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The Solution To The Declining Middle Class: Destroy Fixed Costs And Debt

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

The solution to the erosion of the middle class lifestyle is to destroy debt and other fixed costs and eliminate self-sabotaging discretionary consumption.

Last week I covered the structural dynamics causing the decline of the middle class. In general, the costs of untradable services (healthcare, higher education, government) and the rot of financialization have increased while wages have stagnated. The Federal Reserve's "solution" was to make everyone who owned a house a speculator who could only keep even with rising costs by riding the asset bubbles higher and then extracting the "free money" generated by these bubbles before they popped.
Let's take two representative households to understand the decline of the middle class and the solution. Let's say both households earn $81,000 annually, virtually all from wages and salaries. This puts the family at around the 70% mark of U.S. households, just within the top 30%. (For context, the 2011 median household income was $50,054.)
This income is solidly middle class: not low enough to qualify for much in the way of government subsidies but not high enough to avoid prioritizing and trade-offs.
Household A has a big mortgage on a house they bought near the top of the market with a minimal down payment, student loans, two auto loans and credit card balances. After making the loan payments and paying for utilities, transportation, groceries, employees' share of healthcare costs, eating out, mobile phone/broadband/TV service plans, there is little money left to save for emergencies, travel, college for the kids, home maintenance, etc.
How do we describe this family: middle class or debt-serfs? Actually, they're both:measured by what they superficially own (home, two vehicles, communication and entertainment devices, college degrees, etc.), this household is solidly middle class. But measured by how much income is spent servicing debt, how much is left to accumulate or invest, the family's net worth (their assets' market value minus debt) and generational wealththis household is mired in debt-serfdom: their debts will never be paid off.
The mortgage will never be paid off, and by the time the parents' student loan debt is reduced, the next generation's student loans are piling up. The auto loans may eventually be paid off, but it will look cheaper to buy a new vehicle with a modest monthly payment than to pay costly auto maintenance with scarce cash.
Debt anchors this household's fealty to the state and financial sector as securely as any medieval peasant household's bond to the noble's manor house. This is the basis of my characterization of the U.S. economy as a neofeudal arrangement based on debt.
Household B shares the family home that is owned free and clear (mortgage has been paid off) with other family members, owns debt-free vehicles and maintains the cars themselves, rarely eats out, has no student loans (either paid cash for college, used scholarships and grants or paid their loans off), buys cheap catastrophic medical insurance and invests money in staying healthy/preventative care, i.e. eating and preparing real food and enjoying regular fitness, lives close to work, invests some of the ample family savings in enrichment (lessons for the kids, etc.), occasional frugal travel and income-producing assets and retains the rest for emergencies such as vehicle breakdown, medical emergency, etc.
If this scenario seems "impossible," recall that 1/3 of all homes (roughly 26 million houses) in the U.S. are owned free and clear, i.e. there is no mortgage.
How do we describe this family: middle class or wealthy? Actually, they're both:this household has a solidly middle class income, but because they've eradicated fixed costs (most importantly, debt, costly "gold-plated" healthcare insurance, etc.) and discretionary luxuries such as eating out, costly entertainment plans, etc., but measured by their values, behaviors and net income saved and invested, this household is upper-middle class or wealthy, having achieved a level of prosperity that eludes free-spending households with double their annual income.
The solution to the erosion of the middle class lifestyle is to destroy debt and other fixed costs and eliminate self-sabotaging discretionary consumption that cripples the household's ability to accumulate capital that generates income. There is nothing magical about the values and behaviors that enable this; it boils down to choosing to leave the permanent adolescence of debt-based consumerism behind and move up to a more prosperous, productive way of living: doing more with less.
I am indebted to Paul C. for this graphic depiction of how instant-gratification consumption that appears "cheap" is actually horrendously expensive when the consequential costs and alternatives are considered:
This is but one example of many in which the lower-cost alternative is the better choice, not just in value but in opportunity costs. We assess the opportunity costs of every purchase or loan by asking one simple question: what else could we have done with this money?
It's a question that is scale-invariant, that is, it works as well for a nation as it does for an individual, and every organization between these two ends of the economic spectrum.
In the case of the debt-serf "middle class" household, the answer to the question, "what else could we have done with our money?" is slowly build productive assets and prosperity that is within your own control.

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Mon, 05/12/2014 - 08:30 | 4750303 LawsofPhysics
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How about prosecuting the fucking fraud?


The "middle class" is dead already.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 08:32 | 4750307 GetZeeGold
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That.....and just stop spending money we don't have.


Yes....I'm aware that's gonna piss off the GOP.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 08:33 | 4750308 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Indeed, moreover, the middle class cannot "save or generate capital" if capital is not respected...  can you say ZIRP or NIRP?

Fucking morons.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 08:37 | 4750322 Latina Lover
Latina Lover's picture

Asking the average mindless american consumer to stop spending is akin to asking a pedophile to stop offending.

To be fair, ZIRP does destroy any incentive to save.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 08:49 | 4750348 Stackers
Stackers's picture

Ever want to see this put into practice ? Watch the reality show 19 kids and Counting about the Dugger family.

No debt, no jobs, 19 kids and a nice (if a bit crowded) home. All through frugal living and smart investing in income generating commercial real estate

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:08 | 4750413 knukles
knukles's picture

How's about less social engineering allowing robust job creation?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:19 | 4750445 Shocker
Shocker's picture

A Half way decent job market would help.

Layoff / Business Closing List:


Mon, 05/12/2014 - 10:06 | 4750578 Georgia_Boy
Georgia_Boy's picture

The graphic again puts the lie to the liberals' excuse that the poor are fat because fast food is the cheap way to get enough calories.  Oh, and of course, because no one ever TOLD them that burgers are not as healthy as broccoli!

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 10:12 | 4750591 Rubbish
Rubbish's picture

Moar bacon

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 11:13 | 4750825 Creepy Lurker
Creepy Lurker's picture

I could get more than one meal out of that chicken.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:08 | 4751470 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

I think Humanity is in a phase of deeply masochistic decline. 

Part engineered, part cyclical, who knows...

The middle class is the soft underbelly of society, very dependent with very limited skill-sets.

Very expendable as a more aspirational poor push up and an ever more exploitative rich push down.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:31 | 4751874 chumbawamba
chumbawamba's picture

Indeed.  We're thinking along the same lines: how much of it is engineered vs. a normal phenomenon of the "human condition"?  The media is certainly filled with hypnotic suggestion, but then we choose to go along with it at a subconscious level.

I was just thinking today: if you were tasked with managing the world, how would you deal with billions of people who don't even know why they're here, let alone how to get by in this increasingly crazy world?

Today, I only have questions.

I am Chumbawamba.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:23 | 4751554 MisterMousePotato
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Based on personal experience from a couple/few nights ago:

Dinner for four:

Eight medium baked potatos, split ($1.50);

In a skillet:

1/2 pound bacon cut in small pieces ($1.00);

One medium yellow onion, chopped small ($0.50);

1/2 pound white mushrooms, sliced ($2.00);

A bit of garlic, garlic leaves (homegrown), spices, and whatnot ($0.50);

Grated cheddar cheese ($0.50);

1/3 bunch brocolli ($0.50).


Now, I like rib eye steak, properly prepared and in unlimited quantities about as much as anybody, I think, but ... you know? For about $7.50, it wasn't a bad meal at all.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:26 | 4751734 Save_America1st
Save_America1st's picture

pay off debt.

get out of the banking system and get your cash out of the bank after each paycheck, leaving only minimun in the account to pay regular monthly online bills.  ***All cash goes in your pocket or hide it away.

***pay cash for everything else and save up all the change.  You'll be amazed how much change you can save up (this is important)

get a good running car with no car payment.

stop using credit cards...close them all out except best one with lowest interest rate and decent enough balance for emergencies, renting cars, hotels, etc. if necessary.  One with no monthly or annual fees (or as low as possible) is best.  DON'T USE THE DAMN THING FOR ANYTHING ELSE.

save cash away for random costs and emergencies such as fixing car issues, etc.  Don't leave it in the banking system

***Buy physical silver regularly...whatever you can get once a month and buy 5, 10, 20 ounces, etc. or whatever is comfortable that fits in your budget.  Just keep stacking it regularly.

Every few months take all that loose change you've been saving and use it to buy physical silver or to pay off debt until debt it gone. 

By not using a debit card for purchases and by using cash only since you are no longer keeping excess cash in the banking system you will be amazed how much change you can save up over a short amount of time. 

If you have a 401k stop contributing to're just throwing money away, especially since it's going to be inflated away, destroyed in a market crash, devalued due to dollar printing and loss of world reserve currency status in the future, and/or stolen by the government.  If you're not close to retiring yet then just stop contributing.

Instead, take the 50% loan that you're allowed to take and use it to pay off debt or buy physical silver.  Extend the payments out to the longest possible...I think it's up to 72 months, could be wrong.

You'll be paying yourself back via paycheck withdrawals at a low interest rate, like 4.5%.  So you're paying yourself back plus don't need to contribute anything else.  Consider that money gone anyway.  If you used it to pay off a large credit card you'll have eliminated a large higher interest minimum monthly payment to the credit card while also paying yourself back plus a low interest rate at the smallest payment plan possible.  You'll come out ahead on this and you will have used that money now while you could to pay off debt or stack some silver and other supplies and you're still contributing to the 401k with your payments just in case you actually do get to retire one day and start using it.  You will have paid yourself back in like 6 years anyway.

And that's all a very good start to turning shit around for yourself.  Stacking guns, ammo, food, water, other supplies doesn't hurt either.  Especially food storage.  Buy up a bunch now of Mt. House or other dehydrated or freeze dried long term storage food.  Food inflation is going to go off the charts in the future, so getting long term storage food now while it's affordable can then be used in the years ahead to supplement your food costs so that you don't have to buy as much in the future.  Most of it is good for up to 20 to 30+ years, so it'll help you save a lot of $$$ for sure down the road.


Mon, 05/12/2014 - 20:10 | 4752845 sleigher
sleigher's picture

How come all the christians don't say "that is against my religion" when offered credit or to buy things on credit?  I was offered credit on a purchase the other day and said that is against my religion even though I don't really think of myself as a christian.  I got a really weird stare.  Maybe that's why...

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 16:17 | 4752083 New World Chaos
New World Chaos's picture

Excellent cheap recipie to try tonight!  Here's my version of it:

Garlic and spices:  $0.50

All the other ingredients and more, which I got on my last dumpster dive:  ~$2.00 in gas


Fuck the Man

P.S.  I only get away with this because I am single.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 16:17 | 4752108 ncdirtdigger
ncdirtdigger's picture

Sorry MMP, but your price for a half pound of bacon is right out of a Leave it to Beaver episode. That chit be costing $8 a half lb these days. You be lucky to get a half slice for a buck.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 20:15 | 4752878 MisterMousePotato
MisterMousePotato's picture

I buy a three-pound bag of bacon at a place called the Grocery Outlet (big on the west coast) for $5.99. That is the today, current price. To be sure, was $4.99 not too long ago. Ends and pieces, not slices (usually). Thick cut. Really pretty good bacon. I compared it to the expensive in the case stuff from a couple grocery stores as well as the then ten-dollar 20-ounce package, and it was just as good. Just not pretty slices, which I don't care about at all. First off, I cut full slices in halves or thirds anyway 'cause I find it easier to cook. Besides, I'm just gonna chew it all up anyway, so who cares what it looks like? Not like I'm running a restaurant.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 13:44 | 4751387 ebworthen
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Yes to Shocker and Kunkles.

Yes to LawsOfPhysics.

This isn't about being frugal.

This is about fucking jobs and pay!

Not enough jobs, not enough pay!

It's about the fucking FED!

It's about parasitic cronyism!

It's about banks and the corporatocracy!

It's about the death of the rule of law!

Kill the parasites!

It's not about burger vs. broccoli!

I hate articles like this, it's bullshit!

"Be frugal, buy and hold a diversified portfolio..."

FUCK ME!  I can't take it anymore!


The problem is not us, it's THEM!!!

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:13 | 4751513 Oh regional Indian
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I read " Be Frugal, burn a well fried potato".

That sounded pretty frugal to me. In a burnt out sort of way.


Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:30 | 4751581 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Every penny of frugality will be STOLEN by TPTB.

Frugality ALLOWS them to TAKE MORE.

People just don't get it.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:49 | 4751970 chumbawamba
chumbawamba's picture

Pardon me for saying this, but I think you don't get it.  Your rant isn't going to change reality.

All that you say may be true, but it's your problem, not the PTB.  Whining about it will not fix things.  Being more clever than them will, and if that means sacrificing in the interim then that will ultimately make you the better of mankind.

Or did you not get the memo?  The meek shall inherit the earth.

I am Chumbawamba.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 16:03 | 4752043 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Thanks chumba.  I get it, I'm just tired of getting it.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 16:10 | 4752078 chumbawamba
chumbawamba's picture

The corollary being: take care of yourself first, brother, and the world will follow.


Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:28 | 4751837 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

That too.

Charles Hugh-Smith is jumping the shark.

A 21st Century version of "A Modest Proposal" would have been better:

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 18:37 | 4752561 Milestones
Milestones's picture

Ah yes, the eternal parasites. it is way past time to  address this problem. the people have all but run out of time. The game is going to be decided in the next 90 days I'm afraid.         Milestones  

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:22 | 4750451 DeltaDawn
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They are paid a pretty penny to start in a reality show. Their digs would not be quite as nice, but it seems like they are the debt-avoidance types and would buckle down.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 10:21 | 4750618 Almost Solvent
Almost Solvent's picture

19 kids - fuck that shit.


They have mental problems to have 19 kids.



Mon, 05/12/2014 - 13:06 | 4751267 Lmo Mutton
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Sir, with all due respect, making the kids was not a mental problem.

The mental problem came AFTER the 19 kids.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:37 | 4751604 11b40
11b40's picture

That sounds cute, but any couple who would have 19 kids DOES have a mental problem.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 17:40 | 4752403 Stackers
Stackers's picture

1 and 2 children families are not the hisoric norms. my parents had 5 and 6 siblings, their parents had 12 and 13 each. Wanting and having a large family is not abnormal.

Tue, 05/13/2014 - 09:47 | 4754391 11b40
11b40's picture

Sorry, but I just tend to be argumentative, and we are talking about contemporary people right here in the good ole USA, not historic family sizes.

In the modern world, large families are not normal.  Otherwise, they would be common.  They are not common, nor are they normal.  They are abnormal.

In more agrarian societies, family size tends to be larger, and in poor, underdeveloped, backwards societies, the same is true.  Where lack of birth control, opression of women, poverty, and ignorance are the norm, larger families are, too.

If it works for you and your wife, go for it.  However, we would all appreciate it if you would kindly make sure you can afford to raise all those kids without our subsidies.  Also try to raise them right so we don't have to support them later in life if they are not properly educated and socialized.  The welfare rolls are busting at the seams, and the prisons are full enough.  Good luck.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:35 | 4751900 TimmyB
TimmyB's picture

They are religious fundamentalists, same as the Taliban.

Tue, 05/13/2014 - 01:09 | 4753684 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

They are religious fundamentalists, same as the Taliban.

Says a self-absorbed progressive eunuch.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 08:46 | 4750349 boogerbently
boogerbently's picture

"eliminate self-sabotaging discretionary consumption."


I thought that's what they were doing FOR us.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:15 | 4751523 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Yeah, I thought that was a pretty 2 legs good, four legs bad line right out of the box.

Is this guy supposed to be some sort of libertarian voice?


Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:01 | 4750390 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



ZIRP destroys any incentive to save...paper "assets."  There are alternatives forms of wealth - I thought that was pretty well understood here at the hedge.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 10:40 | 4750682 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

Being the mindless bleating sheep that we are, we need daily constant reminders.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 11:47 | 4750970 Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

You are assuming too much. Check out this article:

Relevant portion:

In Russia, 96 percent of those surveyed could not answer the three questions correctly. While that might be expected of a post-communist nation, the mecca of capitalism [sic] didn’t exactly yield glowing results—only 30 percent of Americans aced the quiz. The best-performing respondents were the Germans (53 percent got a perfect score) and the Swiss (50 percent), but this still leaves almost half of each country’s population without a basic understanding of financial matters. In countries with relatively strong economies, the numbers are sobering: 79 percent of Swedes, 75 percent of Italians, 73 percent of Japanese, and 69 percent of French could not respond correctly to all three questions.

Only 30 percent of Americans. Less than one in three. Anyone who cannot correctly answer the first two questions has roughly zero chance of understanding what things like ZIRP and negative real returns mean, let alone how they're relevant. Somehow I doubt that in the few years since savings accounts and CD rates were crushed, that many people simple forgot how interest and saving works and inverted their attitudes toward it. It's all about the culture. If everyone you know routinely spends 99% of their disposable income on trinkets, you probably will too, and you won't find it strange or wrong in the least, either. Cultures of saving don't become cultures of spending overnight, whenever interest rates aren't "good". How many people even save in the form of non-paper wealth? That's the difference. In saver cultures, you save whatever you can, whenever you can.

Most people don't understand ZIRP or QE, have never heard of ZIRP or QE, and if you were to patiently explain ZIRP and QE, they would not be able to make the practical, logical connection between them and their financial behaviour (saving, spending, investing) - they would walk away without having learned a damned thing.

The most you can say is, they see a lower interest rate percentage and the desire to save is easily overpowered by the burning deeply ingrained desire to spend (on something that provides only a momentary emotional return, if any - it's not wealth-generating or even wealth-preserving, it's wealth-destroying and often, being purchased on credit, incurs interest).

Any recommendation to save rather than spend, in this consumerist culture, is just trading multiple smaller purchases sooner, for fewer larger purchases later. Actual saving is an anachronism and an anathema, and it's all but impossible when you combine narcissism, covetousness, and pride - the "I deserve whatever I want (which is whatever I'm told I want)" mentality.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:24 | 4751556 malek
malek's picture

Actually I would like to see breakdowns on which question(s) the participants failed.

I believe the term "mutual fund", at least for people outside the US, is generally more confusing than enlightening and might have caused an overly large part of failures.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:17 | 4751816 stacking12321
stacking12321's picture

i agree.

the problem with mutual fund risk is that you're dealing with the fund (sometimes the fund is front and/or back-loaded), "management fees", etc.

and also that it holds crappy companies together with good ones.

whereas if you pick one company and do it well, it will be a better choice than a mutual fund, lower risk.

so, i wouldn't even necessarily agree that the answer to #3 is false, even though it's clear they are testing for whether you know about "risk diversification".



Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:29 | 4751579 NotAMathWhiz
NotAMathWhiz's picture

Both of my kids have gone / are going through the public school system in the states.  Granted, we intentionally moved into a specific school district to make sure they went to one of the better systems available.  They we taught all kinds of 'stuff', some usefull, some not so much.  But even in one of the best school systems in the state, neither of them ever got any training on how to balance a checkbook, create a budget or calculate compound interest.

Now, for my kids it wasn't a problem, because we hammered that into them.  However, for the vast majority of kids this is a huge problem.  Schools don't do it, and parents don't know how.  We have generational financial ignorance built into the system.

Schools need to prepare kids with basic financial skills, if nothing else the evils of paying compound interest.  However, there are powerful vested interests that absolutely do not want to see that happen.  

We can bitch about this until we're blue in the face, but as long as the State has control over the public school system agenda this absolutely will not be fixed.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 22:53 | 4753339 RKDS
RKDS's picture

Yes, the state has control over the schools, but who has control over the state?  Power financial interests that prey on the working American each and every day while morons blame their tools.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 16:05 | 4752051 green888
green888's picture

In 2008 when we were first advised to buy silver, similar to todays price, what is your calculation of how much money you have lost, due to the reduced purchasing power of todays money

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 11:48 | 4750977 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

"...ZIRP does destroy any incentive to save."

Disagree.  Although almost everything turns to shit that the Fed touches, I think they are on to something with ZIRP.

What ZIRP says in effect, is: "Money does not beget money.  You may borrow money and do something with it, if you qualify.  Else, 'No money for you!' "

Which is as it should be.  If you want to "save" (preserve wealth), buy bullion.  If you want to invest (get an ROI), buy real assets or shares in a profitable business.  Just make sure that you hold the stock shares issued by the company, not the investment company that your CFP works for.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 13:42 | 4751404 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Money is not capital moron.  You need capital to get shit done and ZIRP/NIRP destroys capital, savings or not..

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:27 | 4751503 icanhasbailout
icanhasbailout's picture

ZIRP and QE are required to sustain the government's debt, which the formerly middle class ironically demanded. My solution is "not one more dime":

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 08:45 | 4750346 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

A fair comparison of the families should include a family that earns $81K from a government job.  This family is truly rich.  They can spend every last penny on vacations, cars, dining, entertainment, and the latest gadgets.  They don't need to save for a rainy day, retirement, medical, or anything else.  They truly live the American dream.


Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:20 | 4750447 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Does that include families working for the MIC? It fucking should.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 10:28 | 4750635 Almost Solvent
Almost Solvent's picture

It must.


I know a guy working for Lockheed Martin. He was assigned to work in San Francisco (owns a house in Washington his wife and daughter still live in). So, he gets his regular salary and now that he has to live in San Franciso, he gets his salary PLUS a cost of living adjustment (including money to cover his CA income taxes he now must pay) PLUS housing PLUS transportation PLUS it's all paid for by federal taxpayers.



Mon, 05/12/2014 - 10:34 | 4750659 Angelo Misterioso
Angelo Misterioso's picture

Stuck on zero - you are so right - a school teacher or other govt employee has a retirement package and lifetime medical and can spend every last dollar of annual earnings - and likely get to retire before any neighbor and start tapping these benefits immediately...the trashmen in my town have a better long-term annuity and medical than the other 99.9%....the mediorce student is having the last laugh...

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 11:49 | 4750980 GlobalCtzn
GlobalCtzn's picture

Most of them are never going to see the majority of those rosy promises...........

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 13:41 | 4751403 hllnwlz
hllnwlz's picture

Agreed.  There is no fucking way these promises can be kept, unless they're defaulted on by default through currency depreciation.   Either way, my colleagues (yes, I suck on the government teat) have no clue what they're in for and will be in very poor shape when it comes their turn to pay the piper. 

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 12:01 | 4751031 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Note that a competent teacher actually contributes to society, whereas it's questionable/debatable if the MIC employees do.  Or the 'workers' at the IRS, CIA, DOD, NSA, Congress, etc.  Nothing wrong with having a teacher pension, meagre as it is.

BTW, to keep balance and perspective... Have you checked the pension funds that corporation execs have raided over the years, while giving themselves bonuses?

/ I can almost always spot a "peasant" on blog sites.  They are the ones usually attacking other peasants.  "Stockholm Syndrome strong in them is" -Yoda /sarc

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 12:45 | 4751198 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

Key word is "competent". All teacher's pensions are not meager, especially in Ohio. Thing is that they get a package that would be the envy of Federal workers and has an extremely high net present value.

Yes, I am a well-compensated house slave and am jealous of Ohio teachers. So what?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 16:23 | 4752132 Angelo Misterioso
Angelo Misterioso's picture

being "competent" doesn't absolve the requirement for common sense -

running through just some rough numbers shows the injustice thrust onto the "system" by the unions and the politicians -

earning 120k for 30yrs as a teacher is nice but getting to retire at age 55 at ~80% salary is even better - they step into a pension that pays 96k per year for maybe the next 30yrs (live to 85?) - assuming some type of 3% earnings on a pool of money that would expire in 30yrs that allows for a 96k withdrawal each year, you need a starting pool of money that is 1.95 million - no local school budget set that money aside - they can barely handle the existing salaries -

so the whole thing is a sham to the teachers, society, the communities of people who aren't paying attention, the progressive media that turns a knowing blind eye....maybe we can just keep printing money and giving to whomever needs it - Detroit seems to have their hand up right now....

this goes on all over and it's why so many see doomsday down the road - painted ourselves into a corner with that good intentions paint brush....

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 08:39 | 4750328 sessinpo
sessinpo's picture

GetZeeGold    That.....and just stop spending money we don't have.

 Yes....I'm aware that's gonna piss off the GOP.


Just the GOP? Why do you single them out? How about 99% of the politicians out there no matter what party?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 08:43 | 4750336 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture



Give me some time here....I'm like one guy.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 08:43 | 4750338 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Guys please, there are no more "politicians/representatives" only PUPPETS!!!

The "people" were sold out a long time ago and there last bit of representation died with JFK.

Hedge accordingly.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:13 | 4750426 Okienomics
Okienomics's picture

See Tom Coburn

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 10:23 | 4750631 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

Who was JFK representative of? He was dreamy. Got that part. Maybe the drugs helped him pull that off, together with walking, which the crippled wreck had trouble with. I appreciate his staunch anti-communism and rabid tax cutting agenda. That made us a wealthier, more innovative nation. The space race helped us produce very effective and accurate nuke delivery systems that prevented WWIII being nuclear. But he was a rich fuck, unrepresentative all the way. And he did fuck all for civili rights, and picked LBJ as VP.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 11:54 | 4750997 GlobalCtzn
GlobalCtzn's picture

JFK was just the last President to take a swipe at the puppet masters that is all. And for that we appreciate him.

Taking on both the Fed and the CIA - balls!

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 13:13 | 4751290 Hugh_Jorgan
Hugh_Jorgan's picture

JFK was not the last, we must give a nod to Reagan when he took office. Sadly, he let his NDE serve as a warning that he needed to play ball with the NWO or he would not be allowed to continue the game..

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:53 | 4751687 11b40
11b40's picture

Raygun was a General Electric corporate shill.

He, more than any other president, planted the seeds of class division in this country and set us on the road to extreme income inequality, while greasing the skids for banksters and the MIC.  He never met a weapons system he didn't love.  Oh, and can you say "savings & loan"?  

The great cowboy, riding in on the backs of welfare queens, all the while serving at the pleasure of welfare kings.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 12:40 | 4751018 Things that go bump
Things that go bump's picture

I watched a movie on Netflix last night about the JFK assassination regarding a study by a cold case investigator who was convinced that the fatal bullet was fired from an automatic weapon accidentally discharged by George Hickey, a Secret Service agent in the back seat of the car behind Kennedy's. Oswald only fired 2 shots. The 3rd casing found at the book depository was believed by the investigator to be a spent round that he kept in his rifle to prevent dirt from getting in there. Oswald used full metal jackets. The first shot hit the pavement and Kennedy was hit with debris. The second hit Kennedy in the neck and passed through to hit the governor. This round was later found on the gurney used to transport the governor. Oswald wouldn't have had time to get off a 3rd round because of the limitations of his rifle. In the chaos Hickey grabbed the automatic on the floot of the car, released the safety and rose to his feet just as the car he was in sped up. He lost his balance and fell back, accidentally discharging the weapon. At lease one witness saw a cherry-colored bloom from the barrel of the automatic. The automatic was loaded with the type of bullet that explodes on contact, which explains why it blew the right side of Kennedy's head off and filled his brain with shrapnel. Many witnesses, both in the calvalcade and on the street claimed they smelled gunpowder, which would have only been possible if a weapon had been discharged at street level. Oswald was 6 stories up and downwind from them. George Hickey was supposed to be a driver - he took care of the cars. Poor Kennedy and poor George Hickey, they stuck him in the back seat with the automatic because the rest of the Secret Service contingent had been out bar hopping and partying with floozies until 5:00 am and weren't at their best that morning. The coverup began immediately upon arrival to the hospital. They would not allow an autopsy in Dallas, though the medical examiner tried to insist, as it is Texas State Law for a murder victim to be autopsied there to protect the chain of evidence. He contended that they actually threatened him and though they didn't draw they showed him their guns. They flew him back to Washington and turned the autopsy into a circus, stuffing as many as 60 people into the autopsy suite. They threatened, harrassed and intimidated everyone involved, confiscated all the flim from the medical photographer and took Kennedy's brain itself, stating that Bobby wanted it. It appears that their purpose was to impede the investigation. They made everybody sign a nondisclosure agreement and threated them with severe consequences if they divulged anything they saw. Though the Secret Service promised the FBI copies of everything they never delivered on that promise, and when a Freedom of Information request was filed with them, it turned out they had destroyed everything pertaining to Kennedy's assassination a mere week before. I find it incredible that things of such historical significance should be destroyed. During the Warren Commission, Specter cherry picked the witnesses to present in order to steer it in the direction he wanted it to go - to a lone gunman. So, there was never a CIA agent on the grassy knoll, no great conspiracy was involved - just human error and fate, and the Secret Service is dishonored forever. So sad. 

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 12:42 | 4751190 Chewybunny
Chewybunny's picture

Easier to digest a few conspiracy theorists writing books about the situation than actually emberass such a government agency. 

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 12:55 | 4751228 Things that go bump
Things that go bump's picture

Mortal Error, the book by the investigator Bonar Menninger Donahue, since deceased, never really made much of a stir. Apparently it is quite boringly filled with ballistics and math. Though Hickey was notified of Donahue's claims by certified mail previous to publication nothing was ever heard from him until 2 years after the book was published. His slander suit was thrown out as it was past the statute of limitations so that it never saw the light of day. He sued again when the paperback came out and that was settled out of court for financial reasons as cheaper then answering the suit, as the book never caught on.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 13:36 | 4751381 Chewybunny
Chewybunny's picture

But but but but but it was the communists!!!

OR the Jews!!!!

OR the CIA!!!

You CANNOT expect us to believe that such an important event, one that changed history, is all due to an accident! It must be the Illuminati, or like minded groups. I heard about it on Infowars dammit! 

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 13:50 | 4751431 Things that go bump
Things that go bump's picture

Conspiracy theories are more fun and centainly are more appealing to my paranoia, but this is a solution that has an elegance and simplicity that rings true to me and explains many things.  

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 16:10 | 4752080 Chewybunny
Chewybunny's picture

My problem with conspiracy theories is the perception it creates amongst the populace. And, sorry to say, the populace's perception of you matters. In this case, the sheer quackery that conspiracy theorists employ in making sense of the complex, and chaotic world around them creates a perception that they are insane. And anyone or anythign they agree, by proxy, becomes also questionable by the majority of people. So, it takes someone like Edward Snowden to reveal what the conspiracy theorists have been yelling about for years, simply because, no one believes them.

For every few things that they are absolutely right on, (illegal government surveillance, market manipulations, growth of genuine tyranny and loss of civil rights) there is a miriad of things that just sound insane. And no one wants to be associated with guys talking about how George W Bush is a Reptilian - unfortunetly, those people who are cynical of government, totally aware of the problems with our system, are all too sympathetic to these conspiracy theories.

Case in point; a few days ago on ZH someone in the comments made a long post about linking this to some esoteric occult regarding the geo-political situation at present (forgot which post it was). You'd think that there would be someone commenting in criticism of that - most people didn't agree, but would just respond something relating to that.

SO what if we got some new inquiring person looking into ZH and sees that post - and asks, is THIS what the ZH community is about? Is THIS what I am getting myself involved with? Is THIS what they are talking about?

I often wonder, if a majority of conspiracy theorists put genuine objective analysis and research into the topics they have, and would have come across as legitimate, and trustworthy, would we needed Edward Snowden to reveal NSA spying? Or would we have been able to cut the head off of that monster much much earlier on?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 16:47 | 4752217 Things that go bump
Things that go bump's picture

Its not as if there wasn't precidence for occult practices in governments in the past. I understand the upper echelons of the Nazi regime were reportedly drenched in the occult. 

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 19:38 | 4752744 Chewybunny
Chewybunny's picture

You're absolutely right, there is a presedence. But to me that precednece is a lot less relevent today. To me it's nothing but , a circle of people believing in a bunch of late ideas from 19th and early 20th century explosion in archeology, philosophy, science and spiritualism. Hell - how many incredibly intelligent and culturally impactful members of society were all with Madame Blavatsky's inner circle? Hell, how many powerfully cultural figure today follow Scientology?

But I don't fear Madame Blavatsky. I don't fear Scientology. Nor do I fear the Freemasons, the Golden Dawn, or any other esoteric organization. Not in the 21st century. I was way into that stuff when I was younger. What I fear instead are people who abuse power, divide people, blame others, and get away with some horrendous shit. I fear the people that create laws that subjugate me, those that execute those laws, and those that are blindly believing it's for my own good. 

Those people have names. Those people exist. And those people are the ones that should be targetted, first and foremost. Not whatever spiritual beliefs or non beliefs they have, not what political ideology they pretend to be, nothing else but their actions.  

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 13:42 | 4751407 Chewybunny
Chewybunny's picture

In an interview the author - when asked as to why it didn't get much traction had this to say: 

"The book came out in early 1992 and really got caught up in the prop wash of the Oliver Stone “JFK” movie. Maybe people perceived the book to be just a down-and-dirty, non-plausible “quick hit” designed to exploit the fact that the assassination was getting publicity. That might have been part of it. Part of it, too, was that it’s the “crazy uncle” of the assassination theories, equally disliked by both conspiracy theorists and supporters of the Warren Commission."

Saying that, look at how at the downvotes you got for putting up that lil tid bit of rationalism. 



Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:16 | 4751439 Things that go bump
Things that go bump's picture

I noticed that I rattled some cages with it. How amusing.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 20:17 | 4752880 palmereldritch
palmereldritch's picture


FYI - It has been characterized as a hoax. [Emphasis mine] Problems with Mortal Error

With the publication of Menninger’s book, several problems with Donahue’s account became apparent. Although Donahue was knowledgeable about ballistics, he appeared to be unfamiliar with much of the fundamental evidence to do with the JFK assassination. For example, he accepted without question that Oswald had been on the sixth floor of the TSBD during the assassination, that Oswald had fired three shots, and that the single–bullet theory was credible. All three assumptions are contradicted by the balance of the evidence.

Two serious problems were pointed out with the book’s central claim:

  • Dozens of witnesses were able to see George Hickey when the fatal shot was fired. None of the witnesses claimed that Hickey had fired the shot.
  • A home movie by a spectator, Charles Bronson, shows that Hickey was neither standing up nor pointing his rifle at President Kennedy at the instant of the fatal shot.
    A Discredited Theory

    It is rare for any JFK assassination theory, no matter how outlandish, to be conclusively disproved. Even the theory that Lee Oswald played an active part in the assassination, which these days is believed by few serious researchers, and the theory that Kennedy was hit by a dart fired from a spectator’s umbrella, which is believed by almost no–one, have not been conclusively disproved. But the ‘Secret Service agent shot JFK by accident’ theory is most certainly wrong: there is actually a film of the agent not shooting JFK.

    In short, President Kennedy was not killed by a Secret Service agent, deliberately or accidentally.


     Mark Zaid, a well-known national security litigator, successfully sued the promulgator of this fantasy on Hickey’s behalf when it first surfaced in the 1990s.

    Zaid also sued St. Martin’s Press, which published the book, and Simon & Schuster, which released an audiobook version. “Settlements were reached in each case and the publisher apologized,” Zaid wrote on Facebook this week.

    “I wish George Hickey, Jr. was still alive,” he went on. “I would have filed a lawsuit against this theorist and film company, as well as any media entity that gave his story any play.”

    Zaid adds:

    “I have been involved in research and issues involving the JFK assassination for almost 40 years, since I was seven years old. I have represented numerous JFK authors/researches, given numerous speeches and media appearances, and helped secure the declassification of thousands of records. This is one of the most BS theories that has ever been promoted and anyone who believes it is a complete moron (and I never use that word on a public message board so that should tell you something).”

    For those who have any doubts, please consult the successful libel lawsuit against the original perpetrators of the hoax.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 23:04 | 4753327 Things that go bump
Things that go bump's picture

I'm not deeply invested in Donahue's theory, I only just came across it last night, but I find it worthy of contemplation and further research, particularly since it has caused such a strong reaction. Forgive me, but despite Mr. Ziad's opinon of my mental capacity, I'm certainly not willing to dismiss it out of hand on his say so. I prefer to come to my own conclusions, misguided as they may be, and I find the Donahue theory intellectually satisfying - it just ties up so many strange loose ends. I plan on reading the book and doing some cross referencing. None of those lawsuits actually came to a trial where evidence was presented. The publishers, who didn't exactly have a best seller on their hands, were motivated to settle rather then spend the money to defend the publication, and the words "nuisance lawsuits," were mentioned in the movie so I suspect we are not talking about a great deal of money changing hands here. In fact, Hickey was notified by certified mail regarding the contents of that book before publication, but nothing was heard from him for 2 years after publication. When he first sued for libel his case was thrown out because the statute of limitations had run out. I find that rather odd. The publishers settled out of court when he sued again when the paperback came out. Both George Hickey and the author are dead, and the events in question occurred a long time ago, when I was just a girl in middle school, but I've always had niggling doubts, and it would be a relief to put them to rest to my own satisfaction. I don't require proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and no one else need be satisfied. 

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 22:26 | 4753257 Cornfedbloodstool
Cornfedbloodstool's picture

How about paragraphs? I'm not reading that BS.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:09 | 4750418 foodstampbarry
foodstampbarry's picture

That.....and just stop spending money we don't have.


Yes....I'm aware that's gonna piss off both democRATS and reTHUGlicans


There, fixed it for ya.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 08:35 | 4750313 negative rates
negative rates's picture

There is too much of it, their numbers are gigantic and the whistle blowers are few and far between. If you look closely, you will see some upper perps going to jail or being rehabed.  

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:04 | 4750404 OC Sure
OC Sure's picture




"How about prosecuting the fucking fraud?"


The fuel for the fraud is the counterfeit.

Stop the counterfeiting per the Coin Act of 1792, abolish the Fed, and money will return to the economy.

As money, the measure of production, returns the middle class will resurrect.

Only by removing the fuel will the fraud lose its energy, sputter away, and die.


Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:23 | 4750453 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

^^^this!!!  Wake the fuck up people, there is no such thing as the "private sector" when everyone is dependent upon the fraud itself...

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:59 | 4750550 OC Sure
OC Sure's picture



Ben Franklin foretold at the signing of the US Constitution in 1787, that our government "can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other."

Everyone is dependent upon the fraud.

The people have become so corrupted.

The Republic was not kept.

Despotism has arrived.

We live in tyranny.

Now what?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 11:01 | 4750773 thamnosma
thamnosma's picture

More football

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 11:40 | 4750940 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

But with crying, and more openly gay, but yeah.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 11:42 | 4750949 OC Sure
OC Sure's picture

So true that it is almost not funny...

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 11:20 | 4750851 Dewey Cheatum Howe
Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

The rapture and not beaming up to the mothership or heaven. Give up the idoltry and walk away. If you can feed yourself and family without it then everything afterwards is nothing more than a lifestyle choice. Enough productive people will as they get tired of the bullshit. They will just pick up and leave and disappear. The system will implode on it's own then that is when you come out of exile rebuild it right from scratch. This system ain't worth saving because the people are corrupted, unless the people fix themselves first nothing changes. A lot of us screamed and warned about all this shit and no one listened they shit the bed, time to sleep in it. Nothing short of that fixes the problem.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 12:09 | 4750946 OC Sure
OC Sure's picture




"...unless the people fix themselves first nothing changes."


What people do is a result of what people think and what people think, for the most part, comes from what they are taught.


...More Aristotle, less Plato please:

From Plato we arrive at the totem poles of asinine authority;

From Aristotle we arrive at the pursuit of happiness.


Mon, 05/12/2014 - 11:39 | 4750936 anarcholeptic
anarcholeptic's picture

I think American Idol's on tonight...

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:17 | 4750436 CH1
CH1's picture

How about prosecuting the fucking fraud?

LOL... c'mon, LoP... WHO will prosecute the fraud? The guv employee across the hall from the one that did the fraud?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:22 | 4750450 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Please, how many "private" companies have government contract?  They are fucking government employees.  Wake the fuck up, there is no "private sector".

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:25 | 4750461 eclectic syncretist
eclectic syncretist's picture

I'd love to see Eric Holder put the cuffs on himself and frog-march off to prison, but somehow I don't think that's going to happen.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:28 | 4750473 CH1
CH1's picture

Wake the fuck up, there is no "private sector".

Umm... were you talking to me?

If so, you rather made my point for me.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:33 | 4750480 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

The only fraud that matters is the fraud in the underlying currency.

Ths should help...

   "The few who understand the system, will either be so interested from it's profits or so dependant on it's favors, that there will be no opposition from that class." — Rothschild Brothers of London, 1863

  "Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes it's laws" — Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 12:26 | 4751124 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

And let's not forget that companies over 50 employees (the last time I checked) have to comply with Gov rules on hiring. 

Hell, I've seen this in companies far smaller than that, adhere to PC hiring standards - lest they become targets of Civil Prosecution via the local or national media.  Hell, we now ALL work for the Gov -- whether directly or seperated by 1 degree.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:46 | 4750509 ZH Snob
ZH Snob's picture

it's easy to point fingers. but this does not relieve oneself of the responsiblitiy to do with less, live below ones means and turn that red ink into black, especially, God knows, in the USA.  generally, we are like priviliged brats.  we think it is our right to accumulate all the crap we do.  on credit, fine.  everyone's doing it.  and then, when it finally turns on us, all we can do is to find someone to blame. 

in other parts of the world people are grateful for basic food and shelter.  forget the iphone, the Escalade and the rest, they don't need them.  and guess what? neither do we.


Mon, 05/12/2014 - 11:30 | 4750898 mc225
mc225's picture

"...and guess what? neither do we."


so you're speaking for everyone? everyone should live at the level you yourself decree?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 11:59 | 4751016 ZH Snob
ZH Snob's picture

no.  but when your high living bites you in the ass, don't blame obama, the fed or anyone else.  materialism is a double-edged sword, and you know what they say about living by the sword.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 12:02 | 4751040 Vooter
Vooter's picture

I think we can blame anyone we want. That's why chaos is so much fun!

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 12:01 | 4751030 Vooter
Vooter's picture

"it's easy to point fingers. but this does not relieve oneself of the responsiblitiy to do with less, live below ones means and turn that red ink into black, especially, God knows, in the USA."

Oh, really? LOL...I pay half my salary at the point of a gun to a government that is $17 trillion in debt (and counting). And it's MY responsibility to live below my means? LOL! The funny thing is, I actually agree with you that people should try to live below their means, but guess what? FUCK THAT. In the words of Willem Dafoe (in "Affliction"), "We can all go to hell together!"

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:56 | 4750549 Magnix
Magnix's picture

No its not dead yet. All you have to do is to downsize big time like Im doing now.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 08:35 | 4750316 Duc888
Duc888's picture



GetzeeGold: "Yes....I'm aware that's gonna piss off the GOP."


Yes, it's all the Republicans fault. (rolling eyes).  Good cop / bad cop.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 08:38 | 4750320 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture



Ted Nugent....good cop.


Karl Rove.....bad cop.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 08:43 | 4750337 sessinpo
sessinpo's picture

GetZeeGold       Ted Nugent....good cop.

 Karl Rove.....bad cop.


American dupe - believing in cops in the first place.


Mon, 05/12/2014 - 08:45 | 4750345 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture



OK, Karl Rove isn't actually a cop......but Ted Nugent is....go look it up.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:08 | 4750409 sessinpo
sessinpo's picture

GetZeeGold      OK, Karl Rove isn't actually a cop......but Ted Nugent is....go look it up.


Um good cop, bad cop is an analogy. I thought you knew that since you used it. And so what?

Even if he is a cop, I am to follow him? Look, I am very conservative and right wing. But I don't desire to follow anyone. I don't believe in the rhetoric that most spout. One would think I may be a Nugent supporter and I probably do have some commonality with him. But I refuse to put these people on a pedal stool and I certainly don't want to give them power over me or you. That is what we do when we elect these politicians,

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:16 | 4750425 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture



I am very conservative


Prove do you feel about Karl Rove, John Boehner, Mitch Mcconnell, Lindsey Graham, John McCain? That should be enough for now.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:19 | 4750444 MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

While I agree with sessinpo's original point about the Dem/Rep thing, I do think you can't get anywhere because there seems to be a "wound too tight" thing going on with sessinpo. 

IOW this cannot go anywhere productive.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:32 | 4750460 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture



Eyes wide shut.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:26 | 4751566 SILVERGEDDON

Getzeegold. Your list solution requires an airport snowblower running full tilt. 

Feed the offending parties through one end, and feed the ejecta to any scavenger not picky enough to actually eat the left overs.

Grab some Hope and Changers, and repeat.

Then, go after all of the other carreer politicians, bankers, and power hungry insane people.

Don't stop until they are all endangered species world wide.

That'll give the rest of us some breathing room to save the fucking planet so we can co exist peacefully. 

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:16 | 4751801 11b40
11b40's picture

Which ones on your list is a conservative?  They all are corporate lap dogs from where I sit.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:16 | 4750433 MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

Is a pedal stool like a unicycle? Cool.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 11:44 | 4750958 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

Its like a pedal file. A stool or file, respectively, that you can pedal on and get a little work out in, on.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:22 | 4751841 11b40
11b40's picture

Oh, I was thinking pedal steel and about to go get a favorite CD....but this will do:


Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:51 | 4751978 Liquid Courage
Liquid Courage's picture

Pedal Stool = stepping in shit.

Ironic pun and unintentional hilarity of the first order.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 11:38 | 4750930 anarcholeptic
anarcholeptic's picture

Right wing  What does that even mean anymore?  

We need to clips the fucking wings...There not flying... There like tits on a bull


Mon, 05/12/2014 - 08:38 | 4750323 Whoa Dammit
Whoa Dammit's picture

Discretionary consumption has already been destroyed by QE generated inflation and declining wages.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 08:40 | 4750329 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

could have reduced post to this: people are fucking stupid

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:27 | 4750468 eclectic syncretist
eclectic syncretist's picture

And the government supports that!

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 13:57 | 4751461 Jstanley011
Jstanley011's picture

Leave stupid alone.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 08:40 | 4750331 Jason T
Jason T's picture

Time use survey suggests aggregate hours worked in both market work and non market work has been on the declne.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 08:41 | 4750335 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture


Mon, 05/12/2014 - 08:46 | 4750351 negative rates
negative rates's picture

And beauty.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 13:02 | 4751249 hot sauce technician
hot sauce technician's picture

Nice thought. That only works though in a society with an economy that revolves around hard assets. We would need first to stop thinking of value as represented by paper currencies issued monopolistically and arbitrarily by oligarchies. When citizens of the world will be able to choose freely between competing forms of currency then we can talk about a remittance of loans. Wealth will be much easier to gauge and conceptualize.

Fiat obfuscates the very essence of wealth. A million today can be worth a single tomorrow. There is no anchor.

~my two Yuan

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 13:51 | 4751434 THX 1178
THX 1178's picture

Doesn't a fiat crakup boom necessarily cause a jubilee?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:26 | 4751567 hot sauce technician
hot sauce technician's picture

Good point. Fiat would then be worthless and wealth would be measured by hard assets (or whatever consumers choose as currency) in that case.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 08:48 | 4750353 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

For the first time I can remember, CHS provides some good (if simple) advice and the comments are about prosecuting the bankers? Here is the problem in a nutshell: prosecution is a red herring- it won't happen, but it does get you worked up. Whereas, non-participation in the consumer paradise has tremendous benefits economically and in terms of liberty.

The system requires our participation and consent. When we withdraw it, we gain control over our lives. Public education as compliant worker training or home schooling? High cost utilities or simple systems that decrease costs? Raising and cooking your food or toxic restaurant prepared slop? Consumption or production? Investment/savings or spending? 

The more people remove themselves from the system, the quicker we make it inconsequential.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:26 | 4750464 doctor10
doctor10's picture

Bingo. The system is so corrupt that continuing to engage with it on its terms  continues to provide it with a public legitimacy lost long ago.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:29 | 4750470 MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

I find great clothes at thrift shops, though I will fork it over for quality, long lasting, classic items. I might have paid $200 for the boots I wear every winter, but I bought them 10 years ago.

I eat great fresh food.

I walk to work.

My cars are paid.

My house is paid.

I have no debt.

I run. 

I am married to a wonderful guy.

I worry about my kid some, but he has me as a resource, not some stressed out freaked out, barely making it mom.

I worry about the sustainability of my job (it ain't) but I am gathering things to brace for unemployment if it happens. 

I was welfare poor as a child. Life is good. I wait for the inevitable collapse (collapse is a very personal thing I have come to realize) and I live pretty well in the mean time.

In short Sean7k, I so agree with your post. My ability to not participate looks and feels like luxury.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:35 | 4750487 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

You sound rich indeed. Someone to emulate. 

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 10:02 | 4750566 Dantzler
Dantzler's picture

I'm in a similar situation after implementing my own austerity plan back in 2008. The satisfaction of knowing that no one has a claim (ignoring taxes) on my future productivity is immense.

We should all consider extending CHS's metaphor to food for the mind. I enjoy tinkering and learning new skills. Lately it has been learning some programming languages and hardware hacking with cheap boards like arduino & bbb.
Also gardening & cider making.

Withdrawal of consent and nonparticipation are liberating.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 10:06 | 4750577 RaceToTheBottom
RaceToTheBottom's picture

Well done.  Talk to some kids, too. 

Apparently they are not going to get that view from "Buy now" marketing and most parents

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 12:24 | 4751119 A Cruel Accountant
A Cruel Accountant's picture

R U Mrs. Money Moustestache?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:59 | 4752019 11b40
11b40's picture

I can only encourage anyone who can to incorporate.  There is a little expense and extra record keeping involved, but get a decent accountant and go for it.  It really is pretty easy to form a Sub-S corp, and I hear it's even easier now to do an LLC.  I have had a Sub-S for over 30 years.

Have your employer make you an independent contractor, then run every bit of income you can throught the business.  If you do anything on the side that is reportable, have the income payable to the business.  Then you can decide what kind of pension plans, health savings accounts, medical benefits you want, and make them deductible.  You can also decide your salary, your wife's salary, and your kids salries as cash flow permits.  You can even hire your mother if you want to.  I used to pay my Mother-in-law $100/wk for cutting ads out of the paper for me....and I gave her a nice Christmas bonus, too.  

I started taking SS last year, so I shifted virtually all my salary to my younger wife, boosting her long-term SS value.  When she starts drawing hers in about a year, we will reduce her wages and boost mine again to further enhance my SS to make it a big as possilbe for her later years after I am gone.

We write off our cars, and if you are smart, that can become a profit center.  For instance, 3 weeks ago, my wife bought a 2005 STS.  A true cream puff with every available option and only 72K miles.  It looks brand new inside and out, only being driven an average of 8K/yr.  She will put on about 20K/yr, and write off about 15K of that at $.55/mile, or $7500/year.  In 2 years, her write-offs will be more than we paid for the car.  She will likely put over 200K on it, and every year, we (the company) write her a checks totaling around $7500 for auto expenses.  Drive 1000 miles, get an expense check for $550.  We both travel a lot, and enjoy the tax subsidized hotels, dining, and entertainment.  I drive around 30K/yr.  Virtually anything you can in any way relate to your business is deductible.  3 years ago, we moved our offices into our house and now write off almost 1/3 of the mortgage and utilities.  The Sam's Club corporate membership buys a lot of basic stuff the company needs, too.

There are many ways to save and shave, but you have to work at it.  

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 11:51 | 4750990 Vooter
Vooter's picture

"The system requires our participation and consent. When we withdraw it, we gain control over our lives. Public education as compliant worker training or home schooling? High cost utilities or simple systems that decrease costs? Raising and cooking your food or toxic restaurant prepared slop? Consumption or production? Investment/savings or spending?"

Walking thief, or thief with knife in face?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 08:48 | 4750354 zaphod42
zaphod42's picture

Just in case anyone didn't notice, the solution would destroy the present day economy.  It will probably happen anyway, but it will still destroy the economy.  I mean, most of the "jobs" being created are in fast food at minimum wage.  

Or in the insane consumer spending on Chinese made plastic (and lead) crap toys, or computer games. 

God knows we need the toys and the games - to keep us distracted.  And, when the energy costs involved bring the prices up, it will take all of a family's money for the few wage earners to pay rent, utilities and food costs.  Forget about cars.  Also, forget about insurance or medical or dental care - that will be for the wealthy few.  

Wonder how much they will pay the dentists and doctors once they are the only patients able to afford their services? 

My Dad used to tell me about doctors taking chickens as a fee.  Only, who has chickens any more?


Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:01 | 4750389 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

How many doctors actually practice medicine anymore?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 10:23 | 4750630 TuPhat
TuPhat's picture

Most of them are still pretending to practice.  Maybe some day they will actually get it right and they can stop practicing and just help people get well.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:03 | 4750392 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

You might as well turn yourself in at the FEMA camp now. What have you to live for? Obviously, not much. 

The destruction of the present day economy means the removal of tyranny and debt slavery in exchange for something with the potential to transform human reality. What have we got to lose? Our chains?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:12 | 4750423 Hongcha
Hongcha's picture

Sean 7k; the vast majority of Amerikans will turn themselves in voluntarily; when they are told, "This is the only place you can eat" and "This is for your safety".

More likely, they will just form National Guard rings around already extant subdivisions and control movement to and fro.  These divisions will be arbitrary and integrated - would not want to be rayciss now would we?  Anyone not cooperating will be branded a terrorist.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:13 | 4750427 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

"Shelter in FEMA."

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:25 | 4750459 Pickleton
Pickleton's picture

ummmm, I fail to find any historical instance of a country slipping into totalitarianism and economic collapse where the people come out the other side in freedom.   America's very libertarian constitution was a historical anomaly and the progressives with wash that away.  And no, we wont be free.  You're dreaming on that.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 10:15 | 4750507 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

There was a time when cars, computers, internet and global food movement did not exist. History does not have to determine our future. It is merely a warning of the dangers associated with particular actions. 

Like the Founders, a historical "anomaly" was created. There is no reason why another anomaly might present itself through the wisdom of people which practice liberty. The founders made a grave mistake, they used law to anchor the workings of the State and law is a tool for tyranny. 

A society based on voluntaryism and community mght be a better template. 

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 10:28 | 4750641 TuPhat
TuPhat's picture

Sean, those societies have been tried.  Even the very first colonists in America tried that.  Didn't work out well at all.  The rule of law still works the best if people are moral enough to obey the law.  If they are not moral enough to obey the law then voluntarism and community will be a dismal failure.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 10:46 | 4750709 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

The Xeer system in Somalia worked extremely well until the west implanted a "democracy". The Pennslyvania colonists were never given a chance, though for the ten to twenty years they successfully fought off Penn, they did just fine, see "Concepts in Liberty vol 1" by Rothbard. The King came in with force against the wishes of the colonists. Contract law in the early American west worked very well without a legal system. 

More important, what we have now does not work at all, unless you enjoy debt slavery. The rule of law has NEVER worked. It has always resulted in top down power structures that rob the people. Law is a dismal failure, but it always makes the "promise" of a better society.

The reality is that it is IMMATERIAL as to whether something has been tried. If that is the standard, we would have never invented anything. It is persistence in the face of adversity which yields success. 

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 11:55 | 4751004 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

Indeed, the first thanksgiving was celebrated in Jamestown after they gave up their communal dystopia and adopted private property. To each according to the fruits of their own fucking labor and personal assets, for the "community" an annual party amongst me and my Family. And sharing as I goddamned well please, pace the "community" input as to how I should dispose of my assets.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:09 | 4750417 Hongcha
Hongcha's picture

My dad took tomatoes and eggs on occasion, in Peoria Illinois in the 1960's.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:47 | 4750513 withglee
withglee's picture

You mean he stole them? Or he took them in payment.

I started my career in Peoria, Il in the 1960's. I worked for Caterpillar (and earned my engineering degree with their help, at their captive Bradley University).

The metamorphosis of the town was in about the middle of its progression. Before that time there were many many manufacturing companies in Peoria. By the 1960's Caterpillar had become the dominant manufacturer and controlled the labor pool. At that time Cat first came to sell more product overseas than in the USA.

With this global market it was able to pay higher wages than the other manufacturers. It was constantly getting hassled by UAW 974 for higher wages and more benefits. Cat resisted the wages but granted the benefits, because it was their cheapest alternative ... the other being moving the factory.I wasn't in the bargaining unit (i.e. the union) but had to deal with them. I once counted 26 people doing the work of 3 ... just because of the work rules (a book nearly an inch thick then).

The other manufacturers closed their plants and went elsewhere. Now Cat dominates Peoria and much of downstate Illinois. If you have a job at Cat ... or one of the industries that serve them (like the education industry or the medical industry or mow lawns for Cat workers), you're secure ... it's socialistic. Otherwise you're in trouble.

I've watched the slow steady rot of Illinois ... from Texas, a "right to work" state.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 10:15 | 4750601 TimmyB
TimmyB's picture

From what I read, Cat does a fine job of evading billions of dollars in US taxes every year. To claim that working for Cat or Cat related industries is "socialist" shows you have no idea what the word means. Finally, right to work merely means right to work for less.

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