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The Golden Era of the 1950s/60s Was an Anomaly, Not the Default Setting

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

The 1950s/60s were not "normal"--they were a one-off, extraordinary anomaly.

If there is one thing that unites trade unionists, Keynesian Cargo Cultists, free-market fans and believers in American exceptionalism, it's a misty-eyed nostalgia for the Golden Era of the 1950s and 60s, when one wage-earner earned enough to buy all the goodies of a middle-class lifestyle because everything was cheap. Food was cheap, land was cheap, houses were cheap, college was cheap and most importantly, oil was cheap.

The entire political spectrum looks back at this Golden Age with longing because it was an era of "the rising tide raises all ships:" essentially full employment, a strong U.S. dollar and overseas demand for U.S. goods combined to raise wages while keeping inflation low.

The nostalgic punditry quite naturally think of this full-employment golden age of their youth as the default setting, i.e. the economy of the 1950s/60s was "normal." But it wasn't normal--it was a one-off anomaly, never to be repeated. Consider the backdrop of this Golden Era:

1. Our industrial competitors had been flattened and/or bled dry in World War II, leaving the U.S. with the largest pool of capital and intact industrial base. Very little was imported from other nations.

2. The pent-up consumer demand after 15 years of Depression and rationing during 1942-45 drove strong demand for virtually everything, boosting employment and wages.

3. The Federal government had put tens of millions of people to work (12 million in the military alone) during the war, and with few consumer items to spend money on, these wages piled up into a mountain of savings/capital.

4. These conditions created a massive pool of qualified borrowers for mortgages, auto loans, etc.

5. The Federal government guaranteed low-interest mortgages and college education for the 12 million veterans.

6. The U.S. dollar was institutionalized as the reserve currency, backed by gold at a fixed price.

7. Oil was cheap--incredibly cheap.

All those conditions went away as global competition heated up and the demand for dollars outstripped supply. I won't rehash Triffin's Paradox again, but please read The Big-Picture Economy, Part 1: Labor, Imports and the Dollar (September 23, 2013).

In essence, the industrial nations flattened during World War II needed dollars to fund their own rebuilding. Printing their own currencies simply weakened those currencies, so they needed hard money, i.e. dollars. The U.S. funded the initial spurt of rebuilding with Marshall Plan loans, but these were relatively modest in size.

Though all sorts of alternative global currency schemes had been discussed in academic circles (the bancor, etc.), the reality on the ground was the dollar functioned as a reserve currency that everyone knew and trusted.

But to fund our Allies' continued growth (recall the U.S. was in a political, military, cultural, economic and propaganda Cold War with the Soviet Union), the U.S. had to provide them with more dollars--a lot more dollars.

Federally issued Marshall Plan loans provided only a small percentage of the capital needed. As Triffin pointed out, the "normal" mechanism to provide capital overseas is to import goods and export dollars, which is precisely what the U.S. did.

This trend increased as industrial competitors' products improved in quality and their price remained low in an era of the strong dollar.

Long story short: you can't issue a reserve currency, export that currency in size and peg it to gold. As the U.S. shifted (by necessity, as noted above) from an exporter to an importer, a percentage of those holding dollars overseas chose to trade their dollars for gold. That cycle of exporting dollars/importing goods to provide capital to the world would lead to all the U.S. gold being transferred overseas, so the dollar was unpegged from gold in 1971.

Since then, the U.S. has attempted to square the circle: continue to issue the reserve currency, i.e. export dollars to the world by running trade deficits, but also compete in the global market for goods and services, which requires weakening the dollar to be competitive.

In a global marketplace for goods and services, all sorts of things become tradable, including labor. The misty-eyed folks who are nostalgic for the 1950s/60s want a contradictory set of goodies: they want a gold-backed currency that is still the reserve currency, and they want trade surpluses, i.e. they want to export goods and import others' currencies. They want full employment, protectionist walls that enable high wages in the U.S. and they want to be free to export U.S. goods and services abroad with no restrictions.

All those goodies are contradictory. You can't have high wages protected by steep tariffs and also have the privilege of exporting your surplus goods to other markets. That's only possible in an Imperial colonialist model where the Imperial center can coerce its colonial periphery into buying its exports in trade for the colonies' raw commodities.

And very importantly, oil is no longer cheap. The primary fuel for industrial and consumerist economies is no longer cheap. That reality sets all sorts of constraints on growth that central states and banks have tried to get around by blowing credit bubbles. That works for a while and then ends very badly.

The 1950s/60s were not "normal"--they were a one-off, extraordinary anomaly. Pining for an impossible set of contradictory conditions is not helpful. We have to deal with the "real normal," which is a global economy in which no one can square the circle for long.


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Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:21 | 4602957 One And Only
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With a totalitarianistic government that centrally manages can kiss the 50's goodbye.

Opening the borders to all third world immigrants (like Kenya) surrrrreeee hasn't helped much either.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:03 | 4603147 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

I want freedom.

Let everything else sort itself out after that.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 15:12 | 4603396 zaphod
zaphod's picture

But Americans tried to re-create that prosperity in the 80s/90s/00s using credit and false money, because they believed this prosperity was a right, not the product of 200 years of hard work.

Now we've dug a hole that is impossible to climb out of, the false prosperity will come back ten fold.

When this happens, there will be freedom for none. 

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:22 | 4603231 midtowng
midtowng's picture

It was only an anomaly because the wealthy were scared of communism at the time, and decided to let some of their wealth slip down to the working class in order to dull their revolutionary tendencies.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 15:14 | 4603409 zaphod
zaphod's picture

I am way more scared of communism in the US today. Mostly because the wealthy in the US have figured out to implement it for the masses (us) while protecting themselves.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 18:41 | 4604119 TimmyB
TimmyB's picture

What nonsense. Please explain how on Earth communism can be implemented for the masses and the wealthy are protected. That's the same as saying fire is both hot and cold.

What you mean is that oligarchy has been implemented, where the rich rule for their benefit and the masses get screwed. Communism my ass.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 15:08 | 4603378 dogismycopilot
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fuck man, at this rate i would be thankful to have the 1980s back.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 15:08 | 4603379 kanoli
kanoli's picture

Kenyans work very hard for low wages.  What's wrong with that?

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 15:11 | 4603393 kanoli
kanoli's picture

More to the point... If we did not have artificially high minimum wage and a cornucopia of welfare benefits, we would not have the massive influx of foreign labor who are willing to work illegally at market rates.

The problem is not immigration control.  The problem is giving out too much free shit.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 17:45 | 4603886 NidStyles
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Not sure why you are being junked, you are correct...

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 18:31 | 4604073 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Wrong on just so many levels....

Except the free shit part, we do indeed give far too much free shit to the corporations and the uber wealthy....

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 18:45 | 4604136 TimmyB
TimmyB's picture

Actually, if we didn't have shitload of employers who knew nothing would happen to them if they broke the law and hired illegal immigrants we wouldn't have had a massive influx of illegals taking American jobs.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 17:56 | 4603935 Bangin7GramRocks
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I long for a time when bankers and CEO's were regular rich, not 400 foot yacht, 10 mansions and private jet rich. We can go back to those times. Give me some bullshit chart that explains why these fucks deserve to be that rich! And don't even tell me that they possess otherworldly skills that require such largesse.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:21 | 4602967 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Simplistic analysis at best.  How about the fact that the middle class had wage earning power, as evidenced by the fact that the average difference between the pay of a CEO and a worker was measured in the single digits (worker salary *X was maybe 8 or 9), versus in the hundreds now.  

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:33 | 4603025 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re:  versus in the hundreds now

Sure, but would we have been able to defeat the trrrsss if our CEO's didn't earn 100+ times worker wages?

That's the problem with you redistributionist, you never admit the benefits there are to having an Elysium Class. 

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:56 | 4603126 Big Brother
Big Brother's picture

I can't figure out why this occurs in the US and UK much more so than say, Germany, Japan, and South Korea.

There has to be some sort of correlation between banking and service industry profits as a percentage of GDP versus value-added manufacturing and exportation of tangible goods.  In every instance with exception of China and the US, the trade unions help to regulate CEO pay electing their member to sit on the company's board.  I think this is a matter of law in Germany for example.

This leads me to conclude that it's predicated on the predominant private industry and the level of active corporate governance exerted by the shareholders.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:04 | 4603151 NOTaREALmerican
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Re:  In every instance with exception of China and the US, the trade unions help to regulate CEO pay electing their member to sit on the company's board. 

I think it has to do with "those people".   The white people here trashed their own society in a desparte attempt to get even with "those people", and the Red Team promised to help them, but told them the only way to do it was to impliment a survival-of-the-fittest society where everybody would complete and (obviously) "those people" would lose.   

Didn't quite work out as the white dumbasses expected.  

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:56 | 4603341 jaxville
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  This essay is total bullshit. No mention of a fractional reserve banking/credit based money system and one of it's corrollories, totalitarian government. The fact is our standard of living has gone down as the government and the financial sector drain away resources. A bloody revolution which erases big government and credit based money would restore our lost standard of living. Too few care about freedom, preferring security; making the likelihood of change pretty slim for now. That change will arrive once those who voted for the safety of the state find it is little more than an illusion.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 15:08 | 4603373 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

Your response doesn't directly address a single contention in the article; your response is total bullshit. If you're an angry white dude, it might sound good, though.

Global growth is dead. Good luck on your bloody revolution - grab what you can!

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 16:18 | 4603613 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture



"And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. . . .

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 17:47 | 4603898 NidStyles
NidStyles's picture

Wait, dudes get banned for saying someone is Jewish, but you can run freely labelling people as an angry white person. 


It's obvious that Zerohead has fallen into the hands of the statists again.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 18:24 | 4604044 Spastica Rex
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Yeah, sorry for the racism. I know how sensitive ZHers are to racism.

Sat, 03/29/2014 - 02:02 | 4604973 kurt
kurt's picture

That was a very nigardly apology.

Sat, 03/29/2014 - 03:55 | 4605041 NidStyles
NidStyles's picture

well damn sir... i had no idea...

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 18:42 | 4604126 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

The state is a merely means by which power is projected by those that desire to project power.... 

The greater the power to be projected the greater the state...

And there will always be those that desire power and are charismatic enough or otherwise gifted to convince others that it is in their interests....

Very simple really...

In essence ZH is a form of the state...

Sat, 03/29/2014 - 04:20 | 4605051 NidStyles
NidStyles's picture

No one is arguing that. Even Rothbard based a lot of his work on that premise. The difference is that he took it several steps further. I do recommend his work to you, Flak.

Sat, 03/29/2014 - 06:02 | 4605093 Flakmeister
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Now to deny that the true course of things is naive....

Sat, 03/29/2014 - 00:21 | 4604886 TimmyB
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What the article does overlook was that the American work force was 35% union and that tariffs protected American industries. Once the oligarchs were able to bribe Congress to removed those tariffs, which allowed American industries to move overseas and hire semi-slaves and pocket the difference between the wages paid to American unionized workers and those paid to semi-slaves, we were all screwed.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 01:27 | 4607189 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

And yet this partially is the fault of those workers.

They could have started their own businesses and warned everyone to boycott companies that moved labour overseas, thus shutting down those companies unless they sought their customers overseas too (they didn't seek that). As it turns out fucking no one wanted to boycott and no one wanted to start their own honest homegrown companies so everything collapsed.

Lazy people, too lazy to even boycott, helped make this so.

Hearing the shameless support of being a consumer of Target or Walmart tells me all I need to know. I'm happily boycotting, why aren't you?

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:35 | 4603029 kurt
kurt's picture

Yeah, this article is the advance guard of banker propagandists telling us we need Greek style



How about a better future than the past? Dare to dream. Pull your heads out of your asses!

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:44 | 4603077 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

I am less concerned about pay differentials, and more concerned that during the last 30 years, corporate executives have been looting shareholders via stock options. That disables the capital formation process, which is the foundation of actual capitalism.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 01:25 | 4607186 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

One enables the other to exist, they are in fact joined topics. Without the raiding of wages, and pensions are wages, the giant ratio wouldn't exist. As for shareholders, not all are treated equally.

Stock options, however, made publicly known, are in fact a part of the proper free market. Taking a stand against them seems nonsensical while claiming all at once to support the free market.

Actual or potential shareholders are free to dump or avoid stocks that have stock options but doing some math & applying some business experience may just conclude that attractive options bring in revenue, buyers, funding for the company, so then the only question is how badly misspent that money could be, or how very clever is the investment of that money into the company's immediate & future production actually turning out.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:45 | 4603081 Big Brother
Big Brother's picture

Long story short: you can't issue a reserve currency, export that currency in size and peg it to gold. As the U.S. shifted (by necessity, as noted above) from an exporter to an importer, a percentage of those holding dollars overseas chose to trade their dollars for gold. That cycle of exporting dollars/importing goods to provide capital to the world would lead to all the U.S. gold being transferred overseas, so the dollar was unpegged from gold in 1971.

This ^

evidenced by the fact that the average difference between the pay of a CEO and a worker was measured in the single digits (worker salary *X was maybe 8 or 9), versus in the hundreds now.  

Stongly contributed to this ^.

Financialization, an unintended (or possibly intended) consequence or negative externality from depugging from gold; and cronyism, fascism, the oligarch class, etc permit CEOs to get the pay they do.  

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:10 | 4603156 TWSceptic
TWSceptic's picture

The health of an economy (and society) isn't predominantly measured by the difference in pay. Those with unique skills should earn many times more than the unskilled. Even though I agree those in the financial sector are overpaid, the more important issue is government screwing up the free market. More regulation, more taxes, more welfare, less freedom. You can thank the fed, another quasi government entity, for enriching the banking sector.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 18:06 | 4603975 U4 eee aaa
U4 eee aaa's picture

If no one cleans the toilets, we all get sick and die. Highly skilled positions are not that much more valuable than unskilled ones if there is no division of labor

At the end of the day what we really only need is food and clothing and shelter from the elements (and some would argue against the third). It doesn't take a lot of skill to produce those things if we don't get in nature's way. After 70+ years we are dead anyway. The rest of the sophistication is us making work for ourselves

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 19:09 | 4604203 FredFlintstone
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I have been conditioned to not want to live in a mud hut and scavenge. Division of labor has been good to me.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 01:22 | 4607183 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

I have no such conditioning. Survival can come in any package and I'm good with it. I'd prefer something physically strong which a mud hut is not but division of labour isn't necessarily required and further, wasn't actually the topic, for the topic was ratio of CEO pay vs others. Much as one might want to conflate the topics into one they are divergent topics in reality.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 01:21 | 4607180 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

I imagine you're trying to be clevery abstract but #1 I never saw anyone die from use of a 'dirty' toilet. #2 we can in fact clean our own toilets #3 division of labour wasn't in question, but pricing of categories of labour. At some ratio absurdity is obvious: CEO's don't add a million times value vs the janitor so if their pay is a million times more a clear fraud is happening, a mispricing, a failed comprehension of value.

"It doesn't take a lot of skill to produce those things"

Is that right? I'll believe you after you build your own house, grow all your own food & composting toilet much less make all your own clothing.

Not much skill indeed. It took countless hours & wages before industrial machines could assist & it still takes a lot of skill to manufacture & program (as applicable) the machines that now do it (textiles mostly, but don't forget CNC's are involved for a lot of machining for pipes, valves, etc., various parts of a house aka shelter).

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:07 | 4603157 Chief Wonder Bread
Chief Wonder Bread's picture

LTER writes,

... the average difference between the pay of a CEO and a worker was measured in the single digits (worker salary *X was maybe 8 or 9), versus in the hundreds now.

Why is this the case?  

I used to believe in 'trickle-down' economics but increasingly question this idea. Here is a link to an article that explains why high marginal tax rates on high-wage earners -which was the tax regime in place in the 1950s and 1960s - actually encouraged reinvestment in pp&e, research, employee training and wages as opposed to what we have today: stock buybacks, executives options, etc...


Fri, 03/28/2014 - 15:35 | 4603484 Herd Redirectio...
Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Look at a pyramid.  Does it 'trickle down'?

No.  It is built from a solid foundation.  From the ground up.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 16:20 | 4603624 Chief Wonder Bread
Chief Wonder Bread's picture

I'm not following you.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 17:50 | 4603917 NidStyles
NidStyles's picture

He's telling you that you are being fed a line of BS. He is also correct in that statement. 

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 19:06 | 4604198 Chief Wonder Bread
Chief Wonder Bread's picture

With all due respect, nobody's feeding me a line. I'm trying to temporarily forget my conditioning on this issue and make up my own mind if there's some substance to the argument.

The problem with any economic issue is you can take any line of reasoning and make it sound persuasive by ignoring everything that contradicts it (of which there always will be such in the real economy). Further, I fully understand this particular issue has been hugely polarizing for decades and that probably few here will make the effort to question their own long-held beliefs.

What with this economic crisis and being exposed to diverse opinions here at ZH and at other websites the last few years has totally shocked me out of my complacency. I started reading ZH a few years back and finally decided to register and post on occasion but I do so with the certainty that I no longer have the certainty I once possessed and my posts will often reflect that, i.e., I am trying to learn something rather than just spout off.

OK, rant warning in contradiciton to what I just wrote: I'm going to say something emotional here so you may or may not choose to continue reading. No one likes high taxes and advocacy of higher taxes is usually associated with 'progressive' or 'liberal' policies. I don't like the label and despise the professional purveyors of most of such pap I read and hear in the media. But what really is beginning to get under my skin is the suspicion that I (and millions of other Americans) have been played for fools over the last 30 years by wolves in sheeps clothing masquerading as 'libertarians' but who are in reality nothing more than greed-filled plutocrat parasites who have used the naive faith of my kind to enrich themselves beyond all imagining and to the enduring harm of this nation. Guess what? The 'libertarian paradise' they promised is nowhere to be found. Wonder why? Could it be because there is no such place? 

Sat, 03/29/2014 - 04:04 | 4605044 NidStyles
NidStyles's picture

Odd Libertarianism as in real Libertarianism never became a thing until the 2000's after Rothbard died. Any iteration of it beforehand was independent of the Institute which was Rothbard's home for quite a while. The original Libertarians are Rothbardians. He was the one that came up with the philosophy. 

From what you are saying, you think Rand had something to do with it. Rand did not like the Libertarians. Mises liked Rand, but he wasn't a Libertarian.

Mises was the original minarchist of economics. His entire theory was built up Bastiat's work with his own to fill in the blanks and issues Bastiat could not solve. He had nothing to do with the Libertarian movement outside of his circle club.  

Sat, 03/29/2014 - 18:42 | 4606350 Chief Wonder Bread
Chief Wonder Bread's picture

I think you're reading too much into what I wrote. I was just going into a rant about what I perceive as the hijacking of 'libertarian' (note lower-case) sentiment within the American traditional conservative voting public (red-state voters mostly) by crony-capitalist opportunists/apologists hiding behind a free-market facade. Such individuals as Rubin, Summers, Greenspan and many others.

I don't have a lot of time to spend on this today but in brief, I have a real problem with Rothbard's anarcho-capitalism, I have a very negative view of Rand and I very much admire what I understand of Mises and Bastiat. (but I have to admit I have not read these in depth.) 



Sat, 03/29/2014 - 04:24 | 4605054 UselessEater
UselessEater's picture

Could it be because there is no such place?

No place they want us to wonder into.

I wonder if we're letting them set and constrain our world view and intellect a little too much? Even a wolf bites its foot off to get out of a trap.

Sat, 03/29/2014 - 18:48 | 4606367 Chief Wonder Bread
Chief Wonder Bread's picture

I concede you may be right but 'they' will always be around. If only we shared the nature of Angels. Angels could make a libertarian paradise work as easily as they could a socialist paradise. Unfortunately, most human beings are not angels. 4% of the population are psychopaths ffs. Will that ever change?

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 01:15 | 4607168 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

50% could be psychopaths and it wouldn't be so bad as long as the other 50% stopped the harm they saw right away.

With a complacent & stupid sheeple population demanding leaders you could have 0.00001% sociopaths and they'd still be overlords.

Sat, 03/29/2014 - 02:05 | 4604974 mjazzguitar
mjazzguitar's picture

Even though it was portrayed as so by the democrat political ads, Reagans tax cuts weren't trickle down.The poorest got their taxes cut the most, those at the next economic level got theirs cut less, and so on up to the wealthiest, who got their cut the least.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:22 | 4603228 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

It's a matter of scale. What is the ratio of CEO pay per worker?

In the hierarchy of pro sports, what is the pay per fan at the top and the bottom? Pro team vs. farm teams? What about the high pay of top tier college football coaches?

There are good reasons to pay top performing CEOs a big sum. Unfortunately, distortions have allowed almost every crumb bum CEO to get top pay.

Sat, 03/29/2014 - 02:01 | 4604972 mjazzguitar
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In the 1960s, the average compensation of an American CEO was about 25 times the average compensation of a production worker. That ratio rose to about 70 times by the end of the 1980s, and to around 250 times these days.

Sat, 03/29/2014 - 07:55 | 4605145 ugmug
ugmug's picture

We've gone from an economic cycle to a marijuana cycle meaning that our vices have outpaced our virtues.

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 02:41 | 4607163 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Which vice is that? I've got vodka & cigarettes in front of me now. I notice you didn't mention those. I'm sure you'll take my word for it they're really healthy for you.

But marijuana, rumblings are it has put some cancers into remission, calms people, helps with sleep, isn't physically addictive like morphine or prozac or benzodiazepines. It spurs appetite which may seem far from needed for the average American at Carl's Jr.'s but if one has an eating disorder to not eat much or is suffering appetite disruption from chemotherapy, something to induce appetite is a helpful medical remedy.

Vice? How is this a vice?

But don't mind my ramblings, I'll go back to my incredibly healthy and virtuous vodka and cigarettes.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:21 | 4602970 AmericasCicero
AmericasCicero's picture

And you could smoke and drink without judgement too!

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:29 | 4603004 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

Which helped with job openings for young and payouts for pensions 

Sat, 03/29/2014 - 02:08 | 4604979 mjazzguitar
mjazzguitar's picture

I remember in the 50s a guy having a marijuana plant on his front lawn.

The cops didn't know what it was.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:21 | 4602971 kito
kito's picture

the past couple hundred years is an anomaly:



Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:59 | 4603133 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture


And the 50's and 60's was the straddle between family farms and corporate farms.

As a majority of the population shifted from farms and homesteads to urban/suburban concentrations - consumerism was born, along with:  bigger government, consumerism, credit cards, dependency, and debt serfdom.

Fiat money and off-shoring of career employment was the only thing that kept the "dream" alive.

The shift from small scale sustainable agriculture to large scale petrochemical GMO mechanized house-of-cards agriculture is the real tipping point.

Too many people.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 01:00 | 4607152 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

izz maniperlated!!!

Completely sustainable.


Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:22 | 4602972 AbelCatalyst
AbelCatalyst's picture

Very interesting chart that shows a significant divergence similar to what we saw in '07... Also some pretty good technical analysis:

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:25 | 4602975 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Nonsence,  it was Reagan's  Big-MIC "Keynesian" prosperty that we all enjoyed.

Now that Putin has reconstituted a new godless commy army, we can have Big-MIC "Keynesian" properity again.    There wasn't much point in having a KB-35 super-fighter with only a bunch of 10th century religious fantatics ridding around in Toyotos with machine-guns as an opponent.  But, NOW,  them ruskies are a worthy enemy (again). 

(Too bad Tom Clancy had to miss all the glory...   sad.)

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:28 | 4602995 Kilgore Trout
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In the 50s and 60s, Reagan was making movies playing second banana to a chimpanzee.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:30 | 4603008 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

But he was learning the "deficits didn't matter". 

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:48 | 4603088 Buckaroo Banzai
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Actually, Reagan believed that deficits DO matter.

The "Reagan tax cuts" were actually a two-part package: Tax cuts, and spending cuts. The tax cuts were passed first, to much hoopla and fanfare. Then, before the spending cuts part of the package could make it through Congress, Reagan got shot by a family friend of the Bush family.

Curious timing. By the time Reagan got out of the hospital, the spending cuts part of the package had disappeared, and Reagan had somehow lost interest in them. For some reason.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:08 | 4603167 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re:  Tax cuts, and spending cuts

Yes,  I recall those intense battles that Stockman waged to balance the budget by cutting Amtrak, NPR, and NEA.   It could have worked too,  even with that 600 ship navy and star wars.   The NEA was over 2 MILLION dollars, can you image THAT?!

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 17:41 | 4603865 caShOnlY
caShOnlY's picture

Actually, Reagan believed that deficits DO matter.

If they mattered then Raygun would have demanded spending cuts first.  He was commander(actor)-n-cheese afterall.  Stop fucking acting like Raygun was some kind of fucking hero, he was defecit king!  He tripled the defecit from 900billion to 2.7 trillion.  VOODOO economics!!  

bonus question:  Remember Raygun's "welfare queen speech"?  did he follow through with any cuts? 

Ray-gun, Ray-gun.... an actor whose greatest performance was acting as leader of the free world.

Sat, 03/29/2014 - 13:18 | 4605570 TimmyB
TimmyB's picture

Any Keynesian would tell you that to get out of a recession the government should cut taxes and increase spending. This is exactly what Reagan did.

It is beyond serious dispute. Bush the Lessor did the same thing at the start of his first term.

The GOP only cares about the deficits created by Democratic presidents. When there is a GOP president, they are true Keynesians trying to create the economic good times that they believe will convince voters to reelect them.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:33 | 4603027 Headbanger
Headbanger's picture

Hey it sure beats the chimpanzee playing with bananas we have now!

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 17:52 | 4603924 NidStyles
NidStyles's picture

Those are not bananas. 

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 17:59 | 4603942 Bad Attitude
Bad Attitude's picture

Don't disparage chimpanzees!

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:48 | 4603089 JR
JR's picture

The vicious attacks on the Russian president have been forthcoming in the controlled MSM in order to bias public opinion against him. Putin, an Orthodox Christian who regularly makes Church appearances and attends Mass, has publicly stated he is a Christian which also goes against their “multiculturalism” religion. In fact, according to reports, “the BBC has published a major article with pictures of Vladimir Putin’s Orthodox Christian affiliations.”

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 15:09 | 4603383 dogismycopilot
dogismycopilot's picture

Amen, brother. 

The Liver Eaters are literally crucifying Christians in Syria and fucking Obango is paying them to do it.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 15:12 | 4603398 fxrxexexdxoxmx
fxrxexexdxoxmx's picture

You can also tell how strong his belief in Chritianity by his treatment of Muslims. Yeah Putin is a turn the other cheek, gentle caring, peaceful man. Just ask any Chechen. Muslims through out world really like him.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:24 | 4602978 Winston of Oceania
Winston of Oceania's picture

Wrong, it was simply the result of Truman discontinuing the redistribution meme that the idiot Roosevelt was so fond of. Reminds me of the dipshit in the whitehouse now.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:26 | 4602989 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re:  Truman discontinuing the redistribution meme that the idiot Roosevelt was so fond of

Truamn discontinued OldFart SS?  I didn't know that.   

What other redistribution programs did Roosevelt start?

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:10 | 4603171 JR
JR's picture

Perhaps you missed the left turn in American history when Mr. Roosevelt and his Red supporters increased the socialist welfare state by 1000%.

Dr William Wirt, the superintendent of schools in Gary, Indiana, in 1933 said it best. Wirt stated that the New Deal “Brain Trusters” said in a meeting that he had attended, “We believe we have Roosevelt in the middle of a swift stream and that the current is so strong he cannot turn back or escape from it. We believe we can keep Mr. Roosevelt there until we are ready to supplant him with a Stalin. We all think Mr. Roosevelt is only the Kerensky of the Revoltution.” – Hearings, House Select Committee to Investigate Certain Statements of Dr.William Wirt, 73rd Congress 2nd Session, April 10 and 17, 1934

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:18 | 4603204 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re: Perhaps you missed the left turn in American history when Mr. Roosevelt and his Red supporters increased the socialist welfare state by 1000%.

No, I didn't.  I asked:

What socialist scams did Truman eliminate?  

What socialist scams did Roosevelt start other than Big-OldFart?  

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:25 | 4602981 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

Just like Happy Days, the 50s were great , until Fonz jumped the Shark. 

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:27 | 4602990 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

Yeah, but that ACTUALLY happened in the 1979.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 15:24 | 4603439 LFMayor
LFMayor's picture

and that's why things got better in the 80's for a little while.  As in: Moar daisy duke, less grizzly addams.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:26 | 4602988 Mercury
Mercury's picture

The 50's-early 60's era gets a bad rap from Babyboomers who are mostly full of shit about most everything else.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:34 | 4603003 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re:  Babyboomers

Babyboomers started most of the Big-Gov scams in the 50's and 60's.    That's why they lived so well.  

Lots of these scams really got rolling because the Babyboomers:  Big-Ag, Big-MIC, Big-Road, Big-Water, Big-Airport, Big-Energy, Big-Ed, Big-House, Big-OldFartHealthcare, Big-AntiDrug.

It was a good time.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:44 | 4603044 Mercury
Mercury's picture

Not quite. The oldest Babyboomer by definition was only 20 in 1966 so for the most part they wern't doing much of anything outside of pop culture and evolving into a huge marketing demographic.


I'm speaking more culturally anyway.

Back then:

Pretty much everyone was more polite and had better manners
White people could dance
Average men routinely bought albums of show tunes and didn’t dress like slobs

It wasn’t uncommon for kids to bring guns to school without any incident whatsoever
You generally had more liberty to do what you wanted in many areas that would be unthinkable today.

Socio-economic classes were flatter
There was less violent crime
Access to quality education was easier and cheaper

It wasn't all simply the race/class/gender hell that cultural Marxists would have you believe.


Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:48 | 4603082 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Yeah,  I know,  I was born in 56.    The 60's and 70's were pretty good too.    I have to admit I don't recall EVER seeing anybody with a gun.

There was only about half the population too.

Life was good when the peasants were doing well.   But, eventually, the peasants bought into the survival-of-the-fittest mentality, thinking they'd be the survivors.   Oh well,  just didn't work out how they thought. 

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:52 | 4603106 Mercury
Mercury's picture

My Dad went to high school in the 50's not too far from Sandy Hook.  He brought his rifle to school for team practice after classes and shot government subsidized ammo. Not unlike what still happens in Switzerland today.

The great buy-in was for the government to become your mommy and daddy which only made those closest to the now huge and powerful government the fittest survivors.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:58 | 4603134 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re: The great buy-in was for the government to become your mommy and daddy

Very true,   everybody loves the Big-Gov scam they are living off of or got rich off of.   I know I do.

Re: Sandy Hook

I was from Chicago,  south side.    The only gun I ever recall seeing was on a boy-scout trip when one of the scout-masters brought a pellet gun.   It was the most amazing thing most of us had ever seen.   I didn't see another gun until I was in my early 20's. 

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:10 | 4603173 Mercury
Mercury's picture

I believe it and I'm sure that's not the case in Chicago today.

Take your story + my story + the fact that violent crime, although currently in a downtrend, bottomed out somewhere in the 1950s and that more or less directs you to the conclusion that death by firearms in America is not primarily a gun issue but a cultural issue.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:32 | 4603269 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

I thought violence was a young psychotic male issue.

Guns just make it easier.    That's why I'm glad I can afford to live in an area with fewer young psychotic males.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:42 | 4603302 Errol
Errol's picture

I went to high school in the US in the late 60s.  Ocassionally a classmate would bring in his dad's war bringback Luger or P-38; it would get passed around for the day and then back home that evening without incident.  OF COURSE, we didn't include the adults in the show-and-tell; it's hard to know which one lacks common sense...

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:16 | 4603178 fockewulf190
fockewulf190's picture

I was born on Long Island back in 1966.  My street I grew up on was a dead end street with 24 houses, 12 on each side.  We were mostly WASPs with one household from Peru.  All the men had full time jobs, ranging from mid to upper class.  Most of the women didn´t work, except the occasional part-time job working at a school, or as a nurse.  I  grew up with at least 36 other kids.  It was a great place to grow up.  Everybody owned their own home.  Taxes were up there, but the schools were great.  Today, when I visit my parents, still living in the same house, there are around 4 kids living there.  Many of the middle-class kids who grew up and wanted to stay quickly found out how expensive everything was getting.  Property taxes exploded.  Housing prices soared.  Middle class jobs evaporated when major industries  hit the high road. Both parents worked.  Rat race pure.  Many forced to leave.  Now, your either a highly educated hustler/professional, a well to do retiree baby-boomer, come from old money, or are dirt poor and struggling living in a near-segregated town. Your only middle class at best if your bringing in 100k.  Totally different world today than when I grew up.  I left when I was 18.  Ended up here in Bavaria...stacking phyzz and running my biz.  No regrets other than to see what happened to the place where I had a great childhood and early adult life.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 00:51 | 4607144 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

There was plenty of violent crime upon blacks by whites, especially whites with badges. My how some editing to the narrative makes it seem so pleasant. It wasn't.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 15:48 | 4602998 bonzo112358
bonzo112358's picture

We joke about this being the peak but it may turn out to be correct as predicted here.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:32 | 4603007 kurt
kurt's picture

This smells like Warren Buffet's ass.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:35 | 4603033 Headbanger
Headbanger's picture

And just how would you know that???  

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:35 | 4603035 TPTB_r_TBTF
TPTB_r_TBTF's picture

you would know.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:33 | 4603024 oklaboy
oklaboy's picture

some how we forget to mention:

1. Smaller goverment

2. Less regulations

3. Little or no entitlement society.

4. Strong military

drum roll please

5. Great Leadershi:p not that pussy mom jeans wearing socialist preexie we have now.  Our enemies fear us, and our allies trusted us.

our enies moack us, and our allies distrust us.


Game Over. 


Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:40 | 4603050 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

1. Smaller goverment

Which of the following Big-Gov programs got started or were expanded in the 50's & 60's: 

Big-Ag, Big-MIC, Big-Road, Big-Water, Big-Airport, Big-Energy, Big-Ed, Big-House, Big-Fin, Big-OldFart, Big-OldFartHealthcare, Big-AntiDrug, & Big-PoliceState?.

2. Less regulations

Like China.

3. Little or no entitlement society.

Except for the OldFarts.

4. Strong military

Gotta love Big-MIC centrally planned state "Keynesianism". 

drum roll please

I want to go back to Big-MIC "Keynesianism" too. 

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:41 | 4603065 dontgoforit
dontgoforit's picture

Good points.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 00:49 | 4607141 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

"1. Smaller goverment

4. Strong military"

These 2 items can't co-exist. One absolutely must stop the other.

Re-visit your assumptions and try again.

"5. Great Leadership"

Has never existed. A fundamental flaw of the tribal-minded hominid is to have leaders. Until we rid ourselves of this burden we'll always have sheep, fooled sheep, sheared sheep & mint sauce to follow.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:35 | 4603037 JR
JR's picture

So, nostalgia aside, the 1950s and 60s was America – and the 2014s are American gone. What happened to it? Just listen to the words of the Vice President of the United States a few hours ago.

Vice President Joe Biden, in a speech to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 Legislative Summit, on Thursday (3/27/2014) said the "11 million" illegal aliens in the United States “are already Americans.”

Eleven million people living in the shadows I believed are already American citizens,” Biden said. “These people are just waiting, waiting for a chance to be able to contribute fully, and by that standard, 11 million undocumented aliens are already Americans in my view.”

Why would a government official sanction this additional financial burden on his country and his countrymen?

The Reason: This drastic change in America’s ethnic majority was put in operation by the 1965 Immigration law, instituted by Jewish Involvement in Shaping American Immigration Policy, 1881-1965, and the reason is best given by Dr. Stephen Steinlight in 2001, former President of the American Jewish Committee, who spilled the beans:

It is simply astounding to contemplate the recent historical rise in Mexican immigration (in the United States). In 1970, there were fewer than 800,000 Mexican immigrants; 30 years later  (2000) the number is approaching 9 million, a 10-fold increase in one generation.

“For perhaps another generation, an optimistic forecast, the Jewish community is thus in a position where it will be able to divide and conquer and enter into selective coalitions that support our agendas.”

That time has arrived; by 2012 the Latino population in the US had reached 17%, i.e., 53 million Hispanics.

Steinlight, who was part of the open borders push, ironically now worries about the danger to Jews but counsels Jewish organizations to stick together and divide and conquer the growing populations of Hispanics and Asians in America. He is wrong. The flood of illegals will swamp not only white America and Jewish America as well. It is a tide that will destroy Western Civilization.

The “shadows” to which Biden refers, of course, are covering a good deal more than 11 million illegal aliens, more likely 30 million according to WND, which could bring America’s Hispanic population to 83 million should amnesty pass.

The illegal problem is so acute that it is swamping housing, education, roads, crime, and healthcare facilities of communities around the country.

In Salinas, California, for example, the stress on Natividad Medical Center has created a need for translators to deal with a rush of patients who don’t speak English. The problem is, they don’t speak Spanish either, as they come from small villages throughout Mexico and other Latin American countries where the indigenous language is so local that those freshly arriving in America – many times whole villages - are at loss to understand any available languages.

Here are a few grafs on the story from the Natividad Medical Foundation.


March 07, 2014

SALINAS, CA--(Marketwired - Mar 7, 2014) - Natividad Medical Foundation today announced the launch of Indigenous Interpreting+, a community and medical interpreting business specializing in indigenous languages from Mexico and Central and South America.

Mixteco, Zapotec, Triqui and Chatino are languages spoken in the Mexican states of Oaxaca, Guerrero and Puebla. Three of these indigenous languages are among the top-seven most common languages spoken by patients at Natividad Medical Center, the safety net hospital that serves Monterey County. California's Central Coast is home to more than 27,000 indigenous immigrants and their families…

According to the 2010 U.S. census, the most recent year from which statistics are available, 685,000 people identified themselves as Latinos of indigenous origin -- a 68 percent increase since 2000. In addition to California, there are large indigenous Mexican populations in Texas, New York, Arizona, Colorado and Illinois…  

To date, Natividad's interpreting program has trained 68 indigenous speakers from California, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Texas and Minnesota who speak indigenous languages from Mexico and Central and South America..

"When I first came to Natividad, I was amazed that many of my patients didn't understand when I asked them questions in Spanish," said Dr. Minerva Perez-Lopez, a Natividad physician who grew up in the Salinas Valley in a farm worker family. "The hospital's medical staff relies on Indigenous Interpreting+ every day to communicate with patients and their families in the midst of life-threatening and very scary situations."

According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2013), the Latino population in 2012 was 53 million, making up 17% of the U.S. population.1 Latino population growth between 2000 and 2010 accounted for more than half of the nation’s population growth (Passel, Cohn and Lopez, 2011).

Natividad Medical Center is a 172-bed acute care hospital owned and operated by Monterey County… Natividad provides healthcare access to all patients regardless of their ability to pay. The hospital operates with a medical staff of over 235 physicians and has several specialty clinics and outpatient primary care clinics operated by the Monterey County Health Department.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:47 | 4603087 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

UGH.  Ask Tyler for article space, this is comment space.  Thanks.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:56 | 4603128 JR
JR's picture

Then give me your comment on why America is gone: on why we had Bill Clinton, why we have Barack Obama, why we have Elena Kagan on the U.S. Supreme Court? Why are the 50s gone? One of the main reasons is that the Jewish 1965 immigration policy swamped the nations with socialist Third World voters.

And the reason the 1950s and 60s were an anomaly was because the fruit of free enterprise were just beginning big time; we had tossed out Carter and got Reagan and, unfortunately, Reagan provided amnesty.

Do you disagree?

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:24 | 4603192 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

I agree that illegal immigration is a huge problem; a symptom of the disease.

The Catholic and Mormon churches love illegal immigration because it brings in a more obescient class to fill the pews and give tithing/donations in order for their souls to be saved.  If churches advocate the breaking of laws they should be taxed just like me.

The politicians love illegal immigrants because it is votes; hand out money from the public trough to get elected, what could be easier?  Most developed nations suffer the same problem. 

Big Ag. loves illegal immigrants because it is like having slaves without the bad moniker; cheap labor that doesn't speak the language and can be cowed into submission.

The root disease is "something for nothing"; a societal dis-association from the laws of nature fed by petrochemical mechanization, electricity, and technology.

If you don't have to work for something it's free, if it's free why not give it away, and if you can give it away to gain power it will be so.  Problem being, nothing is free.

In the bigger more cynical picture the real problem is TOO MANY PEOPLE.

I thought you could have made your point with two paragraphs and one link.

Like your stuff JR - so don't be hatin' me too much.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:34 | 4603273 JR
JR's picture

Thanks eb. I make it a habit never to miss your comments if I can help it.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 00:47 | 4607139 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

The simple solution to illegal immigration is to make it never illegal ever again, entry or exit.

Before long Americans will want to leave and won't be permitted, a new iron curtain. You'll see.

"Big Ag. loves illegal immigrants because it is like having slaves without the bad moniker; cheap labor that doesn't speak the language and can be cowed into submission"

A fool's statement founded in having never ridden a GPS-guided tractor on the fields. I never rode one either but one farmer who was used that resting time, riding in the tractor, to spend some time on paltalk with some other like-minded silver-hoarding folk using his cell.

The fucking thing steers itself, he just sits there and makes sure it is OK.

Also there's something called SeedSense if I recall that measures distance & time and is programmed with required depth for each type of seed and does it. You drive, it plants. Period.

Automated. And yes, that's a Monsanto product, directly or indirectly.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 00:44 | 4607136 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

"Why would a government official sanction this additional financial burden on his country and his countrymen?"

Because it's not.

Those who are working under the table do so with zero tax input to the beast. The beast wants those taxes.

It's simple math. Don't be blind to math no matter your politics. Zero is bad and more than zero is what the beast needs to feed from.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:36 | 4603042 Seize Mars
Seize Mars's picture

Sorry, you lost me with "pent up demand," a typical Keynesian horseshit phrase.
Prosperity will emerge as soon as we can have equity money instead of debt money, stop the illegal and unconstitutional income tax and furlough the illegal and unconstitutional military business.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 00:42 | 4607133 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

You never saw it I guess.

I did.

My parents both were born during the war. Once there were wages to support demand they had demand, plenty of it. Growing up with rationing & seeing countries torn apart from the day you are born changes you. It would appear, knowing I didn't live it myself, that it drove a new motivation to take anything you could in life because it could be over quicker than you think. Doesn't necessarily mean irresponsible spending or borrowing, or even a lack of savings while being responsible in other ways, but it does mean when you see luxury & can afford it, you take it.

Growing up in the middle of Blitzkrieg bombings could do that to your mentality.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:37 | 4603043 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

Sooo, Mrs. Cleaver didn't keep house in heels?

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:39 | 4603058 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re:  Mrs. Cleaver didn't keep house in heels?

No, she did.   That's why is was so great!

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:42 | 4603218 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

She had Consuela do the heavy lifting, they just never showed it - like they never showed Mom and Dad together in a Queen bed but with two seperate single beds like Wally and the Beav.  Yeah right.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:38 | 4603053 Took Red Pill
Took Red Pill's picture

Well I know my dad supported a wife who never worked and 5 kids with one job, owned a home on an acre of land and he only had a GED. Can't do that nowadays.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 16:58 | 4603736 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

Sure you can. Just not with an American born/raised wife.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 18:47 | 4604144 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

Good one. Tell me more old sage.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:38 | 4603054 Z_End
Z_End's picture

Reduction of silver content in coinage, the War on Poverty/Great Society, Vietnam War...

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:39 | 4603060 BeerMe
BeerMe's picture

What the fuck is this?  How does this guy's shit keep winding up here?

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:43 | 4603074 dontgoforit
dontgoforit's picture

Yeah - him and NotaRealAmerican

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:57 | 4603127 Sophist Economicus
Sophist Economicus's picture

I wonder the same thing.   I love the way he keeps using that 'Cargo Cult' phrase hoping it's going to sweep the nation.    I heard Obamo wants to now reduce methane emissions.    He should start with CHS

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 16:47 | 4603703 BeerMe
BeerMe's picture

It seems a few may be missing the point.

To me this guy is arguing for a Keynesian system.  Saying we can't hope for better, etc.  This argument dies when you realize things were basically the same in the years prior.  Yeah there was that Great Depression but if you start looking before you see great periods of economic growth.  So...

The one common denominator slowing bleeding us all is the Fed and government (e.g. income tax, deficit spending, trade agreements that lose money).  So in the 100 years since inception we have completely destroyed the true idea of America and purchasing power.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:42 | 4603072 Blue Dog
Blue Dog's picture

Taxes were very low then too. So were housing costs. During 1963 the minimum wage was $1 an hour. We lived in a house that cost $40 a month to rent in a small town in northern Michigan.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:50 | 4603095 I Write Code
I Write Code's picture


It was a bit of a golden age in terms of resources and lack of global competition, but the real price of energy and oil is probably lower today, thanks to improved technology.  In fact, one can make an argument that the major factors then and now are all about technology.  A bunch of new technology matured during WWII and spread across the civilian sectors, cars, appliances, television, even yes private line dial telephones lol on automated exchanges.  Fractional horsepower electric motors, the transistor, the federal highway system, jet airliners.  Did I mention penicillin?  Heart bypass surgery?  Salk and Sabin polio vaccines!

The political environment wasn't all that golden it was still pretty socialist. Ongoing military budgets were very high, not to mention Korea and Vietnam

In may ways we are better off materially today than in the 1950s/1960s.

Our problems today of corruption, corruption, globalization, corruption, and corruption aren't exactly new, but I don't think they much translate to the major factors of the 1950s and 1960s.  In may ways today we are fat and lazy and screwing around.  And far more corrupt than then. I wonder if that was some golden age of minimal corruption, not that it was unknown then either, just not nearly as bad as now.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:53 | 4603110 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re:  The political environment wasn't all that golden it was still pretty socialist.

Indeed, the people who think there was more freedom then, apparently never heard about the ICC or CAB.   Prices were heavily regulated then for all transportation.   And Ma-Bell...  well,  a government regulated monopoly which ended up routinely buying politicians to get rate increases. 

Re:  minimal corruption

Eventually the peasants become as corrupt as the nobility.   I'm sure the Greek and Italian societiess were, into the far distance past, less corrupt too.  

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:50 | 4603098 Spungo
Spungo's picture

Indeed the 50s were strange. Japan was destroyed, Germany was destroyed, Britain was destroyed. France was mostly in tact, but they don't really produce anything. We had a couple decades of uncontested monopoly on manufactured goods. Where are we now? Japan is built up, Germany is built up, China is built up. The market is much more competitive, so this drives down wages. Destroying the currency further destroys wages. There were no unfunded liabilities back then because people didn't live 90 years. Most people were dead within 5 years of retirement, so it was possible to have great pensions that are well funded.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:57 | 4603114 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

How about growing houses and shrinking households, granite benches and 500 downlights?
And how about demographc shifts and the break up of the nuclear family and the explsion in single parent households.
And how about the growth of credt cards and easy credit?
And how about Johnson starting the guns and butter policy which worked while he began to strip social security funds as an additional source of government largesse?
And how about the fact that we didn''t have massive cravings for three fridges, three cars and mobile phones for everyone?
Yep, the 50's and 60's were good for both good and bad reasons but both governments and people became greedier over time.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:01 | 4603142 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re:  both governments and people became greedier over time.

Which is perfectly natural.   And, the US having the reserve currency, we could really afford anything we wanted.    When you have 60+ years of "Keynesian" happiness it's tough to understand why it would suddenly stop.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:17 | 4603198 Fix It Again Timmy
Fix It Again Timmy's picture

Mrs. Cleaver wore heels and pearls every day 'cuz the postman was banging Mrs. Cleaver's beaver.  "Honey I'm home, ah - why does the house smell like sex?"  Seriously, we may not ever be able to replicate the 50's and 60's but that's NO reason why things couldn't be better than they are....

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:21 | 4603210 falak pema
falak pema's picture

Given that the five elements of that age were : A destroyed first world to be rebuilt; the abundance of CHEAP oil energy; Labour costs that were relatively cheap; technological progress was going up in leaps and bounds, capital was not expensive and mainly for the real economy, aka industrial advancement. 

How can one pretend that such an age is not possible again.

All it takes is new cheap renewable energy, new technology and a move away from non productive investment in destructive technologies, aka War/bubbleonomics economy, which requires inevitably Armageddon. 

Cost of labour and cost of energy are relative terms wrt to the status quo...

I don't buy CHS's conclusions. Our new age will march on RMs that will be different to those currently used as we will truly be in post industrial age; by hook or by crook.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 15:46 | 4603518 Herd Redirectio...
Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Its almost as if we have ruled out advances in nuclear physics and wind/solar.

I think capital misallocation is a big part of the reason the future looks rather grim AT THE MOMENT.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 00:35 | 4607126 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

wind/solar's already proven its limits. Building them requires massive fuel input to get rare-earth elements (turbine magnets) and metals for wiring, silver for mirrors, etc. These machines break down requiring repair which uses machines that use fuel not produced by the machine (solar, wind). Therefore it's at best a leveraging up of the total use we get from liquid fuels.

Add to this the intermittent nature of solar & wind collection and you can do no better than to get an "always-on" source by having one "source" actually be a giant collective grid covering a huge area and in the case of solar, either a planetary solar grid or one that's very good at not missing anything between rains & clouds during the day and very efficiently storing energy with batteries.

Batteries returns us then to the mining for chemicals that make the actual battery yet using machines for mining that can't be powered by solar or wind. See the problem?

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 00:31 | 4607122 MeelionDollerBogus
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You missed a spot.

That war part where other industrialized nations are flattened but don't do it back in return. That's WW2's big boost to markets, to wage purchasing power, to American solvency.

Not happening again. All the primary targets to be flattened have nuclear weapons and bioweapons for some too (certainly Russia) and they'll turn the USA into a plague zone or a glowing glass parking lot faster than you can rejoice your first mushroom cloud or even drone-strike on the big ones. You won't be hitting China or Russia any time soon which means the war-saves-America option is off the table.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:24 | 4603240 Fix It Again Timmy
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1000+ - I agree!

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:26 | 4603246 Spungo
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"The great buy-in was for the government to become your mommy and daddy which only made those closest to the now huge and powerful government the fittest survivors."

I'll repeat one of the more interesting things I've heard about this: family is the free market solution to poverty. The government stepping in to end poverty is the main cause of family destruction. 

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:29 | 4603258 foxenburg
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Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:38 | 4603290 Yenbot
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Cheap real estate. Union wages. Simple tech. Third world armed with muskets. Blindfolded gov't with no Internet. 1960.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:40 | 4603292 JR
JR's picture

 Jeremy Grantham earlier this week said that it is the Fed that is killing the current recovery; in fact, it is Fed intervention and policy that killed the economic prowess of the 50s and the 60s…

“{G}o back to the 1980s and the U.S. had an aggregate debt level of about 1.3 times GDP. Then we had a massive spike over the next two decades to about 3.3 times debt. And GDP over that time period has been slowed. There isn't any room in that data for the belief that more debt creates growth. In the economic crisis after World War I, there was no attempt at intervention or bailouts, and the economy came roaring back. In the S&L crisis, we liquidated the bad banks and their bad real estate bets. Property prices fell, capitalist juices started to flow, and the economy came roaring back. This time around, we did not liquidate the guys who made the bad bets.” -- Jeremy Grantham

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:43 | 4603306 Totentänzerlied
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"The 1950s/60s were not "normal"--they were a one-off, extraordinary anomaly."

Gee. You don't say.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:45 | 4603312 BlackVoid
BlackVoid's picture

It was cheap energy (OIL) that resulted in unprecedented prosperity. US production peaked in 1970, no wonder the that the wonder ended.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 15:07 | 4603376 SmittyinLA
SmittyinLA's picture

The 1950 60 were all American, there was virtually no immigration during that period, all of America's assets were diverted to...... Americans. 


Population stability is a good thing. 


They think mass multi-million annual immigration is "normal" (only on planet unlimited) and "sustainable". 

redefine reality 


Sun, 03/30/2014 - 00:27 | 4607120 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

All Americans of European descent are immigrants, and so are all the other ones without red skin. Face it, America definitely did have immigration then & a lot of people who built America strong in the 1950's were immigrants and so were their customers.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 15:11 | 4603391 americanreality
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I miss reading scorpio69er's posts. 

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 15:11 | 4603392 dogismycopilot
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ok, earlier i said i would settle to have the 1980s back...i'll meet you in the middle...just bring back the 1990s.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 15:27 | 4603451 natty light
natty light's picture

Era of cheap energy over.

Happy Motoring.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 16:10 | 4603580 forwardho
forwardho's picture

It took over 60 million years of the Carboniferous era to capture the solar energy, then another 300 million years for that energy to be turned to a rapidly oxidizing fuel.

We have nearly burned through that vast, once in a planetary cycle, source of concentrated energy in a geological flash.

Unless someone invents a very cheap Mr Fusiontm devise, the population cannot be sustained.

Sat, 03/29/2014 - 04:16 | 4605050 NidStyles
NidStyles's picture

Can't do anything about that, so why should we worry about it? The people whom will figure it out will figure it out on their own. The government would just get in the way. 

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 00:26 | 4607114 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

It's been done. It hasn't been abandoned completely but it's been stopped and I can see only one reason: military dominance.

We can turn garbage into oil but to do so would disable the primary purpose of the empire (US) military, putting all those people out of work (still collecting pensions, mind you) as the entire world-labour-demand market shifts.

Further, given the required energy element here is heat so we can have the rest of the chemical energy available in convenient fuel formats we already use, we can bleed that heat off other sources like nuclear reactors (since we're using them already and they are of no shortage of heat).

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 18:14 | 4604006 U4 eee aaa
U4 eee aaa's picture

Maybe you should take a look at Alberta Canada and what happened to it after Ralph Klein balanced the books and eliminated the debt in the 90's. This was during the time that Canada was going the other direction. He set the province up for boom times (which subsequent governments have mismanaged). To say the 50's was an anomaly is to deny many examples in history of the prosperity that follows fiscal responsibility. Was America on a gold standard in the 1800's an anomaly too?

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 18:49 | 4604124 Notsobadwlad
Notsobadwlad's picture

I agree with the points, but I think the conclusion is incorrect.

The main reasons the 50s and 60s were glory days are primarily twofold:

1. In the glory days, the US was not overburdened with parasitic government and banking (including costly regulations, taxes, insurance, interest and legal costs). The parasites, especially those with access to free or low cost debt-money, kill the future of any economy by forcing the misallocation of resources to non-value adding activities. They make things more expensive rather than adding to real productivity (and not fake productivity created by labour arbitrage).

2. The only way to actually grow an economy at a rate greater than the drag of debt money interest is through value adding labour. Labour is the ONLY thing we have to pay back interest on debt money other than to pay it back with ever increasing amounts of debt money. Think about the mathematical paradox that, failing default, the amount of money owed to pay back debt money is ALWAYS greater than the amount of money created. For an economy to be healthy, something has to make up that difference and the ONLY thing we have to make up that difference is our labour ... which shows up in value creation (rocks turned to ore, ore turned to metal, metal turned to girders, girders into buildings ... all through labour and all of increased value at each step).

Buggar financialization. It is the last tool of the totally incompetent charlatan.

The 50s and 60s were glory days because they were awash in value adding labour, not financialization. But true, we may never get there again, because we are eliminating labour, not increasing it.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 00:22 | 4607106 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Are you shitting me?

What do you think enabled a war-effort that ended in nuclear weapons? You better believe it was parasitic, overarching and omnipresent and it was since WW1 but progressed. I wasn't alive then but I'll hazard a guess a good dose of espionage meant scientific discoveries of the mlitary-type that don't get a lot of peer review still managed to find wider audiences than intended, and this played no small role in the progression of the overarching military/corporate control of the USA.

What, you think all this crap happened just in your life time or that of your parents? Come on, don't be so naive.

"were awash in value adding labour, not financialization. But true, we may never get there again, because we are eliminating labour, not increasing it"

More naivete. What's being eliminated is the compensation, the wages total and purchasing power of those wages. The actual labour is in demand and demand is being met.

"The parasites, especially those with access to free or low cost debt-money, kill the future of any economy by forcing the misallocation of resources to non-value adding activities"

And that is the tool, the purpose, of the Federal Reserve which existed since 1913, which you may note is a little bit before 1950.

Sat, 03/29/2014 - 02:12 | 4604981 mjazzguitar
mjazzguitar's picture

And back then, if a company had a lot of money in it's retirement account, larger companies could simply buy it and steal the retirement funds.

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