Why This Feels Like A Depression For Most People

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog,

“And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.” John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath


Everyone has seen the pictures of the unemployed waiting in soup lines during the Great Depression. When you try to tell a propaganda believing, willfully ignorant, mainstream media watching, math challenged consumer we are in the midst of a Greater Depression, they act as if you’ve lost your mind. They will immediately bluster about the 5.1% unemployment rate, record corporate profits, and stock market near all-time highs. The cognitive dissonance of these people is only exceeded by their inability to understand basic mathematical concepts.

The reason you don’t see huge lines of people waiting in soup lines during this Greater Depression is because the government has figured out how to disguise suffering through modern technology. During the height of the Great Depression in 1933, there were 12.8 million Americans unemployed. These were the men pictured in the soup lines. Today, there are 46 million Americans in an electronic soup kitchen line, as their food is distributed through EBT cards (with that angel of mercy JP Morgan reaping billions in profits by processing the transactions).

These 46 million people represent 14% of the U.S. population. There are 23 million households on food stamps in a nation of 123 million households. Therefore, 19% of all households in the U.S. are so poor, they require food assistance to survive. In 1933 there were approximately 126 million Americans living in 30 million households. The government didn’t keep official unemployment records until 1940, but the Department of Labor estimated 12.8 million people were unemployed during the worst year of the Great Depression or 24.9% of the labor force. By 1937 it had fallen to 14.3% or approximately 8 million people.

The number of people unemployed during the 1930’s is an excellent representation of the number of households on government assistance during the Great Depression because 79% of all households were occupied by married couples with 4 people per household versus 48% married couple households today with 2.5 people per household. The unemployment rate averaged 19% during the heart of the Great Depression. Therefore, approximately 19% of all the households in the U.S. needed government assistance to feed themselves. That happens to be the exact percentage of households currently needing food stamps to feed themselves.

We are now supposedly five years into an economic recovery. The unemployment rate, according to the government, has fallen from 10% to 5.1%. Maybe a comparison to the the Great Depression in 1937, five years after the worst of it, would reveal some truth. It is not easy to do an apples to apples comparison because very few women worked outside the home in 1937 and the average life expectancy in the 1930s was 60 years old. Today, the majority of women are theoretically in the work force and the average life expectancy is 78 years old. In 1937 only 5% of the population was over 65 years old versus 13% today.

There were approximately 55 million Americans in the labor force in 1937, according to the DOL, and approximately 47 million of them were employed. So 85% of the eligible work force was working. There was no BLS to massage, manipulate, seasonally adjust, or fake the data to make things appear better than they were in 1937. Edward Bernay’s Propaganda techniques and methodologies weren’t perfected for a few more years. According to Census information there were 52 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 44, along with another 21 million between the ages of 45 and 64 in 1937. So even considering that very few women worked and many people died by the age of 60, we had a workforce of 55 million out of an age eligible population of 73 million at a maximum. That yields a participation rate of 75%.

These facts reveal the utter falsity of the propaganda drenched duplicitous data dumped by the BLS on behalf of vested interests who have captured our government and have an agenda requiring the public to be kept in the dark regarding their own dire financial situation. No matter how you slice the data, it reveals an absolute parallel to the situation during the Great Depression. There are 251 million Americans of working age and only 149 million are employed, of which 20 million are part-time and 8 million are self employed. Only 59% of working age Americans actually work. The BLS has the cajones to declare that only 157 million of the 251 million working age Americans are actually in the labor force.

This outrageous assumption flies in the face of all reasonableness, facts, and truth. In 1937, even with women not working outside the home and very few people living past 65 years old, the participation rate was 75%. Today, with the majority of women capable and willing to work and older Americans working well into their 60s, the BLS actually expects a critical thinking person to believe the participation rate is only 62.4%, the lowest since 1977. It’s a pure and simple despicable lie. The true participation rate should exceed the rate in 1937, based on the facts. Using the 75% participation rate today, yields a true unemployment rate of 21%, not the preposterous 5.1% shoveled by the bullshit artists at the BLS. The 21% rate ties very closely to the figure arrived at by John Williams at Shadowstats. An unbiased assessment of the facts reveals unemployment numbers and people on government assistance numbers that match or exceed those of the Great Depression.

I also wonder whether the corporate mainstream media purposely chooses not to show pictures of the poor waiting in long lines to be fed because their function is not to report facts and truth, but to perpetuate the lie that all is well in America.  I pass the Grace Lutheran church at 36th and Haverford Avenue in West Philly everyday on my way to work. Every Thursday is when the church, in partnership with the Philabundance food bank, distributes free food to the people of West Philly. The line stretches around the block at 7:30 am awaiting the Philabundance truck to arrive. There are old, young, black, white, Latino, and Asian in the line. It looks exactly like the line pictured in the Great Depression above. I’m sure there are similar scenes across every city in America on a daily basis. People dependent on food banks and living in homeless shelters are at record levels. Where are the mainstream media pictures? How does that jive with Ben Bernanke’s self congratulatory book tour about how he saved America by secretly handing Wall Street and foreign bankers $16 trillion?

For the average American family, the US economy has been in recession since 2000, with the Greater Depression arriving in 2008. The working age population has grown by 40 million since 2000, with only 12 million jobs added over that time frame. Of those, 10 million were in the government controlled health, education, social services (HES) sectors, with millions of good paying manufacturing jobs destroyed, replaced by a couple million low paying services jobs. As David Stockman points out, Bernanke and the vested interests he serves continue to spew disingenuous propaganda  to cover up the fact average American households continue to experience depression-like conditions. When your real household income is lower than it was in 1989, while your basic living costs for food, energy, transportation, rent, housing, healthcare, taxes, and education have skyrocketed, you just might be experiencing a depression.

“The Fed’s balance sheet has grown from $500 billion to $4.5 trillion or 9X during that span, but job growth outside the HES Complex amounts to less than 2%. For crying out loud, that’s a 12,000 per month rounding error in an economy which has 250 million adults. Virtually every job gained since December 2009 shown in the chart below was not a “new” job at all; it was just a “born-again” job that Greenspan had claimed credit for a few years earlier. Yet Bernanke has the nerve to boast about the Fed’s success on jobs and claim that the “labor market is close to normal”!”

Edward Bernays wrote the book Propaganda in 1928. It was utilized quite well by Goebbels and Hitler over the next decade or so. But the corporate fascist oligarchy, disguised as American democracy, puts Goebbels efforts to shame. Bernays would be thrilled by the efficiency and professionalism with which the invisible Deep State governing power is able to utilize mass media, the internet, public schools, and academia to shape, mold, manipulate and alter the minds of the masses. The unholy alliance between shadowy billionaires, a private bank owned by Wall Street and controlling our currency, the military industrial complex, the sick care complex, mega-corporations peddling consumer goods, and politicians who are easily bought, has left a hollowed out rotting carcass of a nation, with the peasants experiencing a depression, while the lords of the manor feast like there is no tomorrow. But at least the 103 million peasants who aren’t working believe only 5.1% of them are unemployed. It’s a Bernaysian Miracle!!!

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.” Edward Bernays – Propaganda

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Bloppy's picture

Can't show poverty anymore, it makes Obama look bad.





Ben Carson: Rupert Murdoch ‘is not a racist’



TeamDepends's picture

Because it IS a depression.

Pure Evil's picture

Don't worry.

As soon as Trump is elected we'll be inundated with an endless montage of food lines and homeless in the streets all the while blaming the Republiturds for the economic malaise.

Motasaurus's picture

What kind of fool keeps their currency is a bank these days? 

Sure, if you want to get paid you have to have a bank account, but that doesn't mean you keep any more than the minimum in it. And if you get a cheque from your workplace? Even better, no need for an account at all. 

James_Cole's picture

Pretty much can't be employed without a cellphone at this point.

Poor white americans seem to be more interested in arguing over guns & muslems than solutions to economic disparities. San Fran is turning into a shithole inspite of lots of rich people because the incomes are on such polar opposite extremes.

Poverty is also pretty geographically concentrated in poor rural areas, particuarly the south:




hedgeless_horseman's picture



Pretty much can't be employed without a cellphone at this point.


I have a hard time keeping my employees off of their cell phones and focused on the job.  

I wish they would leave them at home.

The last three employees I terminated just couldn't break the habit.

James_Cole's picture

I have a hard time keeping my employees off of their cell phones and focused on the job. 

I meant to get employed.

You can't do anything about people fucking around on phones? That strikes me as a management problem..

Never One Roach's picture

I friggin hate these people who have thier ears glued to the cell phone while driving 60mph in a 35 mph zone. They drive thru stop signs, too fast thru school zones and are oblivious to other drivers. Cars should not even work if your cell phone if turned on.


And yes, my partner already fired a couple of people for twittering, or FB'ing or talking on thier cell phones on company time. I supported him 100%!

A Lunatic's picture

It would seem to me there is at present sufficient technology to disable a phone once it is traveling at a certain rate of speed.......

Umh's picture

Sounds like a great idea. Until someone needs to call 911 while being trapped in the trunk or being chased by a mad person.

N2OJoe's picture

Yeah I'm all against arbitrary government or corporate lock-outs of technology. Or should we maybe put breathalyzer lockouts on all ignitions, or bank account lockouts on all X or Y party sympathizers?

I hate cellphone drivers as much as the next guy but this is not the answer.

Maybe a better solution would be to create consequences such as loss of license for engaging in such asshole behavior as cellphone use, left lane hogging, or breaking into the country illegally. Maybe a driver's license should become a priviledge via enforcement of existing laws instead of a Right with a capital R.

RaceToTheBottom's picture

I love the phone functionality that goes directly to vmail while in car

Nobodys Safe's picture
Nobodys Safe (not verified) hedgeless_horseman Oct 8, 2015 8:35 PM

Almost everyone at my work has that same problem with thier phones including management. It wouldn't be half as bad if they were reading Zero hedge or other informative blogs, but all they do is stupid shit like Twatter, FaceFUCK, clash of the fucking clans, football and sensless dribble. They're faces are buried in those phones.

Someone needs to come up with advertising on the sidewalks because all they do is look down at thier phones, to be honest with you I'm surprised Trump hasn't jumped all over that. Any of you Hedgers that have kids , neck and thumb doctors might be the Gig of the future.

venturen's picture

actually the white liberals of the media appear to be more interested in that...I know lots of poor white americans...they talk about football, food, cars, and how absolutely awful Obama and the democrat have been. Though they are blithly unaware of the trillions he has given to the richest backers and wall street....else they might not talk about their guns...they might start using them

TrumpXVI's picture

"Pretty much can't be employed without a cellphone at this point."


Don't be ridiculous.

I'm 64 and have NEVER had a cell phone/smartphone.

These stupid things exist for only ONE purpose; to give the government/corporate nexus access to your decisions and your life.


Oh yeah, and I've been continuously employed for DECADES, btw, too.

tempo's picture

stability and control is all I care about. Look at the middle east and we should be thankful for the our leaders and ability to print endless amounts of money. Putin and Obama have it right.

Umh's picture

I sincerely hope that is sarcasm.

Sergeiab's picture

If the word is not used in MSM, it is not.

LetThemEatRand's picture

"Can't show poverty anymore, it makes Obama look bad.

Ben Carson: Rupert Murdoch ‘is not a racist’"

You seem to be a Team player (as in Red and Blue), so let me ask you -- do you think this shit started when Zero was elected?  As for Ben Carson being the apparent foil to Obama, did I miss the part where he suggested we end the Fed?

James_Cole's picture

Oh leave poor ben carson alone, the man is solid gold. Funniest politican america has ever produced. That guy needs to be interviewed on TV all the time - fortunately it seems the media is starting to make that happen.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Not that I'm voting ever again, but I would take Carson over Fiorina.  She is the ultimate oligarch cock sucking politician.   At least Carson is just an ideologue who comes from the "I'm a brain surgeon, so why can't everyone be a brain surgeon if they apply themselves?" view of the world.  Fiorina has that "American Psycho" look in her eye.

James_Cole's picture

Carly also cut HP value in half, if that doesn't give people pause I don't know what could. Wasn't some sort of market turbulence either, that HP disaster was all on her.

I fully support carson for repub nomination.

wizteknet's picture

China cut HP/Compaq in half duh!

RichardParker's picture

She may very well be the ultimate oligarch cock sucking politician. 

One things for sure, she wasn't worth a shit as an executive when she ran Lucent and HP into the ground.

cheech_wizard's picture

Given the Koch brothers recent interest in Carly, might that be the ultimate oligarch koch sucking politician?

Google "koch brothers and carly fiorina"

ZD1's picture

Given George Soros, Warren Buffett and Hollywood leftists like Steven Spielberg who have given big donations to Hillary's campagin super PACs, might she be the ultimate oligarch sucking politician?

Google "George Soros and Hillary"

Google "Warren Buffet and Hillary"






LetThemEatRand's picture

For fuck's sake.  Big money likes mainstream politicians that MSM shoves down our throats.  Thanks for exposing that.

swmnguy's picture

I don't know, James; Ben Carson hasn't yet achieved Herman Cain-ness.  

He may be on his way, though.  Repeating the silly meme that the Holocaust happened because of gun control is a pretty good one.

James_Cole's picture

Did you see Carson on CNN with Blitzer? It was the ultimate comedy reel, him trying to explain his idiotic statements in the past by making even more outlandish statements of explanation * repeat. The guy is straight comedy gold.

I like Cain, but he seemed pretty in on the joke. Ben Carson, I dunno wth is wrong with that guy. If it's early onset alzheimer’s I will feel a bit bad laughing at him..

wizteknet's picture

Word read it twice, was like this dude must be on crack...

stant's picture

Can't be a depression , no flappers and men don't wear hats. Also no used duesnbergs for 25 dalla

ToSoft4Truth's picture

Don’t the BP ho.. advertisers count for anything? 

stant's picture

Worst depression EVA! All Wez gots iz twerkers and cut rate VWs that need stove pipes and bull balls hangin!

Dick Buttkiss's picture

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

lordbyroniv's picture

Fuck America


Yeah,..I said it.

Fukushima Fricassee's picture
Fukushima Fricassee (not verified) lordbyroniv Oct 8, 2015 8:37 PM

Fuck the federal government, piss on all who ever supported Obama and fuck you

Chupacabra-322's picture

It's a PsyOp Depression with False Narratives & Propaganda.

Mini-Me's picture

When the government is placed in charge of "educating" the vast majority of children, we should expect little more than functional illiterates. 

When 24/7 pop culture is hammered into the sheeple's feeble minds, comprised of Caitlyn, the Kardashian sluts, and the Jenner skanks, you can be sure that there is precious little time for them to learn about what a shit sandwich the government and Fed have served up to this country.

The default is baked into the cake.  Only the timing is unknown.  And then millions of mouth-breathing half-wits will riot to stay alive.  I can only hope this happens on Obama's watch.  He deserves to see his handiwork from the Oval Office.  Better yet, maybe the rioters will put two and two together and drag Obama's worthless ass out and turn him into a human pinata on Pennsylvania Avenue.

venturen's picture

but Ellen and Oprah love Obama....and that f-tard Colbert &  Daliy and every single media person 

cougar_w's picture

The media are Fortune 500 corporations and therefore heavily vested in BAU.

You need no more conspiracy than greed to explain all of what the media do not report.

Zero-Hegemon's picture

So who can the next president blame everything on, still Bush, or...?

yogibear's picture

An inevitable rest is coming but the banksters will seize everyone's wealth before that happens. The communist leaders in the early part of the last century were rookies compared to the PhD banksters. 

Ms No's picture

It's hard not to be in awe that they are getting away with this.  They have completely destroyed our standard of living but it isn't happening because they say so and here look at the BS numbers, your pain isn't real, just look everybody else is doing fine.  I have never heard one mainstream media mention the true number of people on food stamps.  How they hell do they get away with that?  We all know that people can be made to believe the most absurd things but watching it in action on this scale defies belief.

On the bright side when the EBTs run out the facade will fall... that should be fun.

RichardParker's picture

It's hard not to be in awe that they are getting away with this.

All they have to do is continue to bombard the people with more

class warfare

Russian "Agression"

Global warming

subsidized pope visits

gay/transgender rights legislation

Monday night Football (played in taxpayer subsidized stadiums no less)

inflating the stock market

legalized drugs (pot may have legitimate medical uses but it is the most effective demotivator on the planet)

revisionist history



Fukushima Fricassee's picture
Fukushima Fricassee (not verified) RichardParker Oct 8, 2015 9:00 PM

"legalized drugs (pot may have legitimate medical uses but it is the most effective demotivator on the planet"


Up 10000+

Wilcox1's picture

Pretty much the same as an ant hill, bee hive, field of grass, dish of mold, etc. We suck. That's the only reason we put up with this sh#t. All the sorry ass structures that overlay us and ensure the growth of the "crop" are of our own making. We're as hard-wired as any biomass we look down on from our perch of exceptionalism.

Cornfedbloodstool's picture

Well put. The fungus grew until the petrie dish couldn't hold it. Life was good when there was only a million of us. Everyone free to live and take from nature as they saw fit. Now were at 7 billion and the crabs are pulling each other down into the muck.