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Martin Armstrong "It's Not the Rich – It's The Total Cost Of Government That Is Killing The Economy"

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Submitted by Martin Armstrong via Armstrong Economics,


QUESTION: Do you believe in a fairer system where there is a minimum income cap and a maximum asset cap? We live in an age where productivity has risen through the roof due to technological advancement. Don’t you think humanity is at the stage where it can afford to offer basic income to people so better checks and balances can be set in place to thwart the exploitation of people (see the third world).

A maximum asset cap would also act as a  positive filter in business ownership, don’t you think? The businessmen interested mainly in greed won’t fill those positions, but those who are driven more by other means, hopefully positive ambitions, will fill those roles (CEO,COO, managers, etc.)

Can you form a good argument against an asset cap of, say, $20mm? Can you think of a situation where 1 individual NEEDS more than 20 million, aside from using it to exploit others? If a cap isn’t set, that leads to the development of a tycoon, i.e., exploiter, of an industry. Increased capital permits the further increasing of capital at the accelerated rate. When left unchecked, greed and self-serving goals create a net loss, rather than a net gain.

Remember Martin, everything is connected. You can’t think on an individual level and expect it to not hurt evolution. This is what life is about. Evolution.

We’re headed towards doom, and the enemy is not just socialism, political cronies, and economic mobsters.

ANSWER: The standard of living has collapsed and it now takes two incomes to survive not one. That isn’t because of wages are not high enough. Do not forget, if you raise the wages you raise the cost of production and the consumer will pay that higher level in the end. There is no one-sided solution – you cannot raise wages without prices also rising. People would have more disposable income and would bid up prices by demand. If there was no 30-year mortgage, the price of houses would decline sharply because if people had to PAY CASH for a house, then the price of a house would fall to the point where the average income could afford it. Roosevelt created the 30-year mortgage to try to give people LEVERAGE to buy real estate to raise the price. That LEVERAGE has now impacted prices over the course of decades.


The answer lies in the consumption of wealth not that someone has more assets than another. Eliminate taxation and you will reduce the cost of labor, bring back jobs, and you will also eliminate the lobbying to escape taxes. Henry Ford invented the assembly line and brought the cost of cars down to the middle class at $240. He made a lot of money and expanded his business with it. If there was a cap on assets, you would destroy job creation. It REQUIRED the concentration of wealth to create innovation. If wealth is evenly distributed, you will not get enough people to agree to risk it all. Most small businesses fail after start-up. Some make it while a few really strike it big. That is the risk reward.

Big corporations die because they become eventually run by lawyers not entrepreneurs. I have been called in to many board meetings and watched the process first hand. As soon as a new company becomes public, the bureaucrats enter and the creativity vanishes. This is why they pay huge money for start-ups because they create what the big companies cannot – innovation.

It is not what an individual needs that is the issue. Take all the money away from Bill Gates. How will this improve your life at all? The issue is HOW MUCH is government consuming. But as long as they point to the “rich” they get to waste your money.

Social Security has altered society in ways people do not respect. Previously, family units were stronger because the system was the young took care of the old. Introducing Social Security changed everything. What children today save to take care of their parents?  That’s the state’s job. Welfare altered the system by rewarding women not to get get married. New Zealand nearly went bust on its program that sounded nice that if a woman had no idea who the father of the child was, the state took care of everything and gave her a house. They ended up with the highest percentage of women who had NO IDEA who the father of their child was. What woman does not know that except victims of rape?

China’s one child rule has seriously altered society there as well. Couples are now offering their estate to females to come in from SE Asia if they will take care of them. You cannot create these types of changes without seriously impacting society.


Pictured above at the beginning is the tax burden upon society back in 1988. Even currently, the top 1% pay about 33% of all income taxes. At the start of 2000, the total amount of revenue collected by federal and state government in the USA exceeded 40% of GDP. This is outrageous and this is why the economy is slowing declining. This has nothing to do if somebody earned $100 million or $50 million as a CEO. That has ZERO impact upon your life – but what government takes out of your pocket REDUCES your standard of living – DIRECTLY.


The solution is NOT to raise taxes on the rich, for government will still spend more than it takes in regardless of who pays. This is like fining your wife because the guy next door did not sort his trash for recycling. This is indirect. It is taxes that we must address – not how much someone else makes.



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Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:18 | 4658501 Jam Akin
Jam Akin's picture

Score one for CPT Obvious.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:21 | 4658508 Pladizow
Pladizow's picture

What insightful articles will be found on your blog?

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:34 | 4658529 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

I'm going to start a blog just so I can extoll the virtues of feeding atheletes, media personalities and other bloggers I don't agree with to hungry jungle animals.

Every entry will end exactly the same; "The tiger took a shit the next day, and after he'd passed through 27 feet of digestive tract that guy didn't look any different than if he had start out a goat. Which should be a lesson to all of us."

I wonder if I can get away with requiring a subscription?

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:42 | 4658570 Arius
Arius's picture

yes, start the blog, establish a following, then publish an ebook - thats the recipe for disaster aka "the new definition of success" ...

kidding aside you might get away with requiring a subscription, the key thing to keep in mind though as you explore these new venues in your life is how many will actually pay for the subscription ... you dig???


i will promise to read your blog once in awhile, however you have to keep the same views you held in gulag days here at ZH ... thats a promise :)

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:49 | 4658593 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Fuck you. When I get rich on subscriptions I am totally gonna sell out like a cheap whore. I'll come back to ZH and be all "I bought the dip and got out at the top, beotches" and be all up in your grill about that shit and everything. Troll you like a mo'fo.

So see, something to look forward to.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:51 | 4658599 zaphod
zaphod's picture

Who asked/wrote that Question for the article? It was probably the scariest thing I've ever read in my life.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:54 | 4658615 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Where do I send my check cougar_w?

Just promise me there will be video of the entire process and I'm in and prepaid for a decade. :)

<Mrs. Cog says your jungle animals do it with style.>

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:01 | 4658629 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Ain't she just the sweetest thang that ever wore a straight jacket?

I'm writing a story now where I have her alone in an alley splattering a couple guys all over the walls just because she can. Girl's got that much class.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:19 | 4658688 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Just in case anyone is wondering what the hell cougar_w is talking about, click here for his original (very original) fiction.  :)

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:42 | 4658777 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Hey you know what I'll have Diamond and Fortran make guest appearances! How hard would that rock, huh? That would rock so hard.

"Thank you Mr. Madoff for your time we really enjoyed hearing about how your Ponzi scheme made your friends and direct family members rich beyond the heights of human avarice. Oh and look the prison authorities are here to take you back. But before they do I'd like you to say hello to a really big fan of yours. Diamond sweetheart, would come here and say something to Mr Madoff? I know he's just dying to meet you."

"Oh he's a fat one! Can I eat him now?"

"That would be fine, yes. Oops there he goes! Quick little fatty, isn't he? You better run him down!"

Epic lols ensue.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 20:54 | 4659034 American Dreams
American Dreams's picture

Unfortunately Martin would still be in solatary if he had not sold out.  He is between the rock and the MIC, he is broken like many others would be in the same position.  Godspeed Mr. Armstrong

There be no shelter here


Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:06 | 4658644 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

Finally, a reality show I can believe in;)

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:25 | 4658699 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

We be pimp'n dat shit!

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 20:24 | 4658942 Baldrick
Baldrick's picture

you MUST pimp your blogsite at least once a day.

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 04:55 | 4659840 ebear
ebear's picture

"the key thing to keep in mind though as you explore these new venues in your life is how many will actually pay for the subscription "

You'll PAY to know what you really think. -- J.R. "Bob" Dobbs

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 12:33 | 4661560 ILLILLILLI
ILLILLILLI's picture

One up for "Bob"...

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:39 | 4658540 Jam Akin
Jam Akin's picture

Saying that cost of government is out of control (by comparison to anything) is hardly insightful.  It has been so for far too long.  

And I'm not here to pimp my blog, unlike (too many) others.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:08 | 4658653 Serfs Up
Serfs Up's picture

Let me re-cap here.  Armstrong serves many years in Federal prison for angering Goldman Sachs.  

He gets out and "decides" that gold is no longer useful and that the rich are not the problem.

Think of the odds!

Please, won't anybody think of the odds?!?  :)


Mon, 04/14/2014 - 21:46 | 4659208 Jam Akin
Jam Akin's picture

Amen.  I used to enjoy Armstrong's typewritten letters from behind prison walls.  Those were insightful.  Then came that u turn you mention...

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 22:16 | 4659286 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

The rich AREN'T the problem. A healthy economy requires rich people who EARN their money in order to concentrate capital into the hands of those who can use it wisely.

Our problem is that the wrong people-- the incompetent, the psychopaths, the politically connected-- are the ones getting rich. Capital is accumulating in the hands of people who only know how to squander and misallocate precious resources.

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 05:02 | 4659845 ebear
ebear's picture

"Our problem is that the wrong people-- the incompetent, the psychopaths, the politically connected-- are the ones getting rich."

Nothing succeeds like excess.

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 08:36 | 4660123 PT
PT's picture

We'll just quietly ignore that little fact that THE RICH BOUGHT THE GOVERNMENT AND NOW THE RICH IS THE GOVERNMENT. 

Oh, did that sound a little harsh?  Let me try again:

They legally made donations to political parties, engaged ministers in important topics, and legally assembled lobby groups to influence legislation in order to better the needs of commerce.  What you saw was democracy in action!  If you had any better ideas then you should have lobbied govt, but given how poor you are, you could not have possibly had any valuable ideas.  Thank goodness you couldn't afford to lobby govt with your useless ideas which probably would have destroyed the economy even worse that what it is today.

Does that sound better?

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 22:18 | 4659295 Buckaroo Banzai
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If the idea that the cost of government is out of control is so obvious, why do a huge majority of the population think otherwise??

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 22:56 | 4659425 Jam Akin
Jam Akin's picture

Blindness, apathy, convenience, confusion, pick your poison.  It is quite obvious to most folks reading along here at ZH.

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 07:21 | 4659923 TruthHunter
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Definitely don't raise taxes on the rich. When they own everything,

the poor(in the police and military) will bring Stalin back. Then

they won't own anything.


Roosevelt went too far. But some types of income deserve a

90% tax rater(aka a fine)

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:18 | 4658502 stant
stant's picture

Can't have cows or a good arrowhead collection without thier eyes on it they are so broke

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:22 | 4658512 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture

They want it all. everything.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 20:21 | 4658924 Greenskeeper_Carl
Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

aside from not mentioning the fed as the mechanism of wealth transfer, and wealth inequality, I agreed with much of what he said, yet this article got a pretty low rating. Who that voted low would like to explain why?


most of the thread seems to be people blog-pimping, then geting called out for it, lets stay on subject

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 20:50 | 4659024 EvlTheCat
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Martin Armstrong is a FED, leg humping, cheerleader.  Read his, "The Paradox of Solutions" for more insight.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 22:22 | 4659305 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Martin Armstrong happens to think that the Federal Reserve, as originally chartered, has a useful role to play. It's not a completely unreasonable idea, even though I disagree with it. I think he would certainly agree that the Fed way overstepped its original charter many decades ago.

My point is, Martin Armstrong gets way more things right than he does wrong.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:21 | 4658510 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture


Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:39 | 4658557 CrashisOptimistic
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Taxes were raised on the rich in January of 2013.

The GOP voted for it.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 21:16 | 4659103 Stuck on Zero
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Rich meaning anyone earning minimum wage and up.  The very rich had their taxes lowered.


Tue, 04/15/2014 - 09:36 | 4660408 TruthHunter
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"Rich meaning anyone earning minimum wage and up." 

Exactly, by global standards, there are virtually no poor in the US.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:24 | 4658516 buzzsaw99
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Mon, 04/14/2014 - 22:37 | 4659361 Poor Grogman
Poor Grogman's picture

Words of wisdom as always my fair faced chap

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:24 | 4658517 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

But take the converse argument -- cut government by 90%, leave the wealthy intact -- and you are left with weak government and powerful rich fuckers all wanting to be King George the Next.

On the plus side, guillotines are cheap.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:35 | 4658546 Poor Grogman
Poor Grogman's picture

So anyone who is much more innovative and successful than "normal", must be evil and therefore should be taxed more than everyone else, or alternatively be subject to mob rule capital punishment.

After all "it's only fair".

What a crock of shit!

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:36 | 4658551 Superdude
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So if someone is innovative enough to pimp put your daughter or wife that's cool? It matters how one comes up on their wealth and how they maintain it. 

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:44 | 4658578 Poor Grogman
Poor Grogman's picture

Of course that's correct, it certainly does matter how one comes up with their wealth, natural law must prevail in all cases.

I'm sick of hearing that just because you worked had and are successful you must be some kind of a ( insert snark here) person.

There ARE clever hard working honest people out there, just like there are lazy, envious, stupid people out there as well.

Deal with it.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:24 | 4658693 Raging Debate
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Zero Hedge - I gave Poor Grogman a downvote and what appeared was two upvotes and three downvotes. Stop the algorythm shit, how can this site have users that promote liberty but allow vote rigging?

Poor Grogman - You are right buddy. Some are so smart they learned how to bribe corrupt officials. Yeah that is really innovative man... You seem new here. You know what that means... Actually, your retarded comment does not even deserve an argument.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:25 | 4658702 Poor Grogman
Poor Grogman's picture

New tip for free

Shhhh don't tell anyone, (Read the comment).

Now there's a thought...

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 21:09 | 4659073 Day_Of_The_Tentacle
Day_Of_The_Tentacle's picture

With a sub par comment like that, you are just "all raging and no debating", my friend. Too simplistic and too piss-antsy. 

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 11:57 | 4661365 fedupwhiteguy
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hey, rd, try refreshing your page before voting!

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:22 | 4658695 Superdude
Superdude's picture

Of course there are smart people working, some of whom find value in things other than money. I'm a doctor, I could exploit others because I have knowledge and abilities others do not have. Just because one can do something doesn't mean they should. The more I look at the situation the less clear and more complex it all becomes. 

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:40 | 4658559 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

No I'm just summarizing the lessons of 12,000 years of human history. You know, that same history Jefferson and Washington (who could read) where grappling with when they thought to start a new nation. Oh BTW, the French came along 20 years after them and did things a little differently, if you want another reference point.

Read a book then come back here and let us know how many real options we have here, cuz I'm all outta ideas.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:50 | 4658595 Arius
Arius's picture

i gave you an idea in my reply to your first post ... JUST DO IT!

simple very simple ... i only wish i could be as good at doing things as i am at advising others how to do it ...

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:03 | 4658633 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

You maybe should not have lit that fuse though. I have a really bad habit of following through on really bad ideas ...


Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:18 | 4658671 Arius
Arius's picture

got nothing to lose ... might turn around to be good ... the key thing is to keep your values and conscience.

it seems you are highjacking Martin's entry, this was supposed to be about his blog not yours :)


btw, i was joking above, sorry if it was not that clear ... i thought as a longtimer you should be able to read between the lines  ... too much to ask?  joking ... :)



Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:28 | 4658708 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Martin will just have to get over it.

And I was yanking your chain. I have an evil sense of humor, you have to follow me carefully down the rabbit hole, most days.

Fuse. Lit.

Madness, thou art my good.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:45 | 4658797 Arius
Arius's picture

got it!  thanks for getting back ...

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:38 | 4658761 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Cougar, I've harped on the same conundrum on here a few times...  This is part of the reason for such complacency...  Ultimately, somewhere deep in its bowels, the government still has remnants of collective bargaining.  While some might say that anything is better, I'm not sure they want to be purchasing shovels in Robert E Lee Wilson's company store...  pity the vagabond whose train stopped on the Wilson plantation.

As I see it, we have to utilize the present power of the government to clean things up, then disband it or dramatically reduce its size and scope.  The other way around is messy to say the least.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:49 | 4658810 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

"utilize the present power of the government to clean things up, then disband it or dramatically reduce its size and scope."

Brilliant. I likes.

The trouble of course is getting the government to kill itself. The original founders had the vague idea that government should have a kind of time-bound charter then the whole thing started over. Built-in generational change. I don't know where they got the idea but it is pure genius.

Pity it never happened. We could be working on the 4th or 5th iteration by now and have "hope and change" (the real kind, worthy of confidence) baked into our very DNA. But no instead we're stuck waiting for yet another pox-ridden empire to collapse.

Such a shame.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:05 | 4658643 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

If Bill Gates actually paid his employees well instead of hiring H1B's and independent contractors it WOULD make a real difference.   Gone are the days when working at Microsoft paid off.   

This is triue woth too many corporate employers.  The money goes to top execs not the employees that DO the real work - or even the shareholders.

The Walmart heir - all 7 of them - are worht more than 40% of the WHOLE US population combined.  Alice Walton wants to 'give back' so she opened an art museum in Bentonville.  A tax subsidized 'charitable' endeavor ..... if she REALLY wanted to 'give back' Walmart would let employuees work 40 hours a week, pay them more than minimum wage and give them benefits.

After JP Morgan Chase paid billions in fined, Jamie Dimon gets $20 million and the other employees are lucky to get a cost of living raise.


Yes expensive too large government is hurting taxpayers BUT employers that have cut real take home pay over decades of productivity IMPROVEMENT are a big part of the problem.  

A few thousand peopel buying houses, cars and appliances are worth a LOT more to the economy than one billionaire buying a mansion or two and a few Bentleys.  The rich are NOT 'creating jobs' - they're ELIMINATING THEM and turing the US into a rentier society.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:13 | 4658669 Kayman
Kayman's picture

It's not Government or the "rich" !  It's Big Government, Big Corporations (tilted heavily to the financial criminals and Big Unions (mostly government unions).

Time to trust-bust the crap out of them all... I can dream...

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:15 | 4658674 Landrew
Landrew's picture

Wake the FUCK UP, the rich do NOT pay income tax as they did before Reagan! They pay 15% long term cap gains! The middle class pays 10-20% more INCOME TAX! Why do you think these assholes work for a 1$ with long term equity options in the MILLIONS!

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:35 | 4658548 Superdude
Superdude's picture

Exactly, we have a culture in decline. Kind words, kind thoughts, kind deeds. It's really that simple.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:57 | 4658624 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

That, Sir, is positively Zoroastrian.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:18 | 4658685 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

Most people don't know that anyone other than the Jews, had a scripture.

                           Henry David Thoreau

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:25 | 4658701 Superdude
Superdude's picture

Was introduced to the concept during my residency, by a resident from Iran that had their grandfather tortured and killed as he was a journalist.  

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:40 | 4658561 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

...and King George was.....???


Mon, 04/14/2014 - 21:37 | 4659167 frank650
frank650's picture

There is no power in a free market.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 22:16 | 4659211 mophead
mophead's picture

High taxation through progressive taxation is a means to keep the poor and average guy down by discouraging labor and invention. "The more you make, the more they take." Therefore, why work THIIIIIIIIIS much more, when you're only getting THIIIS much more? People aren't that stupid and won't kill themselves for just a little bit more money. What happens next is an oligarchy is formed because they learn how to "work the system". The oligarchy understands the immorality of the tax system, and instead, uses it to STEAL the productivity, invention, and ultimately, wealth that the lower classes WOULD HAVE HAD, had we a FLAT tax system. Obviously, this is why most multi-billionaires are socialists or have socialist tenancies.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 22:29 | 4659330 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Wrong. ALL income tax is slavery. When the government gets paid for your labor before you are, that is involuntary servitude.

A flat tax is just a kinder, gentler form of slavery. Slavery is slavery. The house niggers had it great on the plantation, way better than the field niggers, living almost as well as white people. But they were still slaves.

You like being a nigger?


Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:26 | 4658522 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

Great summary of the way my generation has experienced life,

  and a good answer to some of the green with envy stuff that has appeared here lately.

Government is out of control on all levels.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:57 | 4658841 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

Then how 'bout a 'Tax the Rich Thievin' Bastards' tax?

Government is corporate controlled on most all levels.  The SEC dude said a prime reason for lack of enforcement was the lucrative corporate job waiting for them for not enforcing shit.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:26 | 4658526 starman
starman's picture

As in " its not the value of your house that went up but the cost of building it"

Inflation is a bitch!

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:27 | 4658527 whoopsing
whoopsing's picture

End the Fed

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:31 | 4658533 Charles The Ham...
Charles The Hammer Martel's picture

You know, a lot can be said for the law of nature, nature does not give stupid people 30 year fixed mortgages. Nature does not give banks quotas based on race. Nature does not allow for HFT or MMs. Nature means the smartest and the strongest amongst us thrive. Those who innovate are rewarded and those who do not are given repetitive tasks so their lives can have some semblence of meaning. The weak are those who refuse to relocate because of sentimentality. Those who make choices that end in incarceration are weak. Those who refuse to follow the laws our society puts in place due to an ill guided sense of entitlement. Those are the people we need to make a choice to leave behind in this nation. There is a difference between the helpless, and the careless. We should provide for the helpless and assist them as our society deems necessary. The careless... should be forced to fight to the death for our own amusement. We would all be much better off for it. And taxes would be exponentially lower.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:03 | 4658631 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture


Tickets to watch the carnage of the careless can fund aid to the helpless.

Why, the TV revenues alone could warehouse all the geezers until their ultimate denouement.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:11 | 4658661 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

'Nature' would have mobs chasing crroked bankers through the streets and LET companies FAIL.  'Nature' wouldn't be REWARDING failed banks and corrupt Wall Street firms with TRILLIONS on free money. Nature would have those responsible put in jail or worse and stripped of their ill gotten gains.

And 'Nature' would hold corrupt politicians responsible for selling out those they are supposed to represent to the highest bidder.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:40 | 4658778 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Nature ebbs and flows and cycles...  All of those things will come to pass as you wish...  and all of those things will be reborn.  Nature is not a conclusion, but merely a process.

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 05:26 | 4659851 ebear
ebear's picture

Deception is a basic element of nature.

Moths look like leaves to avoid being eaten

Aligators look like logs till they snap up and bite you.

Some species of insects make a living imitating other species.

Why should people be any different?


Mon, 04/14/2014 - 21:35 | 4659163 Raging Debate
Raging Debate's picture

Cynicalskeptic - Very well said about nature. Nature does cheat too, examine the penguins for example. The first banker suit looks an awful lot like one doesn't it?

Zero Hedge - I upvoted this commentator, it gave him one plus and one minus. All now must look in the mirror and decide to do right or continue doing what is wrong.

Tell ya a little story. I am a data guy in marketing. A year ago, chose to suspend a line because I couldn't support it technically so I knew the adveriser wouldn't get value. I have spent a few years looking in a mirror ao it was decision time. Risk being homeless or sell what I had that I knew returned value even though demand had shifted to the other product.
I was about to be homeless. My girlfriend said "how can you almost act happy about this?" I said "Because who I really am is worth any price. I will ask my church to find me whatever help I can get, I have given now I will ask for charity in return. The good news is if I am homeless I can now directly assist them in how to prosper." I received a very large check from a customer in the line I could serve.

Look in the mirror and make sure to offer real value. You'll sleep better at night. My son that belped me with the business said I was mad. But he came around and is proud of me now. I did what I could in this time. I can die tomorrow in peace. But I think I'll stick around for somepre adventures :/)

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:30 | 4658534 Bangin7GramRocks
Bangin7GramRocks's picture

Suck my dick! The rich shouldn't have such a disproportionate share of all wealth. Don't tell me I shouldn't care that a little dick CEO or hedge fund asshole makes $100 million. The rest of society pays a "tax" to fund such ridiculous compensation.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:08 | 4658651 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

That hedge fund ass pays 15% in taxes while the accomplished wage slave pays 38%.   

Don't tell me the uber wealthy aren't a big part of the problem.  I get to see them at work and believe me - they are a HUGE part of the problem.  Crony capitalism benefits the very wealthy far more than those at the bottom of the economic ladder.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:01 | 4658536 TheObsoleteMan
TheObsoleteMan's picture

NEWS FLASH: THE GUBMINT IS THE ECONOMY. As the private sector has shrank, the "public sector" has exploded, even unionizing. I can tell you how this model ends: In tears for everybody. All those benefits promised to the public sector will eventually be defaulted on. The math doesn't work.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 21:32 | 4659153 W.M. Worry
W.M. Worry's picture

You should stop pulling facts out of your butt. Although, if thats where your head is at...



Total Government Employment Since 1962

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 22:37 | 4659354 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Yeah, the problem with your statistics, doofus, is that they don't reflect the monumental pay raises that federal employees have gotten, in aggregate, over the last 15 years.

When employment is down slightly, but overall pay and benefits have doubled or tripled, that's a fucking problem.

And another thing: the amount of contractors and consultants that the Feds have hired in the last 30 years has absolutely skyrocketed. I wouldn't be surprised if spending on those has risen twentyfold during that time frame. They aren't counted as employees, but basically that's what they are.

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 03:10 | 4659771 TheObsoleteMan
TheObsoleteMan's picture

When you use gubmint stats to base your arguement on, you lose all credibility right off the bat.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:33 | 4658541 Superdude
Superdude's picture

I hate this bullshit about hands off the rich. These fuckers are not honest, they did not accumulate their wealth through honest means, why should they be spared? I get it, full blown communism is not the answer either, but for fucks sake, stop acting like it's an even honest playing field. There is no answer out there because we have all been raised on greed. We'd all be just as corrupt as the Rothschild crew or Dimon, we just don't have the opportunity.  

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:11 | 4658664 moneybots
moneybots's picture

"I hate this bullshit about hands off the rich. These fuckers are not honest, they did not accumulate their wealth through honest means, why should they be spared"


Have you ever watched Undercover Boss?

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:15 | 4658673 usednabused
usednabused's picture

Ha Superdude. You're absolutely right, but the reason you can't be a corrupt asshole making boohoo millions a year is simple. Its because you're not in the 'CLUB'. I guess ol Marty Armstrong is tho, or he's a helluva wannabe. Or he wouldn't be talking such bullshit. There sure as hell is a cost to society when some asshole makes millions a year there's a hell of a lot forced to make nothing. If thats not so, and money's unlimited, start Ben's helicopter up. See how that works out for ya.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:30 | 4658723 Superdude
Superdude's picture

Not a club I would want to be part of, but I can understand why it exists. A generation ago we had real wealth creators, then their kids got free money in the vaginal exit sweepstakes. Now that generation feels entitled and no matter what will try to perpetuate a lifestyle. Whenever I give a public speech I use my first name, I say both grandparents had grade 5 education, dad never finished high school, my kids will be entitled pricks 

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:33 | 4658542 Son of Captain Nemo
Son of Captain Nemo's picture
"It's Not the Rich – It's The Total Cost Of Government That Is Killing The Economy"...


Now can we hang Washington???

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:35 | 4658543 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

This article completely misses the primary culprits -- offshoring (and policies that encourage and reward it) and the Fed controlling our money supply and interest rates.  Those two things are the primary cause of the income disparity, which is merely a symptom.  Those two things have also have led to the increase in government, which militarizes to protect the oligarchs and their interests, spends public money on useless programs that benefit a few, spends money contributed to social programs on things like the MIC, and keeps welfare flowing to prevent revolution.  You can't have a middle class if workers have no leverage because there is slave labor awaiting elsewhere, and the very rich use the Fed to siphon off money from what's left of the productive economy, creating bubbles and fostering debt creation on which they alone profit in the long-term.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 21:24 | 4659124 Slave
Slave's picture

Pretty much the only comment on this article worth reading....too bad we can't move it to the top.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:35 | 4658547 Aussie V
Aussie V's picture

Here in Oz we pay more tax than we have income but we do have lot's of services. Many of which we have to pay for!!

Even the pensioners and unemployed indirectly pay a reasonable amount in taxes. Our direct taxes are high but our indirect taxes are also high. So, everyone is pulling money out of their pocket.

Is it fair?? Nope, not to the worker who can see upwards of 25-30% of his income directly paid in tax weekly and that's before the sneaky indirect tax takes a hold. Fuel here is around $1.50 a litre and 60% of that is tax!

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:09 | 4658658 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

Wanna hear a secret?

You don't pay for many services...

You pay for ALL of them.

Every one.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:35 | 4658549 intric8
intric8's picture

"hand me the keys (to the printing press) you fucking cocksucker WTF.." - fenster

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:36 | 4658550 Brokenarrow
Brokenarrow's picture

The average american doesnt hate the rich per se. They hate the way the rich got and stayed rich. They hate the cronyism, corruption, and flagerant way it was done. They hate the fact that banks, hedge funds, credit card  whores, and insurance companaies got a pass from the havoc they created.

I hate that the retired, elderly, and poor are all the financers of a hoard of bastards dwelling on their backs and sucking thieir blood.

I know an asshole at jpm that came over from bsc. He laughs that "he was still getting paid in bsc checks after they were bankrupt and out of business."

I used to have fantasies about a tall, blond wearing stockings and high heels. My new fantasy is a Russian submarine surfacing 300 km off the coast of nyc and teaching them a karmatic lesson they will never forget in history. They fucking deserve it.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:43 | 4658573 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Damn but that was excellent.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:49 | 4658594 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

I want to see a sub come up 300km off the coast of Utah and teach those Utah Goldman bankers a lesson. 

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:54 | 4658618 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

You know what I'd rather a 5 km wide meteor hit the place. We'd have evidence that God (pick your favorite) really is paying attention, and we'd get a great new natural tourist attraction at the same time. I don't travel as a rule, but I'd make sure I got over to see it (and take a hard piss over the edge) before I died. Fact.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 23:47 | 4659543 calltoaccount
calltoaccount's picture

if "a 5km wide meteor hit the place"--

earth would be tourist free for at least several hundred years.

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 10:57 | 4660929 TruthHunter
TruthHunter's picture

 "5 km wide meteor"


Like what probably happened in 535 AD?  Only it wasn't that  big. We would go the way of the dinosaurs if  we got hit by one like that.

As it was 60 million died in China and half the population in the west disappeared.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:15 | 4658675 moneybots
moneybots's picture

"The average american doesnt hate the rich per se. They hate the way the rich got and stayed rich. They hate the cronyism, corruption, and flagerant way it was done. They hate the fact that banks, hedge funds, credit card  whores, and insurance companaies got a pass from the havoc they created."


That comes back to government.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:41 | 4658566 Bangin7GramRocks
Bangin7GramRocks's picture

Totally agree. You start a business. Bust your fucking ass for 30 years building it into something great and acquire hundreds of millions. Good for you man. Enjoy the spoils! But that is not how most of the rich obtain the wealth. What the fuck does a hedge fund manager produce or build? Other than break laws, what does Jamie Dimon produce? Fuck all the unproductive rich. And fuck anyone that inherits obscene wealth too! Our forefathers tried to escape Lords and Barons for this reason.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:44 | 4658579 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Preach it, brah

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:46 | 4658586 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

It's not a popular subject on ZH, but dead on regarding inheriting of billions.   Throughout history, we see the predictable results of society as a whole tolerating the idea that wealth should be preserved forever by the heirs of the oligarchs once it is gained, by whatever means.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:57 | 4658625 Confused
Confused's picture

Inheriting billions. And this is where we come to the juncture of Rich/Government. 

This is the problem. 

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:45 | 4658800 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Bullshit.  If you've ever spent any time estate planning with wealthy folks, there's one universal truth: people who do not earn their wealth have little chance of keeping it.  Within 2 generations, 9 figure net worths can be squandered, regardless of how much the patriarch desires to leave a legacy.  Further, so long as someone rightfully earns their wealth, who the fuck are you to say what they can do with it?  Humility is a virtue.

PS, the rule against perpetuities addresses the issue rather nicely.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 20:00 | 4658847 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

You completely miss the billions in the equation, controlled by the families who control the Fed.  These guys are not hiring you, and they are the problem, not the millionaires who hire you.   I have no objection to honest business people passing down their loot.  And the rule against perpetuities addresses nothing in this problem.  I guarantee you that not one single oligarch's fortune was lost to that rule, which only comes into play when hack estate planners fail to create proper contingencies for their clients.  

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 20:24 | 4658938 Bangin7GramRocks
Bangin7GramRocks's picture

Tell that to the 9th generation DuPonts that are all filthy rich and do things like finger bang their daughters and murder Olympic wrestlers. When is the last time a Kennedy made money? How about a Vanderbilt or a Rockefeller. These fortunes can and s
do last for centuries. But hey, keep dreaming pal.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 21:51 | 4659219 Raging Debate
Raging Debate's picture

Banging7Gramrocks - I agree with both you and Macho Man. Where are the Pharoahs of old? That's right they overextended their empire and lost it in military conflicts until they became spread out and weak then they were conquered. But that process can take hundreds of years or nowadays at least a couple generations.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 20:04 | 4658864 dark_matter
dark_matter's picture

Article I Section 9: No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States

Being a billionaire is a defacto grant of nobility in the US and constitutionally illegal.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:44 | 4658575 Philalethian
Philalethian's picture

Yeah, how about all those trillions given to the bushes/clintons/obama, their cronys, and the many many other corrupted politicians and minions that have profited from the endless baseless useless wars for the banksters to sellout America to China, the next world money engine?

And who owns the Public Lands? Read em and weep.:



Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:27 | 4658714 usednabused
usednabused's picture

Fawkinaye... But oh no, don't tax those filthy cocksuckers! How did a smelly asshole like Bushy get the wealth to buy more land in central america than some states consist of? Sure as fuck wasn't by earning it now was it? And anyone who thinks shitasses like that earned the money instead of stealing the money are part of the problem in this world.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:44 | 4658577 Ludwig Von
Ludwig Von's picture

The rich are the careless.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:44 | 4658580 Andy Lewis
Andy Lewis's picture


Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:47 | 4658587 Hockey Goon
Hockey Goon's picture

"It's Not the Rich – It's The Total Cost Of Government That Is Killing The Economy"


Doesn't everyone already know this?

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:51 | 4658600 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

People actually paying attention know it at best half-true.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:59 | 4658626 Confused
Confused's picture

For sure the state is the problem. But it seems to me Mr. Armstrong is suggesting it is an either/or. Which is probably not the case. 

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:05 | 4658642 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Agreed. Sometimes he seems to like playing the Devil's lawyer. Not a bad gig.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 22:43 | 4659389 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

There are honest rich, and corrupt politically-connected rich. Obviously the latter are the byproduct of a court system. The former deserve their wealth.

Don't confuse the symptom (wealth) with the problem (a corrupt federal government rewarding criminals).

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 05:45 | 4659864 ebear
ebear's picture

For someone who touts complexity and interconnectedness, MA seems awfully singlular in his view of government.

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 03:08 | 4659768 Seer
Seer's picture


One can KNOW falsehoods.

As to fact...

The economy itself is killing itself.  The economy is predicated on the improbable of perpetual growth on a finite planet.  How many people have been tricked into thinking that it's something else, siding with some new "revolution" which only ends up producing the EXACT same results: I suspect that it's fueled by the same opportunist mindset that is always engaged in pillaging.

All currencies collapse.  All empires collapse.  The connection?  Growth.

Can't solve the problem if you don't know what it is.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:52 | 4658603 Duc888
Duc888's picture



Obamacare is a tax.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:53 | 4658609 rsnoble
rsnoble's picture

Thus far everywhere problems arise raising taxes has been the answer. It don't work.  But it keeps the goverment assholes pensions funded.  FUCKING PARASITES!!!!!!!

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:03 | 4658634 surf0766
surf0766's picture


Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:06 | 4658645 rsnoble
rsnoble's picture

Speaking of taxes, enjoy reading this US taxslaves--and make sure you have tp handy:

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:12 | 4658665 q99x2
q99x2's picture

Right. It's not the rich. Go hug an oligarch.

What the fuck do you think the FEDs are? They are the strong arm of the rich. FOOL.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:32 | 4658730 usednabused
usednabused's picture

Exactly, just as any police force is simply protection for business.  Who is dumb enough to think any politician or banker gives a fuck about someone who isn't in thier "CLUB"? Oh scuse me, I see there's quite a few of the ignorant bastrards around. I think they're wannabe's. Only explanation there can be.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:13 | 4658666 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

Pure propaganda. You cannot separate the rich from government, one requires the other. If you want an even playing field you eliminate law. This way, the rich are not protected from their actions. Money is what people will accept. Taxes become voluntary. Compliance is a function of social pressure minus the need to conform. 

Propaganda identifies single subjects and ignores the "system". Within the system, any object can be defended as it is part of the whole. However, remove parts from the whole and the system changes. Remove the FED and finance collapses. Remove the law and monopolies and cartels become ineffectual. Remove taxes and political coersion and war disappear. 

The system is maintained by the Elite class for their protection. Remove the system and you solve the problem of the Elites. Allow a new system and you empower the same Elites (see debt jubilee or revolution). The real solution is no system other than complete voluntary compliance at the individual level.

There are no benefits to government that cannot be achieved through voluntary or private consumption and investment. Risk is a function of both systems as are free riders. There are no utopias, life is dangerous. Anarchy is the law of the universe.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:25 | 4658704 moneybots
moneybots's picture

 "Pure propaganda. You cannot separate the rich from government, one requires the other."


Hollande wants tax the rich at 75%.  Gerard Depardieu left France and became a Russian.  Various business men have decided to move to Belgium.  Hollande is separating the rich from the government, as they are leaving.



Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:39 | 4658768 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

France does not protect monopolies and cartels? Corporations? The military industrial complex? Medicine/pharma? The Rothschilds? Is there a central bank? How much interest on your debt gos to bankers via your taxes? Gerard Depardieu? Really? That's your argument?

Politicians are front men, paid to convince YOU that you have place at the table. Luckily for them, people like you exist.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:46 | 4658804 Bangin7GramRocks
Bangin7GramRocks's picture

Oh no! What will they do without that fat fuck Gerard Depardieu!

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 20:08 | 4658878 balz
balz's picture

Eventually Belgium and Russia will need to raise taxes to a fair level as did France and where will Depardieu go ? To the moon ? This isn't serious. Depardieu became rich because of his fellow citizen, and now he goes away like a loser. The US was a growth-engine for 50 years in the 20th century with 70-90% income tax for the rich. This is all about Peak Oil and energy per capita. The rest is not important.

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 03:20 | 4659776 Seer
Seer's picture

I'd like to up-arrow you for trying (and I like the spirit).  But...

"remove parts from the whole and the system changes"

The System is based on perpetual growth on a finite planet.  Go ahead and remove any part you like, but as long as this premise stays in place then we get to the point of having to kill to attain resources for growth and or fake growth (fiat currencies etc.).  No, one can remove the strips from a zebra but it'll still behave and, pretty much, continue to perform as a zebra.

"Remove the law and monopolies and cartels become ineffectual."

Somehow I'm not thinking that the drug cartels would ever become ineffectual.  I think that they'd do whatever they could to force people to maintain their power: never lose sight of the fact that the name of the game is always about attaining power.

"Remove taxes and political coersion and war disappear. "

Did tribes pay taxes?

"Anarchy is the law of the universe."

I'd specify as: Entropy is the law of the universe.  Using "anarchy" tends to sour people to the notion of anarchism (which is about rejecting the use of coercive force).

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 08:15 | 4659965 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

The system is based on coersion and priority of humans. Your ecological argument is Malthusian garbage. It sounds good to the ignorant mind, but fails the test of history. It relies on an absolute end while dismissing the process whereby we reach towards that end, never considering the possibility of additional technology or resource points. Removing strips from a zebra(arms, legs) is hardly a defense of the removal of the FED or law in human society. One is required for survival, the others are not. Bad analogy.

Drug cartels are part of the government and system. They depend on the same protections all Elites depend on. People free to make choices will rarely choose drugs nor buy them at black market rates. People are difficult to force when they have the power to fire back- see Mexican vigilantes.

Are tribes formal governing structures? You need to be able to make distinctions if you want to argue.

Entropy is not the law of the universe. It is merely a condition we have identiied that exist within a system we do not understand. You might make the same observation every winter, but then spring comes along and we see a system renewed. Anarchy is not soured by its' use, but by its' disuse and condemnation- by the same Elites that fear it so.



Tue, 04/15/2014 - 21:44 | 4663689 honestann
honestann's picture

No kidding.  Ye old "entropy" argument is so tiring.  Why doesn't anyone notice the single most obvious and astronomical force in the universe is ANTI-entropy.

How's that?  Simple.

Let's start with maximum entropy.  Go far, far, far out in the middle of nowhere in the universe... far from the nearest galaxy.  Dump a cloud of hydrogen gas (or all sorts of gasses and materials... whatever you want).  Scatter it around real good... super random, super low density, super low temperature (1C) and across a huge volume... say a big irregular blob of several million light years in diameter.

That is pretty much the highest entropy you will ever find anywhere in the universe.  Utterly random, utter disorder, no available energy.

Now, what do people imagine happens over time (a lot of time)?

This is where the more aware or clever people say to themselves... "woops!".  Why?

Because they know what happens.  They know the slightly higher gravitational force in the center portion of this huge cloud of random gas will slowly begin to cause the average motion of the component particles to tend towards the center.  As the density near the center very, very gradually rises, this tendency increases, and so the atomic particles will start moving even faster towards the center...

And so forth...

And so forth...

And so forth...

... across billions of years ...

This sure can get boring, alright.

But if you take a seriously overdue vacation and come back in a billion years or so, what will you find?

Well, that depends on how much randomized particles you put in that maximally entropic cloud.  If you create an enormously entropic system with enormous mass, when you come back after vacation you will find... what?

A whole galaxy of stars.

If you were more modest in your seeding, perhaps only one or two stars.

In either case, let's take a look at those one, two or 100 billion stars.

How entropic are they?

Can you find any "order"... in a sphere?

Can you find any "available energy"... in a galaxy of 6000C stars?

That's about as "maximum order" and "maximum energy" as you can get.

And guess what?  No need to invest ANY energy to make that happen!

Sigh.  Sure, on small scales, entropy does work as advertised.

Too bad people just accept whatever nonsense they are fed, and never even bother to look around and see the REST of reality to see whether this supposed MOST FUNDAMENTAL LAW OF REALITY (many of them claim) actually applies to the... bulk of reality.

Sigh.  Humans are hopeless.

At least Sean7k has a brain!  :-)

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 05:33 | 4659859 honestann
honestann's picture



Humans have proposed millions of ways to "manipulate the system", and have tried thousands of ways to "manipulate the system".  ALL have made life worse.  But absolutely not uniformly (which is the point understood well by the super-rich AKA super-predators).

As long as humans are stupid enough to think in terms of a "system", humans are SCREWED... unavoidably screwed.

Why?  Because those humans who decide to live by productive actions [must, to be effective and efficient] spend most of their time, effort and resources on observing, understanding and manipulating reality.  And those humans who decide to live by predatory actions spend all their time, effort and resources dominating the "system" in order to dominate the producers in order to survive and live a comfortable life.

This is inherently true.  The predators will always dominate every large-scale "social" system... ALWAYS.  First, because they spend all their time, effort, talents and resources on that endeavor, and second because their behavior is utterly unconstrained by anything but their modus-operandi (which is "get away with whatever we think we can).

So, as Sean7k says, the only solution for honest, ethical, productive, benevolent human beings is... no organized social system.  Because every organized social system is and will inherently do nothing more than enrich, empower and protect the most egregious predators on the planet.

This is not disputable.  The entire history of mankind is 100% illustration of this obvious inherent fact of reality.  This development and progression was unavoidable on earth, and is unavoidable anywhere in the universe where a species progresses from "all predators" (because the species lacks an understanding of the nature of production) to "some predators and some producers"... and if the species is not completely stupid, to an honest, ethical, benevolent species of "producers".

Unfortunately, as a whole, humans are a completely failed species.  Not that humans are not capable of impressive, even spectacular achievement, but because the vast majority of humans are utterly clueless about the nature of reality, the nature of mankind, the nature of consciousness, and the various possible forms of human interaction (and their relative consequences).

So Sean7k is right.  There are no solutions within the system.  Not any of the systems tried since the birth of mankind, and not any system so far untried.  Because the problem is... the illusion that is system.

In a world entirely composed of voluntary interactions between individuals, one might step back and identify various patterns of human behavior and action, but these are not "system" in the sense people apply that term.  Why?  Because nobody is required to take those actions or behave in those (more popular) ways that people might be tempted to call "the system".  There most certainly is a very significant difference between "popular" and "system".

In fact, the lack of system is precisely what is required for "popular" to correspond to "effective" and "efficient".  Why?  This is simple to understand if you stand back and observe a world with no "system"... where all human interactions are voluntary.  What will happen... naturally and unavoidably?

Well, one might imagine that everyone just starts trying 7-billion different ways to live, though that's a pretty large stretch, since all humans need air, water, food, shelter and various other physical goods, and obviously more than 1 individual on the planet will decide to adopt actions we might call "plant seeds" in order to satisfy their need for food.

Nonetheless, even IF every individual started out with their own "action plan" for survival and happiness, what would invariably happen?  Well, obviously some actions will be more effective and efficient at providing the goods and goodies humans need and enjoy.  And guess what?  People will notice when actions other humans take are more effective and efficient at causing consequences they value, and they will adopt those actions in order to enjoy the better results.

So... in very short order the most efficient and effective behavior will be adopted by a huge number of people.  This will definitely NOT eliminate diversity, because even if everyone was aware of what actions cause what results, not everyone has the same tastes, enjoys the same goods, enjoys the same goodies, wants to enjoy the same percentage of sleep or relaxation or exploration or experiment or anything else.

And so, a fully voluntary world will be a very rich, interesting and dynamic mix of diversity and consistency.

At this point in history, so many humans have gotten themselves (and everyone) so deep into the mess that pervades the planet, they may forget the following, which I can still remember.  When humans are not overwhelmed by private and public predators constantly sucking the life, time, goods, liberty, happiness and resources from them, they naturally tend to care about each other [more], and be more willing to help each other out.  And perhaps even more important, they tend to always be on the lookout for what some people call "synergies", which just identifies those situations in which "the coordinated actions of two people produce more than 2 times the results (goods and goodies)".

One thing this article gets correct is the observation that humans are learning to produce more efficiently as time passes.  Yet... virtually ALL the benefits of this efficiency flow ONLY to the predators who dominate the system.  The more the predators-that-be control the system, and expand the system... ALWAYS WITH THE CLAIM IT WILL HELP EVERYONE... the less goods and goodies flow to producers, and the more goods and goodies flow to predators.

EVERY imposed system has this result.  EVERY.  SINGLE.  ONE.


None of us have anything against humans who become "rich".  However, we do have a problem with humans who become rich by means other than their own production.  And ALL super-rich today are primarily super-rich as a consequence of manipulating the system, and/or playing the existing system.

The fact is, without a system composed of endless utterly bogus fictions like "corporation" and "government", the most egregious predators would be eliminated by the natural, legitimate mechanism commonly known as "self-defense".  Indeed, this is why the most egregious predators created these fictions... to confuse their prey, to eliminate the existence of "easily identified targets".


I think Sean7k and I and a few others who comment in ZH recognize how utterly and completely pointless and self-defeating are ALL discussions about "how the system needs to be tweaked or regulated or modified".  The only possible solution for mankind is an elimination of system, aided by a clear understanding that all so-called "systems" are in fact pure fictions.  And thus treating these fictions as if they are real entities is the single most fundamental and destructive form of insanity possible for sentient beings to practice.

In other words, mankind has no hope until a large number if not majority of articles in ZH and other trend-setter publications just say no to fiat, fake, fraud, fiction, fantasy ideas like "government", "corporation", "nation", "state", "law" and the thousands of other utterly bogus mental-units that prevent individuals from interacting with other individuals exclusively on the basis of voluntary agreement.

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 07:53 | 4659976 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

Keep the faith Honestann. Well said.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:17 | 4658683 Herdee
Herdee's picture

Good Luck at even reducing the cost or the number of U.S. military bases worldwide.Some say there's 700,others say over a 1,000 but it depends on how you classify them.The job of the puppet President and the politicians in Washington is to keep the military-indudtrial complex expanding.This is what Eisenhower warned about and he could see it coming.Now,it's here.And you thought "1984" was bullshit.

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 03:24 | 4659777 Seer
Seer's picture

War Is A Racket - Smedley Butler, it's a mandatory read.

The military is for ensuing that commerce is steady.  "Steady" is what big business requires: it's really tough to run a business when there's a constant fluctuation in prices and consumers.  I can totally see how this all formed.  One day it will all be seen as a brief moment in time...

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:32 | 4658733 Itchy and Scratchy
Itchy and Scratchy's picture

Raise the debt ceiling!

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:34 | 4658741 yellowsub
yellowsub's picture

You should see our town's retirement, many are 6 figure pensions with their high cost medical then how many at the county, state and federal with the same.  

Sadly that's how it is across all of America.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:36 | 4658750 yrbmegr
yrbmegr's picture

Abolish the capital gains tax.  Tax capital gains like ordinary income.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:36 | 4658754 Itchy and Scratchy
Itchy and Scratchy's picture

Let future generations pay! It will give them something to do!

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:39 | 4658767 limacon
limacon's picture

Optimal tax

Optimal Tax .

Andre Willers
22 Mar 2009

Synopsis :
Any delineated entity in a competitive environment has an optimal reserve .
(See "NewTools : Reserves")
If this reserve is exceeded by a tax , the entity has the three choices : revolt , moving , or extinction .

Discussion :
The argument involves the effects of errors in sub-entities which are partitioned to infinity . The error of not paying taxes is included in the range .

The range of optimal reserves is 28% to 38% , with an average of 33%

Direct tax: roughly , the percentage of GDP going to the state (in SA , 28%)
Indirect tax : Inflation .
Benefits from tax: the monetary value the entity receives back from the group (society) in benefits . Usually , there is cross-subsidization to prevent too big gaps between layers of society . This works fine , unless boundary conditions are exceeded.

The basic relationship is
Direct Tax + Inflation – TaxBenefits = TaxOnReserve
This is layered according to social classes .

If TaxOnReserve > 38% ,
there is armed rebellion , major social unrest , revolution ,extinction .
If TaxOnReserve is between 33% and 38% , there is unrest . Population movements .
If TaxOnReserve is between 28% and 33% , there is smugness .
If TaxOnReserve is < 28% , there is unrest because of a vague perception of unfairness .

This seems fairly straightforward . The problem is in the social layering .

South Africa as a case study : as at 22 Mar 2009 .
DirectTax(28%) + Inflation(8%) = 36% .

The TaxBenefits :
Upper classes : TaxBenefits(1%) gives a TaxOnReserve of 35% , 2% less than 33% .
They leave .

Other classes :
They would be satisfied with TaxBenefits of up to 8% .
More than that , and they want to know " What have you done for us lately. We deserve more . "

The perils of populism .


Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:44 | 4658790 Wilcox1
Wilcox1's picture

Awesome Post/Awesome Comments

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:53 | 4658830 sondernauch
sondernauch's picture

The super rich are causing the debt to explode through their gross theft and corruption, so yes, it is the fault of the super rich. 

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 20:03 | 4658858 balz
balz's picture

The only thing Armstrong is good at is finding scapegoats to blame for the end of growth. Each day its because of Marxists, because of Communists, because of France, because of Democrats, because of government, because of bureaucrats, because of global warming proponent, because of...

Hey, Armstrong, if you are reading this : prosperity is ENERGY PER CAPITA. With Peak Oil, ENERGY PER CAPITA is going down and whatever you do, prosperity won't be back. Stop living in the past, dude.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 20:27 | 4658957 samsara
samsara's picture

"prosperity is ENERGY PER CAPITA. With Peak Oil, ENERGY PER CAPITA is going down and whatever you do, prosperity won't be back"

Put better than I have heard in a while. Exactly. I reread Richard Duncan's piece every few years and relook at Fig #4, maybe one of the most reprinted of graphs. See how close his curve fits over time. But writing that paper in the late '90's, I think he did good.

Richard Duncan's "Olduvai Theory"

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 03:32 | 4659784 Seer
Seer's picture

Yeah, the Olduvai Theory was one that really got my attention.  I've got a picture of the human achievement graph laying around.

If only we could bring back a couple of folks from Easter Island to talk to.  Pretty sure that they'd warn us of what lie ahead (that they failed to see)...

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 03:28 | 4659780 Seer
Seer's picture

That there were two folks down-arrowing you is pretty sad.  ZH-ers can, it seems, only grasp the concept of growth when it comes to the abstract of money/interest; when it comes to the physical world and a finite planet it just dumbfounds them...

Thank you for daring to bring up the real fundamentals.  It's hard to look in the mirror.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 20:09 | 4658886 TammanyBrawl
TammanyBrawl's picture

Cost of government hindering the economy? Shocking! What Armstrong avoids is how the cost of government got to where it is; the rich, be they individuals, corporations (but I repeat myself according to the Citizens United ruling), unions, welfare-pimps, etc. They got us here. Lobbyists working the system to get their clients a carve out. Congressmen 'tweaking' a bill so it will financially benefit them or their backers (yeah- looking at you Durbin). A tax code so voluminous and complex that a whole industry was created just to navigate, coopt, avoid, and circumvent it. A welfare system that actually punishes those who try to get off it. Is any of this for the benefit of the middle class? I'm all for accumulating wealth (Capitalism! Woohoo! Fuck yeah!), but in this current connected, crony system, working within it is tacit acceptance that your cool with how corrupt it is. Nobody can claim clean hands. Cost of government hindering the economy? For TPTB the answer is: as long as it's not my ox getting gored, who gives a shit?

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 03:36 | 4659785 Seer
Seer's picture

"WE" got us here!  "WE" particiapted in this growth system.  And now that the system is failing for lack of growth (insufficient resources) "WE" refuse to look in the mirror!

Denial...  hang all of the "others," makes no difference in the equation: we'll still be short resoruces for growth.

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 20:10 | 4658889 sondernauch
sondernauch's picture

Save us ObeWanVladimir, you're our only hope. 

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