooding on SNAP and Drugs is no life either.

So, I actually find the tone here defeatist. Everyone is clamouring for jobs to come back. What shit. Jobs don't come back.

you out innovate them. Leave them bag-holding 20th century tech. Smartly.

All this waaaah waaaah Indo-China stole our jobs BS. if there was ever a time to innovate, it's now. Forget this virtual, silly-con valley definition of innovation. It's an oxymoron.

Basics. sustainable housing, transport, food and life style/substance.

Everything from the humble bicycle, that testament to a poor to pathetic understanding of bio-mechanics, all the way to flight and everything in between.

The post carbon, bio-mimicing world is upon us.

Embrace it. Don't look for the old to return. 

As some multinational surely says, do the new.



smore's picture

It's not that "Indo-China stole our jobs", it's that the US gave away the farm, or rather, allowed the corporations to do it.

Remember Perot's "big sucking sound"?  It didn't come from Mexico, it came from China, otherwise, he was exactly right.

The attitude that all you have to do is keep innovating is bunk.

Germany didn't give away its manufacturing sector, it just refined it and kept the jobs.  Innovation fills your basket, outsourcing is the equivalent of a hole in your basket.  Why desperately innovate, and then give away the benefits as fast as you can?


gall batter's picture

sold a piece of gold jewelry.  worried about it for a few days.  pd debts.  enough left over to buy a bike.  i don't buy groceries the way i did when i had more money.  but i'm not hungry.  life for me is what i'm thinking about at any given time of the day.  and it's all relative.  i'm better off than people who live in tent cities.  better off than people who live in war-torn countries. better off than people who live near fukushima. 

Steak's picture

When I try to convey to my friends the future that awaits the country a phrase that catches their attention and is wholly accurate given the convergence of developing and developed country incomes...I say that soon more than half of Americans will be Africa Poor.

But of course with everybody in this country believing they are above average, nobody thinks it will happen to them.

LFMayor's picture

well, it HAS been hotter than Africa around here this past week or so...

TheMerryPrankster's picture

As the price of oil rises, the return of serfdom grows ever closer.

The social bonds have been broken, most don't know their neighbors, the bedroom communitys are just places to sleep and park a car. The real world receded long ago, big fat americans like beached whales struggling to find a bigger SUV to get their fat gut behind. It would be funny if it weren't tragic.

When historians discuss what killed america, I doubt any will realize it was suicide.


Bitch Tits's picture

I think I may begin cheating on my taxes.

This is obviously only one way to get ahead of the game, but it seems like a no-brainer one, if our Congress is any example.

sbenard's picture

Yup! That just about sums it up! Thanks, Charles! I think you've nailed it!

anony's picture

You're ignoring the simple tactic of gradually taking the lower parts of the middle classes and making them poorer so that as you state,  "the poor can be bought off with smaller sums".

The use of creeping (de)incrementalism is certainly in play.  I see it every day all around me.  And it's not just beginning now, it has been happening for at least a decade or more with lowered expectations all 'round.


walküre's picture

Good article. Looking forward to "Poverty in America Part 2"

How about a good old fashioned round of wealth confiscation from the elite, the truly elite by a large group of former so called middle class citizens? Try tax increases first before resorting to plain and simple theft second. It's really not that difficult. You have a small group of very wealthy individuals who control everything and you have a growing number and already sizeable group of poor individuals who have little or nothing and who certainly do not exercise any form of control. It's been done before and was for the most part always successful. At least it turned life and control upside down, made room for something new and at the end of the day there was typically some type of progression.

The elite needs to understand that the disgruntled and discouraged are not looking for welfare or hand-outs, they're looking for the whole enchilada. It's time for real change and then there can be hope that our kids and their kids are not just going to wilt away in a life of debt slavery all the while those born with the proverbial silver spoon can enjoy all the fruits of someone else's labor.

adr's picture

If a mid sized company had the guts to quit witholding tax from thier workers paychecks and got others to follow, thus creating a nightmare for the IRS, the power base for the Elites would come crashing down. 

The insanity is that you are far better off on welfare than trying to get a readily avialabe minimum eage job. Poor saps like me that make $70k are stuck paying $700 a month in various insurances, $1000 in gas and food, and the other garbage that eats up my entire paycheck.

The Elites can't fathom how the middle class doesn't have any money to invest. They seem to fail at even the simplest forms of math. 

AldousHuxley's picture

You think this is poverty?

Ha, aren't you in for a little surprise undereducated Americans...Exactly why it will get worse before it will get better.


It is going to be fun fellas!



ex VRWC's picture

A littlt truth, if you please, set to music:


This song tackles many of the themes from this article, especially what global corporations have done to our societies.  Finally got it professionally recorded and got a video done.  Well worth a listen.

barnaby33's picture

Since when is a cash bribe not a real stake? I'd agree that it creates dependence but it is a real stake. Articles like this make out "Elites" as if there were some sort rarified club of grifters with a secret handshake and shared ethnic background.

How about we talk about how all of us voted to allow tax policies that incentivized debt over savings and finance over production? We do actually still have elections once in a while. I know we are all to cynical to believe in them, but hey if a black community activist from Chicago can get elected president, why couldn't a ZH'er get elected to congress or The House?


Buck Johnson's picture

Poverty in America is fast coming to these shores, and eventually we will see large parts of this nation turned into third world conditions.

Chuck Walla's picture

Brilliant analysis.

aerial view's picture

America does not stand for truth, justice or equality as the empire has reached absolute power which corrupts absolutely. Each state must secede, become independent and set up it's own system of checks and balances to have any chance of reversing this trend.  50 states each creating it's own new and improved system gives Americans 50 choices as to what kind of government they want. The best will rise to the top and can serve as a template for others.

WhackoWarner's picture

it is so easy to see who is American here. Libertarian. pro-life; Republican; democrat; who gives a damn?

So busy dividing over nothing.

TheMerryPrankster's picture

Difficult to jump off the treadmill with that tasty carrot dangling just out of reach.

linrom's picture

So CHS, the follower of the great deceiver Pete Peterson proves that 'Saviour State's is largely  a myth, an invention of doublespeak to convince Americans that they get something for nothing like Social Security benefits! Americans get almost nothing for the taxes they pay in return from the state. The little that they get is financed by bankers' debt. Saviour State is a Slave-State. Each US dollar bill should read "Debt Will Set You Free." There is no Saviour State.

automato's picture

Say 100,000,000 Americans receiving $25,000/yr each would require an outlay of

two and a half Trillion dollars a year.(Call it bare subsistence welfare).  

Daphneisfedup's picture

There are some parts of the article I like - the idea that the middle class wants a stake in a country, the underclass just wants bread and circuses.

The author makes it sound like the powers that be are chess masters moving us pawns, thinking ahead and trying to see how little will buy the middle class and under classes off.  There I disagree.  The powers that be are the equivalent of five year olds that have learned the basic moves of chess.  They don't look ahead past their next bonus or next election bid.

I also agree with the poster who said that our fundamental problem is the nature of capitalism.  As the wealth increases and corporations get bigger, much more money goes to corporations.  They are inherently sociopathic - they must pursue profits only, or their profits will be subpar and management will be out before too long.  Corporations have discovered the easiest way to maximize returns is to bribe congressmen.  This they are doing with abandon.  I don't know of any realistic and peaceful way out of this cycle.

I will say that the powers that be should be at least a little wary about how many americans have guns, and that a literate and somewhat-educated army is unlikely to turn on it's own population even if ordered.  Supposedly a lot of bankers ended up hanging from light posts in the 1873 depression.

Escapeclaws's picture

CHS makes very good points and has a writing style, particularly with bold-facing the first sentence of each paragraph, that makes for easy reading. However, he misses the point in as much as what we are seeing is just that our chickens are coming home to roost.  The same policies that we applied to our brown skinned neighbors in the rest of the world, particularly to the south of the US, are now being applied to guess who? This whole perspective is developed by Naomi Klein in her book, The Shock Doctrine--Disaster Capitalism. Essentially we in the US and Europe are getting Milton Friedmannized. This amounts to deliberately crashing the economy, putting everyone in a state of shock so that they lack the conceptual apparatus to truly understand what is happening, setting up fascist dictatorships or a concealed version thereof, and asset stripping the country. At this point, as you can imagine, Disaster Capitalism is becoming a best seller in Greece. Just study what happened in Chile under Pinochet if you want to read tea leaves.

The US definitely seems to be heading in the direction of becoming another Argentina. The best advice on how to prepare for this comes from Ferfal--google that name and you'll get his website. Contrary to raising and slaughtering your own animals, which seems to be the shortest path to death by torture for you and your family, he recommends you stay in the city.

The asset-strippers are coming. They want your land, businesses, gold, highways, public utilities, etc, for cents on the dollar. They want you to pay a toll on the air you breath and the light that comes in through the windows of your home.


darkstar7646's picture

1) I think we are having the discussion about poverty in America -- as in, do those in poverty still have any real rights whatsoever, and have the productive (which see, The Tea Party) basically been paying for this country to go far past productive population?

The fact is that the people in poverty, if the checks are ever cut off, WILL go violent and ARE, in fact, already starting to do so. There just are few enough incidents that the status quo has been maintained.

Obama has pretty much begun the countdown to when that stops.

2) The meltdown is, now, QUITE inevitable. We've reached a point where there are enough people who believe they can take whatever they want and enough people who believe that the unproductive should die that the two cannot coexist. (This is one of the reasons our discourse -- political and otherwise -- has become so testy!)

3) The Status Quo, hence, can no longer be maintained. One has to accept the benefits for what they are -- bribes to keep the poor quiet. There are more than a few people who believe I am in that case -- and they are probably right!

4) The Power Elites are losing grip on far more than the Middle Class -- see the flash-mob robbers.

suckerfishzilla's picture

You want a discussion?  Those people are screwed.  You couldn't tell them anything 10 years ago and you can't tell them anything today.  I don't care if I am sounding pompous.  Alot of the middle class got stung after tarp with a big balance on their revolving credit cards. All of the banks raised the interest on those accounts and applied them to that balance midstream.  Lots and lots of people got stuck that way for one.  I know a few. Let there borrower nor lender be.  You couldn't tell them that the house they were buying had appreciated a thousand percent since it was constructed and might not be a good buy but they signed for an adjustable rate mortgage and bought it anyway.  The ones who are holding on to those homes today are valued under what they paid for it. You couldn't tell them that PM's were undervalued and convince them to buy any but they could afford to pay 1000 percent markup on well drinks at their sh*tty dive bar while they are tipping their bartender.  Those same f*ckers will go to their local grocery store broke afterwards and bitch about the price of a 24 ounce beer under 2 bucks.  Boo f*ckin hoo to those retards.