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Guest Post: Are You Seeing What I'm Seeing?

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Submitted by Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform

Are You Seeing What I'm Seeing?

Is it just me, or are the signs of consumer collapse as clear as a Lowes parking lot on a Saturday afternoon? Sometimes I wonder if I’m just seeing the world through my pessimistic lens, skewing my point of view. My daily commute through West Philadelphia is not very enlightening, as the squalor, filth and lack of legal commerce remain consistent from year to year. This community is sustained by taxpayer subsidized low income housing, taxpayer subsidized food stamps, welfare payments, and illegal drug dealing. The dependency attitude, lifestyles of slothfulness and total lack of commerce has remained constant for decades in West Philly. It is on the weekends, cruising around a once thriving suburbia, where you perceive the persistent deterioration and decay of our debt fixated consumer spending based society.

The last two weekends I’ve needed to travel the highways of Montgomery County, PA going to a family party and purchasing a garbage disposal for my sink at my local Lowes store. Montgomery County is the typical white upper middle class suburb, with tracts of McMansions dotting the landscape. The population of 800,000 is spread over a 500 square mile area. Over 81% of the population is white, with the 9% black population confined to the urban enclaves of Norristown and Pottstown.

The median age is 38 and the median household income is $75,000, 50% above the national average. The employers are well diversified with an even distribution between education, health care, manufacturing, retail, professional services, finance and real estate. The median home price is $300,000, also 50% above the national average. The county leans Democrat, with Obama winning 60% of the vote in 2008. The 300,000 households were occupied by college educated white collar professionals. From a strictly demographic standpoint, Montgomery County appears to be a prosperous flourishing community where the residents are living lives of relative affluence. But, if you look closer and connect the dots, you see fissures in this façade of affluence that spread more expansively by the day. The cheap oil based, automobile dependent, mall centric, suburban sprawl, sanctuary of consumerism lifestyle is showing distinct signs of erosion. The clues are there for all to see and portend a bleak future for those mentally trapped in the delusions of a debt dependent suburban oasis of retail outlets, chain restaurants, office parks and enclaves of cookie cutter McMansions. An unsustainable paradigm can’t be sustained.         

The first weekend had me driving along Ridge Pike, from Collegeville to Pottstown. Ridge Pike is a meandering two lane road that extends from Philadelphia, winds through Conshohocken, Plymouth Meeting, Norristown, past Ursinus College in Collegeville, to the farthest reaches of Montgomery County, at least 50 miles in length. It served as a main artery prior to the introduction of the interstates and superhighways that now connect the larger cities in eastern PA. Except for morning and evening rush hours, this road is fairly sedate. Like many primary routes in suburbia, the landscape is engulfed by strip malls, gas stations, automobile dealerships, office buildings, fast food joints, once thriving manufacturing facilities sitting vacant and older homes that preceded the proliferation of cookie cutter communities that now dominate what was once farmland.

Telltale Signs

 

 

I should probably be keeping my eyes on the road, but I can’t help but notice the telltale signs of an economic system gone haywire. As you drive along, the number of For Sale signs in front of homes stands out. When you consider how bad the housing market has been, the 40% decline in national home prices since 2007, the 30% of home dwellers underwater on their mortgage, and declining household income, you realize how desperate a home seller must be to try and unload a home in this market. The reality of the number of For Sale signs does not match the rhetoric coming from the NAR, government mouthpieces, CNBC pundits, and other housing recovery shills about record low inventory and home price increases.

The Federal Reserve/Wall Street/U.S. Treasury charade of foreclosure delaying tactics and selling thousands of properties in bulk to their crony capitalist buddies at a discount is designed to misinform the public. My local paper lists foreclosures in the community every Monday morning. In 2009 it would extend for four full pages. Today, it still extends four full pages. The fact that Wall Street bankers have criminally forged mortgage documents, people are living in houses for two years without making mortgage payments, and the Federal Government backing 97% of all mortgages while encouraging 3.5% down financing does not constitute a true housing recovery. Show me the housing recovery in these charts.

Existing home sales are at 1998 levels, with 45 million more people living in the country today.

   

New single family homes under construction are below levels in 1969, when there were 112 million less people in the country.

        

Another observation that can be made as you cruise through this suburban mecca of malaise is the overall decay of the infrastructure, appearances and disinterest or inability to maintain properties. The roadways are potholed with fading traffic lines, utility poles leaning and rotting, and signage corroding and antiquated. Houses are missing roof tiles, siding is cracked, gutters astray, porches sagging, windows cracked, a paint brush hasn’t been utilized in decades, and yards are inundated with debris and weeds. Not every house looks this way, but far more than you would think when viewing the overall demographics for Montgomery County. You wonder how many number among the 10 million vacant houses in the country today. The number of dilapidated run down properties paints a picture of the silent, barely perceptible Depression that grips the country today. With such little sense of community in the suburbs, most people don’t even know their neighbors. With the electronic transfer of food stamps, unemployment compensation, and other welfare benefits you would never know that your neighbor is unemployed and hasn’t made the mortgage payment on his house in 30 months. The corporate fascist ruling plutocracy uses their propaganda mouthpieces in the mainstream corporate media and government agency drones to misinform and obscure the truth, but the data and anecdotal observational evidence reveal the true nature of our societal implosion.

A report by the Census Bureau this past week inadvertently reveals data that confirms my observations on the roadways of my suburban existence. Annual household income fell in 2011 for the fourth straight year, to an inflation-adjusted $50,054. The median income — meaning half earned more, half less — now stands 8.9% lower than the all-time peak of $54,932 in 1999. It is far worse than even that dreadful result. Real median household income is lower than it was in 1989. When you understand that real household income hasn’t risen in 23 years, you can connect the dots with the decay and deterioration of properties in suburbia. A vast swath of Americans cannot afford to maintain their residences. If the choice is feeding your kids and keeping the heat on versus repairing the porch, replacing the windows or getting a new roof, the only option is survival.

 US GDP vs. Median Household Income       

All races have seen their income fall, with educational achievement reflected in the much higher incomes of Whites and Asians. It is interesting to note that after a 45 year War on Poverty the median household income for black families is only up 19% since 1968.  

real household income 

Now for the really bad news. Any critical thinking person should realize the Federal Government has been systematically under-reporting inflation since the early 1980’s in an effort to obscure the fact they are debasing the currency and methodically destroying the lives of middle class Americans. If inflation was calculated exactly as it was in 1980, the GDP figures would be substantially lower and inflation would be reported 5% higher than it is today. Faking the numbers does not change reality, only the perception of reality. Calculating real median household income with the true level of inflation exposes the true picture for middle class America. Real median household income is lower than it was in 1970, just prior to Nixon closing the gold window and unleashing the full fury of a Federal Reserve able to print fiat currency and politicians to promise the earth, moon and the sun to voters. With incomes not rising over the last four decades is it any wonder many of our 115 million households slowly rot and decay from within like an old diseased oak tree. The slightest gust of wind can lead to disaster.  

 

Eliminating the last remnants of fiscal discipline on bankers and politicians in 1971 accomplished the desired result of enriching the top 0.1% while leaving the bottom 90% in debt and desolation. The Wall Street debt peddlers, Military Industrial arms dealers, and job destroying corporate goliaths have reaped the benefits of financialization (money printing) while shoveling the costs, their gambling losses, trillions of consumer debt, and relentless inflation upon the working tax paying middle class. The creation of the Federal Reserve and implementation of the individual income tax in 1913, along with leaving the gold standard has rewarded the cabal of private banking interests who have captured our economic and political systems with obscene levels of wealth, while senior citizens are left with no interest earnings ($400 billion per year has been absconded from savers and doled out to bankers since 2008 by Ben Bernanke) and the middle class has gone decades seeing their earnings stagnate and their purchasing power fall precipitously.

 

The facts exposed in the chart above didn’t happen by accident. The system has been rigged by those in power to enrich them, while impoverishing the masses. When you gain control over the issuance of currency, issuance of debt, tax system, political system and legal apparatus, you’ve essentially hijacked the country and can funnel all the benefits to yourself and costs to the math challenged, government educated, brainwashed dupes, known as the masses. But there is a problem for the .01%. Their sociopathic personalities never allow them to stop plundering and preying upon the sheep. They have left nothing but carcasses of the once proud hard working middle class across the country side. There are only so many Lear jets, estates in the Hamptons, Jaguars, and Rolexes the .01% can buy. There are only 152,000 of them. Their sociopathic looting and pillaging of the national wealth has destroyed the host. When 90% of the population can barely subsist, collapse and revolution beckon.                

Extend, Pretend & Depend

As I drove further along Ridge Pike we passed the endless monuments to our spiral into the depths of materialism, consumerism, and the illusion that goods purchased on credit represented true wealth. Mile after mile of strip malls, restaurants, gas stations, and office buildings rolled by my window. Anyone who lives in the suburbs knows what I’m talking about. You can’t travel three miles in any direction without passing a Dunkin Donuts, KFC, McDonalds, Subway, 7-11, Dairy Queen, Supercuts, Jiffy Lube or Exxon Station. The proliferation of office parks to accommodate the millions of paper pushers that make our service economy hum has been unprecedented in human history. Never have so many done so little in so many places. Everyone knows what a standard American strip mall consists of – a pizza place, a Chinese takeout, beer store, a tanning, salon, a weight loss center, a nail salon, a Curves, karate studio, Gamestop, Radioshack, Dollar Store, H&R Block, and a debt counseling service. They are a reflection of who we’ve become – an obese drunken species with excessive narcissistic tendencies that prefers to play video games while texting on our iGadgets as our debt financed lifestyles ultimately require professional financial assistance.

What you can’t ignore today is the number of vacant storefronts in these strip malls and the overwhelming number of SPACE AVAILABLE, FOR LEASE, and FOR RENT signs that proliferate in front of these dying testaments to an unsustainable economic system based upon debt fueled consumer spending and infinite growth assumptions. The booming sign manufacturer is surely based in China. The officially reported national vacancy rates of 11% are already at record highs, but anyone with two eyes knows these self-reported numbers are a fraud. Vacancy rates based on my observations are closer to 30%. This is part of the extend and pretend strategy that has been implemented by Ben Bernanke, Tim Geithner, the FASB, and the Wall Street banking cabal. The fraud and false storyline of a commercial real estate recovery is evident to anyone willing to think critically. The incriminating data is provided by the Federal Reserve in their Quarterly Delinquency Report.

The last commercial real estate crisis occurred in 1991. Mall vacancy rates were at levels consistent with today.   

 

The current reported office vacancy rates of 17.5% are only slightly below the 19% levels of 1991.

 

As reported by the Federal Reserve, delinquency rates on commercial real estate loans in 1991 were 12%, leading to major losses among the banks that made those imprudent loans. Amazingly, after the greatest financial collapse in history, delinquency rates on commercial loans supposedly peaked at 8.8% in the 2nd quarter of 2010 and have now miraculously plummeted to pre-collapse levels of 4.9%. This is while residential loan delinquencies have resumed their upward trajectory, the number of employed Americans has fallen by 414,000 in the last two months, 9 million Americans have left the labor force since 2008, and vacancy rates are at or near all-time highs. This doesn’t pass the smell test. The Federal Reserve, owned and controlled by the Wall Street, instructed these banks to extend all commercial real estate loans, pretend they will be paid, and value them on their books at 100% of the original loan amount. Real estate developers pretend they are collecting rent from non-existent tenants, Wall Street banks pretend they are being paid by the developers, and their highly compensated public accounting firm pretends the loans aren’t really delinquent. Again, the purpose of this scam is to shield the Wall Street bankers from accepting the losses from their reckless behavior. Ben rewards them with risk free income on their deposits, propped up by mark to fantasy accounting, while they reward themselves with billions in bonuses for a job well done. The master plan requires an eventual real recovery that isn’t going to happen. Press releases and fake data do not change the reality on the ground.    

I have two strip malls within three miles of my house that opened in 1990. When I moved to the area in 1995, they were 100% occupied and a vital part of the community. The closest center has since lost its Genuardi grocery store, Sears Hardware, Blockbuster, Donatos, Sears Optical, Hollywood Tans, hair salon, pizza pub and a local book store. It is essentially a ghost mall, with two banks, a couple chain restaurants and empty parking spaces. The other strip mall lost its grocery store anchor and sporting goods store. This has happened in an outwardly prosperous community. The reality is the apparent prosperity is a sham. The entire tottering edifice of housing, autos, and retail has been sustained by ever increasing levels of debt for the last thirty years and the American consumer has hit the wall. From 1950 through the early 1980s, when the working middle class saw their standard of living rise, personal consumption expenditures accounted for between 60% and 65% of GDP. Over the last thirty years consumption has relentlessly grown as a percentage of GDP to its current level of 71%, higher than before the 2008 collapse.                 

 

If the consumption had been driven by wage increases, then this trend would not have been a problem. But, we already know real median household income is lower than it was in 1970. The thirty years of delusion were financed with debt – peddled, hawked, marketed, and pushed by the drug dealers on Wall Street. The American people got hooked on debt and still have not kicked the habit. The decline in household debt since 2008 is solely due to the Wall Street banks writing off $800 billion of mortgage, credit card, and auto loan debt and transferring the cost to the already drowning American taxpayer.      

 

The powers that be are desperately attempting to keep this unsustainable, dysfunctional debt choked scheme from disintegrating by doling out more subprime auto debt, subprime student loan debt, low down payment mortgages, and good old credit card debt. It won’t work. The consumer is tapped out. Last week’s horrific retail sales report for August confirmed this fact. Declining household income and rising costs for energy, food, clothing, tuition, taxes, health insurance, and the other things needed to survive in the real world, have broken the spirit of Middle America. The protracted implosion of our consumer society has only just begun. There are thousands of retail outlets to be closed, hundreds of thousands of jobs to be eliminated, thousands of malls to be demolished, and billions of loan losses to be incurred by the criminal Wall Street banks.

The Faces of Failure & Futility

My fourteen years working in key positions for big box retailer IKEA has made me particularly observant of the hubris and foolishness of the big chain stores that dominate the retail landscape.  There are 1.1 million retail establishments in the United States, but the top 25 mega-store national chains account for 25% of all the retail sales in the country. The top 100 retailers operate 243,000 stores and account for approximately $1.6 trillion in sales, or 36% of all the retail sales in the country. Their misconceived strategic plans assumed 5% same store growth for eternity, economic growth of 3% per year for eternity, a rising market share, and ignorance of the possible plans of their competitors. They believed they could saturate a market without over cannibalizing their existing stores. Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowes have all hit the limits of profitable expansion. Each incremental store in a market results in lower profits.

My trip to my local Lowes last weekend gave me a glimpse into a future of failure and futility. Until 2009, I had four choices of Lowes within 15 miles of my house. There was a store 8 miles east, 12 miles west, 15 miles north, and 15 miles south of my house. In an act of supreme hubris, Lowes opened a stores smack in the middle of these four stores, four miles from my house. The Hatfield store opened in early 2009 and I wrote an article detailing how Lowes was about to ruin their profitability in Montgomery County. It just so happens that I meet a couple of my old real estate buddies from IKEA at a local pub every few months. In 2009 one of them had a real estate position with Lowes and we had a spirited discussion about the prospects for the Lowes Hatfield store. He assured me it would be a huge success. I insisted it would be a dud and would crush the profitability of the market by cannibalizing the other four stores. We met at that same pub a few months ago. Lowes had laid him off and he admitted to me the Hatfield store was a disaster.

I pulled into the Lowes parking lot at 11:30 am on a Saturday. Big Box retailers do 50% of their business on the weekend. The busiest time frame is from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturday. Big box retailers build enough parking spots to handle this peak period. The 120,000 square feet Hatfield Lowes has approximately 1,000 parking spaces. I pulled into the spot closest to the entrance during their supposed peak period. There were about 70 cars in the parking lot, with most probably owned by Lowes workers. It is a pleasure to shop in this store, with wide open aisles, and an employee to customer ratio of four to one. The store has 14 checkout lanes and at peak period on a Saturday, there was ONE checkout lane open, with no lines. This is a corporate profit disaster in the making, but the human tragedy far overrides the declining profits of this mega-retailer.

As you walk around this museum of tools and toilets you notice the looks on the faces of the workers. These aren’t the tattooed, face pierced freaks you find in many retail establishments these days. They are my neighbors. They are the beaten down middle class. They are the middle aged professionals who got cast aside by the mega-corporations in the name of efficiency, outsourcing, right sizing, stock buybacks, and executive stock options. The irony of this situation is lost on those who have gutted the American middle class. When you look into the eyes of these people, you see sadness, confusion and embarrassment. They know they can do more. They want to do more. They know they’ve been screwed, but they aren’t sure who to blame. They were once the very customers propelling Lowes’ growth, buying new kitchens, appliances, and power tools. Now they can’t afford a can of paint on their $10 per hour, no benefit retail careers. As depressing as this portrait appears, it is about to get worse.

This Lowes will be shut down and boarded up within the next two years. The parking lot will become a weed infested eyesore occupied by 14 year old skateboarders. One hundred and fifty already down on their luck neighbors will lose their jobs, the township will have a gaping hole in their tax revenue, and the CEO of Lowes will receive a $50 million bonus for his foresight in announcing the closing of 100 stores that he had opened five years before. This exact scenario will play out across suburbia, as our unsustainable system comes undone. Our future path will parallel the course of the labor participation rate. Just as the 9 million Americans who have “left” the labor force since 2008 did not willfully make that choice, the debt burdened American consumer will be dragged kicking and screaming into the new reality of a dramatically reduced standard of living.           

 

Connecting the dots between my anecdotal observations of suburbia and a critical review of the true non-manipulated data bestows me with a not optimistic outlook for the coming decade. Is what I’m seeing just the view of a pessimist, or are you seeing the same thing?

A few powerful men have hijacked our economic, financial and political structure. They aren’t socialists or capitalists. They’re criminals. They created the culture of materialism, greed and debt, sustained by prodigious levels of media propaganda. Our culture has been led to believe that debt financed consumption over morality and justice is the path to success. In reality, we’ve condemned ourselves to a slow painful death spiral of debasement and despair.

“A culture that does not grasp the vital interplay between morality and power, which mistakes management techniques for wisdom, and fails to understand that the measure of a civilization is its compassion, not its speed or ability to consume, condemns itself to death.” – Chris Hedges

 


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Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:27 | Link to Comment TheSilverJournal
TheSilverJournal's picture

There is no spoon.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:36 | Link to Comment Pladizow
Pladizow's picture

Birth, Growth, Maturation, Decline, Death!

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:05 | Link to Comment hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture

 

 

They are my neighbors. They are the beaten down middle class. They are the middle aged professionals who got cast aside by the mega-corporations in the name of efficiency, outsourcing, right sizing, stock buybacks, and executive stock options.

Your neighbors all probably buy their food, clothes, shoes, and toys at Wal-Mart.  Your neighbors all probably wouldn't know how to "live within their means" if their lives depended on it. 

They could shop at locally-owned stores, stupid mother fuckers.  They could keep their capital close to home.

Nobody to blame but themselves.

Save money.  Live better.

WMT up 23.82% YTD.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:10 | Link to Comment bunnyswanson
bunnyswanson's picture

Who can afford to shop at any other store?  Wal-Mart prices are so goddam low it's obscene.  In my town of 180,000, there are 3 Wal-Marts.  All within 8 miles of each other. 

 

During credit expansion, mom and pop stores moved to the high end of town, left empty storefront behind and now, the new stores are empty too.  Empty businesses are everywhere.  There is no traffic at rush hour.  No long lines at counters. 

 

Wal-Mart expansion has been the stake in the heart of small American and Canadian businesses.  Along with Target.  In california, the stores have taken on a new theme - subdued lighting, higher prices, smaller selection.  They are being designed to attract upper middle class.  Soon, the prices will go even higher.  But these stores are built like they can be taken down in 24 hours.   Even dollar-store businesses are closed. 

 

2nd hand stores, massage parlors, liquor stores, lingerie shops are now what make up Main Street. 

 

Chambers of Commerce on a local level deserve the reward for extinguishing small businesses, not the shoppers.

 

And on OWS, they are now being told to disperse or get arrested.  So one cannot even stand out side and ask the very obvious question:  "Why are you doing this to American middle class?"

 

It is happening in Canada as well. 

 

Getting arrested is no small matter.  These kids are going to have a record following them along with the cost of being caught up in the judicial system.

 

 (oops typo)

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:16 | Link to Comment john39
john39's picture

and those kids are braver than most of us... then again, they have probably just figured out the truth that confronts most of us... nothing left to loose...  so why not fight?  thinks are just going to magically get better until people start to overcome their programming and stand up for themselves...

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:18 | Link to Comment hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture

 

 

Chambers of Commerce on a local level deserve the reward for extinguishing small businesses, not the shoppers.

Maybe at the very begining, but no longer.  You cannot tell me there are no more locally owned businesses, that compete with WAL*MART, for you to patronize right now today.

You have to be ignorant to bitch about low wages and still shop at WAL*MART.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:31 | Link to Comment Son of Loki
Son of Loki's picture

I was in Philidelphia once and saw a place on the map, "Germantown" so I drove out there to get some home-made Brats and stuff.

 

However, there were no Brat shopws there and definitely no Germans there anymore. Glad I made it out of there with my life!

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:39 | Link to Comment Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

OH MY GOD....HOW STUPID AND OUT OF TOUCH CAN YOU BE hedgeless_horseman?

You are so cosmically stupid that if you were a black hole you would now be sucking down half of the Solar System AND John Corzine's dick at the same time.

LOW WAGES ARE NOT A PRODUCT OF WAL MART.  THEY ARE A PRODUCT OF 50 YEARS OF CAPITLIST WAGE ARBITRAGE !!!!  THE FIRST RULE OF CAPITALISM IS MAKE A PROFIT.  SECOND RULE OF CAPITALISM IS IF YOU CAN'T HAVE PRICE CONTROL OF YOUR PRODUCT YOU MUST CUT YOUR COSTS OF DOING BUSINES.

WHAT IS THE LARGEST COST OF BUSINESS......ITS THE WORKERS YOUR SHIT FOR BRAINS.  SO YOU SHIP THEIR JOBS OVERSEAS UNTIL YOU JUST HAVE SOME BACK OFFICE SUPPORT TO MEET DAILY BUSINESS NEEDS.  OR...YOU DROP THEIR WAGES AND CUT THEIR HEALTH CARE AND MAKE THEM DO THE WORK OF 3 PEOPLE.....HIGHER PRODUCTIVITY....YEA US.  AND IF YOU CAN.....YOU AUTOMATE WITH COMPUTERS AND ROBOTS......NO HEALTH CARE THERE...NO LIVING WAGES THERE....NO GOING ON STRIKE THERE.....EXACTLY THE DREAM OF THE CONFEDERATE LANDOWNERS IN THE SOUTH.....CHEAP SLAVE LABOR.

AND WHAT OF THE LOCAL STORE OWNER?  HOW CAN MOM AND POP EVER GET THE SAME BULK RATE ON GOODS AND SERVICES THAT THE WAL-MARTS AND STAPLES AND HOME DEPOT'S OF THE WORLD GET?  WHEN EVERYONE'S WAGE HAS STAGNATED AND DROPPED OVER THE LAST 40 YEARS NOT ONLY ON INFLATION BASED DOLLARS BUT NOW IN NOMINAL AS WELL......YOU ARE NOT DOING YOUR FAMILY FIDUCIARY DUTY OF WATCHING YOUR OWN SPENDING WHEN YOU DO ....AND CAN....SPEND ON SOMETHING.

YOU HAVE TO BE A SINGLE MALE...WITH NO FAMILY....SITTING IN FRONT OF YOUR 6 SIX LCD'S TRADING THE MARKET EVERYDAY IN YOUR LITTLE APT IN NEW YORK THINKING YOU SO MUCH ABOVE IT ALL AND WHACKING OFF TO A COPY OF ATLAS SHRUGGED.

GET A CLUE JUNIOR......YOUR SECULAR RELIGION IS AS BOGUS AND AS DEAD AS WALL STREET.

FUCK OFF.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:08 | Link to Comment hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture

 

 

WHAT IS THE LARGEST COST OF BUSINESS......ITS THE WORKERS YOUR SHIT FOR BRAINS. SO YOU SHIP THEIR JOBS OVERSEAS UNTIL YOU JUST HAVE SOME BACK OFFICE SUPPORT TO MEET DAILY BUSINESS NEEDS.

So how do you explain the success of a grocery store chain like Brookshire Brothers?

As a self-distributing company, supplied by our own procurement staff, our company is positioned for sustained, long term growth, with over 6,000 employee-owners who make this area their home.

I don't know if it is a coincidence, but I seem to recall that our locally owned hardware store, just down the street from Brookshire Brothers, was booming last Saturday morning at 11:00am. 

You may consider reading this book by J.H. Kunstler:

He likes to cuss, too.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:15 | Link to Comment Tortuga
Tortuga's picture

Yea, Brookshires is a great store, HEB is always packed in the little towns around the big cities and now that you mention it, Ace hardware down the street is always busy as the Rio Grande Mercado across the street.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:34 | Link to Comment sessinpo
sessinpo's picture

"So how do you explain the success of a grocery store chain like Brookshire Brothers?"

 

Merge with an oil company?

From the link and website of the company you provided.

"In 2007, our company merged with Polk Oil Co. of Lufkin, Texas"

 

Incidentally, the "Who We Are" page, http://www.polkoil.com/who-we-are.aspx , indicates that Polk also does:

ATMs

Lottery Tickets

Money Orders

Prepaid Calling Cards

 

All highly profitable ventures with relatively low labor costs per overall revenue. 

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:42 | Link to Comment Imminent Crucible
Imminent Crucible's picture

Jim Kunstler likes to cuss? Well, yeah, but at least he knows how to use the shift key, unlike Junko-Tron.

Mr. Quinn wants to know if he's just a pessimist. Yes, Jim. You are definitely a pessimist. But that doesn't make you wrong, it just makes you angry and depressed about the facts. And the Philly area is no doubt worse off than a lot of regions.

There is a lot of work ahead of us, as most Americans are still half-asleep, with no more than a dim sense that something is terribly wrong with the country and that the White House, Congress, the Treasury and especially the Fed are powerless to do anything about it. What we have to do is get our neighbors to understand that the government and the Fed are exactly what is wrong with the country.  And then we have to get them to understand that these criminals are not going to roll over and play dead for us. We're going to have to take our country back the hard way.

Step No. 1: Stop feeding the problem. Pull your business away from the major corporations, take your money out of the TBTF banks, arrange your affairs so that you pay as close to zero taxes as possible. This monstrosity is going to collapse under the weight of its own corruption, but you don't want to be standing where it falls.

I would think prudence would lead Jim Quinn to get himself and his family out of the Philadelphia area. That dump is going to turn into an apocalyptic nightmare when the EBT fountain runs dry.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 18:57 | Link to Comment CClarity
CClarity's picture

Jim is a pessimist who is sharing realism.  I live near San Francisco and not far from Silicon Valley, in a suburb considered affluent.  In recent years, many neighbors have stopped paying their mortgage, even if they were able, but remain in their homes.  The banks don't want to take back homes in this neighborhood because they would rather have them occupied by "non-squatters" that will at least keep up appearances and not strip them down of appliances and copper wiring.  If under $1million, banks will try to sell.  The market over $1.5mil is slow and sporadic and mostly sold by homeowners not banks, but not many buyers in that zone.  Still plenty of buyers over in Silicon and on the Penninsula in every price category.

Today, noticed the local camera store is going out of business.  It had been rolled up twice in the past decade, eventually owned by a chain that went Chptr 11 a while ago.  Sold or closed some stores, but tried to reorganize with rest.  This particular store had essentially same employees for past decade.  All very pleasant, knowledgeable, helpful and service oriented.  I popped in to say I was sorry to see the sign - how were they.  They were shell-shocked.  All stores being closed.  No package for employees, they doubt they'll get vacation days/pay owed them.  Came out of the blue over the weekend.  A lot of talent with no where to go (yes, camera and film development, even with digital special services has been disrupted by internet services, mobilephone cameras, etc).  They said company has a liquidator to "acquire" was is available  for next to nothing.  The two stores next to them have also gone out of business in the past 2 months.  Another set of stores 3 blocks away, not really a strip mall, has 7 of 14 stores closed with for lease signs.

Still some pizza stores, plenty of nail salons, exercise and weight businesses, banks a-go-go, pet food stores, phones storefronts, and tutoring services. Also some upscale restaurants with thriving specialy cocktail businesses keeping them flush.  The Whole Foods, Safeway, Trader Joes, and a wonderful local grocerer of excellent quality all seem to be fine, with full parking lots and busy checkout counters.  I do notice that Safeway is very often missing certain items, as though they won't replenish shelves from inventory in back, but just on day to day delivery schedule. A little of that at Trader Joes too.  Not at the other two.

So in this corner of the country I'd say anecdotally that people still want their good food and alcohol- grocery or restaurant, and coffee cafes, but they're scaling back on tanning, specialty clothing, bookstores, and children's toys.  Even the cupcake boutique just closed.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 20:35 | Link to Comment steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture

 

Good discussion.

 

A problem for the smaller businesses is the source of supply is a small handful of manufacturers in China. The products available from the downtown retailers are the same products offered at the boxes. The only way for one to compete with the other is by price. The boxes are designed from the ground up to take advantage of lower opportunity costs.

 

Small businesses have to go head-to-head with cartels which can float enormous debts and use them to ruin the competition.

 

In the old days there was diversity of goods and sources of supply, businesses offered service such as delivery and store-credit. Food and clothing were locally sourced. Today the customers are a necessary part of the 'logistics chain': they must go out and wrassle their goods like stevedores. A person without a car finds it hard to shop. Buying a few bags of groceries requires $30,000 up front fee along with thousands more in annual operating expenses.

 

The increasing real cost for petroleum strands US consumption infrastructure such as malls and tract houses. These are only remunerative with $30/barrel crude or lower. With US crude near $100 the US economy is marooned.

 

If prices go to $30 it will because nobody has any money, it may as well be $3,000. This outcome is coming to a tract housing development near you.

 

The future of the entire world is Greece right now. That country cannot afford to pay for its own past consumption, there is nothing the Greeks can offer for its future consumption, either. The US is no different: in exchange for 100 years of fuel waste there are millions of unemployed on food stamps, run down buildings and used cars. Good luck selling that ... 'dream'!

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 09:48 | Link to Comment Kobe Beef
Kobe Beef's picture

Dear Imminent Crucible,

"What we have to do is get our neighbors to understand that the government and the Fed are exactly what is wrong with the country."

Start calling it the Imperial Government instead of the Federal Government. Those who can see will know what you mean, those who can't will often ask what you mean by that. Then you have a chance to open their eyes as well.

Fight the good Fight,

Beef

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:50 | Link to Comment A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

WHAT IS THE LARGEST COST OF BUSINESS......ITS THE WORKERS GIVEN ARTIFICIALLY HIGH WAGES THROUGH MINIMUM WAGES LAWS YOUR SHIT FOR BRAINS.

 

There...fixed. You'll need to fix your own CAPS LOCK key. Don't blame capitalism for that which is caused by government "solutions."

Tue, 09/18/2012 - 00:26 | Link to Comment Cosimo de Medici
Cosimo de Medici's picture

I don't have a solution, but what you are saying is that if we could pay Chinese wages here, we could keep the jobs at home.   The free market clearing price for unskilled labor (assuming no government safety net such as SNAP, UEI, SSDI) might be around a dollar an hour.   Perhaps that is where we are heading.  With the safety net, the clearing price might be pretty close to the current minimum wage.  Thus, as a nation we outsource and arbitrage labor.

The large company has another advantage---in addition to having the ability/incentive to outsource---of really low cost capital.  Mom and Pop stores can't get loans, and they can't issue bonds at a hundred pips over Treasuries.  Oh, and they lack volume buying power.

Is our choice going pre-last Friday India?  All that does is hand enormous power to the middleman.

As I said, I don't have a solution, but I don't see anyone else has one either.  Retooling society is going to take time.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:13 | Link to Comment Tortuga
Tortuga's picture

Hey, if you're gonna dis the Confederates, you at least ought to give equal time to the northern slumlords and the .01% that paid my immigrant Scottish forefathers to take their place in the trenches.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:27 | Link to Comment cdude
cdude's picture

WHY ARE WE SHOUTING (hear Mick Jagger)

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:34 | Link to Comment Papasmurf
Papasmurf's picture

Learn how to work your caps-lock key.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 18:28 | Link to Comment CPL
CPL's picture

Your keyboard is broken.

 

I understand walmart sells those.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:13 | Link to Comment MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

The issue isn't with walmart per se, it's with the brick and mortar store concept entirely.  I think the better question is how mom and pop compete with amazon and other e-tailer/warehouse models...  Walmart's success is that it's simply the focal point of the retail market and is one of the last dinosaurs left standing.  The fact that its logistics department is as good as fedex or ups is simply a core competency that most other retailers can't compete with.  At the end of the day, people want to go into a store and shop or need things in an emergency...  this is ALL retail stores will carry in the future... 

And it isn't inconsistent to shop at walmart when it's all you can afford...  practically speaking, I think this whole spend local meme will not make any material difference to the issues that plague us.  There are some things that will naturally progress locally (food production and sale), but for many others the concept of mom and pop is NEVER coming back.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:53 | Link to Comment nofluer
nofluer's picture

Never underestimate the theraputic value of retail therapy.

Tue, 09/18/2012 - 09:15 | Link to Comment SmackDaddy
SmackDaddy's picture

^ For reals dude.  Macho, your perspective makes it obvious you havent had any female contact in a long while.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:05 | Link to Comment Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture

bunnyswanson

fuck dude at least your town has massage parlors.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:09 | Link to Comment Tortuga
Tortuga's picture

Well, thanks for the rationalisms. Stratigery can be formulated from reading such observations. Bet you didn't know you had come down with an ism.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 19:34 | Link to Comment Loose Caboose
Loose Caboose's picture

This is, sadly, very true.  With shrinking wages, it unrealistic to expect that people will not seek out a bargain.  It's the age-old question - what came first?  The bargain shopping leading to the ruin of mom and pop's or the ruin of mom and pop's leading to a flood to Walmart's doors?

It's been my experience that someone who can afford quality goods will opt for the smaller, locally owned businesses where the quality is often better to justify the slightly elevated price tag.  But when things get tight, quality becomes secondary to lower prices and then it's Walmart.

 

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 20:13 | Link to Comment ArmyofOne
ArmyofOne's picture

Not true that Wally-World prices are low.  I went to buy 2 bags of Scott's fertilizer for the lawn and it cost $52.48 there and at Lowes $44.42.    Wally sells junk not worth the higher prices they charge.  You might find a few items lower but its in no way cheap any more.  They rely on peoples perceptions of lower prices and there lazyness not to comparison shop.

Tue, 09/18/2012 - 23:09 | Link to Comment Chuck Walla
Chuck Walla's picture

You people act as if Walmart pulled this off all on their own. they did not. They thrive because politicians back bloated and corrupt unions, unfavorable work rules, an out of control OSHA and EPA. Oh, and over taxation to but all those welfare voters.

Give Americans back their freedom and this country will take off. Keep choking it with stupid rules and taxes, what you see is what you get. If more regulation and high, unfavorable taxe laws are the way then this mother-fucker, the UK and Europe ought to going gang-busters. So, we have to at least consider the possibility that all the complicated rules and tax laws do is offer up more chances for the politician to sell favors to the highest bidders. How does that help anyone but the asshole running for office?

FORWARD SOVIET!

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:14 | Link to Comment Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

Fuck you hedgeless_horseman with Jamie Dimon's dick with no lube and a sandpaper condom.

WAL - FUCKING - MART ran those "locally owned" stores....out of business a LONG LONG time ago....with the help of the same local and state political whores of the banksters who touted job growth and more tax revenue when they pimped those very same Wal-Marts with their real estate and tax breaks to boot.

Obviously you suck off the dead tit of Ayn Rand....you fucking, heartless fool.

"Keep their capital close to home".......you shit for brains....and that's giving shit a bad name.....WAL MARTS ARE CLOSER TO THEIR HOMES IN MANY CASES.

You assinine New World Order Globalist Wage Arbitrage Pig Fucker.  I hope you make a bad bet in the Wall Street Casino and Blankfein fucks you all the way through your margin call.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:45 | Link to Comment hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture

 

 

Argumentum ad hominem has little effect on the site.  You might try Yahoo!

Abusive ad hominem (also called personal abuse or personal attacks) usually involves insulting or belittling one's opponents in order to attack their claims or invalidate their arguments, but can also involve pointing out true character flaws or actions that are irrelevant to the opponent's argument. This is logically fallacious because it relates to the opponent's personal character, which has nothing to do with the logical merit of the opponent's argument, whereas mere verbal abuse in the absence of an argument is not ad hominem nor any kind of logical fallacy.

...and regarding...

...ran those "locally owned" stores....out of business a LONG LONG time ago

We still, today, shop locally owned stores for groceries we do not produce ourselves.  Most of our clothes and shoes are made and retailed locally.  We do not shop at WAL*MART and get along just fine.  Maybe it is because we know enough to care?

 

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:40 | Link to Comment sessinpo
sessinpo's picture

I am not for or against your argument. I just want to point out that just because you do something doesn't make your argument correct or wrong.

By doing so, you are suggesting that others are in the same circumstances you are which may or may not be so. I am fortunate to have a job that pays +20/hour so I also have that option. But I know many others that don't. I can only encourage them to try to improve their financial situation, generally through education, so that they may achieve higher earnings and have more options.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 19:08 | Link to Comment krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

HH, like your posts but this thread(and I don't agree with JUMBO) isn't necessarily applicable across the board. The 'local' business is not always present so I do the next best thing in my opinion and support small business via the Web, Ebay, Amazon, etc. where most small businessess have a presence in order to support their "local' business. I do this myself. There is a concerted effort by .GOV at all levels simply to fill their coffers regardless of who pays. Walmart was in part so successful because local governments would bend over and hand off tax and property concessions left and right to get Wally to come to town.  Can you honestly say those concessions were offered to Mom & Pop, Inc.? Rarely if ever. And now that the M&P's have moved online, there is a concerted effort to tax Internet purchases at every level just to pad the coffers again. And who's going to be able to manage that burden?  Amazon or M&P.com? I agree you can support local to a degree; I actively support farmer's stands/markets, local service businesses(like PA's), etc. but as I'm in technology, there is NO way for someone in this kneck of the woods to support what I require for my clients. There is not ONE non-chain grocery in this area except an Organic food store and I can shop there at best once a month for specific products. The playing field is definitely against small and local business but that's because of the layers of bureaucratic bullshit and expense they deal with which does drive up their costs at a higher percentage than a biz-hemoth like Wally which in a lot of cases puts them out of reach of a consumer that is similarly being crushed by inflation and runaway unemployemnt. And that means small biz' get fewer and far between each year and thus, there is no local resource. There is going to have to be a severe backlash to taxation and regulation at every level of Gov before this counrty is producing as it used to.  There is no way that the free-spending ways of Gov can be managed, past or future, on the backs of a broken-down tax base. Alright, I need a beer...(bought locally, brewed in-state)...

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:47 | Link to Comment Tortuga
Tortuga's picture

So, do you shop at Walmart or not?

Personally, the chinese brand wavy chips are better @ Target.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:20 | Link to Comment TAfool
TAfool's picture

Once you come down off your drug induced stupor you might see what really happened.

Wal*Mart did not run anyone out of town. Wal*Mart did not force anyone to shop in their stores. Who ran Mom-n-Pop out of business? The consumer that voted with their wallet. The very same consumer that votes the same criminals into office year after year. The populace destroyed Mom-n-Pop and this once great nation. Look no further than the nearest mirror.

Wal*Mart is innocent of this crime, it is you and your neighbors that are guilty.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 19:50 | Link to Comment Loose Caboose
Loose Caboose's picture

Personally, I don't shop at Walmart.  But my wants are few.  I lead a very simple life.  But, I can't blame my neighbours or other family members who do shop there when they are struggling to make ends meet with kids to raise, etc.  The sheeple are dumb.  They do not knowingly spend their dollars in clear understanding that they are ruining mom and pop.  They don't give it that much thought.

Do you really think refusing to shop at Walmart will make it go away especially when the real reason it's there is because nothing is manufactured here anymore?  The sheeple are not responsible for everything coming from China, lower wages, unemployment and off-shoring of their jobs.  It's a tall order to say they are "guilty" of anything except trying to make ends meet. 

Let's place the blame where it belongs - at the top.  Blaming some minimum-wage single mom for buying shoes for the kids at Wallyworld isn't going to solve anything.

I hope you don't hurt yourself getting off that high horse.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 20:13 | Link to Comment Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

TAfool is yet another blind devotee to the secular religion of Globalist Wage Arbitrage Capitalism just like hedgeless asshole.

The public voted with their wallets with the same "freedom of choice" that is presented them every 4 years.  When your real wages are stagnant even before inflation is included....when your savings are destroyed everytime you roll over your money market account...or your CD or whatever fixed income device you have.....when inflation at the pump....at the grocery store.....at the doctors office.....at your kid's school or university.....what REAL choice do your have when you are desperately trying to watch every penny you spend?

If you have enough discretionary income to blow on the same Chinese made product at a mom and pop....or a smaller, regional chain....then bully for you. 

But don't try to piss on my leg and tell me it's raining.  The destruction of the mom and pops and the rise of the big box retail chain....is just like what has happened to fishing here in North Florida.  At one time...you could have five guys on both sides of a boat just pitching out bright sinkers above their hooks and catch fish as quick as you could shake off one and throw your baitless hook into the water.  Now.....mostly what you get.....especially up in Georgia is Cannonball Jellyfish.....which you can't catch enough of in our acidized, fished out waters.  But hey....its a big business now.....shipping that shit to.....you guessed it.......China...and Japan.

What I am saying is.....Wal Mart is the Cannonball Jellyfish......in what used to be a thriving, varied marketplace.  Now....its a wastel;and of monocultured Big Box stores, with the purchasing power to sell things cheap enough for the hollowed out Middle Class and still make a profit off the volume.

Grow up and get a clue about the real world junior.  Put down the video game.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 21:10 | Link to Comment jwoop66
jwoop66's picture

Every time I go into a mom and pops store, I find substandard goods at an exhorbitant price.  I find they don't usually carry a wide selection of goods.  I also usually only see mom or pops working there.  If there is another employee, I'm sure they are paid what ever the market rate for there position is. 

Walmart has good and bad quality items for the consumer to make a choice.  Walmart has a huge selection of items.  Walmart employs way more people than the four, five or six mom and pops stores each Walmart store allegedly replaced, and it provides them with better pay and benefits than mom and pop ever could.  

Walmart started as a mom and pops store, but lead the way in giving the customer what they want, and with good customer service.  

I remember one mom and pops sporting goods store where I grew up (long Island, NY) where the owner, who was the only employee I ever saw there, used to follow us around the store and tell us not to touch any thing or steal anything.   At the time, his was the most convenient place to get our sporting goods, so we patronized his establishment.  He was a rude creep. 

I would go to Walmart 10 miles away before I walked down the block to purchase something from that guy.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 21:12 | Link to Comment jwoop66
jwoop66's picture

Oh, and I forgot to say; Jumbo, you seem like a rude, obnoxious piece of shit. 

Tue, 09/18/2012 - 00:58 | Link to Comment Cosimo de Medici
Cosimo de Medici's picture

Jumbo, You're always opinionated (a good thing), but usually more reserved.  This is a bit out of character, so your passion must ride in tandem with an answer, yes?

As I wrote above, I don't have an answer, but would like to hear what one might be.  The ability to arbitrage wages, which many will argue is the free market at work, means wages will be arbitraged, as will pollution, working conditions, etc.  The alternative seems to be some control by some outside body, whether that is government or an industry watchdog.  That has its own drawbacks.  Then there is consumer choice, which is driven largely by wallets.  Most people want all labor to be arbitraged except in their own field. (Reminds me of a cartoon in Grant's from a decade ago in which the caption was:  "Lord, I know asset inflation is wrong, but please let it happen to my portfolio before you stop it")

There can never be a totally leveled playing field.  Size has its advantages, in sourcing power for both inventory and capital.

So what is the compromise?  What is the solution?  I'm not arguing with you, but I can't get past theory and ideal and reach possible.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 19:19 | Link to Comment decon
decon's picture

In a world where different cultures and countries are even partially open to monetary exchange and business arrangements, over the long run, wealth is like water and seeks equilibrium.  That means the Chinese guys standard is going up and ours is going down and we're going to meet in the middle somewhere.  Get used to it!

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:05 | Link to Comment JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

 Much like the taxpayers voted for wars with their taxes and gas-guzzling SUV's, consumers voted for WalMarts with their wallets. It's not something that happened overnight. The tell-tale signs were here all along, yet nobody complained until the very end. The consequences of irresponsible action cannot be wished away. The crisis that's been decades in the making will take decades to undo (with or without another World War).

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:21 | Link to Comment slyhill
slyhill's picture

This is the very end?

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 18:33 | Link to Comment JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

 It's the end of expansion. Nothing bad about zero or negative growth if you plan for it. It's like the harvest - you know some years are going to be plentiful and others will yield nothing. You put enough seeds aside to last through the tough times and curb consumption when necessary. Physically it's easy to accomplish. The problem is that our fiat fractional reserve baking system is built for exponential expansion only and cannot handle even a slightest slowdown. The interest on the debt and defaults end up consuming the monetary supply, destroying commerce. A well structured commodity based exhcange system (such as the gold standard) is able to handle each direction of the economy without imploding upon itself. Price stability and other guarantees fiat provides are nonsense. Prices should reflect conditions. If they don't the economy does not work.

 When we go to war and engage in material destruction the feedback should be instantaneous. Prices should spike to reflect government spending. They don't. Instead we get a stretched out buffer effect. Same with outsourcing of manufacturing. We don't feel it right away because monetary inflation and credit boost consumption that should instead be declining etc.

 The Roman Empire ended, but the city of Rome still exists. Argentina defaulted, but there's still Argentina. USSR is gone, but the land and people are still around under a different set of flags. The end is of the old way of life.

 The end of banking in its current form is good. The bad thing is that transition will be painful and most people will be caught off guard. Those that have stolen the most under the old regime will blend in with the crowd and play victims. A decade later the old elite will crawl out of its hiding and through family ties re-establish influence (if we let them). I've lived though a collapse and seen it first hand. I know people that were stinkin' rich but when the thunder strck put on robes and went into bread-n-soup lines just to be like everyone else. They were the ones scared shitless of change and of what others might do to them if true identities were ever exposed. Some got caught, others made it through and are now richer than they were under the old regime.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:19 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

I'm no fan of Wal-Mart, but...

Go ahead and walk into any other store and tell me that they're not stocking the same crap (most made in China).

Yes, you can find some high-priced stuff elsewhere that's perhaps "Made in the USA," but really, does it really matter?

Consider that the US has HUGE trade deficit.  In essence we're not paying for stuff from outside the country.  And this equation has raw material exports in there; that is, it's likely that the total volume of extracted material would be less if it was (only?) applied within the US: well, I should think that in the long-run it's a good thing to not exhaust everything we have...

There just ain't no "solution" as long as we predicate ourselves on perpetual growth.  China-Mart is just the logical evolution to the illogical paradigm.

Oh, I bought a small chest freezer off of someone on Craigslist the other day: our existing one was taken over by our egg business (controller operating the unit as a fridge).  Much to my surprise the owner was a cousin of a friend of mine.  He'd lost a job at a nearby factory that had closed down and was adjusting to all of this.  I was happy to see that he was being resourceful, that he was finding that he could get by without all the new crap out there, that picking up and reanimating stuff from 2nd-hand stores was working: says that many of his neighbors who were also suffering don't seem to be adjusting.

It's a small world.  We've ALL been in on this whether we wish to admit it or not.  What matters is what we're going to now do.

Supply chains will shorten up.  Plan accordingly (hopefully one's plans include being part of providing within one's community).

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:43 | Link to Comment sessinpo
sessinpo's picture

I would have to agree with you a bit on this Seer. I dabbled in the import/export business a little bit. Most retailers do not seek out American made products. They want what sells and a decent profit margin, regardless of who manufacturers it. Quite often, the retailer doesn't even know.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:20 | Link to Comment Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture

hedgeless_horseman

"Alvin Toffler: still shocking after all these years: New Scientist meets the controversial futurologist"


 

, New Scientist, 19 March 1994, pp. 22-25. "What led you to write Future Shock? -- While covering Congress, it occurred to us that big technological and social changes were occurring in the United States, but that the political system seemed totally blind to their existence. Between 1955 and 1960, the birth control pill was introduced, television became universalized [sic], commercial jet travel came into being and a whole raft of other technological events occurred. Having spent several years watching the political process, we came away feeling that 99 per cent of what politicians do is keep systems running that were laid in place by previous generations of politicians. Our ideas came together in 1965 in an article called 'The future as a way of life', which argued that change was going to accelerate and that the speed of change could induce disorientation in lots of people. We coined the phrase 'future shock' as an analogy to the concept of culture shock. With future shock you stay in one place but your own culture changes so rapidly that it has the same disorienting effect as going to another culture"

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:50 | Link to Comment Cursive
Cursive's picture

@hedgeless_horseman

My biggest gripe about Wal_Mart is the 10-year property tax moratoriums that the small town socialist economic development socialist gladly hand out to the ChiComm retailer.  I believe that at least 8 out of every 10 voting American believes their local economy improves with taxpayer subsidies such as these.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 21:04 | Link to Comment Buck Johnson
Buck Johnson's picture

Your exactly right, the issue is that most of america drank the kool aid and believed the propaganda coming from the govt. via the media pundits.  Now they are walking around in shock to find out that those dreams of riches and living a care free life in retirement are going away.  They are finally going to see what the rest of the world lives at,  no more of the US using 25% of the resources of the planet for 1/10th or less of the population. 

I think deep down they know that America and it's people will live in a world of diminishing returns and lowered living standards.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:06 | Link to Comment free
free's picture

...America and it's people NOW  live in a world of diminishing returns and lowered living standards.

 

FIFY

 

 

Tue, 09/18/2012 - 03:24 | Link to Comment californiagirl
californiagirl's picture

I went into a Walmart once. There was an overwhelming smell of toxic chemicals, plastics and assorted petroleum-based materials. I had a headache in less than one minute. I am pretty sure I would have been hard pressed to find anything not made in China. Never again, unless it is an emergency.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:42 | Link to Comment MillionDollarBonus_
MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

The most successful generation of all time just has to be the Baby Boomers.

Throughout their lives, BBs have enjoyed the highest incomes relative to cost of living, realized the best stock market returns and received the best quality education at the lowest prices. And what’s more they left the young with something to show for it by growing the compassionate welfare state, starting with the Great Society Programs. The great society programs and minimum wage were intended to reduce poverty, and decrease the gap between rich and poor, so that everyone is a winner! Year after year, the baby boomers voted for increased government programs and regulations, which today have made America one of the most forward thinking and progressive countries in the world, with fantastic upward mobility for the poor, after 40 years of exponential growth in government programs.

Not only did baby boomer receive the highest incomes of any generation; many of them have also secured some sweet government pension schemes in excess of 70k a year! Baby Boomers are just killing it! The smartest generation that ever lived. 

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:46 | Link to Comment JPM Hater001
JPM Hater001's picture

"The most successful generation of all time just has to be the Baby Boomers."

Yes, they fucked us harder and faster than any other generation has.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:09 | Link to Comment El Viejo
Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:24 | Link to Comment Ironmaan
Ironmaan's picture

Yes the boomers. They were the ones with their hands out, grabbing up any social program one could conceive of. They are the ones today siphoning money out of the system. The average time it takes for your average social security recipient to get back every dime they paid in is 4 years. After that they are on welfare/ my fucking dime.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:45 | Link to Comment Tortuga
Tortuga's picture

Well, you're going to continue in your fantasy, so: I'm gonna go spend that dime, today dipstick, stack with my SS check, with your dime and then, get some steaks, some beer, turn the ac down to 68 in my car with the motor running, spending your dime and maybe, dine in the magnificient motor home your dime bought me, if I can find the energy to run the stension cord out the garage.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:51 | Link to Comment Ironmaan
Ironmaan's picture

Not a fantasy Mr welfare recipient. The data is at socialsecurity.gov. You are indeed no better than the welfare recipients you often made fun of. You are a parasite just as they are.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:05 | Link to Comment Tortuga
Tortuga's picture

You are right. Reading your fantasies is gonna make me so enjoyyyyyyy, spending your dime as I live to be 99. Yehaaaaaa!

Tue, 09/18/2012 - 09:31 | Link to Comment SmackDaddy
SmackDaddy's picture

My wife's grandfather (born in '35) is one of these.  And to make matters worse, this motherfucker is a card carrying Republican who bitches all the time about those dependent on the system.  He fancies himself a 'small businessman'. but he never ran shit.  Drives around in a Lexus paid for with his wife's state pension benefits.

It all became too much one day when he was over at my house and I got drunk and gave him a piece of my mind.  At least he doenst forward any more of his bullshit political emails to me anymore....

Tue, 09/18/2012 - 09:31 | Link to Comment SmackDaddy
SmackDaddy's picture

My wife's grandfather (born in '35) is one of these.  And to make matters worse, this motherfucker is a card carrying Republican who bitches all the time about those dependent on the system.  He fancies himself a 'small businessman'. but he never ran shit.  Drives around in a Lexus paid for with his wife's state pension benefits.

It all became too much one day when he was over at my house and I got drunk and gave him a piece of my mind.  At least he doenst forward any more of his bullshit political emails to me anymore....

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 19:08 | Link to Comment delacroix
delacroix's picture

I call bullshit on the 4 years.  

Tue, 09/18/2012 - 01:18 | Link to Comment Cosimo de Medici
Cosimo de Medici's picture

The Boomers are the ones siphoning money out of the system?  I'm not sure, but you seem to be, so perhaps you can post the demographics of those on SNAP, UE, Disability and other forms of welfare.

While you're researching, you might look into the graph of the National Debt and note when the level went ballistic.   It looks to be somewhere around 2000 when we got really silly.  Thus, anyone born after 1982 had the chance to vote in 2000, so shares responsibility, as do all those born after 1982 who take any form of government assistance.

It's far more than just the Boomers.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:37 | Link to Comment El Viejo
El Viejo's picture

I guess when you read the article you missed the part about the Boomers making an extra payment to Social Security. Something that your and no other generation has done.

Of course the politicians simply could not keep their hands off that money.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:45 | Link to Comment Ironmaan
Ironmaan's picture

Who gives a shit. The net of it is they take more than they put in. I don't care from what generation you come, if you take out more than you put in you are living off of someone elses labor. People in this country just refuse to acknowledge that if you haven't earned it you dont deserve it. The other thing people dont want to acknowledge is that no one has a right to another mans labor or saved wealth. I don't care what your "need" is, if you havent earned it you have no right to it. 

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 18:32 | Link to Comment blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

There is no "in" to put anything. 

Social Security is just a tax to pay for the benefits for old-folks.  It's always been that way.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 19:17 | Link to Comment delacroix
delacroix's picture

IRONMAAM  the dollars they were taking out of my paycheck, when I started working, 42 years ago, were worth a lot more than todays dollars. I'm just far enough away from collecting, to be one of the first to get totally stiffed. all that money helped fund a government, that taxed you less. so you've really been living off my dime, prick.

Tue, 09/18/2012 - 01:29 | Link to Comment malek
malek's picture

Yeah, so the gov't overspent more and more over the decades, increasingly debasing the dollar and it's all IRONMAAN fault only.

You're delusional.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:38 | Link to Comment Tortuga
Tortuga's picture

That's right. It was good for me. You'll get no kiss or smoke from me though, it was just a hook up.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:48 | Link to Comment CPL
CPL's picture

LOL...stop, coffee came out my nose.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:03 | Link to Comment TuesdayBen
TuesdayBen's picture

You have no nose.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 21:21 | Link to Comment JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

He does... it's in a place you don't wanna be near.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:59 | Link to Comment roadhazard
roadhazard's picture

Yeah, lets blame it on the workers that raised your sorry ass. Hitler Youth turning on their parents. Bernie and the Bankers love you. 

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:22 | Link to Comment Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Shut up Hippies!!!

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:23 | Link to Comment NidStyles
NidStyles's picture

It's satire...

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:24 | Link to Comment Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

Not as much as they love you, but they do indeed love us all, they are, after all, doing God's work.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:36 | Link to Comment Tortuga
Tortuga's picture

There you go again. Blame the "boomers". Man, most boomers are stuck right in the middle of this crap like everybody else. It's our parents, the greatest generation, that are making out like bandits, not because they are selfish or crooked but because the silent majority of them BELIEVED the lies of the ho politicians ( which is a .01% of any generation) and they are mostly living to be 85 to 90 yrs old. God bless antibiotics.

Ben Franklin and George Washington so prophetic they must have been aliens, from Gaia.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:06 | Link to Comment Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

The Greatest Generation would be about 110 years old if they were still alive.  The 85 year old you talk about is of the Silent Generation.  Boomers are the hippie, "me" generation like Bill and Hillary, the oldest Baby Boomer is just turning 66 this year.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:25 | Link to Comment Chief KnocAHoma
Chief KnocAHoma's picture

Boomers are a little older than 66 this year. I think they are into their 70's down to upper forties. The good news those bastards drank, smoked, fucked like animals so they should die off rather quickly. Once their bloated government teat sucking never take the pain asses start getting planted in large numbers our demographics will turn around and the World be rosey again.

That is if this stupid fucking president of ours doesn't destroy the World in the next 50 days.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:41 | Link to Comment Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

By definition A Baby Boomer had to be born after 1946.  2012 minus 1946 = 66 yrs old as the oldest Boomer.  Arguably, the youngest Boomers are about 50 yrs old today.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:28 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

"The Greatest Generation would be about 110 years old if they were still alive."

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greatest_Generation

"The Greatest Generation" is a term coined by journalist Tom Brokaw to describe the generation[1] who grew up in the United States during the deprivation of the Great Depression, and then went on to fight in World War II

You can now remove your big fat foot from your mouth, thank you...

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:39 | Link to Comment Squid Vicious
Squid Vicious's picture

fuck tom brokaw, media whore, now he thinks he's an author???

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:16 | Link to Comment aerojet
aerojet's picture

I really wish we could stop all that "Greatest Generation" bullshit.  No generation is better than any other. 

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:29 | Link to Comment Chief KnocAHoma
Chief KnocAHoma's picture

No you are wrong there. The Greatest Genration saved the World, but then they screwed the pooch by spoiling their kids... The FUCKING BOOMERS!

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 18:07 | Link to Comment nofluer
nofluer's picture

Show me the boomer who voted for FDR or LBJ. (the ORIGINAL Social Welfare Presidents!) I'm really close to the leading edge of the Boomers... and the voting age then was 21. The first President I could have voted for would have been Nixon... but we were in VN at the time and I didn't vote. (I didn't vote for VN either... too busy.)

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:36 | Link to Comment cdude
cdude's picture

MDB_,

I quite enjoy your comments now that I realize you're always sarcastic. More amusing is how so many here don't get you. 

Do me a favor. If you are ever inclined to be serious, please qualify the post with a <sarc> in as much as it will be tantamount to a double negative.  

Tue, 09/18/2012 - 06:46 | Link to Comment DanDaley
DanDaley's picture

...compassionate welfare state, starting with the Great Society Programs. The great society programs and minimum wage were intended to reduce poverty, and decrease the gap between rich and poor, so that everyone is a winner! 

 

These programs have done more to impoverish blacks and the poor and to destroy their families than any war with the Russians or Chinese every could have.  Still deluded after all these years.


Tue, 09/18/2012 - 11:57 | Link to Comment Loose Caboose
Loose Caboose's picture

I appreciate MDB because I enjoy satire. How's life in Bizarro World MDB?

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:46 | Link to Comment JPM Hater001
JPM Hater001's picture

Chart porn like this is just like the real stuff.  I only need a little and it's all over... and so is the story of America. 

 

Great Piece.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:21 | Link to Comment OpenThePodBayDoorHAL
OpenThePodBayDoorHAL's picture

But Mitt says the median income is $250K...so it can't be as bad as all this....

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:09 | Link to Comment Arnold Ziffel
Arnold Ziffel's picture

Where Empires go to Die:

 

 

Troops pack up gear to ship out of Afghanistan


http://news.yahoo.com/troops-pack-gear-ship-afghanistan-175355721.html It's so slow, it's painful.
Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:45 | Link to Comment BLOTTO
BLOTTO's picture

Work,

Buy,

Consume...

Die.

 

Nothing new, Under the Sun...History is merely repeating itself.~King Solomon

 

Wash, rinse - repeat (x infinite)

 

'Same as it ever was' ~ Talking Heads

 

Meet the new boss -

same as the old boss~ The Who

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:27 | Link to Comment slyhill
Mon, 09/17/2012 - 19:26 | Link to Comment delacroix
delacroix's picture

just open your eyes and realize, the way it's always been~ moody blues

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 19:37 | Link to Comment stocktivity
stocktivity's picture

Don't forget Appled between growth and maturation

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:42 | Link to Comment Landotfree
Landotfree's picture

Life is a series of choices.   As your post describes there is no spoon, only the illusion of a spoon.  

The Fed has not failed as described in articles on ZH today, the Fed is wildly successfuly, matter of fact they have assisted in the largest unsustainable system to date.  The mission of the Fed is not to stop the collapse, but only delay the collapse to the max and to max out the system before the collapse.   

Hairless monkeys continue to believe in the spoon, the continue to believe the helicopters are coming. 

The success of the Fed will be measured in the amount of body bags filled or mass graves filled at the end of the collapse, the collapse was always known, the only thing that was not known was exactly when and how big the system would become before the collapse.   I figure 1-3 billion unfunded liabilities will have to go.   

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:57 | Link to Comment RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

"One of the under-rated features of the free market is that it so readily separates fools from their money. In government, fools separate everyone else from his money. In private life, people often waste resources. But it is their own wealth they are wasting. And wasters quickly run out of money. Not so the feds. Given an opportunity, they can waste the output of a whole economy...and many decades of accumulated wealth."   -- Bill Bonner

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:57 | Link to Comment JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

There's a spoon, but it's empty.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:59 | Link to Comment Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

put an order in with those processing the afghani crops via the Northern Alliance, you'll get that spoon filled.

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2012/09/02/breaking-afghanistan-americas-to...

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:27 | Link to Comment Mr. Fix
Mr. Fix's picture

Yep, I see it.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:34 | Link to Comment Popo
Popo's picture

Yes, we see it. And it is masked by code words like "stability".

Let's be clear, if you can create 100:1 leverage and guarantee "stability", you're essentially conducting a financial coup d'état because over time you're clearly going to "win" and win at a level that no one else can match.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:19 | Link to Comment mammoth mo
mammoth mo's picture

Excellent.

The market no longer fluctuates it hovers as if by magic.  It can go up but not down more than 150 points max. 

You will lose money two ways.  Betting on the inevitable crash and holding equities when the inevitable crash comes. 

It's a thing of beauty for the criminals and damn shame for everyone else.

You can however purchase pm's and profit when the inevitable crash comes.

 

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:28 | Link to Comment icanhasbailout
icanhasbailout's picture

Bullish

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:38 | Link to Comment CPL
CPL's picture

yup...watch the bear trap set today. HFT's will, not if, trigger a world of pain on anyone following today's trend.

 

It still does not change the fact the Fed will print money hand over fist.  Nor their equities buying campaign.

 

AS WRONG as it is, that's the shape of the world.  Stay put.  Rest easy.  Pikes and shields up and out.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:38 | Link to Comment grid-b-gone
grid-b-gone's picture

Agree today did not look like genuine bear movement. I bailed out of a short 2 cents from the top, but will also sell longs into strength on any bounceback.

Parking lots and restaurants still look pretty busy here in central Ohio, but I also know an mid-career attorney seeing some of his lowest billable hours ever.

Professionals I use - dentists, doctors, etc. have not had a revenue increase from me. Their rates go up, I move out visits to give myself net deflation. TurboTax replaced the advisor.

The kids are 90% through college. I'd chuck surburbia to cut a few more $K, but my wife likes "being close" to everything.

Too bad for all the boomer hate. Personally, I averaged at least $3K SS payments for 30 yrs. That's $90K that would have been about $1 million if invested. Instead, I have to wait until I'm 68 to collect about $350/wk. If that's welfare, I wish all welfare worked that way.

And I wouldn't dwell too much on teacher, fire, police, state and city worker pensions. Some are doing well, but the numbers simply say those promises will be broken.

Even where new union recruits have taken a big hit in 2-tiered deals to save promises made to fellow "brothers" with seniority, just wait until the new recruits can outvote their elders in about 12 years. Older union members will keep working extra years just to avoid losing voting power to the new recruits they threw under the bus in recent contracts when they had the option of sharing the pain.

Anyone who lives and works thirty or forty years will see good times and lean times, but this is the first time since Confederate money collapsed that we in the U.S. need to consider our store of value method.

 

Tue, 09/18/2012 - 07:34 | Link to Comment Tortuga
Tortuga's picture

Great observation from the trenches. That ironman character still thinks your SS that you and your employer paid, is on his dime, you BOOMER. or even if you're not a boomer. Some people just hate I guess.

My wife is in to the "close to" thing also. Must be in the female recombinant dna. If it's close too or too far for me, I just get it on the WWW, while the shipping is still free,  which I still find to be totally amazing.

Tue, 09/18/2012 - 10:04 | Link to Comment SmackDaddy
SmackDaddy's picture

reppin' the 614

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:30 | Link to Comment HaroldWang
HaroldWang's picture

Empty parking lots were due to everyone being at the Apple stores for the new iPhone. That's the only thing that matters any longer.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:44 | Link to Comment insanelysane
insanelysane's picture

Until the Chinese find a u-tube video from a few months ago and go burn down the Apple factories or Japan sinks a Chinese freighter from one of their whaling vessels.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:58 | Link to Comment CPL
CPL's picture

Oh it's much weirder than that.

 

India is rolling out the tanks to the Chinese border.  It's a subject that is very hard to find information on.  for 3500 year prior to Ghengis and friends rolled through and told both India and China to suck and egg...then proceeded to build an empire to modern day France, wiping out Crusaders, Muslims, Jews...anyone that stood in the way of 40,000 men on horse back that could shoot the eye out of a sparrow on horse back were destroyed.

 

Unfortunately Mongols had a habit of erasing history with their scorched earth policy. So other than art, nothing much is written about the subject.

 

http://www.defence.pk/forums/indian-defence/208076-first-indian-tank-brigades-defend-china-border-4.html

http://www.rediff.com/news/slide-show/slide-show-1-in-a-first-indian-tank-brigades-to-defend-china-border/20120917.htm

http://www.firstpost.com/india/after-chinas-military-build-up-india-to-deploy-artillery-along-ne-borders-458986.html

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:27 | Link to Comment Tortuga
Tortuga's picture

We don't need no stinkin scorched earth policy, we have "govt.data".

There won't be a war between India and China, neither one has anything the other wants to plunder.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:22 | Link to Comment CPL
CPL's picture

I hope not.  But when one huge populations requires resources against another nation that requires resources...

 

Well it'll look like two Koreans playing Starcraft.  Zerg vs zerg, large populations, very dangerous and more than able to throw bodies at a problem...with China and India facing similar challenges of women shortages.  It's a good way to shore up the numbers of the population if you create a situation to burn off the excess males.

 

China

http://articles.cnn.com/2010-01-11/world/china.bride.shortage_1_one-child-policy-female-fetuses-preference-for-male-heirs?_s=PM:WORLD

India

http://carnalnation.com/content/30755/898/young-men-india-ask-politicians-find-them-wives

 

What do you do with an excess of 120 million men in total?  It's not hand cream or porno that solve this problem.  Bullets do.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 18:16 | Link to Comment Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

.

[. . .] the skewed sex-ratios are greatest among wealthy families who see daughters as a social stigma.  In urban areas of the Punjab, for instance, boy births outnumber those of girls by a shocking ratio of over three to one.
Carnal Nation (http://s.tt/11dDN)
Mon, 09/17/2012 - 19:41 | Link to Comment delacroix
delacroix's picture

reassignment surgery? plenty of doctor employment, men get partners, and  the birth rate will be taken care of to boot. and some of those asian trannies turn out pretty cute. long victorias secret. I'm sure the fed would finance it.

Tue, 09/18/2012 - 07:26 | Link to Comment Tortuga
Tortuga's picture

Good point. Fergot about the little girl children left beside the road or thrown over the bridge, in both countries. Dark times. We should send them a community organizer that has his own peace prize with a side kick preacher that hates America and a secretary steeped in the mores of politically correct affirmative action to RESET their relationship. I'm sure Valerie will watch the kids.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:30 | Link to Comment marathonman
marathonman's picture

I seent it with my own eyes.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:30 | Link to Comment LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Don't worry, the illusion that those with nothing will somehow pay for all that debt will quickly be debunked.  Nothing changes until the moral hazard and fraud are addressed.

Long security services for all those wealthy fascists who still feel "entitled" to their bailout money.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:31 | Link to Comment caimen garou
caimen garou's picture

now tell me something I don't know

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:32 | Link to Comment Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Toto....we ain't in Kansas anymore.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:53 | Link to Comment cheetahbaby
cheetahbaby's picture

We are in Kansas, that's the thing. Kansas: where bad men really are bad men, and are often are remarkably good wizards as well.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:35 | Link to Comment not fat not stupid
not fat not stupid's picture

Sorry, this broke my 1000 word ZH attention span.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:42 | Link to Comment bunnyswanson
bunnyswanson's picture

not fat not stupid - your name should be:  one lazy asshole

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:59 | Link to Comment Yardfarmer
Yardfarmer's picture

there is seemingly an inexaustible amount of analysis concerning every conceivable subject spread across the internet. as we have only a limited amount of time to devote to this morass of information, it is quite natural to exercise discernment regarding what one deems to be important and what is not. you should not fault the ability to decide for oneself if something is generally unworthy of the effort of perception. many of us who have partaken of the interminable and predictable screeds produced by Mr. Quinn have found it so. de gustibus non disputandum. junk away Quinnites.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:28 | Link to Comment bunnyswanson
bunnyswanson's picture

The massive amount of information available does not have to be read.  Finding a reliable source may be the secret rather than read every web site article on the subject at hand.

 

We can't read everything.  but taking the time to post a comment about an article, only to say the article is too long to read is childish at best. 

Going through the motions to type a comment that says nothing at all but "this artcle is too long to read" is the equvalent of saying you expect far too much from me." 

 

Who is so important that they can determine what is worth reading and what is not?  This commentator?  Who is he?  Some guy sitting in a room in his underwear, picking his nose, with crumbs of food all over his keyboard?  Quite possible.

Who the hell cares what he thinks is the point I am making. 

 

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:46 | Link to Comment DavidPierre
DavidPierre's picture

Just more, and more, and more of the same, same, same from the Mouth That Roars

Does SmokeyQuinn look deep into why and how all this has come to pass?

He is still making excuses and aiding and abetting the criminals and traitors of The 9/11 Coup d'état.

 

..........................................................

9/11 Is the LitmusTest

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVY-iQDO8pg

...........................................................

 

Hey... Fatass!  You still a hyprocrite, a dissembler, a pharisee and a tool?

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:49 | Link to Comment ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

summary ... suburbia is dead.  The great urban migration is coming full circle. 

Wait until the next surge of inflation carries oil to a new plateau.  Each wave of price increases drags on home prices in any area where gasoline is a daily expense (everywhere). 

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:22 | Link to Comment csmith
csmith's picture

natural gas to diesel solves all

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:30 | Link to Comment ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

Sensible population density solves it all.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:28 | Link to Comment Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

Suburbia is dead, Consumerism yet lives! Forward Consumers! Forward!

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:36 | Link to Comment InconvenientCou...
InconvenientCounterParty's picture

value of a human? Hmm. Let's leave it up to machines/corporations to decide.

Then again, being human isn't good enough for humans themselves so arguably they won't be missed.

 

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:36 | Link to Comment geewhiz190
geewhiz190's picture

time to get an iphone and download some new apps to take your mind off things

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:38 | Link to Comment _ConanTheLibert...
_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

Chris hedges what?

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:39 | Link to Comment the not so migh...
the not so mighty maximiza's picture

Hopefully gas will be cheap so we can all drive around looking for jobs.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:21 | Link to Comment Tortuga
Tortuga's picture

Ah yes, HOPE. That'll change.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:41 | Link to Comment ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

My visit to the Meadowlands Sports Complex over the weekend reminded me of a student trip to the USSR in '91 ... huge, grey steel and concrete stadiums, plazas, and well manicured fair grounds constructed at great expense standing largely empty and unused under bright blue skies, somewhat incomplete.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:43 | Link to Comment MaxMax
MaxMax's picture

The economy hit a major air pocket about 2 months ago.  I have a small specialized business that sells 650 different SKU's to customers all over the world.  Customers include individuals, corporations, universities, government agencies, etc.   The products are used in a wide variety of different sorts of industries. 

About 2 months ago, it got really quiet.  There are still sales, but I bet Ben sees the same data which is why he panicked last week.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:47 | Link to Comment insanelysane
insanelysane's picture

everyone is seeing it but the government is trying their damnedest to try to convince us that we are not seeing what we are seeing.  Someone will post a comment that you have to fight people in the store aisles to buy what you want and that restaurants have lines every night of the week, etc.  Complete BS.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 18:11 | Link to Comment Papasmurf
Papasmurf's picture

Restaurants are packed around here.  Lowes, Home Depot, not so much.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:03 | Link to Comment Maos Dog
Maos Dog's picture

I agree with this, seen the same thing, calls stopped, few leads coming in, just dead dead dead.

 

Only two other recent sales periods were dead like this, first was from oct - dec 2008 and second from Jan - jun 2009

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:04 | Link to Comment Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture

My business has been great in the part catering to he 0.1%.

Gradually closing down the general side.

I see small businesses on their last legs all round ,and the rising inputs

causeed by Qinfinty and regulations are ging to finish them off soon.

Most of the owners I speak to are going to shut up shop immediately if

Obummer is re elected.(their words,I don't try and tell them it makes no difference

at this point).The many dual national owners I know are preparing their own exits,

with capital off shored before November.I doubt if those plans will be changed whatever.

The smell  of death is in the air.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:13 | Link to Comment seek
seek's picture

My brother's retail user auto parts business saw the same thing -- last week of June the phones just stopped ringing, and they weren't ringing much to begin with. 

My biz is B2B in the tech industry, so I haven't seen it directly, but my customers are telling me the same thing -- their customers disappeared overnight, starting at the end of June. There's a reason Intel lowered their guidance $1B+ and withdrew all forecasts a couple weeks ago.

The consumer is dead in the water. I'm not convinced even Apple will be able to make it through this drop unscathed.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:19 | Link to Comment Tortuga
Tortuga's picture

Thanks for the observation from the trenches.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:38 | Link to Comment CosmicDebris
CosmicDebris's picture

Couple comments about the 2 month air pocket.  Totally agree btw.

I was telling my wife just the other day that I have noticed that when our finances seem to be in a bit of a squeeze, it seems a lot of people are also suddenly in our boat. I started feeling the pinch right about two months ago.

I'm into records (yes those old LP's of long ago) and frequently buy and sell them on eBay as a hobby more or less. Not a business. Anyway one thing I always take mental notes of is not only the AMOUNT of records that are for sale at any given time (which has gone up roughly 50% in the last two years (!!!) but also the amount that are set at 'buy it now' and those set for live auctions.  To me, live auctions signals when people's pocketbooks are a little fatter...they are less afraid to let an item go for less.  When there are more buy it nows, just the opposite.  Needless to say eBay hasn't been very exciting for a collector like myself...no great live auction deals to snap up!

Also echoeing this article, I have noticed stores being more empty than usual at those times you would expect them to be packed, i.e., weekend days.

 

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:44 | Link to Comment JS2012
JS2012's picture

One thing missing from charts like your income break down is that benefits are not included. The bottom 90% has seen a rise in TOTAL COMPENSATION, but not cash compensation. Add $12,000 or so to your median income figure to get an adjusted picture. This doesn't change the fact that the average worker feels no further ahead than 20 years ago, but it dulls the conspiracy theorists a bit. Healthcare is the #1 problem and no one has answer.

 

Forward.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 15:52 | Link to Comment ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

What comprises your "total compensation"?

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:32 | Link to Comment JS2012
JS2012's picture

Employer paid healthcare and pension contributions

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:38 | Link to Comment Joe Davola
Joe Davola's picture

Employers still contribute to pensions?  Maybe 401k match, but I've never worked anywhere that had a pension plan.

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:48 | Link to Comment JS2012
JS2012's picture

A 401k match is a contribution, I misused the term pension. My age is showing.

 

Point being that ALL presentations that I have ever seen use cash compensation to illustrate the stagnant middle class. But if you add back employer-paid benefits, the situation is much different. Focusing on cash contribution is not "incorrect", but it leads to the wrong discussion. Healthcare costs are eating us alive and we don't have an answer for the problem. Obamacare is insane, but Romney can't articulate an alternative. By all rights this election shouldn't be even close, but Mittens is blowing it because he has no vision to articulate. Romneycare has been a failure in Massachusetts. How EXACTLY would he change Obamacare if elected?

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 16:56 | Link to Comment ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

Employer paid healthcare and pension contributions

Really?  Because my copays have steadily increased and my maximum 401k match sucks.  I work for a global consumer products firm that sells high-margin prestige and mass goods.  Pension plan?  lol ... try annual loans from my 401k (hey, it's my money, right?) to finance my PM addiction. 

Pension plan ... carpentry and subway performance.  Master of Arts!

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 17:06 | Link to Comment JS2012
JS2012's picture

Not sure of your point. Healthcare costs have redirected cash that otherwise would have gone to you as salary. My point is to illustrate how much more an average worker would take home if we could get healthcare under control. 401k loans as a result of criminal policies by our government are the topic for another day.

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