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Guest Post: Retirement Account Fantasy And Middle Class Erosion – 1 Out Of 3 Americans Has Zero Dollars In A Retirement Account

Tyler Durden's picture


From MyBudget360

Retirement account fantasy and middle class erosion – 1 out of 3 Americans has zero dollars in a retirement account.

From 1950 to 1989 top 1 percent earned roughly 7 to 8 percent of nationwide income. Today it is inching closer to 20 percent resembling pre-Great Depression levels.

Many Americans live precariously close to the edge of financial
insolvency flirting with economic disaster daily.  If you casually
browse mainstream articles and watch any amount of television you would
think that the US still had a vibrant and strong middle class
When we pull back the covers on the current financial situation we
realize that many Americans are merely getting by and many would like
to live in some 1984 Orwellian fantasy world where suddenly things are
back to financial equilibrium.  43 million Americans
are depending on government food assistance to get by.  But many more
millions are merely living paycheck to paycheck hidden in the cellar of
the headlines.  1 out of 3 Americans has zero in any retirement account
(not one slowly eroding dollar).  Half of Americans have $2,000 or less
which puts them one month away from needing government assistance. 
With the volatile job market and turbulent Wall Street
middle class Americans are feeling the once prided stability being
slowly washed away.  Let us examine how retirement is now becoming more
of a fantasy for many Americans.

standard of living

Many Americans especially young adults realize that saving large amounts of money is a key to a sustainable retirement:


Over 84 percent of 18 to 29 year olds surveyed feel they need at
least $1 million saved up in order to stop working some day.  60
percent of those 30 and older feel that they will also need $1 million
saved up.  Yet the actual figures are somewhat disturbing in contrast
to the perceptions of many:


Source:  Census

The median retirement account for US households is $2,000
This is why the vast majority of retirees depend on Social Security as
their primary source of funds in old age even though Social Security
was never designed to be a long term pension system.  You’ll notice
that the average retirement account is closer to $50,000 a year but
this is heavily skewed by the top 1 percent that keep most of their funds in stock wealth.

The reason retirement is slipping through the fingers of many like
sand is the disjointed income equality in the country that has grown in
the last decade.  If we look at income growth it has been heavily
tilted at the top:


Source: Census, Chart: Wikipedia

There has been virtually no real income growth for most Americans. 
The real significant wage growth over the last 50 years has occurred at
the very top 10 percent of income earners in the country with this
inequality accelerating in the last bubble decade.  What is more
important is that 75 percent of Americans largely depend on a job as a
primary source of income which seems rather obvious:


Source:  Federal Reserve

If you examine the chart closely, it is only the top 10 percent that really benefit from a buoyant and thriving stock market.  As we have mentioned earlier 1 out of 3 Americans has zero, nada, or zilch in their retirement account.  The movement of the stock market
is like watching the score of a football game where the outcome means
nothing to the individual.  Yet the problem is that Wall Street has
taken the one item that was stable like a rock for Americans, housing and turned it into another commodity to be gambled and speculated against.

The share of income flowing to a smaller and smaller group of Americans is draining the life blood out of the middle class:


“From 1950 to 1989, nearly 40 years of data the top 1 percent earned roughly 7 to 8 percent
of all the nationwide income.  Today it is inching closer to 20
percent, a figure resembling the massive income inequality seen during
the Great Depression.”

Even within the top 1 percent the difference in incomes is striking:

top 1 percent of income

This kind of income inequality is coming at the cost of the middle class
Banks and the financial press would like you to believe that this isn’t
the case but just look at how far your dollar is now going.  If you are
fortunate to have a retirement account it is likely you don’t have the
gambling devices of options, hedges, and other items that are largely
new casino devices for Wall Street
Most Americans are comfortable with income discrepancies but not at
these levels and not when much of the gains are based on bets that hurt
the overall economy.

The problem as many are now seeing is the financial sector is largely rent seeking by pilfering the future of many middle class Americans
The banking system extracts wealth by devaluing the US dollar, by
charging interest or fees on retail banking, and ultimately suckering
many Americans to dump money into a stock market that is operated like
a casino.  Washington Mutual, a once popular bank used to offer free
checking for life.  JP Morgan Chase took over Washington Mutual in a
government shotgun wedding.  Now, Chase is looking to extract $10 to
$12 per month merely for having a checking account.  Of course they’ll
waive this if you have $5,000 saved in a handful of their accounts. 
Look above again.  1 out of 3 Americans have no savings so how will
this be accomplished?

As we mentioned Social Security is largely becoming the retirement
account default of many Americans.  Yet the growing number of
beneficiaries is now putting strain on the system:

The above chart will only continue to show expansion.  Where will
all this money come from?  We have a smaller workforce with the young
that are already having a tough time saving any money in this economy. 
Many of the good paying jobs of today require a college education and
college has largely entered its own student loan bubble
Many of the future middle class are merely trying to service their own
massive debt even before they begin their careers.  To save that $1
million will become a daunting task moving forward.  Also, if the Federal Reserve has its way $1 million 30 or 40 years from now may not be much.

With 17 percent of Americans unemployed or underemployed many are
simply looking for that next paycheck let alone planning for a
retirement where they can sip margaritas in some picturesque beach
location.  Wall Street
has pilfered the pockets of the middle class through bailouts for their
reckless gambling and incredible excess.  Many Americans now understand
this yet the current political class is merely interested in protecting
the established plutocracy by pillaging the American village.  Most
Americans are becoming exhausted by both political parties and their
pandering to Wall Street that provides a revolving door of money, jobs,
and connections.

The younger generation is seeing their ability to grow their net worth diminishing:


This figure has only dropped even further in the last few years. 
Retirement was once thought of as a place where one would reach a
comfortable existence after many years of hard work.  Not an
extravagant lifestyle but one in where a home was paid off and enough
money came in for food and daily necessities.  But now with Wall Street
turning housing into a giant commodity
and stripping bear the employment base of the country; many are
wondering if retirement is even an option especially when the stock
market is at the same level as it was one decade ago.

Ultimately what needs to happen is to get money out of politics and
to split up commercial and investment banking.  The answer is obvious
but the plutocracy is relentless
in keeping this game going as long as possible.  As this continues,
retirement will continue to look more and more as a fantasy to millions
of Americans.


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Tue, 12/28/2010 - 09:50 | 833072 Xibalba
Xibalba's picture

Governments raising the retirement age doesn't help to assuage any fears 

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 09:54 | 833085 hugovanderbubble
hugovanderbubble's picture

Nice article


Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:54 | 833240 Bearster
Bearster's picture

Except, somehow, every statistic implies a need for socialism.

The problem is not what percentage of "the nation's" income is earned by rich people.  There shouldn't be any caps on how much one can produce.

The problem is that high incomes on Wall Street are a direct transfer from American taxpayers.  This is the dynamic of a banana republic, not of a free society.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 12:29 | 833580 RaymondKHessel
RaymondKHessel's picture

You’re all pretty much fucked. You don’t know it yet. But, you are the NINJA generation. No Income, No Job, No Assets. You got a lot to live for too. Someone reminded me the other evening that I once said greed is good. Now it seems its legal. But folks, its greed that makes my bartender buy three houses he can’t afford with no money down. And it's greed that makes your parents refinance their two hundred thousand dollar house for two fifty. Then they take that extra fifty and go down to the mall. They buy a plasma TV, cell phones, computers, a SUV, hey why not a second home while we are it, cause gee whiz we all know the prices of houses in America always go up, right? And its greed that makes the government of this country cut interest rates down to one percent after 9/11 so we can all go shopping again. And they got all these fancy names for trillions of dollars of credits, CMOs, CDOs, SIVs, ABS . You know I honestly think that there’s maybe only seventy five people in the world who know what they are. But I’ll tell you what they are - WMDs, weapons of mass destruction! That’s what they are. When I was away, it seems greed got greedier with a little bit of envy mixed in. Hedge funders were walking home with fifty, hundred million bucks a year. So Mister Banker, he looks around and says my life looks pretty boring. So he starts leveraging his interests up to forty, fifty to one, with your money, not his, yours, because he could. You’re supposed to be borrowing not them. And the beauty of the deal, no one is responsible. Because everyone is drinking the same Kool-aid. Last year ladies and gentlemen, forty percent of all American corporate profits came from financial services. Not production, not anything remotely to do with the needs of the American public. The truth is we are all part of it now. Banks, consumers, we’re moving the money around in circles. We take a buck, we shoot it full of steroids. We call it leverage. I call it steroid banking. Now I’ve been considered a pretty smart guy when it comes to finance and maybe I was in prison too long. But sometimes it’s the only place to stay sane and look out through those bars and say “Hey, is everybody out there nuts?” Its clear as a bell to those who pay attention, the mother of all evil is speculation, leveraged debt. The bottom line is borrowing to the hilt. And I hate to tell you this, it’s a bankrupt business model. It won’t work. Its systemic, malignant, and its global, like cancer. It’s a disease and we got to fight back. How are we going to do that? How are we going to leverage that disease back in our favor? Well I’ll tell you. Three words, “Buy my book!” Prices and profits work.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 13:36 | 833731 BobPaulson
BobPaulson's picture

Here's the problem: if the majority of the voters are debtors not savers, who will the politicians opt to favour (grasshoppers win over the ants I'm afraid). One of the reasons I think the lower classes are just cranking up the debt, apart from the obvious shortsightedness, is that they see it's their only way to get a share of what the crooks at the top are getting. They see their financial leaders systematically stealing and say: why should I pay my mortgage instead of just buying everything I want on credit? If they all buy the plasma TV's, guess what? There won't be enough collection agencies to take them back. I'd say the medium term problem is that there is an entire consumption economy that requires this wasteful spending just to maintain employment (China). 

The only way it can end, IMHO, is China stops underwriting the consumption. It looks like it will be a while before that happens. I hope I'm wrong though.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:54 | 833898 Saxxon
Saxxon's picture

One last fling with the the great whore, her mascara running down her face, lipstick on her teeth.  The eastern horizon is starting to glow and the last few stars winking out to the west.

What you describe is very much analogous to the reasoning of a meth addict.  There is a wall past which such behavior simply cannot proceed.  That wall will be reached and hit.

The attitude of the people set in charge of the nations is criminal, demonic; this will all be set right as sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. 

Of this I am absolutely assured and that is why I will not change my ways, participate in the ways of the great whore and receive of her plagues.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:19 | 833812 Raymond K Hessel
Raymond K Hessel's picture

Great quote from the movie.


Now use another profile name, douche.  This one's been taken.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:10 | 833787 midtowng
midtowng's picture

Which comes first? The lack of freedom causes wealth inequality? Or does the wealth inequality cause lack of freedom?

I'm more imcline to believe the latter, but few will disagree that both feed on each other.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 12:29 | 833576 B9K9
B9K9's picture

Completely off topic, but perhaps Tyler can re-print this tour de force by Chris Hedges:


Tue, 12/28/2010 - 13:06 | 833686 Confused
Confused's picture

Hey, thanks for the link. Was a pretty good read. 

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 13:24 | 833714 Seer
Seer's picture

Thanks dog!  Great to see you around again.  Best wishes for the new year.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:40 | 833872 Milestones
Milestones's picture

Thanks for the re-post. Good to hear from ya again. You were missed.    Milestones

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:53 | 833907 trav7777
trav7777's picture

garbage: I wonder if Hedges ever read BNW or just cribbed it.

The two works, 1984 and BNW, are miles apart and not even related.  And Bernard Marx was not the protagonist of the latter work; nobody who'd read the book would make that mistake.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 22:50 | 834961 WaterWings
WaterWings's picture

Great post!

Happy Holidays. Missed you on the open forum.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 13:16 | 833698 hugovanderbubble
hugovanderbubble's picture

Important: HSBC implied in same bad practices like BoA. Julian Assange could reveal that

Julius Baer



Credit Agricole

Are involved in fraud.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:20 | 833146 MarketTruth
MarketTruth's picture

Yet not a single American would riot if Congress raised the retirement age. France, Greece and other riot, yet American Sheeple are easy to slaughter (especially the older ones thanks to the Obama health 'care' bill).

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:51 | 833225 Enkidu
Enkidu's picture

Agreed. Viewed from the outside Americans are being sheared alive yet are unbelievably passive. Even the poor Greek fisherman knows he's been had by the world's bankers and puts up a fight but Americans still believe in the 'American Dream' - that damnable intoxicant! Staggeringly, when Wikileaks comes along to actually dump the evidence in front of them the only thing they think of is how to blast WikiNews to smithereens too. They are left with just blasting and bombing - and still with the idea that they are the top dogs and run the world, even though their own situation is that of abject misery.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 12:07 | 833495 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

This is due, in large part, to the most massive manipulatory scheme ever devised and its purveyors have been at the game so long that they have become master artisans.  The other issue is that many people have yet to truly feel the pains of a greater deleveraging process due to governmental safety nets.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 17:00 | 834259 something fishy
something fishy's picture

Some pain can be a good thing. It sharpens the senses and forces people to deal 

with real problems instead of the 'extend and pretend' bullshit. Gov't safety net

is helpful and I'm not saying there shouldn't be any, but in the end learning to be

smarter and more self-sufficient is the best way out of this mess.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 19:05 | 834602 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

I agree.  The problem in this case comes from the magnitude of difference between the present population and the ability to become smart and self-sufficient in the time required...  It's more or less a tidal wave coming.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 12:30 | 833578 Nostradumbass
Nostradumbass's picture


"Viewed from the outside Americans are being sheared alive yet are unbelievably passive."

But it is believable:

>Tee Vee



> Shallow Culture

>Public Education

>Poor Critical Thinking Ability

>Sports Fanaticism

>Isolation From Community (need more pubs)

>Infinite Distractions


So, to me, I see little prospect of an 'awakening giant' here.

Time will tell...


Tue, 12/28/2010 - 12:38 | 833610 Enkidu
Enkidu's picture

Yes, I agree. The other day I caught a bit on one of the popular 'news' channels and he was trumpeting 'arresting' Assange, 'espionage', 'treason', blah blah blah. Somehow these TV foghorns seem to think that we (people on earth) adhere to American laws and whims. Julian Assange is an Australian and he is living in the UK. He will not be doffing his cap to the Great American Republic - nor will we let him.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:27 | 833831 Raymond K Hessel
Raymond K Hessel's picture


Excellent post.  I agree 100%

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 18:01 | 834463 Enkidu
Enkidu's picture

Thank you Raymond - so good to hear.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 22:14 | 834917 jeff montanye
jeff montanye's picture

wasn't he replying to nostradumbass?

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 11:53 | 835664 Raymond K Hessel
Raymond K Hessel's picture

Yes. I was agreeing with Nostro

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:14 | 833961 Manbarepig
Manbarepig's picture

>Tee Vee



High Fructose Corn Syrup, awesome.


I get the argument but what is with foreigners obsession with this? The fact that our teeth dont all look like this?

>Shallow Culture

From Jersey Shore to Beverly Hillbillies we cover it all

>Public Education

Meh, ours sucks, but where are the cultures where education equips it students with strong critical thinking skills? Definitely not the emerging economies. Rote memorization is for fail.

>Poor Critical Thinking Ability

With all respect to George Carlin we're like the rest of the world; a couple of winners and a whole lot of losers.

>Sports Fanaticism

Umm, Soccer? Nothing in America can touch the rapaciousness of the ROW and its futball.

>Isolation From Community (need more pubs)

Its a big country, this is easier said than done. A big + on needing more pubs however ;)

>Infinite Distractions

Like commenting on blogs?

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 18:59 | 834598 Mariposa de Oro
Mariposa de Oro's picture

Re:  Flouride

Its been liked to underactive thyroid function.  The thyroid controls ALL metabolic processes, including mental function.  The teeth may be cavity free but at the expense of the mind and body.  My experience with underactive thyroid leads me to believe it is due to flouridated water.  I can't prove it and don't feel the need.  Very quickly, I've suffered from mild hypothyroid symptoms for almost 20 years and was on the low end of normal on blood tests.  Three years ago I moved to a tropical island.  We are not authorized to have personal motorized vehicles.  This means we all either ride bikes or walk everywhere.  For the first three months I was here, I dropped 20lbs.  I was drinking lots and lots of water.  Then I stopped losing weight.  Then started gaining it.  My skin become even drier and puffier.  The muscle cramps appeared.  My nails became dry and brittle.   Later, my hair began to fall out and I was exhausted all the time.  Thyroid tests showed lower end of normal range.  I finally convinced a doctor to put me on medication.  In two and half months, I've stopped gaining weight.  My skin is better, nails, too; hair stopped falling out, and muscle cramps are improved.  Best of all, I have some energy again.  Still not 100% but much improved.  Saw the doc yesterday.  He upped the medication.  So, hopefully this will do the trick.  When I get back to being more active and start drinking more water, I'll make a note if my symptoms return and my blood tests change.

I know this doesn't prove anything.....

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 20:42 | 834765 Waterfallsparkles
Waterfallsparkles's picture

Do you clean a lot?  Maybe it is the Chemicals in the Cleaning Products.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 22:18 | 834925 jeff montanye
jeff montanye's picture

i spent decades on the other side -- too much thyroid.  it is beyond amazing the number and variety of symptoms that can occur.  very easily fixed if one's thyroid level does not jump around a lot.  

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:28 | 834022 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Say hello and thank you to the Tavistock Institute.

They've been our master's for well nigh the last 6-7 decades?

Edward Bernays, Public Relations and propaganda.

The old 1-2-3. Powerful stuff, hard to resist.

The mobile phone is their wet dream adn we've all been had.


Tue, 12/28/2010 - 12:34 | 833597 Gene Parmesan
Gene Parmesan's picture

Which groups are rioting in Europe though? The communists? Students upset over a nominal increase in tuition?

When people do get upset enough to take to the streets en masse here in the US it's not going to be a molotov cocktail thrown here and there between rocks and bricks. We're not at that point yet.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 13:38 | 833734 TheBillMan
TheBillMan's picture

The student "riots" in the UK were becuase the government TRIPLED tuition fees.  Wonder what would happen here if they tried that?  Don't worry.  We'll find out soon enough.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:00 | 833765 Gene Parmesan
Gene Parmesan's picture

My bad, and thank you - that's far from nominal, but it still only puts the cost at $14k/year. Sure it hurts, but any worthwhile steps toward "austerity" are going to hurt, and their something-for-nothing university system was probably a sensible place to start.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 17:15 | 834310 Clycntct
Clycntct's picture

Tripple it not a fkn problem.

That will just turn the 20% failure of the dummies failure to pay rate on up to the free ride rate of 60%.

Plus it might just increase the dummies to increase sign up.

More freeeeeeeee$$$$$$$$ for your expanding space.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:22 | 833818 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

Riot? What a waste of time and energy, not to mention a risk to one's health. I'm way to busy stacking my larder to worry about trying to replace the corrupt shills in govt. with new corrupt shills.

I've known I couldn't rely on SS since I was friggen 16. People can kick and scream all they want demanding more entitlements but that's not going to get them anything but more inflation. We've passed the point of no return on that front a long time ago.

Face it: You will get less and less benefit from you taxes every year. Eventually, you will get no benefit. That's just the way it is. Pay unto Caesar what is his: Fiat crap. Take what you've got left after taxes and turn it into real assets: Food, land, PMs; the means for self-reliance.

The writing's been on the wall for more than long enough for anyone with half a brain to figure out they better start getting themselves and their families prepped for a more self-reliant future.

Revisit the Fable of the Ant and the Grasshopper... All the grasshoppers in the field could gather together to cry and moan and riot and that wouldn't get them the food and shelter they'd need to last through winter any more than handouts of fiat currancy would if there's no food or housing to buy.

Rioting is what people do when they're out of options and realize that they're completely fucked. Get yourself out from between the rock and a hard place using the time you've got left and you won't be in a position where lashing out uselessly is your only option.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:11 | 833950 melachiro
melachiro's picture

I'm way to busy stacking my larder to worry about trying to replace the corrupt shills in govt. with new corrupt shills.

So true.  BTW, I am using that as my new email signature!

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:20 | 833992 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

MarketTruth, I have a slightly twisted take on what you're saying. And I speak from some experience (12 years in the US working from senior management in fortune 50 to silicon valley start-up grunt), Americans don't really work too hard. Lot's of party time. Slow mondays, TGIF, 3 hour lunches, lot's of talk, meetings. Pretty shocking actually (this is 1995 through 2006).

So, really, no one should mind too much. The 80/20 rule is alive and well in the US of A.

Throw in the fact that FIRE was on fire the years I was there, it' seven less like work. Lot's of net surfing, time-wasting is what I saw.

Maybe the sharp downturn has changed things, but somehow I doubt it.


Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:05 | 833937 sgt_doom
sgt_doom's picture

Excellent point, Xibalba.

Whenever they post this types of articles, they conveniently neglect to mention how many endless layoffs these Americans have been victim to; how many endless pensions have been stolen from them; how many endless numbers of jobs have been offshored, severely curtailing wages, and dramatically shrinking their jobs base.

A friend of mine, an individual who has contributed mightily to American IT tech, has watched his jobs, and said technology, offshored endlessly. (His longest-lasting job, prior to being offshored, over the past 20 years was 19 months!)

And they act as if this was something quite recent, although it has been going on for over 40 years, with exponential increases every 5 to 8 years.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 09:52 | 833077 101 years and c...
101 years and counting's picture

401K's, IRA's and pensions....are great vehicles for Wall St to rape the middle class.

It encourages putting savings into the markets.  At this point, the criminals are able to steal at will.


Tue, 12/28/2010 - 09:58 | 833092 John Law Lives
John Law Lives's picture

I am retired with zero debt and living reasonably well on fixed income (GNMAs and munis etc.).  I had a moron advisor at Morgan Stanley advise this week that I rotate $$$ into the stock market.  I laughed her off the phone.  I wonder if she is married to Robo...

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:01 | 833101 Kreditanstalt
Kreditanstalt's picture

She wasn't too far off the mark.  Better be in the market, somehow, somewhere.

You planning to sit in bonds and munis through raging price inflation?

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:21 | 833149 John Law Lives
John Law Lives's picture

I have modest annual health insurance premium hikes and rising food and gasoline costs (I only drive about 2,500 miles a year) and property tax hikes.  Other than that, my cost of living doesn't go up very much.  I don't have house payments or car payments or credit card debt etc.  I still have plenty of cushion re. fixed income.

Yes, I plan to stick with this formula.  No way am I throwing money in the stock market now (though I do own some physical silver and gold).

Good luck.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 12:08 | 833498 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Nothing wrong with investing in local businesses either...  obviously some are better situated to handle the flood, but at least you know what you're buying...

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:21 | 833157 oh_bama
oh_bama's picture

She is 100% right. It is all about "buy the fucking dip" now... hehe

you don't have to commit your capital forever, as long as Ben is heading the fed.. hehe


Anyway, this piece is no news. Nothing new. We can find every piece of data on wiki. Keep saying "American is not rich anymore" won't help anyone.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:24 | 833165 High Plains Drifter
High Plains Drifter's picture

I know you are sweating and worried.   I would be.  So let us play a game of "what if" and see where it leads us. The things you talked about are paper. Paper is paper. Do not trust it. It may work and it may not.  These are the days we live in and these are the times we are in now. Could there be defaults. You damn right there could and there will be. I would hope that you are heavily hedged against calamity. There is only one way that I know of to do that and do it safely. Be your own banker and your own bank guard too. Such is the life we must lead in the 21st century in this land, where fiat is dying.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:26 | 833175 spartan117
spartan117's picture

I hope you are not in California munis...

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:33 | 833189 John Law Lives
John Law Lives's picture

California munis?  No chance.

Texas GO bonds.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 11:06 | 833273 malikai
malikai's picture

I think Texas would probably default on its bonds the day after Alaska does. Which is to say, never.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 13:29 | 833724 Seer
Seer's picture

Yes, and housing prices NEVER go down...

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:56 | 834092 SmittyinLA
SmittyinLA's picture

Newsflash, Texas is shifting demographically towards Socialism, Republicans may have won a temporary congressional battle this year, but Mexican Socialists are winning the population war, and in politics demographics count.

Texas is also heavily reliant on the "carbon economy" which is ground zero for the Socialist political movement and Texas would be instantly bankrupted if they adopted CA's social subsidy and healthcare programs.

Who insures your Texas GO bonds? AMBAC?

My grandpa died in his 50s in the 60s, he knew he was dying and invested heavily in the securest private bonds in America at the time (Kaiser Steel) , they were later rendered worthless.  

if you dont believe me check out the latest census numbers for Texas, there has been an explosion of poor Hispanics that tend to have lots of kids and vote Socialist, at best you have 10 years before TX goes splat.

After that all bets are off, TX will out Venezuela Venezuela, America's second civil war may begin in Texas.

Even today there is a civil war like atmosphere in the Texas legislature over school books and social spending policies, as the population shifts from WASP Americans to Mexican Socialist Americans things will get worse.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 17:24 | 834347 Clycntct
Clycntct's picture

Your Truths are scaring me man.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 17:29 | 834372 John Law Lives
John Law Lives's picture


I have lived in Texas for decades.  Texas is an overwhelmingly Republican state, and it will be adding 4 congressional seats as per the 2010 US Census.  Texas is not about to become a Socialist state.  Republican Governor.  Two Republican US Senators.  23 Republican US Congressmen vs. 9 Democrat Congressmen in the 112th US Congress.

My Texas GO bonds are not insured.  Texas GO bonds are actually considered by some to be more secure than US Treasuries.

Texas has no state income tax.  Unless/until Uncle Sam decides to tax muni bond interest, I will stick with this strategy.  Playing the stock market as a retail investor is for suckers.  Look how well stocks have performed when you view them over a 10 year window... and index that performance to gold prices.  Muni bonds are not as sexy as the stock market, but I have never lost money in munis or had a losing year as a whole on my portfolio.  Chumps like Robo come and go with bull markets.  Steady players make it through all markets.

Good luck.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:08 | 833941 sgt_doom
sgt_doom's picture

Superlative point, 101 years and c..., and the idiot who junked you obviously has no comprehensio of finance nor economics.


Tue, 12/28/2010 - 17:36 | 834388 John Law Lives
John Law Lives's picture

GO muni bonds in states with a decent economy are among the most secure assets out there.  Some folks consider Texas GO munis to be more secure than US Treasuries.  The historic rate of default on GO munis is incredibly small.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 09:53 | 833079 John Law Lives
John Law Lives's picture

Sooner or later, the debt slaves will brandish pitchforks. Bread and circuses only appease the masses for so long.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 11:06 | 833276 malikai
malikai's picture

Tar and Feathers has always been my favorite.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 13:43 | 833741 BobPaulson
BobPaulson's picture

Hard to imagine. 

I'm at Disneyland this week with my kids and the prospects for the human race appear grim from here. Obesity and herd behaviour appear to be a massive epidemic. I'm probably getting a non-representative sample of US society here but if this model of humanity is doomed, perhaps that's not bad news. A lot of people don't appear to be able to move properly on their own feet without struggling. 

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:25 | 834009 Mr. Regression
Mr. Regression's picture

Are those the Disney characters or the customers?

Looks like insulin might be a good investment play, or the power wheelchair?  I'm just not sure how to get a "pure play" on type II diabetes. 

Sad, isn't it........


Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:11 | 834132 DR
DR's picture

UnitedHealth Says Diabetes Will Cost $3.4 Trillion Over Decade

.....with more than 60 percent paid for by the U.S. government....The number of Americans with high blood sugar will rise 44 percent to 135 million in 2020, from 93.8 million in 2010, researchers said.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:22 | 833998 Ben Fleeced
Ben Fleeced's picture

Super Glue and Dollar Bills.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 09:58 | 833094 lynnybee
lynnybee's picture

yea, well ........ welcome to the real world.   i'm one of the "older people" who enjoys reading & leaving a comment ....... THINGS NEVER USED TO BE LIKE THIS WHEN I WAS GROWING UP !    After my grandpa died, my grandma Jo (god rest her soul) did just fine ......... small house paid for in 15 years, money in a bank savings account that earned interest, & she never asked for nothing ......... she cooked & canned & was just fine & we all loved her / family.    and grandma Josephine was a spitter & a fighter & mean as they come !   GRANDMA JO always told us:  "Don't trust the government & never go into the stock market."     And, by the way, that old lady still managed to leave a sizeable inheritance to her three children ....... no government involved.  The Federal Government's handiwork is written all over this mess.............. fuck the federal government / they need to be cut in 1/2 .   Now, I'm just as mean as grandma Jo.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:20 | 833155 dbach
dbach's picture


also your grandma probably lived without everything she could ever want, didn't go on a huge vacation every year and didnt expect a new car every 3 years... aka she and your grandpa took responsibility for themselves. People who don't save - let them screw themselves over. Also, I blame a lot of this on our education system that doesn't teach financial responsibility and parents who spoil their kids.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 11:00 | 833229 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture


We are rapidly approaching zero debt other than what is required of the free and clear home each month. Water, electric etc. We have cut down from 1500 kWh each month down to about 300 kWh average monthly.

We dont live on the edge of disaster. We have a few hundred dollar 401k that we dont bother adding to. They can throw us a check if one of us quit working or get fired. And of the Government grabs the 401k we would not notice the loss.

You want us to worry? Fine. Make milk 10 dollar a gallon, Gasoline 12 a gallon and triple the utilities.

Even then we probably can work out a decent comfortable life relying heavily on Colonial and late 1800's technology. (Candles etc)

I see trees as fuel for warmth and cooking, rain water filtered as free water and sunshine as power. And I am not a tree hugger. We even have plans to bury and set up a cistern tank in our land capable of holding a years worth of water (15,000 gallons) collected from rain.

Most of the children we know of are going into the Military and thence to war. No worries there for them struggling to work at a slave job flipping burgers with low self esteem.

College is nothing but a path to extreme debt slavery and everything else that "They" would like us to worship at the Altar in the "iPod" store or some such bullshit trinkets are not necessary to our daily life.


And the savings? We don't bother keeping it in the banks or credit unions because the interest rates are like .037 something and it's better off used somewhere else such as paying the water bill ahead a year. We have a small vault for that.

We cling to our Bible and guns bitterly denouncing what conditions we see today happening to the United States. We do have hope that this new Congress will repeal and preserve what is left before all of us go over the cliff.

Last year's food growth on our lands provided a mixed result and lessons learned for next year. Within a few months planting will begin. We are already shipping in topsoil and such.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 11:38 | 833397 fsudirectory
fsudirectory's picture

is this the tea party manifesto?

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 12:17 | 833533 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Can't be...  I didn't see guns mentioned...

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:18 | 833811 Calmyourself
Calmyourself's picture

Try reading it slower..

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:45 | 833889 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Must have quit reading after the bible comment.  I stand corrected.  GUNS AND MOSES!

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:36 | 833864 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

Tea Party?

Well, I will say that both me and spouse failed to declare our Party Affiliation in the November Elections. When the Tea Party gains a proper place with the Dems, Reps and Independent, we may officially declare for it. But right now we are staying out of it all.

Particularly because of the barrage of phone calls we have recieved ALL year urging us to vote for one or another. We have had to shift family and friends onto our Cellphones where political calling is not allowed.


I just feel that the People need to get back to basic and be self reliant. God knows we aint got much right now. But working on it.


As far to the other person who thinks Munis on a local level will discover a way to tax rain water as a resource I for one will shit a brick. Our area and county has gone so deep into debt with new bonds issued to support new construction on a large package of land that was once nothing but hay and horses.

I can hope to see our area attract enough people to live in the tens of thousands so that thier new tax revenue can save us prior to 2017 when the first of the bonds are due in full.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 22:16 | 834922 QQQBall
QQQBall's picture

What you are describing is security. Once you downsize and live well below your means, it is easier to not work b/c you need less passive/investment income to cover your needs and most of yoru "wants." Once you need less you pay less in taxes b/c you have less transactions and they involve smaller amounts.


Take a little notebook and writedown EVERY expenditures and every $ of income. I did that a long time ago and I cut my overhead by 1/2. IF you have less expenses and work hard and invest, you can become financially independent. Maybe ONE person reading this suggestion will do it and follow through, probably nobody will... Peopel are fools - they think bad things will only happen to someone else... good luck with that. It can be done.



Tue, 12/28/2010 - 11:49 | 833445 tamboo
tamboo's picture

free rainwater is going the way of the dodo bird.!%3F/11857/0/36/36/Y/M.html

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 12:49 | 833645 Whatta
Whatta's picture

I think there may be a bit of misunderstanding here.

Yeah, whatever it means it is bad if it is yet another tax levied by the oligarchy on the already bled-out masses, but...

I think what they mean is a new tax on new developments for storm water run-off...not for capturing and saving rainwater. Jumpin-geebus, we in Texas actually can purchase rainwater collection equipment and pay no sales tax...the exact opposite of your implication.

New devleopments would put further strain on sewer/stormwater infrastructure and further sap busted muni's. Capturing the rainwater alleviates a portion of that strain.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:41 | 833879 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

Our Muni has built a pipeline, 4 water towers and other capacity to support the tens of thousands coming in the next 5 years including some commerical interests. I hope they do because if it all comes due at 2017 and on to 2030 with the current population, it's going to default... actually bankruptcy. Our county and towns have been borrowing and spending like drunken sailors trying to generate a tax base and Developers are building subdivisions of affordable homes, aging centers and what have you all over the place.


And they probably will come.


years ago we moved out of a city into a place so quiet you heard crickets during the rush hour. Now it boomed from 10,000 to somewhere around 80,000 and it becomes a 20 mile gridlock on all roads to and from this major county seat.

We move out here to a even smaller town, and see the same thing all over again. They spend, grow and develop and the people relocate and we become a big city all over again.

Im already looking into land further out and away before it's time.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:12 | 833791 lynnybee
lynnybee's picture

to :  Hungry Seagull .... can't for the life of me understand why anyone would junk your comment ...... sounds about right to me ........ keep extricating yourself from the system, get off the grid ......... NO ONE HAS ENOUGH $$$$ with ZIRP ........ not for the energy costs, food costs , medical costs ........ like TYLER says ..... ON A LONG ENOUGH TIMELINE THE SURVIVAL RATE FOR EVERYONE DROPS TO ZERO....... some of us will just last longer than others, it's that simple.   But, it didn't used to be like this, our grandparents left inheritances to the next generation.   THE BANKERS GAME IS THAT NO ONE HAS ENOUGH TO EVEN LEAVE INHERITANCES ! .......... A SCRAPE-AS-YOU-GO-EXISTENCE .     WHY ARE WE GOING TO STAND FOR THIS !   AVERAGE AMERICANS USED TO HAVE WEALTH !  WHERE DID IT GO ! ?   .........

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:36 | 833862 cossack55
cossack55's picture

Where did it go? To pay for all the other average americans.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:53 | 833892 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

Thank you kindly, but I dont give a damn about the Junks. I can junk too you know. But what does it matter? The more junks I get must mean something in that post of mine must be the truth somewhere and that has to piss people off.

I refuse to apologize for being American and will not back down.

Straight into the Credit Card and Big Houses they cannot afford to maintain. That's where.

We already know there will be no inheritance because our parents will have the existing house (They purchased at 71K, appraised about 240K now) will be sold off promptly. No one wants to take on the property tax and the excessive electric/oil costs it will take to maintain the property.


I have tried to do the best I can but it's pissing into a hurricane of Society determined to buy thier Ipods and follow empty words and propaganda from a media whose strings are dictated by a government somehow determined to keep the Masses asleep and worshiping American idol while they scramble to fix or patch the crumbling money situation.


There are ALREADY dozens of people who are out of benefits 99'ers and others who have so much time on thier hands, they take walks up and down our area. Some of the houses are being... broken into because people leave boxes with expensive electronics stamped on them out on the curb with trash attracting thieves like bees to honey.


We aint seen gang graffitti or casinos yet. But it's coming. When it does, we are outta here.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:22 | 833158 sodbuster
sodbuster's picture

>The Federal Government's handiwork is written all over this mess.............. fuck the federal government / they need to be cut in 1/2.<


So true, lynnybee, so true. Trouble is, this country is filled with  entitlement babies who are used to sucking at the federal tit.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:16 | 833805 lynnybee
lynnybee's picture

No !  Damn it !   If I hear that word "entitlements" again I'm going to spit !   BOOMERS PAID INTO SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM DOUBLE !   In 1983 Alan Greenspan (that fucker)  DOUBLED every working American's Social Security tax from their paycheck !!!     GREENSPAN SAID THAT THE BOOMER GENERATION WOULD NOT ONLY FUND THEIR OWN RETIREMENT, BUT, THEY WOULD ALSO FUND THEIR PARENTS RETIREMENT !! .... so, he doubled our s.s. tax !    In actuality, it was our parents, the GREATEST GENERATION , who saw the best life-style benefits, pensions, money in banks earning interest, social security checks, blah !


Grandma Jo :  Do not trust the government & never go into the stock market (my motto)

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:50 | 833895 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

And we stand to get 10 dollars back each week because we deduct LESS on 2011 paychecks and advancing the so called breaking point of Social security from 2037 to 2021 or so and all for what?


I am half tempted to up the additional withholding to 30 dollars a week to state and 20 to uncle sam just to jam it against the rising taxes that are surely coming.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 18:27 | 834527 SteveNYC
SteveNYC's picture

You are right, I have issue with average people being blamed for the complete disaster that has become the state of the country. The complicity of "the People" is one of not paying attention to what is going on, to buying into the consumer culture, to putting themselves in hock to feed their own need for things and status, and for not giving a shit about each other (a bit general, but it is becoming this way).

The People, however, are not responsible for the banker fraud that has been operating for the past few decades, stripping every possible ounce of wealth from the masses. These people, led by the Greenspans and Bernankes of the world, are far more dangerous to the country than any foreign "enemy" or terrorist organization. Count on it.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:57 | 833250 Shell Game
Shell Game's picture

Self-reliance, an old way that will be the new way again. Thanks for sharing your story, love it.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 12:41 | 833619 cosmictrainwreck
cosmictrainwreck's picture

well, sweet little ol' lynnybee sez "fuck the federal gov't". NOW we're gettin' somewhere (hopefuly)

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:42 | 833881 cosmictrainwreck
cosmictrainwreck's picture

said "BULLSHIT" too.....and she's gonna get a gun. yikes

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 13:39 | 833735 Seer
Seer's picture

So, if govt was half its size everything would be better?  Let's take it one step further and say that it doesn't exist.  Do you think that everything would be pefect then?

I could give a rat's ass about the govt.  Yet, I'm not stupid enough to believe that if it were to go away that all would be wine and roses.

Your little story, and don't get me wrong, I think it's a sweet story, one containing lots that I agree with, can NOT be replicated by every human on this planet!  "Savings" accounts are based on perpetual growth (with negative interest is it really "savings?").  Remove the govt and the System is STILL a fucking Ponzi!

I don't know what's more of a threat, those that believe that technology will save us, or those that think that getting rid of the govt will save us.  Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right....

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:40 | 833877 cossack55
cossack55's picture

Screw "save us".  I am in it for the retribution/revenge.  No goobermint means no bag limit on scumbags.  I don't need nor want a government.  If I take care of me and mine, and you take care of you and yours, we have the basis of a true society.  It can only be done without a f+cking goobermint.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:52 | 833905 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

So not only are you going to be a self-directed killer, but a one-man research and investigation unit solely reliant upon incredibly prized and confidential information in order to morally (at best) carry out your killing?  Sounds to me like a big fail.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 17:08 | 834200 Lower Class Elite
Lower Class Elite's picture

I love it when the Mad Max delusions of grandeur reveal themselves on here.  "I have gold (gold, I tell ya!) and assault rifles and 20 years worth of dehydrated chicken tenders and a ranch in rural Bumfuck ringed with Claymores and I planted 2 pecan trees last year and..." blah blah blah.  If (when) no-shit collapse comes to your neck of the woods, you'll figure out how to fit into the local society that evolves around you or you will get ostracized/robbed/killed.  Period.  If you have some useful skills and some luck, you may get to help evolve your new society.  However, that society may not turn out to be your utopian Libertarian/Transition Town/Socialist/Conservative/Amish/whatever the fuck ideal for how a local society ought to be.  In fact, I'd almost guarantee it won't.  This should prove especially true for all the gringos who plan on "bailing out" to (insert Latin/South American country here).  Better brush up on those Rosetta Stone cd's, amigo, 'cause you will be a stranger in a strange land.  You will be tolerated, perhaps even welcomed.  Until you aren't.  Adios, bitches.     

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 22:52 | 834965 WaterWings
WaterWings's picture

That's pretty fatalistic. Preparation is better.


Wed, 12/29/2010 - 00:49 | 835119 Dburn
Dburn's picture

Argentina 2001 - many people prepared. Guns, dry food, places out in the country, mines etc. They were the first to get wasted. Anyone who buys a few weapons to make themselves feel secure and has some dry food might as well put out a sign "Kill Me".  If all shit breaks loose , most of the people who bought these popguns are not going to be able to stand up one minute to a concentrated fire of large incendiary round automatic weapons. The pentagon just bought 35,000 rifles that will calculate distance , trajectory , wind to send a 25mm grenade one foot past a window or a wall where it explodes killing everyone behind it. Do you wonder if maybe the employees of the defense contractors may not get a shit pile of these for the gangs if the shit hits the fan. If the military personnel are not getting paid and they have a family to feed, you are toast. How many M-79s are still out there or M-203s under a standard M-16 that can fire 40mm grenades at you? Do you know what three or four of those bitches can do?

Do you people really think you are going to be able to defend against sniper rifles that go through a complete house where you get hit before you hear the sound? Go Google Barrett. You can get a 50 Cal Sniper rifle online that shoots a 700 grain round numerous miles. You can get a 6.8mm Semi Auto which sure as shit someone can turn into a complete automatic. 6.8 mm rounds are as powerful as the 7.62 that one sees in AK-47s , M-60s and M-240s unless they are incendiary rounds. Do you have Level 4 complete body armor? If not, your dead.They are useless against a Barrett and even if you own one, you still won't hear the one that kills you.

You don't really think that the knowledge of IEDs is going to stay overseas do you. They ain't just for vehicles. In short, the survivalist mentality may have worked in Frontier days, but now it's just inviting disaster for you and your family which you have to shoulder complete responsibility. The only safe place in Argentina was being in well protected and loyal groups. In places that were common. 

A well kept place in the middle of nowhere during a shitstorm of panic is like driving a brand new Mercedes in Watt's in the 1990s Rodney king riots. Good luck with it. It won't work. You'll have spent your money for nothing especially if you have never been in combat and/or received intensive combat training. It may seem heroic. But it's just downright stupid.

One Apache Helicopter crew with time on their hands can level your property to the water table from a incredibly safe distance. One M1 Tank or a Bradley can do the same. Got RPGs? Know how to use them? They Aren't shoot and forget. You really got to know what your doing to hit a target and hit it multiple times. 

Do you practice 1/10th of what experienced Navy Seals practice, 18 months for every 6 months they go out. How good a shape are you. Can you run a mile in 5-6 minutes. How about your wife, son and/or daughter? That is just the starting gate for training. How often have you run an obstacle course? How about shooting? You don't think for a second that shooting stationary paper targets constitutes training for the real thing do you. The range thanks you for your money and all but what are you going to do when you have to dive over walls, duck and cover, shoot and scoot. How does target range shooting prepare you for when fear and adrenaline is pumping through your body? How does knowing the fact that all that training may not mean shit the day you step out and bullets are flying in your direction? No one knows who will fight or flee until the bullets start flying.

So do us all a favor and stop bragging about how you are "set" and anyone else who isn't is a moron. You honestly have no idea what your talking about. The person who says a band of 50 of us are living in a protected old building in a city with plenty of barter goods is impressive. The rest is bullshit.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:05 | 833772 bankonzhongguo
bankonzhongguo's picture

I'll just make a short comment about how bad things may get for retiring Americans.  I have a distant family member in the Midwest.  She was very smart and very independent - to a fault.  After living through the Great Depression, running her own hair salon and clipping coupons with her Bridge and church friends she had well over $2MM in retirement, with everything paid off.  She gets older.  She does the whole estate planning deal.  Hires and rotates various investment advisers because, "she doesn't trust'em."  She keeps her family generally informed, but never close enough.  She falls down at home.  She is taken to the hospital.  Her neighbor is appointed health care POA, but at 87 cannot maintain the role.  The estate planning attorney comes in and with the help of the local trust company, they proceed to unnecessarily dope her up on Haloperidol - 10 mg a day for six months.  They turn her brain to mush, while she is slowly dies in a sub-medicare charity room in the corners of the county home.  They even stopped paying her supplemental medicare premiums while she was in care.  A grand jury and four civil cases - including a SIX month TRIAL for guardianship and its clear the banks are not just content in taking your money with bad investments.  They are equally adept in trying to kill you in order to take your money as well.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:21 | 833815 lynnybee
lynnybee's picture

to bankonzhongguo :    THE LESSON IS GO HOLD GOLD & SILVER IN YOUR OWN HANDS & JUST GIVE IT TO YOUR KIDS WHEN YOU DIE / UNLESS THOSE BANKSTERS TAKE US TO CASHLESS SOCIETY ..... & that's their next scam ..... they want no wealth to be held outside of the banking system ...... I'm getting a gun next.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:44 | 833885 cossack55
cossack55's picture

Better hurry on the gun thing. Oh, and think plural.  Good rule:

1 handgun 500 rounds

1 long gun 2000 rounds

1 shotgun  1000 rounds  00buck, 4 shot, 7 shot

per person. 


Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:14 | 833963 sgt_doom
sgt_doom's picture

Gee whiz, lynnybee, your ability to sound idiotic apparently knows no bounds.

It doesn't matter what one has in hand which they believe, like the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, or the Economy, has some type of nebulous existence, when all it is a fairy tale.

It is the hierarchical control of the capital supply which chiefly matters and is the cause of the situation:  the monopolization of capital, land and knowledge is the bane of the civilized person's existence.

Evidently, if you are truly the age you claim to be, you managed to live quite a while in a state of perpetual ignorance.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:34 | 834183 lynnybee
lynnybee's picture

 " if you are truly the age you claim to be, you managed to live quite a while in a state of perpetual ignorance.".... you are correct.     unfortunately, for me,  I did live my entire life in ignorance and  am now paying the price for that ignorance.    (p.s  ZEROHEDGE has shaken me from my ignorance & expanded my knowledge .... that is the good thing.)

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:52 | 833904 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

No one is going to stick a needle of anything if I have anything to say about it.

I have seen more than my share of people gathered in front of the frosted front door seeking freedom and escape from the insitution to which they have been medically sent to because they are not independant anymore.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:11 | 833789 sourgrapesson
sourgrapesson's picture

lynnybee if you lived next to me we'd be hell on wheels  :)  I always enjoy your honest posts.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:10 | 833948 sgt_doom
sgt_doom's picture

Gee whiz, lynnybee, I believe we are in this mess is directly related to people such as yourself, who display ignorance that the federal government (uncapitalized is the proper form) is simply the owned toy of the bankster-oil cartel.

And when my kind, various activist types, attempted to interest you in fighting the dismantling of the American economy, and also the foreign economies by banksters in America, you simply couldn't be bothered.

Predictable outcomes....

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 09:59 | 833095 dcb
dcb's picture

send this to krugman at the NYtimes, then that keyenesian s"head can maybe see what the policies he likes are really hurting the people he thinks he is helping.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 09:58 | 833096 Kreditanstalt
Kreditanstalt's picture

"Wall street" didn't turn housing into a 'giant commodity'...GOVERNMENT did.  We have the giant bank bailout of Fannie & Freddie, provided by the government.  If interest rates were 100% market-set and downpayments 50% or more, NINJA borrowing-to-buy-houses would be impossible...

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:14 | 833126 cossack55
cossack55's picture

You are being redundant.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:15 | 833132 svendthrift
svendthrift's picture

Wall Street lobbied for the actions of the government. It a society without publicly financed elections, there is no good reason to separate the economic and political elite. They are the same organism and often the same people.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:39 | 833205 ibjamming
ibjamming's picture

I wish people would fucking realize this!!!  Government and corporations are the SAME people moving back and forth between the two.  They look out for each other, use each other, they ARE each other.


Yup...we haven't had an election in a ling long time...we've VOTED for people...but they were placed there by big business.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:18 | 833980 sgt_doom
sgt_doom's picture

Thank you!

Although, to be realistic in a picayune manner, the pols are simply the running dog lackeys of Wall Street, who eventually get rich (Bushes, Clintons, various senators and reps, etc.) by following their directives and commands.

Political theater is simply theater of the absurd for the mindless.

The R-Cons act as if cap-and-trade is horrible, so the dems enlist the brainless ones to fight on behalf of Wall Street's next financial scam: carbon derivatives, carbon permits trading, etc.

All simply securitized debt; the Rockefeller family's latest snake oil (it was John D. Rockefeller Sr.'s father, William Rockefeller, after all, who peddled snake oil around the country).

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:00 | 833097 Astute Investor
Astute Investor's picture

The cupboard is bare and yet it was reported to be an incredibly robust holiday shopping season.  Brilliant!

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:17 | 833138 Spalding_Smailes
Spalding_Smailes's picture

AIG up 3% pre-market. 

Dec 8 - $42  ~  Dec 28 - $61  Ride the wave.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:29 | 833183 spartan117
spartan117's picture

Only $1950 more to go to get back to highs made in 2000!  What a great stock!

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:55 | 833218 Spalding_Smailes
Spalding_Smailes's picture


Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:42 | 833210 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Stop slapping fat girls' thighs and plug a decent stock.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 11:39 | 833404 Astute Investor
Astute Investor's picture

Congratulations!  You can now go out and buy TWO iPods with your winnings.  Based on your various comments, I can only assume you are part of the 1/3.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:02 | 833106 Don Birnam
Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:39 | 833870 Seer
Seer's picture

Excellent article!  A MUST read!

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:25 | 834004 Rusty Shorts
Rusty Shorts's picture

"Over the last two years, under the effects of near-zero interest rates and ample dollar liquidity, gold prices have jumped from $756 an ounce in December 2008 to $1,430 in December 2010 (up 89%); crude oil from $44 per barrel to $91 (up 107%); copper from $1.29 per pound to $4.2 (up 230%); sugar from $308 a ton to $738 (up 154%), soybeans from $786 a bushel to $1,300 (up 65%); wheat from $457 a bushel to $730 (up 60%); corn from $294 a bushel to $595 (up 102%); and coffee from $1.02 a pound to $2.17 (up 113%)."

WTF, a bushel of corn is $595?

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 21:11 | 834818 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

While Futures/Commodities contracts might be measured in bushels, those prices you quoted are definitely for more than ONE bushel!

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:03 | 833108 Brother Revegen...
Brother Revegend Magoun's picture

I think it is time for Americans to buy provision for a doomsday..

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:05 | 833109 Kreditanstalt
Kreditanstalt's picture

"Ultimately what needs to happen is to get money out of politics..."

LOL Then what would we be left with?  POLITICS.  In fact we need LESS regulation and monkeying with the free market:

"Ultimately what needs to happen is to get politics out of money..."!!!!! 

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:18 | 833140 svendthrift
svendthrift's picture

The state, independent from the need for funding from the parasites, would serve as a check on private power. Do libertarians understand that private power exists?

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:26 | 833170 Kreditanstalt
Kreditanstalt's picture

svendthrift, you must be one of those Ellen Brownians, who trust government SO MUCH they want to give it the power to print paper money...!

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:38 | 833202 svendthrift
svendthrift's picture

Yes, I support the state having a monopoly on the creation of money. Ellen Brown is one advocate, and there are countless examples throughout history of public currencies. Private interests always work to undermine public equity based currencies, and an important way of doing this is by corrupting the minds of the people via the media that the private interests own.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 12:31 | 833531 oddjob
oddjob's picture

Make sure your family saves you a spot in the Gulag before you leave for Wal-Mart.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:53 | 833234 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Answer the question.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 13:29 | 833723 slyhill
slyhill's picture

Good Lord - don't let the gubbmint print money! They would spend like drunkin' sailors! They might even spend money they don't have! The horror!

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:44 | 833886 Seer
Seer's picture

No, I just think that he/she understands reality.  Although I tend to side with libertarians, I find that as a group they tend to believe that some utopian world unfold if nothing but self-policing corporations ruled the world.

Disclaimer: I'm an anarchist, so go ahead and try to blast me as being pro-govt.  I'm fucking pro-reality, and there's way too many folks all over the spectrum that just don't fucking get it (it appears that you fall in this group).

Thanks for playing!

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:53 | 833228 MrPalladium
MrPalladium's picture

"Do libertarians understand that private power exists?"

In general, no!

They tend to imagine a kind of individualism where all have equal power, or rather powerlessness. They do not envision the reality of tribal life ruled by war lords, in which the individual's probability of survival and reproductive success is greatly reduced if he is not a member of a tribe and a loyal subject of his local war lord.

War lords aren't neccessarily bad, and on average would probably be a lot better than our current plutocracy, but the tails of the warlord distribution curve could be very mean, nasty brutish and short.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 11:34 | 833310 Shell Game
Shell Game's picture

yet another for crap speaker for libertarians. Your vision is one of anarchy, with war lord ruled tribalism which evolves toward a feudal state.  Libertarians know what power is and where it should be held: by the states and the individual.  An over-centralized Federal Government becomes a de-centralized federal government.

Money printing by the government is fine, IF it is tied to tangible money - real money.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:00 | 833922 Seer
Seer's picture

Clearly you're worried about "anarchy" (though most confuse it with anarchism).  Don't know what to tell you other than history pretty much says how things are going to be.  And, the overwhelming majority of time humans have lived on this planet they have organized and operated under tribal-like structures.  And contrary to the visions that the State would like us to believe, they weren't necessarily bad structures or stocked with bad people.

Mother Nature will dictate how we are structured.

"Money printing by the government is fine, IF it is tied to tangible money - real money."

Huh?  It's C-U-R-R-E-N-C-Y, not money!  But, it doesn't matter because, with depleting global resources it will mean that net wealth creation isn't possible- contraction from here on out (at what point it stalls out only time will tell).

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 20:49 | 834775 Shell Game
Shell Game's picture

Clearly you're worried about "anarchy"

Clearly, you didn't get my drift.  See the post prior, I'm clearing up a poor definition.  And yes, anarchy has worked in the past, but it is never a long term plan.

Money printing is not evil if the paper being used is tied to tangible goods, such as the gold standard.  Thus, any paper created would require the gold to back it up.  Works wonderfully, as long as it's kept..


Tue, 12/28/2010 - 11:32 | 833313 Shell Game
Shell Game's picture


Tue, 12/28/2010 - 11:18 | 833328 svendthrift
svendthrift's picture

Yes, that's right. Additionally, they have a naive understanding of how humans function. Powerful interests - business - do not only seek to maximize profit. They often have other agendas and motivations that are detrimental to society. To the extent they do pursue profit, not every action designed to peruse profit is a net-benefit to society. Consider the medical industry, where the incentives lie in maximizing revenue and not eliminating disease.

The state as it is today is a tool of powerful private interests. This is because the state relies on these interests for their jobs. For a healthy society with checks both on the state and on private interests a healthy separation of powers is needed. For this, the first task is to ban private contributions to elections and move to a fully public model. Citizens should be granted a set amount of public funds that they can allocate as they desire. All will have an equal amount to allocate. Every citizen gets an equal say. George Soros and I would have an equal contribution.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:37 | 834046 Borrowed Merkin
Borrowed Merkin's picture

hey have a naive understanding of how humans function.

Buffoonish and insulting - I would suggest they have the most acute sense of how humans function.  They actually internalize old saws, such as "power corrupts", and do not believe that the concentration of power in the hands of FedGov and/or the Federal Reserve is healthy as it is most demonstrably isn't as evidenced by our current reality.  By sticking to the US Constitution, such concentrations of big government and the accompanying usurpation of individual rights, both natural and financial is greatly retarded.  Goofy statements about "granting public funds" imply the need for a grantor who is invariably corrupted.  If the proposed elected official isn't endowed with the ability to render favors to private powers, then the motive for financially supporting the campaign evaporates.  The simple solutions is to remove campaign finance laws, save one: full disclosure of every penny and from whom.


Tue, 12/28/2010 - 11:26 | 833363 malikai
malikai's picture

War lords gain their power through collectivism. Libertarians do not believe in collectivism, they believe in individualism. To say that a libertarian society would be based on a feudal system is to not understand Libertarianism.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 11:30 | 833377 svendthrift
svendthrift's picture

It doesn't matter what libertarians believe in. All that matters is the likely outcomes of a society where naive people remove the only check on private power because they think everybody will drop collectivist/monopolist instincts.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 11:39 | 833402 Shell Game
Shell Game's picture

Think in terms of cycles.  Individual freedoms and powers always wane toward collectivism and state-corporate power, which always ends in disaster. The cycle begins again when the plebs rebel.  The two state of beings are mutually exclusive.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 12:21 | 833548 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

bingo.  head of class.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:47 | 833890 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

The cycle begins again when the plebs rebel.


Sure. Like in 1776 when US citizens rebelled to install freedom, justice and truthh etc...

Better to admit that through generations, you and your family have participated to a game, and that as you are slipping toward the losing side, suddenly, troubles appear in the way the game works.

Duplicity at best.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:03 | 833927 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Not to be a stickler, but I'm pretty sure at that point we were not U.S. citizens. 

Further, he is accurate...  his statement does not need to take into account which side he is on...  doesn't matter...  eventually the economic weight of the political policies weighs so heavily the political policies can no longer be enforced/conjured.  Eventually, collective bargaining comes into play as freedoms are exchanged for serfdom and this exchange becomes too onerous.  Doesn't matter which side you're on...  this is our ever evolving cycle...  we haven't figured out how to end it (and keep humanity alive).

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:43 | 834062 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

So  propaganda has changed in the US?

Back in the days, the casual propanga had that people in the US had grown to consider themselves differently from being subjects to His Majesty.

But what collective bargaining in the US? Funny how easily US citizens discard facts.

The US started with slavery. How does it fit in the grand scheme of events? The cycle from individual freedom to collective imprisonment to be reset to etc?

Would be interesting to know. For comedy value, because for knowledge value, the answer is already known.

The side matters definitively. For a society of masters to exist, there must be slaves. US citizens pictured themselves as inherently masters. Their delusion was allowed by the availability of more convenient slaves. Now they are slipping toward the slave side, suddenly, the game is no longer that satisfying.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 17:19 | 834328 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

First, I'm going to go out on a limb here again, but I'm guessing the poster was not around during the revolutionary war period.  As a result, any potential inconsistency in beliefs is rendered impossible.  I don't think it's remotely honest to hold him captive with the potential (you have no fucking idea) beliefs of his/her elders.  Between then and now, he/she could have been an indentured servant and back again, still there, who the hell knows.

Second, if not for collective bargaining, how do you account for items such as the civil rights movement, etc.?  So it was all a grand design by the masters?  What about minimum wage laws and workplace safety regulations?  Again, all designed by the masters?  Wellfare and social safety net?  Again, by design?  The RICO act and break-up of monopolies?  Unions?  I have a feeling what you are going to reply with in this regard, but I'll let you make your own arguments...  needless to say, I strongly dispute any "design" in this regard by the masters themselves...

Third, neither perfect collectivism nor individualism is ever realizeable for any remotely long time period.  Effectively, we just bounce between the two poles.  What you seem to be trying to argue is that the slaves in the united states didn't get much for their collective bargaining...  I think this is largely irrelevant...  and, inherently presumes the thesis...  The degree to which the collective bargaining is "successful" is different for every particular locale and sovereign...  sometimes the "masters" lose their heads...  just depends on how unruly the slaves are...  but the degree of success (or lack thereof) is simply evidence of the resolve of the bargaining party (or their masters), not that collective bargaining really fails to occur.  [think of the phrase regime change].

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:34 | 834036 Seer
Seer's picture

"Like in 1776 when US citizens rebelled to install freedom, justice and truthh etc..."

Like they did for the natives (ethnic cleansing)? Or, for blacks (chattel slavery)?

It was all a big circle jerk among wealthier people to plunder North America, sprinkled with nice sounding platitudes (con jobs to get all the lower-class [and slaves] to extract wealth for them [the elite]).

Libertarians would like us to believe that "representative" democracy can work.  Sure, but only if those promoting it are allowed to control it.  And there's the rub... Because of the sheer numbers of people there cannot be a full consensious, in which case people are left out; if this state can exist, then so too can the converse: a few "in," while the majority are "out."

The disaster was built-in because the US State, as has been damn near EVERY organizational structure in history, is dependent upon endless growth on a finite planet.  Those who don't get it obviously aren't paying attention to why wars are waged: always resource grabs.

When there's plenty to go around everyone is fine.  When there are shortages everyone starts to get riled up and blame this thing and that thing, everything except what the real source of the problem is: resource shortages.  So, all you folks that think that YOUR ideology is the ticket need to ask yourselves one simple question: how is that ideology going to pacify 6.5+ billion people on this planet as resources (and environmental conditions) erode?

I side with libertarian thinking in that centralized power should be shunned, but, unlike libertarians, I think that this should extend to more than just states.  It might be semantics, as we're running as a corporate state, in which case if the state is nuked so to is the corporation.

It's all about power and resources...  All this other talk is nothing more than distraction which gives cover to the elites as they continue doing what they do best, grab power...

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 00:47 | 835116 Milestones
Milestones's picture

"When there are shortages---"--? Why not excess population?? You are looking thru the wrong end of the telescope. Rethink the problem and it's solution.    Milestones

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:37 | 833199 JimmyTheHand
JimmyTheHand's picture

I can't say we need LESS regulation just yet, I would say that we need to ENFORCE the sh!t we got on the books, then look at the books, deregulate as much as we can (thereby killing off those parasitic governement agencies) and I completely agree the government needs to quit #$#ing with the market.  The sh!t is fixing to hit the fan folks.  Interest rates are climbing along with every dollar that is borrowed and the dollar keeps going down in overall value as well.

The stock market used to be a place where the average fella could put some money and make a far amount in return without having to micromanage the hell out of it.  You have to constantly watch it, micromanagement or you get whacked by some HFT program. 

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 11:40 | 833409 svendthrift
svendthrift's picture

Pondering less vs more is a distraction. The US needs the right regulations.  In some cases this will be effectively "less" and in others "more".

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 19:56 | 834705 Lord Koos
Lord Koos's picture

If your idea of "free markets" include buying politicians then you are hopelessly full of shit.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 19:58 | 834706 Lord Koos
Lord Koos's picture



Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:11 | 833121 docj
docj's picture

Ultimately what needs to happen is to get money out of politics...

That's some weapons-grade funny/naive, right there.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:18 | 833990 sgt_doom
sgt_doom's picture

Thank you, docj, and I'm sorry for the necessity of someone always having to point out the utterly obvious!

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:32 | 834029 docj
docj's picture

Heh - thanks, Sarge.  Good to see you again.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:12 | 833123 junkhand
junkhand's picture

i am very skeptical of keeping my meager 401k open as there appear to be no "safe" fixed income investements left which aren't compromised by serious counter party risk.

if i withdraw it all, take the tax hit and buy PMs, i solve my problem, but have become one of the recorded american's with zero retirement savings (as measured in paper).


wonder how many others have made the same calculation and already withdrawn from the paper system?



Tue, 12/28/2010 - 10:39 | 833208 snowball777
snowball777's picture

You can open an IRA in which you can purchase PMs with your tax-free money. I won't plug a site here, but there are several PM dealers with details on how to set one up.

FWIW, I cashed out an old 401k that I hadn't rolled over to the one from a newer job in the summer of 07...even with the tax+penalty hit, I'm glad I did because I used the cash to short far and wide in late '08.

Other alternatives include starting a business in the form of an ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) which just happens to employ you and invest all your 401k money "in yourself". The tax code around these requires tapdancing, but it's doable if you're entrepreneurial and have a business idea.

Hope this helps bust you out of the "it's hopeless so I'll sit and see" rut.


Tue, 12/28/2010 - 11:28 | 833370 pazmaker
pazmaker's picture

I have looked into this as well(PM IRA)  however you can not take physical delivery of the PM they must be held by the custodian or 3rd party. 

That is why I opted out.

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