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29 Uncomfortable Truths About Soaring Poverty In America

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

Did you know that the number of Americans on welfare is higher than the number of Americans that have full-time jobs?  Did you know that 1.2 million public school students in the U.S. are currently homeless?  Anyone that uses the term "economic recovery" to describe what is happening in the United States today is being deeply insulting to the nearly 150 million Americans that are considered to be either "poor" or "low income" at this point.  Yes, things are great in New York City, Washington D.C. and San Francisco, but almost everywhere else economic conditions continue to steadily get worse. 

The gap between the wealthy and the poor is at a level that America has never seen before, and this is beginning to create a "Robin Hood mentality" that could cause a tremendous amount of social chaos in the years ahead.  Anger at the "haves" in America continues to rise at a very alarming pace, and the "have nots" are becoming increasingly desperate.  At some point all of this anger is going to boil over, and you won't want to be anywhere around major population centers when that happens. 

Despite unprecedented borrowing by the federal government in recent years, and despite unprecedented money printing by the Federal Reserve, poverty in the United States keeps getting worse with each passing year. The following are 29 incredible facts which prove that poverty in America is absolutely exploding...

1. What can you say about a nation that has more people getting handouts from the federal government than working full-time?  According to the latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people receiving means-tested welfare benefits is greater than the number of full-time workers in the United States.

2. New numbers have just been released, and they show that the number of public school students in this country that are homeless is at an all-time record high.  It is hard to believe, but right now 1.2 million students that attend public schools in America are homeless.  That number has risen by 72 percent since the start of the last recession.

3. When I was growing up, it seemed like almost everyone was from a middle class home.  But now that has all changed.  One recent study discovered that nearly half of all public students in the United States come from low income homes.

4. How can anyone deny that we are a socialist nation when half the people are getting money from the federal government each month?  According to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, 49.2 percent of all Americans are receiving benefits from at least one government program.

5. Signs of increasing poverty are even showing up in the wealthiest areas of the nation.  According to the New York Post, New York subways are being "overrun with homeless".

6. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately one out of every six Americans is now living in poverty.  The number of Americans living in poverty is now at a level not seen since the 1960s.

7. The gap between the rich and the poor in the United States is at an all-time record high.  The wealthy may not consider this to be much of a problem, but those at the other end of the spectrum are very aware of this.

8. The "working poor" is one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. population.  At this point, approximately one out of every four part-time workers in America is living below the poverty line.

9. According to numbers provided by Wal-Mart, more than half of their hourly workers make less than $25,000 a year.

10. A recent Businessweek article mentioned a study that discovered that 300 employees at one Wal-Mart in Wisconsin receive a combined total of nearly a million dollars a year in public assistance...

“A decent wage is their demand—a livable wage, of all things,” said Representative George Miller (D-Calif.). The problem with companies like Wal-Mart is their “unwillingness, not their inability, to pay that wage,” he said. “They hand off the difference to taxpayers.” Miller was referring to a congressional report (PDF) released in May that calculated how much Walmart workers rely on public assistance. The study found that the 300 employees at one Supercenter in Wisconsin required some $900,000 worth of public assistance a year.

11. The stock market may be doing great (for the moment), but incomes for average Americans continue to decline.  In fact, median household income in the United States has fallen for five years in a row.

12. The quality of the jobs in America has been steadily dropping for years.  At this point, one out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less.

13. According to a Gallup poll that was recently released, 20.0% of all Americans did not have enough money to buy food that they or their families needed at some point over the past year.  That is just under the record of 20.4% that was set back in November 2008.

14. Young adults are particularly feeling the sting of poverty these days.  American families that have a head of household that is under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.

15. As I wrote about a few weeks ago, one out of every five households in the United States is on food stamps.  Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps.

16. The number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the entire population of Spain.

17. According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of "Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming."

18. We are told that we live in the "wealthiest nation" on the planet, and yet more than one out of every four children in the United States is enrolled in the food stamp program.

19. The average food stamp benefit breaks down to approximately $4 per person per day.

20. It is being projected that approximately 50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps before they reach the age of 18.

21. Today, approximately 17 million children in the United States are facing food insecurity.  In other words, that means that "one in four children in the country is living without consistent access to enough nutritious food to live a healthy life."

22. It may be hard to believe, but approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are currently living in homes that are considered to be either "low income" or impoverished.

23. The number of children living on $2.00 a day or less in the United States has grown to 2.8 million.  That number has increased by 130 percent since 1996.

24. In Miami, 45 percent of all children are living in poverty.

25. In Cleveland, more than 50 percent of all children are living in poverty.

26. According to a recently released report, 60 percent of all children in the city of Detroit are living in poverty.

27. According to a Feeding America hunger study, more than 37 million Americans are now being served by food pantries and soup kitchens.

28. The U.S. government has spent an astounding 3.7 trillion dollars on welfare programs over the past five years.

29. It has been reported that 4 out of every 5 adults in the United States "struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives".

These poverty numbers keep getting worse year after year no matter what our politicians do.

So is there anyone out there that would still like to argue that we are in an "economic recovery"?

And as I mentioned above, the "have nots" are becoming increasingly angry at the "haves".  For example, just check out the following excerpt from a recent New York Post article...

The maniac who butchered a Brooklyn mom and her four young kids confessed that he did it because he was jealous of their way of life, a police source told The Post on Sunday.

The family had too much. Their income (and) lifestyle was better than his,” the source said.

The bloody suspect was caught holding the kitchen knife he used during the Saturday night rampage inside the Sunset Park apartment where he had been staying with the victims, the source added.

Sadly, this was not an isolated incident.  All over the western world, a "Robin Hood mentality" is growing.  This is something that I am so concerned about that I made it a big part of my new book.  At this point, even wealthy Hollywood-types such as actor Russell Brand are calling for a socialist-style "revolution" and a "massive redistribution of wealth".

Perhaps Brand does not understand that what he is calling for would mean redistributing most of his own wealth away from him.

When the next major wave of the economic collapse strikes, I fear that all of this anger and frustration that are growing among the poor will boil over in some very frightening ways.  I believe that we will see a huge spike in crime and that we will eventually see communities all over America looted and burning.

But I am not the only one that is thinking along these lines.  A new National Geographic Channel movie entitled "American Blackout" attempts to portray the social chaos that could erupt in the event of an extended national power failure...

American Blackout, National Geographic Channel’s two-hour, edge-of-your-seat movie event imagines the story of a national power failure in the United States caused by a cyberattack — told in real time, over 10 days, by those who kept filming on cameras and phones. You’ll learn what it means to be absolutely powerless.

You can view a clip of the film that was made available by NatGeo for the community right here.

What would you do if something like that happened to you?

How would you handle desperate, hungry people at your fence asking for food?

And what if those people were armed and were not "asking nicely" for your food?

Don't ignore what is happening in America right now.  It is setting the stage for some very chaotic times.


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Mon, 10/28/2013 - 20:52 | 4099729 HedgeAccordingly
HedgeAccordingly's picture

instead of cutting the BS welfare and other entitlements.. why hot tax corps like they tax individuals to an axtent.. offset this by allowing low interest loans to business which operate in US and employ inside USA. -

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 21:06 | 4099779 booboo
booboo's picture

"instead of cutting the BS welfare and other entitlements"
See how subtle stupidity is introduced, welfare is now a entitlement.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 21:33 | 4099875 insanelysane
insanelysane's picture

The old let's fix a problem by causing another problem.  I don't mind feeding these people but if they are taxing me at 20% which is 1/5 of my work week, they should be working on the crumbling infrastructure or something.  If you raise my taxes, you raise the number of hours per work you need to work for the good of the country.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:23 | 4100022 Harry Dong
Harry Dong's picture

Better yet, let's give them a job that pays 1960 min wage and we may see some betterment of our less fortunate. (Would that be 20 or 25/hr?)

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:33 | 4100062 mark mchugh
mark mchugh's picture

Minimum wage in 1960 was $1.00, which was .715 ounces of silver, about $16 these days.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:53 | 4100113 markmotive
markmotive's picture

1 Uncomfortable f@cking truth:

Wage slavery and social indoctrination is keeping the poor just rich enough not to revolt.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 02:04 | 4100448 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

Feed the poor and they won't revolt. especially with nowadays with TV and internets for unlimited entertainment.




Tue, 10/29/2013 - 07:15 | 4100685 RSloane
RSloane's picture

Adlous is absolutely right. Americans have the fattest poor population on the planet. They have phones, they have internet access, they have cars, and they can sell their EBT cards on Craig's List to spend money on other entertainment including drugs. The US society would have to be already in chaos before those entitlements stopped flowing from the gov't to the poor because they know the last thing the US wants to see is the FSA unfed and in the streets.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 08:11 | 4100801 economics9698
economics9698's picture

"Despite unprecedented borrowing by the federal government in recent years, and despite unprecedented money printing by the Federal Reserve, poverty in the United States keeps getting worse with each passing year."

Printing and debt go hand in hand with wealth inequality.  Those that get the money are able to outbid the rest for goods and services.  Wall Street and the federal government. 


The way to combat poverty is to have real money, gold. 

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 10:38 | 4101277 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Having a sound currency is part of it...  but certainly not all.

The real issue here is incentive.  While the social safety net exists to ensure there is not a revolt or material change in the status quo, slaves are useless to master if they don't work the fields.  Many of those on government assistance do not work at all...  and the cost to keep these folks up in the lifestyle they've been accustomed is starting to get too much for master.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 18:05 | 4102928 MarsInScorpio
MarsInScorpio's picture

The real problem with taxes is that the statist corps and uber-rich aren't paying any.

Tax the .06% with 40% of the assets @ 40% of their income - no exemptions - they can afford to live on tens of millions a year net after taxes.


Tue, 10/29/2013 - 04:15 | 4100537 RabbitChow
RabbitChow's picture

yes, its all bread and circuses.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 23:03 | 4100147 acetinker
acetinker's picture

So, you're not Hugh Fitzpatrick or Patrick Fitz-  Never mind. My own heritage is that of a rebellious Scot. Gotta say though, that many are not worth a dollar an hour today, much less in 1960 dollars.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 23:05 | 4100150 Harry Dong
Harry Dong's picture

And when silver was $50? It'll be back there soon..and then some...

Not that it matters, I only could save my nickels when my dory got knocked down.

Sidenote. do NOT use Velcro anywhere near the mainsheet!

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 00:19 | 4100329 anti-republocrat
anti-republocrat's picture

In other words, Harry dong was not very far off when he asked for $20/hr.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:23 | 4100024 ronaldawg
ronaldawg's picture

Fuck moochers - I don't want to pay for any of it.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 08:31 | 4100856 Its_the_economy...
Its_the_economy_stupid's picture

ok, let's all pretend that poverty doesn't exist. problem solved.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 09:03 | 4100943 NEOSERF
NEOSERF's picture

The classic let's fix a problem by causing another is to start a war...amazing how unemployment goes down, patriotism goes up, Congress works together, etc....

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 11:51 | 4101555 dizzyfingers
dizzyfingers's picture

booboo: welfare was called "entitlement" since Johnson by those who got it. Receivers: "I'm entitled!" Government agents: "They're entitled."

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 20:55 | 4099744 medium giraffe
medium giraffe's picture

"I am so concerned about that I made it a big part of my new book."


Shameless plug noted.  Thanks for that.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 00:31 | 4100355 TheMerryPrankster
TheMerryPrankster's picture

 and a truly timeless quote in the vein, of "this too shall pass."

"I am so concerned about that I made it a big part of my new book."

I'll have to use that line the next time anyone tries to guilt me about anything.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 21:01 | 4099752 Carl Popper
Carl Popper's picture

Chronic and massive capital misallocations and global labor arbitrage are a double whammy on the american work force spoiled by the Exhorbitant Privilege of owning a fiat reserve currency and a post war manufacturing monopoly during the greatest 50 year credit boom the world has ever seen.

This is reality. The last 50 years was a mirage.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 21:21 | 4099828 Harry Dong
Harry Dong's picture

Are you saying the work force has been spoiled? OK, if you mean 1970 unions, but I seem to remember some hard working blue color folks in my family. The men they worked for are billionaires now so I think they worked hard for the massa class.


Mon, 10/28/2013 - 21:26 | 4099842 infinity8
infinity8's picture

Yer pickin' a fight.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:06 | 4099978 Carl Popper
Carl Popper's picture

They have worked hard no doubt, but now they compete with workers throughout the rest of the world in an economy that is nominally contractionary.

We were all sheltered from reality including me

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 00:23 | 4100337 anti-republocrat
anti-republocrat's picture

What you and others here seem not to understand is that workers throughout the rest of the world are subjects of authoritarian regimes that run death squads that regularly assassinate advocates for workers and the poor.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 02:12 | 4100458 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

as america becomes poorer, US will  become more like the rest of the dominating political party, super rich in bed with the government, mass worker slaves, expensive everything



Tue, 10/29/2013 - 07:32 | 4100713 RSloane
RSloane's picture

Our Dear Leader recently stated that [the US] "ain't no banana republic". Comforting words to some, I suppose,  flying in the face of reality.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 02:33 | 4100472 Seer
Seer's picture

It's about POWER.

And when there are contractionary forces in play POWER lashes out/back.

We can point fingers at behaviors but doing so clouds us from seeing what's really going on.  The struggle for resources is only increasing as we deplete nature's capital.  Even IF there were no such things as "authoritarian regimes" we'd be smacking the fuck out of one another over resources.

Food, Shelter and Water.  There are over 7 BILLION of us.  On your mark, get ready...

Disclaimer: I do NOT approve of "authoritarian regimes;" I also do NOT approve of spending a lot of energy on/over low-probability events/outcomes.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 20:58 | 4099753 Fake_nation
Fake_nation's picture

And all these peniless young people could be working in the real world to take us out of this depression. Instead they are all alone, praying the pedagogy of isolation will deliver them an economic future...

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 02:41 | 4100477 Seer
Seer's picture

"working in the real world"

Really?  Is this the one where everything is crashing because everyone is broke and the "consumer economy" is contracting and unable to hire?

Yes, as a farmer I agree that young people WILL end up WORKING in THE REAL WORLD.  However, my notion of what "real world" means is likely MUCH different than yours: my fundamentals are firmly grounded in the physical- Food, Shelter and Water.

BTW - There's 750 MILLION people in India who live on $0.50/day.  This after the big BRIC miracle.  This in the face of mega capital from the "real world" flowing into there.  Meanwhile our populations are increasing and our resources (natural capital) are depleting.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 12:28 | 4101716 cornflakesdisease
cornflakesdisease's picture

Seer 1, everyone else 0

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 21:00 | 4099755 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

When education was lost (pretty much completely) to liberal/statist ideas encouraging dependency, everything else was lost along with it.  We're just now seeing the results of that.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 00:16 | 4100323 stacking12321
stacking12321's picture

liberal/statist, eh?

you seem to have a very short term, or perhaps selective memory, as to who controlled the executive 2000-2008, and exactly how statist they were.

if you insist on believing in team red or team blue, you are hopelessly lost.

the only difference is whether the welfare is going to individuals, or to corporations.

neither one is acceptable.


Tue, 10/29/2013 - 02:46 | 4100479 Seer
Seer's picture

I suppose it would provide some real context/meaning if he/she had given some things that he/she supports rather than just tossing out buzz-words (in order to garner green arrows).

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 07:24 | 4100696 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

Well, if you had paid any attention to my MANY previous posts on similar subject you would know that I agree with you, including the 2000-2008 crew and prior to that.  This has been developing for a LONG time.  Large, politically connected corporations and individuals are sucking at the government teat on the high end just as much as the "poor" are sucking on it from underneath.

An example of high-end welfare?  Fine.  OK, how about the carried-interest exemption?  An indefensible government hand-out to the unltra-wealthy for taking much lower capital gains tax rates on their earned income, though they never had their own capital at risk.  A favorite of the 2-and-20 crowd.

The only one in this conversation who had jumped it into the red-vs-blue dead end, is you.  You saw what you wanted to see, not what was actually there on the screen in front of you.  You'll make an excellent drone in the new world order.  Your thinking is already primed for it.

Perhaps in the future you should do some research or ask a few questions before confusing a short statement with shallow thinking.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 08:32 | 4100748 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

Americans (generally) are so stupid that they don't know the meaning of the world "liberal" despite using it incessantly.

American "liberals", specifically, are so stupid that they can't wrap their narrow and predisposed minds around the difference between racism and xenophobia.

And the notion that one party favors handouts to the little guy while the other one favors handouts to the big guy is total bullshit and American "liberal" marketing spiel.

Nixon and Bush did as much to enslave the poor as Johnson did with the devil's dollar candy for the poor, they just failed to lock up the nigger vote for 200 years because they have a republitarted marketing department. Meanwhile Obama has funneled more taxpayer cash to deep pocketed business interests than did Bush redux. The only shovel-ready project of the whole stimulus debacle was Barry's backers backing up their Brinks trucks and shoveling the debt serfs' indentures into them. There are thousands of contemporary examples of the Team Rich Guy trying to buy the masses's votes with others' money and Team Poor Guy buggering poor guys so they can line their masters' pockets while extolling the virtue and social benefits of peasant rape at their next snob soiree.

Both of these parties are a terminal cancer upon the American people, who unfortunately don't know shit about healthcare, much less the actions required to even stand a chance of beating this cancer before it kills them.

When the Enlightened, burdened by habits of Heathenism, engage in the construction of a neo-Heathenism, the debate is not advanced, progress is not achieved, and consensus- even within the confines of the congregation, is not conjured. Proselytizing to the Heathen of one's own or former community is a far more productive use of such efforts.

The naivety of those who hold up the founding charters of the United States as the deus ex machina of a conclave is surpassed only by the naivety of those whose disdain for the very same documents derives from the very same misguided notion, ableit with nomenclature more compatible to the ideology.

The founding charters represent hard-won consensus amongst a vast diversity of ideologies, even if not all-inclusive in a contemporary context. The words themselves are the single largest and most complex plagiarism orchestrated in recorded history. The alpha-males of the alpha-male delegates came armed with their own and sometimes multiple drafts of entire constitutions to debate the finer and lesser points of, while the less aggressive arrived with the various charters of their own colonies and States. All of these documents were the Enlightened synthesis of both the philosophical treatises available at the time as well as the most contemporary empirical evidence available. A congenial congregation of old world salon society shooting the shit only to arrive to intellectual indecision or be saved in the final act by a deus ex machina, these conventions were not.

The modern Enlightenment is sorely deficient in effective synthesis and distillation of the available body of thought and research. Where is Martin Luther hanging out his 95 theses on the world wide web for all to see? Who is actually organizing the merchant classes and the peasant classes to resist the nobility and orthodoxy, as opposed to their fellow subjects? Where are the bridges that actually lead somewhere being built?

tempore quaeque suo qui facit, ille sapit

Putting the paid trolls and ideological shills in their proper place is great fun, but there is also serious work to be done, and miles to go before we can all sleep.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 21:01 | 4099758 TheFreeLance
TheFreeLance's picture

I spent a couple years growing up on Food Stamps. A widowed then divorced single mom working two and three jobs just wasn't bringing in enough to support two kids. It was a rare and embarassing thing to need such support, but any just civil society finds a way to provide that sort of emergency safety net.

Now it is just a way of life. Or rather, a way of government. It is easier, less risky, and more profitable for the 1% to throw crumbs than to have an actual free-market economy than rewards competence rather than connections.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:23 | 4100023 sessinpo
sessinpo's picture

A true free market society may not have food stamps. That is hard for many to swallow because it means that some won't make in society in a truly free market society - sink or swim.

Think if there were no 1 percenters. There would still be those less fortunate and those that would not make it. Then who would you blame and what would be the excuse then?

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:28 | 4100033 ronaldawg
ronaldawg's picture

Blame or excuse for what?  There is christian charity - that won't let these people starve - what happened before the NEW DEAL?  Did everyone in poverty die?  No communities came together without government.  We need more of that - and LESS government.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 23:00 | 4100131 Harry Dong
Harry Dong's picture

'xactly. Lets cut the balls off the beast and I would gladly compete with the low hanging fruits we call the .1%  no need for govt help then except to get out of the way.

...and I'm bringing my homies with me. No one is left behind. O' ha nah.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 23:03 | 4100145 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

Yes many died in poverty. Every year impoverished people died of diseases of the poor: Tuberculosis, typhoid, cholera, meningitis. Even in the 1960s, poor kids suffered from bowed leg bones(rickets) for lack of simple vitamin D in their diet. None of that ever happened on Fifth Avenue. Most of the history you read is Glossy History, biased and focused on the wealthy, the famous, the powerful.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 12:31 | 4101732 cornflakesdisease
cornflakesdisease's picture

Caviar Emptor 1, everyone else 0

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 23:43 | 4100245 Zero Point
Zero Point's picture

That's an excellent point ronaldawg. Perhaps socialistic practices are even to blame for a diminished feeling of social resposibility among people, as they now understand that "the government will help".

There is a role for government, but it's a LOT smaller than most people can accept right now.

Perhaps due to the way they have been coddled by nanny government.

Both in receiving hand outs, and in accepting that people in genuine need aren't their problem (they most certainly are).

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 00:37 | 4100363 stacking12321
stacking12321's picture

i can't agree with the statement that there is a role for government.

the only role for government, is in the dustbin of history, to remind us of the folly of our past.

i do not accept government, i do not accept the demands of any other man or group of men over me, no matter how many badges or guns or documents they may present.

i do not consent to being governed.

i am a free sovereign man, i will live my own life and make my own choices.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 06:43 | 4100653 Zero Point
Zero Point's picture

I bet if we sat over a beer and discussed what I mean by "government", we'd probably mostly agree.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 09:07 | 4100951 Zero Point
Zero Point's picture

Anyone who doesn't like that response should keep in mind, that me and my friends are armed.

In a post civilisation scenario, we'll be viewing "free men" with extreme suspicion.

And I DO mean extreme.

You could call that an armed gang, or government I guess. I could give a fuck which.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 03:14 | 4100500 Seer
Seer's picture

There's 7 billion people on the planet, with a mere 300 million living in the "richest" country.  India has 2 1/2 times as many people living off of $0.50/day as the entire US population.

"No communities came together without government."

I think you meant it as:

"No, communities came together without government."

And yes, there is plenty of historical evidence to support this.  Things turn for the worse when people try and create ever bigger groups: if everyone was a Christian (no one left to "convert") I would figure that there'd be competition between all the various groups, and that this might very well lead to increased controls and forced coersion.

"Poverty" is a term.  I dislike it because it's used to promote the antithesis- excess.  And it further disparages the notion of sustainability, as "sustainability" really means subsistence (neither too little or too much), and if one is subsisting then one "has enough" (and is not dying).  THE aim of this metric of "poverty" is, I believe, to quantify the capacity to withstand setbacks.  The context, however, is mostly made against the dominant cultures and their status quo, which is oblivious to its own precariousness (though the light is starting to penetrate the cracks).

7+ billion on this planet.  As Peter Kropotkin suggested in his book Mutual Aid, humans tend to be more cooperative than competitive, otherwise, as he said, we wouldn't likely have amassed the numbers that we had (in his time it was 2 billion I think).  I believe this true, but only when there are available resources; when resources diminish then the more natural order of "the strongest survive" can only take hold.

I'd offer that "LESS government" isn't so much a prescription as it is a logical outcome of diminishing resources, less excess.  Believe me, and I'm NOT a supporter of any government, when this comes to pass it won't be any paradise: it'll just BE...

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 08:21 | 4100824 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

How about just "charity". It's just good karma. There's a reason for freedom of religion in the constitution and charity is implicit in that. So that the government doesn't. Now, we have a government endorsed religion - Free Shit Army - which, BTW, includes Wall Street.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 08:25 | 4100841 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

If you want to sell that ideology beyond the limited confines of a Christian community perhaps you should package it within a more tolerant framework- such as (American) anti-Federalism, Confederationism, or even (true) Federal Republicanism.

Let the Sodomites collect their charity from the almighty Church of State in Sodom, and let the children of Abraham collect their charity from their fellow congregation members in their own churches.

That methodology is at least consistent with the broadly accepted Human Right of Self-Determination. Unless, of course, your unstated goal is the imposition of Sharia under a different name.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 08:37 | 4100875 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

."imposition of Sharia under a different name"


Tue, 10/29/2013 - 09:37 | 4101040 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

non vosmetipsos defendentes carissimi, sed date locum irae. Scriptum est enim: Mihi vindicta: ego retribuam, dicit Dominus.

Romans 12:19

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 00:26 | 4100347 stacking12321
stacking12321's picture


you are overlooking something.

the massive extraction of wealth by the govt, to hand out to banksters, megacorps, weapons makers, and foreign nations, if all that were to stop, if the taxation of citizens were to stop, think about what an enormous financial impact that would have in society, and how much *better* we could all feed and care for ourselves.

additionally, without these welfare programs which create incentive for people to sit back and collect benefits instead of dedicating themselves to a constructive pursuit that helps themselves and others in society, think of how much the disappearance of such destructive programs will incentivize people to work hard and create benefit to themselves and society.


Tue, 10/29/2013 - 03:31 | 4100511 Seer
Seer's picture

"think about what an enormous financial impact that would have in society, and how much *better* we could all feed and care for ourselves."

Think about the fact that nearly 1/3 of our protein is directly attributable to oil, and that, even if the US got rid of the biggest energy consumer on the planet -the US military- the US wouls still have to import vast quantities.  The money to import that energy comes from? (does quick check of entire debt and see big flashing "OVERDRAWN")

"constructive pursuit that helps themselves and others in society"

"the disappearance of such destructive programs will incentivize people to work hard and create benefit to themselves and society."

Care to provide examples?

While I'd agree that the welfare/warfare state cannot continue (surely it cannot continue indefinitely), I'd have to point out that the entire structure of all that you see now will be VASTLY different at such time, so much so that any notion of taking just "the good parts" of NOW could be considered to be no more than wishful thinking.

Lastly, "society" is pretty encompassing.  Does that mean all of humanity?  Just the "west?"  The "US?"  Even if at the national level one is facing rather large divisions.  I believe that fragmentation is the most probable outcome, which will result in even greater deficiencies from what we now see: the "govt" creates larger structures to facilitate trade, things like the Insterstate Highway- and such actions are largely subsidized and therefore unlikely to exist in a world in which there is more accurate accounting of resources and energy.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 08:24 | 4100835 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

Hold the phone. I thought the US was headed for energy independence?







Tue, 10/29/2013 - 00:28 | 4100351 anti-republocrat
anti-republocrat's picture

Even F.A. Hayek believed that weathy societies such as the US and UK should guarantee everyone adequate food and shelter.  What he opposed was both Fascist and Communist planned economies, and anyone who has ever worked within a late 20th, early 21st Century multinational corporation know they are the essence of bureaucracy and planning.  Just ask Dilbert.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 03:02 | 4100490 John_Coltrane
John_Coltrane's picture

"F.A. Hayek believed that weathy societies such as the US and UK should guarantee everyone adequate food and shelter"

Having read Hayek's works, I can't remember this idea expressed anywhere.  Direct quote and citation please?  Hayek's main idea was that debt was slavery and that experts cannot be trusted to make decisions for ordinary people.  That rules out any form of nanny government, certainly providing food and shelter is not mentioned in our constitution as a "right" for a very good reason.  You either contribute to society with useful skills and talent or its outside the "cave" for you!  Survival of the fittest is nature's only law for all animals including humans.  You can't repeal it any more than the second law of thermodynamics.  Entropy always increases unless you do work and expend energy to create order.   Produce, work, or die and increase the entropy.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 04:07 | 4100532 Seer
Seer's picture

"You either contribute to society with useful skills and talent or its outside the "cave" for you!"

I believe that the word/term "society" has more to do with the fucked up, non-sustainable, centrally-planned groupings that we now exist in.  "Tribe" or just "group" would be better, I think...

"Entropy always increases unless you do work and expend energy to create order."

More concrete:

"Energy must be expended in order to offset entropic forces."

Entropy is basically constant.  In order to maintain our assemblages we need to spend/utilize energy.  The greater the assemblages the more energy needed to "maintain" (keep) their order: when "new" order is created it's a good bet that more energy is required than that which is required in maintaining that order.  I am forcing the notion of "maintenance" because most things OF nature tend more towards using energy to maintain things; humans, on the other hand, use energy to do abstract things like building pyramids and landing on the moon, which are really "creative," and require big expenditures in energy (initial formation and maintenance): other animals don't engage like humans because they don't have the ability to extract physical resources at the scale that humans can (but, "strength through exhaustion," Jevons Paradox etc.).

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 08:28 | 4100844 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

How the fuck can that be down arrowed?

Deficit = entropy quantified.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 00:45 | 4100375 spdrdr
spdrdr's picture

Ummm...  How can you be "widowed then divorced"?

Enquiring minds want to know.


Tue, 10/29/2013 - 01:07 | 4100401 JohnG
JohnG's picture



Well I'll tell ya (and I'm a guy!):

My wife died.  I'm still sad about it and always will be I guess.

Then, I was remmaried.  That went sideways.  So I divorced her.

.... That's how.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 21:01 | 4099759 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

Poverty may be really bad but we have the most billionaires and we can be proud of our accomplishments in building the most expensive weapons systems. 


Tue, 10/29/2013 - 00:27 | 4100348 TheMerryPrankster
TheMerryPrankster's picture

not only expensive but world class deadly, never have we had the power to wipe out billions of lives in hours using only a few hundred bombs.

truly efficient. Its the kind of efficiency that keeps corporate profits at record highs and wages falling faster than Madonna's panties.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 02:47 | 4100480 Ctrl_P
Ctrl_P's picture

Madonna?! That is a while ago. We had Britney, Lindsay and now Miley since then.


Tue, 10/29/2013 - 08:29 | 4100851 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

Wait - Miley wears panties? Since when?

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 09:19 | 4100979 TheMerryPrankster
TheMerryPrankster's picture

they are but chaiste moist maidens awaiting puberty compared to Madonna, the original virgin/whore complex who could at least sing and write her  own songs and could dance her ass off. She was the template by which all the clones were built.

and unlike the current generation of talentless, beauty queens stamped from the Disney molds, she wore underwear, and gave the boys something to unwrap. You know everyday was like Christmas when she was around.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 04:12 | 4100534 Seer
Seer's picture

Entropy says that it don't continue...  And there will come the day when most understand that "subsistence" isn't a dirty word (that it means "sustainable," "staying alive"- which I think is kind of the point behind living [to be able to get another day]).

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 12:35 | 4101755 cornflakesdisease
cornflakesdisease's picture

You are large and erect and live in crap because of it.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 21:03 | 4099761 rsnoble
rsnoble's picture

Yay sounds EXCITING!!!  If you could pick a point on a timeline to materialize on planet Earth why pick the ice cream social generation?  War, murder, rape, drugs and alcohol baby!!!!!!!!

Sorry..........i've been trying to be more upbeat lately. 

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 04:51 | 4100553 Seer
Seer's picture

One could probably pick ANY point in time and find these same things.  It only looks to be more widespread today because there are more people and faster communications.  I'd have to state that on the whole the ratios vary but slightly.

I AM upbeat, and it's because I don't do any of those things...  When I gave up hope it all got better.  I stopped feeling that I had any need or capacity to "change the world."  I changed the ONLY "world" that I know of- my own:

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 08:47 | 4100899 Seer
Seer's picture

So, there's never been a point in time other than this in which these things have occurred?

There really are stupid people here...

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 08:48 | 4100900 Seer
Seer's picture


Mon, 10/28/2013 - 21:04 | 4099770 max2205
max2205's picture


Mon, 10/28/2013 - 21:08 | 4099785 A Lunatic
A Lunatic's picture

I can live with 29 uncomfortable truths. fucking way........

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 21:21 | 4099824 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

I find 3 22 oz Sam Adams drafts make these truths SO much more comfortable. *hic*

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:51 | 4100109 Agent P
Agent P's picture

Their seasonal Octoberfest is the shizzle. 

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 21:13 | 4099797 Teddy Tenpole
Teddy Tenpole's picture



What is striking is just how much GDP LeBron took with him.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 00:23 | 4100336 TheMerryPrankster
TheMerryPrankster's picture

In America we have no class. Its the difference between the usa and the whole world, why anyone can be president, even a negro, or at least a half-negro.


Tue, 10/29/2013 - 08:31 | 4100854 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

"the difference between the usa and the whole world, why anyone can be president"

Wasn't that the whole idea, allure or whatever?

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 21:15 | 4099801 Never One Roach
Never One Roach's picture

Go to a supermarket like Kroger in a lower class or lower middle class neighborhood and you'll find lots of super frustrated, semi-vicious shoppers walking the isles ready to lash out anyone who bumps into their cart.

I visited a friend just west of Houston just on the east border of the "famous" Cinco Ranch area this weekend, and It's Bad. Not Cinco Ranch but the area just east of it.


It's Super Bad.

For some reason history shows the very plush Cinco Ranch cultures won't expand into the eastern crappy areas. Usually, the other way around.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 23:31 | 4100214 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

Everyone is on the brink of poverty, that's why. You're probably not semi-vicious if you got a > $30/hr job, but anything lower than $20 and you're hurtin...

The wage caste system is super taboo!

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 12:38 | 4101765 cornflakesdisease
cornflakesdisease's picture

Half you neighbors in Cinco Ranch are living hand to mouth on plastic furniture inside them rich shacks.  I know, I clear our the crap in foreclosures.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 21:26 | 4099844 yogibear
yogibear's picture

It's a process of the 12 fed head banksters transfering what wealth is left from the 99% to the 1%.


Tue, 10/29/2013 - 05:01 | 4100561 Seer
Seer's picture

But it's really only fake wealth, rather, it's what TPTB/They say is wealth.  It's NOT wealth if they can't convince you to chase after it such that that function results in TPTB/Their "profiting" (= con job; = control/dependences in Their System).

Remember: it's been nearly ALL "loaned in to existence."  Physics says that something cannot be created from nothing...

Are we now seeing how important it is to question the underlying premise?  To go forward with the premise that it is necessary to seek "wealth" only empowers TPTB/Them.

The certainty is that everything falls to a sustainable level.  I'm NOT thinking that that will be a world in which only remains Gates, Soros and Gross (pick any of your three "favorites") on an island: and with just these then, who is "wealthy" when there's no real difference?

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 21:28 | 4099852 Make_Mine_A_Double
Make_Mine_A_Double's picture

The word 'poverty' in the USSA has lost it's historical context.

I seriously doubt 3/4 of the poverty stats are what we would previously define as grinding poverty - not to say the economy isn't god awful for this demographic.

The Left hijacked the lingo a long time ago.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:00 | 4099955 Harry Dong
Harry Dong's picture

Try the grey stuff, its great on watercress and pita chips

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:30 | 4100046 ronaldawg
ronaldawg's picture

Poverty means you have to buy your own crack.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:55 | 4100132 Agent P
Agent P's picture

No, it's grinding poverty, only with cars, smartphones and expensive sneakers.  Also, starving makes poor people really fat these days. 

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 21:59 | 4099951 Dixie Rect
Dixie Rect's picture

Obama lies, poverty thrives.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:11 | 4099995 Muppet
Muppet's picture

Fortunately, many of these numbers are Government cited.... and hence unreliable.    Government stats come from the fear mongers.    

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 05:07 | 4100565 Seer
Seer's picture

It's ALL kool-aid.  Drinking it is NO way to rectify the kool-aid-drinking problem...

BTW - It's just about "control."  TPTB require there to be s unified structure in place in order to keep their System in place.  The govt is that structure.  The govt is just the mechanism that gets us to use the megaphone on ourselves, when we ought to be asking: who the fuck is making the megaphones?

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 08:32 | 4100858 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

HFCS kool-aid that that.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:19 | 4100009 Reaper
Reaper's picture

Simple basic arithmetic:
Fewer workers = less work product produced.

At best, if less is produced and it is divided among an increased or a stay the same total of people = less is each's share.

If more money is printed, it doesn't affect the amount produced.

For those idle, who seek solace in Marxism. Heed the words of the Communist Manifesto, "Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labour of others by means of such appropriations." Or you'll have to produce.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:31 | 4100055 sessinpo
sessinpo's picture

workers does not necessarily = production.


And by the way, I have yet to see a governmental system that DOESN'T deprive a man the power to subjugate the labour of others by means of such appropriation. That is the problem of government, whether communist or not, government eventually seizes that power.


Tue, 10/29/2013 - 00:18 | 4100326 TheMerryPrankster
TheMerryPrankster's picture

One need only look at Washington D.C. and the TSA/CIA/NSA police state to realize the truth of your statment here in the land of the free and the home of the cowering in wet diapers aftrer pissing themselves from the imagined shadow of terrorists around every corner, beneath every bed.

we get the government we deserve,and we are the only ones who can change it. Our leaders aren't there to lead but to shepherd us to corporate slaughter in corporate/government wars spoonfed to us by the corporate media.

it is a police state in all but name.

land of the free.........

free your mind and your ass will follow til then your another corporate slave with an iphone collar and a mortgage dragging you to drown in an ocean of debt.

America, the other white meat.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:34 | 4100063 Harry Dong
Harry Dong's picture

'One immediate aim: the standard eight-hour working day, to be established by legal enactment...'

How many of these 8 hr days do you want to work in a week?

Should it take 100 hours of labor for a family to live pet week?

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 05:15 | 4100572 Seer
Seer's picture

"Fewer workers = less work product produced"

REALLY?  Someone needs to tell the automation industry that they ought to stop making robotics!

There's a conservation of energy component in here, and, sadly, most won't understand the implications (the belief in the illusion of growth as the end-all precludes this from being scrutinized- Mother Nature will address this in good enough time [she's now starting to stroll up to the podium]).

Anyway, tossing out "Marx" as the bait may make one's "choice" more attractive, but it's that "best looking horse at the glue factory" thing... Systems based on growth fail/collapse (we're on a finite planet- duh!).

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 07:45 | 4100732 RSloane
RSloane's picture

The entire premise of 'productivity' is based on the same amount of work being produced by ever-decreasing number of workers. Certainly automation comes into play in some instances. In others, high productivity is achieved by directly firing/laying off a seemingly redundant work force and 'streamlining' overall performance of the business in question.

Quality of work is another matter entirely.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 08:57 | 4100923 Seer
Seer's picture

I agree that the constant push is to get more out of workers (do more with less head-count), but I think that most people way-underestimate the impacts of automation.  Several years ago there was an article by the automation industry itself that spoke to this point (that many of the jobs "off-shored" were no longer in existence because of automation).

"Quality of work is another matter entirely."

And this is primarily a direct result of specifications.  When you start to go cheap on materials then chances are much more has been cheaped-out on as well.  Workers might be doing a good job of producing junk: garbage in, garbage out; stuff can fail because of the materials, not necessarily how well (or poorly) they were assembled.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:28 | 4100040 mark mchugh
mark mchugh's picture

I wonder how many people realize that corporations are the ultimate beneficiaries of the welfare state.  The poor don't have mattresses stuffed with money, that money winds up as profits for Walmart Pepsi etc.  

When you factor in the fact that there's about 22 million government employees, who also "receive assistance" from the government, albeit in the form of a paycheck, then number of people getting assistance shifts to 1.64 for every person NOT working for the government.

And it gets worse.  When you consider there's at least another 20 million "pseudo-private" sector jobs, that is people who technically work for private companies, however every penny they earn comes from the government.  You know, defense contractors, road crews, global warmologists, etc.

You've now got 60 million full-time workers who do not get paid directly by the goverment trying to provide for 150 million who do.  2.5 tax drains for every person you can call a taxpayer with a straight face.

And the kick in the nuts is corporate profits hit an all-time high in 2012!


Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:36 | 4100070 ronaldawg
ronaldawg's picture

And who owns the corporations?  Stockholders.  People like me and you.  So what is your point?

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:42 | 4100084 mark mchugh
mark mchugh's picture

I hope you're making a joke.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 00:00 | 4100290 Dr. Bonzo
Dr. Bonzo's picture

Yeah I'm sure all those mom n pop investors holding 200 shares of this and that and 100 shares of something or other feel like reeeeeeeeeeeal capitalist bigshots. Hey honey, the dividend check just came in. We made $12.37 this quarter!!! Yeeeeeeha.... it's splurging time.



Tue, 10/29/2013 - 06:55 | 4100664 Seer
Seer's picture

Well, in a way you're partly right in that many of the "holders" are funds that mange for our pensions.  All acccept that they make obscene levels of profit in order that the mirage of perpetual growth on a finite planet (which is necessary to balance "interest" and "increased 'returns'") can be swallowed.

And here we ALL are, battling the eternal forces of entropy with finite resources... of course it's not going to turn out as our fantasy-based mindset says it will.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 09:00 | 4100935 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

You must like the taste of sinker.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:37 | 4100075 Harry Dong
Harry Dong's picture

Hear hear. That govt paycheck is so so better than food stamps. We even have a real dentist now!

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:53 | 4100119 Blood Spattered...
Blood Spattered Banner's picture

Hell yes brother!  We consumers gave up the fight when we privatized our rights to retire. Instead of guaranteed pensions, we have risky 401k plans that are subject to artificially created boom bust cycles.

As long as savers are crucified by paltry interest rates, we all have to borrow more. It's really that simple. 

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 23:03 | 4100146 mark mchugh
mark mchugh's picture

Yup.  The feedback loop is now fully established.  We won't let corporate profits collapse because that would kill stocks, which would kill penions (both guaranteed and not).

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 07:08 | 4100679 Seer
Seer's picture

"guaranteed pensions"

Try this:

"guaranteed returns"

I guarantee you that "guarantee" shouldn't be a word used in this context.  What it is is demand-pull from the future in order to create the growth necessary to compound the "returns" on those pension funds.

Big warning bells went off in my head when, several years ago, I listened to reports about the UAW's voting to pitch the younger generation of workers under the bus so that they, the existing and "retired" workers could keep their pensions.

The concept of "retirement" is a failry recent and low-spread concept.

Demographics is overrunning our ability to "retire."  While "jobs" will only become more scarce, available/needed "work" will only increase (as machine dependencies decline due to energy scarcity/affordability).  Sitting back and asking the younger generation to work even harder for me is, IMO, wrong.  We ought to stop trying to scam them with "jobs" and start getting them to think in terms of "working" with us, with "us" working and not sitting back and trying to live off of money making money...

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 05:36 | 4100599 Seer
Seer's picture

"You've now got 60 million full-time workers who do not get paid directly by the goverment trying to provide for 150 million who do."

The rabbit hole goes MUCH deeper... Consider that of those 60 million full-time jobs that MANY are associated with "jobs" that don't really produce anything tangible, lots of "service" and "retail" activities ("work?"), and if associated with actual physical things it's likely of things manufactured elsewhere.  I often hear about how bad Wal-Mart is, and not that I don't agree there's "badness" there, but people tout "local" businesses over Mal-Mart, when at those "local" businesses one finds pretty much the exact same items (made elsewhere) that one finds in Wal-Mart*.  Fine, make those things locally (in the US) and this is correct?  If it's cheap, mindless consumer stuff it's better if made locally?

* Although the argument can be made that more money stays in the "local" economy from "local" vs. Wal-Mart, one could state that this really isn't the case because there's nothing CREATED so there can not be MORE.

At some point we've got to go a little deeper than just this superficial proding at "needing to be more 'productive'" (which is really only a means of maintaining TPTB's position of creating/maintaining division).  At the very core it's ONLY about consumption of energy/resources: and when it's for oneself, say to stay alive, then one can say that that's a good thing; but, if it's for the entire human population, and that population continues to grow, then, given that growth means additional consumption of resources and that this is a finite planet, well, what was viewed as a "good thing" for the individual starts looking a bit less "good" in that larger picture.  And this goes back to the question of whether more "production" (which facilitates consumption) is the "good thing" that folks think it is...

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 06:52 | 4100661 mark mchugh
mark mchugh's picture

Indeed the rabbit hole goes much deeper.  I thought I had painted a depressing enough picture, but your insights are correct.

A big part of the greater problem is the continuing fall of velocity of money.  We are reaching a point where the government is just borrowing money to give it to corporations.  In a healthy economy, the same dollar gets spent over and over again.


Tue, 10/29/2013 - 07:48 | 4100738 RSloane
RSloane's picture

Exactly. A vibrant growing economy requires frequent exchange of money for goods and services. That pool of exchange has to become increasingly broader in order to feed velocity or rate at which money is changing hands. We have neither.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 09:30 | 4101006 Seer
Seer's picture

mm, I wonder whether there's such a thing as "healty ecomomy," especially when our measure of it is typically expressed in growth terms.

About that velocity of money thing, that's a reflection of peoples' involvement in the System.  As the divide between the haves-and-the-have-nots widens more and more of the have-nots will cease functioning in the System.  All is about volume.  And it's volume that I've been warning about as being the thing to watch.  "Economies of scale" has always been pushed as being essential to increasing volume.  Well, that's an un-signed condition, it's assuming that "economies of scale" only has a positive scale.  I believe that there's both a positive and a negative measurement here, in which case heretofore "economies of scale" was really "economies of scale increasing;" now what we're starting to see is "economies of scale reversing."  All the leverage that one gets in volume going up (increasing) starts unwinding when volume is going down (reversing).  All the P&E that's scaled to high volumes becomes quite the burden at lower volumes, the per-unit costs shoot up and margins get crushed.

Just like HFT is not a good thing, I don't think that high volume velosity is necessarily a good thing either.  High volume was essentially the trick used to simulate growth post 1971 (with the real ramp-up campaign starting during the Reagan administration).  On the other hand, high velocity of money from the trade of actual physical goods probably means rampant growth, and "strength through exhaustion [of physical resources]" isn't really a long-term good either.  Now then, this is what it's come to; this doesn't mean that it couldn't be some other way (though I'm not sure if a more simple, honest trading environment could really exist given the levels of corruption that exists now).

"We are reaching a point where the government is just borrowing money to give it to corporations."

In a way, yes.  But, it's really the function of govt to facilitate commerce (I hate this notion, just as I hate the "defense" notion- both have gotten so stretched that it's allowed for massive corruption).  Private corporate business had peaked and was starting to back-pedal thanks to the real estate bubble popping (and real estate was HUGE).  Govt stepped in and bailed it all out lest it would have collapsed: it's going to collapse eventually no matter, but at least one can state that it bought time (and I'll take that time, thank you very much).  Again, at the fundamental level, the System as we know it was on the verge of collapsing, which would have taken a huge chunk of existing corporations, further meaning that there would have been massive numbers of lost jobs- the chaos was sure to be unleashed (being stretched over time has significantly reduced the blowback).  Shy of abolishing the existing banking system (CB/Fed model) I'm not seeing how the crisis could have been managed that would have resolved things: and I'd think that we would have all been pretty suspicious had something been rolled out immediately following the Lehman collapse (think USA PATRIOT Act being "created" and made law soon after 9/11).  Cooperation from the bankers would always have been needed, and I don't think anyone could have attempted to work up some other scheme without rattling the bankers (politicians who rattle the bankers tend to suffer bad things).

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 17:41 | 4102872 mark mchugh
mark mchugh's picture

I didn't mean ever-accelerating VOM was a good thing, but in my opinion, VOM is more important than nominal GDP growth paid for by debt.

I often break ou the Herbert Spencer quote, "The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools."  I really think that's where we are.  Most people don't even know how it's supposed to work anymore.

The government has inverted its place in the food chain, instead of being fed by private industry, it wants to feed industry, further distorting realities.  Where it gets really wierd is those rescued industries suffer from the delusion that they "earned" their money in an honest fashion.


Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:30 | 4100047 yochananmichael
yochananmichael's picture

our government establishes "poverty" on a relative not absolute basis. We have virtually no real poor, but rather an entitled lazy parasitical underclass that is so fat they need free gastric bypasses. they are wealthier than 99% of the world. if you want poverty go to Zimbabwe. 

 we should bring back corvee for these parasites.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:38 | 4100074 ronaldawg
ronaldawg's picture

You don't have to go to Africa - grinding poverty about 1/2  mile south of the Tijuana border.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:47 | 4100098 Harry Dong
Harry Dong's picture

Gosh, I just have to pick up my kids at school and see grinding poverty. Car? That's a forbidden luxury. But those poor teachers don't mind driving BMW's.

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:39 | 4100079 mark mchugh
mark mchugh's picture

There is truth in your words.  Just remember we also have an entitled lazy parasitical overclass and entitled lazy parasitical government employees.

Defecit spending will do that

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:42 | 4100088 Harry Dong
Harry Dong's picture

Yeah, like that lazy ass 60 yr old son of the Chicago man who owned lumberyards in the Midwest. Sitting there drinking scotch in his castle park cottage looking over the lake watching the cleaning crew vacuum while he played solitaire. 

Who's the useless eaters, remind me?

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 00:19 | 4100327 TulsaTime
TulsaTime's picture

Right up there with the overlord class are we?  You eat that crap the poor get and see how well you maintain a figure.  Not to worry, you can run it off in the streets in the upcoming social strata disturbances. 

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 00:19 | 4100328 TulsaTime
TulsaTime's picture

Right up there with the overlord class are we?  You eat that crap the poor get and see how well you maintain a figure.  Not to worry, you can run it off in the streets in the upcoming social strata disturbances. 

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 05:41 | 4100605 Seer
Seer's picture

And the "productive" 1% (banksters and other manipulators of the "virtual") are exempt?

Once again, folks have fallen for the trick of misdirection by TPTB: which is why folks are NOT in the class of TPTB (but are trying to get there by knocking down the "parasitical underclass"); Sisyphus rolls on...

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:31 | 4100053 Godisanhftbot
Godisanhftbot's picture

 doesnt zh make millions predicted 10 of the the last 0 depressions?



Mon, 10/28/2013 - 22:50 | 4100111 Carl Popper
Carl Popper's picture

You and SAT800 need to get a room. You gotta be in love with each other.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 00:02 | 4100296 IridiumRebel
IridiumRebel's picture

You're in a depression right now. I hope you are doing well cuz the rest of us are not.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 12:45 | 4101794 cornflakesdisease
cornflakesdisease's picture

I'm a manufactuere of a speciality product and business is booming.  You have to find your nitch, stay out of debt, and  ow how to play the game like the big boys do.  Oh yeah, and not get sick or ill.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 08:04 | 4100775 Vooter
Vooter's picture

English, please! No drunk posting, please! Stupid cunt...

Mon, 10/28/2013 - 23:57 | 4100286 SnatchnGrab
SnatchnGrab's picture

I have to agree with Mr. JW, Rawles when it comes to 'American Blackout'. Their death numbers are VERY optimistic. Me? Got food for 6+ months, water the same. Bullets to defend myself and silver to trade.


The hardest part of the Zombie Apocalypse will be pretending I'm not excited.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 05:57 | 4100618 Seer
Seer's picture

WOW!  There's a model for the future!  But, sey la vie...

I took up farming because that's what I believe will make a sustainable life, Zombies or no Zombies*.  If I should find I need to trade food for "bullets" or "silver" then there may be an interaction, but as far as I can foresee I won't be needing to make such a trade.

* Teach a man to fish... yadda, yadda, yadda...

I'm always amazed at hearing folks around me tossing out round after round of .50 cal bullets.  Stuff ain't cheap.  If it gets Zombie-bad out where I am I highly doubt that Zombies will be flooding out to such areas as I'm in.  But if they do I am sure that they won't be getting past the oodles of "prepared" folks that the Zombies would have to get past in order to reach me: it's kind of like my change in perspective on speeders- I see them as being helpful to me, I call them "radar detectors," useful idiots I suppose...


Tue, 10/29/2013 - 00:34 | 4100359 SilverFish
SilverFish's picture

Would any of you happen to have any Grey Poupon?

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 00:44 | 4100374 RTUT
RTUT's picture

Okay, THAT was funny, and worth it after all that bad news.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 05:35 | 4100594 kurt
kurt's picture

My weiner tastes better with Poupon!

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 05:48 | 4100603 22winmag
22winmag's picture

... *butt* of course!

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 00:57 | 4100391 W74
W74's picture

Clearly Mr. Snyder has not seen poverty in NY, SF, or D.C.

I've seen two out of the thrre, and I can tell you that quite a large swath of D.C. is a blighted hellscape. In NY the poverty is acute, in pockets, and one does not have to travel outside of even Manhattan to find it.  It is almost prolific in the Bronx and growing in Queens and Brooklyn.

If one drives west from Annapolis into D.C. along US-50, eventually one gets to a point where they have to say: "Dafuq? This is my nation's capital?"

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 06:09 | 4100625 Seer
Seer's picture

Nearly every big population center has oodles of "poverty."  The take-away should be that "growth" doesn't solve problems, for if it did then we'd surely see better conditions in big cities, but we don't.  My wife is from Manilla; go ahead and tell me about wealth contrasts...

It's the "contrast" that delineates "poverty."  I suppose that when one gets away from the centers of power (and corruption) that cities foster and one gets out into the rural landscapes in which nearly all live life at a lower level that "poverty" is seen for what it is- subjective: and for those that have property lots fall under the category of "cash poor, land rich" (though there's still plenty of folks practicing massive amounts of "excess" as well- seen it in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee as well as where I currently live).

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 02:56 | 4100486 10mm
10mm's picture

Things are great in NYC,NOT. Wall St maybe, not rest.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 05:34 | 4100592 kurt
kurt's picture

Like it or not, we are in a corporate/government imposed Dust Bowl. The manufacturing was blown east. We're all the Joad Family now.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 06:18 | 4100633 Seer
Seer's picture

Sadly, unlike back then, today we've got no pertinent skills such as farming.  And the population is greater and energy is becoming scarcer (and oil is responsible for producing and delivering roughly 1/3 of our protien).

There was a future for the Joads.  I question whether this is the case of folks today.

NOTE: many of the supposed "lost jobs" were taken over by robotics when factories shifted "off shore."  (and the land from the Dust Bowl era is being worked by "robots" [farm equipment])

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 08:10 | 4100795 kurt
kurt's picture



They're stealthing through a pacific region version now.

The New Feudalism is on purpose. Lords still want the right of "first night". (They want to fuck your wife before you do.)

For the insane, enough is never enough.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 09:40 | 4101048 Seer
Seer's picture

Fucking NAFTA... many people here still don't get the linkage, with the influx of Mexicans into the US (push them off their farms and take their land for corporate AG, and they have no where to go other than up to the US to work as farm labor).  This, of course, is what opened up the flood gates (though the tide has receeded a fair amount after the US housing crash).

"The New Feudalism is on purpose."

In a way, yes.  I think that it's the natural progression of the rich competing against each other to see who can amass the most (it is, after all, the very notion of capitalism, accumulation of capital).  I don't think that they're wanting to create all the nasty residuals though; well, they are either ignorant or kidding themselves, but at any rate I don't think they're wanting to experience the wrath of the blowback.

The entire premise that we're operating off of is insane (that growth on a finite planet can be perpetual).  Couple this with what POWER does and it can all ONLY but get pretty stupid.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 05:45 | 4100606 SendMeYourWorth...
SendMeYourWorthlessMoney's picture

I dislike articles which start out with incorrect data. That first sentence presumes that there are only two groups, those who work and those who get benefits. That is wrong. The majorithy of people getting SNAP who can work do so, and there are overlaps in other areas as well.

Discussed by people not looking for mouse clicks via an incorrect and sensational headline, here:

That said, there are some scary numbers below that in this article, and until we remember how we invested in this country, and recognize how in 1980 we started financing our lifestyle and paying the interest to the bankers with our freedom, it is going to go on until it all falls down.


Tue, 10/29/2013 - 06:33 | 4100646 Seer
Seer's picture

Our freedom is divested through consumerism.  This has been a trajectory which is rooted LONG before 1980.  1980 only marks a "creative" era in which exponential growth was strung along, heightened, through not the increase in the exploitation of physical resources but the exploitation of virtual ones (financial hocus-pocus).

The good news is that bad systems fail and that the bad aspects of them cannot continue forever.

The bad news is that most of what we know, and the things that we might view as being good aspects, is not going to be what we think.  Different bad things to come.  Different good things to come.

We should no more pound on the "less fortunate" than TPTB/1%-ers pound on us.  There will be no state arrived at, only one that's always been there (which gets waylaid via the status quo)- a state of constant change.  All will be better served by focusing on the basics and with being responsible for managing them.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 18:38 | 4103000 dreadnaught
dreadnaught's picture

yep-we are free to buy Brands A,B or red, green and blue; thats about the only reason they let us live-to CONSUME-forget about TRUE freedom

While the War Machine/MIC milks Trillions from us taxpayers

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 08:57 | 4100918 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

Ritholtz NOT looking for mouse clicks? Seriously?

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 05:45 | 4100609 22winmag
22winmag's picture

This could all get really ugly really quick... and America's winter of discontent is right around the corner.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 06:46 | 4100656 Seer
Seer's picture

It's already ugly.

But then again, the System is ugly... winter was always built in.

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 06:52 | 4100660 bk1037
bk1037's picture

No one masters lists more than Michael Snyder. He is usually quite thorough with what he does and links to sources for points made.

On the downside, I have seen his posts for a number of years, and along with Tyler, he may be the most incessantly negative blogger I see out here. I really am hard pressed to come up with anything positive he has ever posted or blogged on which would raise his credibility. Michael, in case you read these comments, try to come up with blogging on something positive, as hard as it may be to do. We know your views on the economy, but nothing is 100% negative all the time, not even the econonmy. I offer this to boost the credibility of what you publish. Tyler is not quite as negative as Michael, but he does tend to offer a more cynical view, which I need to see at times to understand some of what is being reported.


Tue, 10/29/2013 - 07:37 | 4100719 drendebe10
drendebe10's picture

As opposed to the pollyanna, parrot the komrade party line n bury ur ur head in thw sh-t approach of MSM of course?

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 06:58 | 4100668 ncdirtdigger
ncdirtdigger's picture

It's hard to have sympathy for some 'poor' dude with an Obamaphone, a can of Colt and a full EBT card watching reruns of Modern Family while I am out busting my ass trying to make a buck. Fuck em. Let em eat chit.

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