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Guest Post: The Death Spiral Of Debt, Risk And Jobs

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

The Death Spiral of Debt, Risk and Jobs

Debt, risk and employment are in a death-spiral of malinvestment and debt-based consumption.

Standard-issue financial pundits (SIFPs) and economists look at debt, risk and the job market as separate issues. No wonder they can't make sense of our "jobless recovery": the three are intimately and causally connected. An entire book could be written about debt, risk and jobs, but let's see if we can't shed some light on a complex dynamic in a few paragraphs.

Risk: As I described in Resistance, Revolution, Liberation: A Model for Positive Change, risk cannot be eliminated, it can only be shifted to others or temporarily masked.

Masking risk simply lets it pile up beneath the surface until it brings down the entire system. Transferring it to others is a neat "solution" but when it blows up then those who took the fall are not pleased.

Risk and gain are causally connected: no risk, no gain. The ideal setup is to keep the gain but transfer the risk to others. This was the financial meltdown in a nutshell: the bankers kept their gains and transferred the losses/risk to the taxpayers via the bankers' toadies and apparatchiks in Congress, the White House and the Federal Reserve.

Risk is like the dog that didn't bark. In the story Silver Blaze, Sherlock Holmes calls the police inspector's attention to the fact that a dog did something curious the night in question: it did not bark when it should have.

When scarce capital is misallocated to unproductive uses such as duplicate tests that can be billed to Medicare, sprawling McMansions in the middle of nowhere, etc., "the dog that didn't bark" is this question: what productive uses for that scarce capital have been passed over to squander the scarce capital on Medicare fraud, McMansions, Homeland Security ("Papers, please! No papers? Take him away"), etc.

Once the capital has been squandered, it's gone, and the opportunity to invest it in productive uses has been irrevocably lost.

Debt: Debt has a funny cost called interest. If you have a corrupt, self-serving central bank (a redundancy) that can lower interest rates by printing money to buy government bonds, then this funny thing called interest can be lowered to, say, 1%.

At 1% interest, the government can borrow $100 and only pay 1% in annual interest. That is almost "free," isn't it? The key word here is "almost." If you borrow enough, then that silly 1% can become rather oppressive.

Let's say the Federal Reserve is willing to loan you $100 billion at zero interest. You have an incredible sum of cash to use for speculation, and it doesn't cost anything! Wow, you must be an investment banker....

Now what happens when the interest rate goes from zero to 1%? Yikes, you suddenly owe $1 billion a year in interest. That is some serious change. You can of course pay the interest out of the borrowed $100 billion, unless you've spent it building bridges to nowhere and supporting crony capitalism.

Yes, we're talking about Japan--and Greece, the U.S., China, and every other nation that piled up staggering debts to fund an unproductive Status Quo. If you play this "borrow at low rates" Keynesian game for 20 years, then you end up with a debt that far exceeds your national output (GDP). That funny cost is now so large all your tax receipts generated by your vast economy only cover the interest and your Social Security tab. That's Japan today: all its tax revenues only cover its gargantuan interest on its unimaginably vast debt and Japan's social security outlays. The rest of its government expenses must be borrowed and added to the already monumental debt.

Interest creates a death spiral when the borrowed money was squandered on unproductive bridges to nowhere and consumption.

Jobs: Jobs have an interesting feature called productivity. If you pay me $1 million for a manicure (OK, you're an investment banker and can afford it), that money funds consumption, interest and taxes (presuming I pay taxes, which I might not if I hire the right Wall Street law firm). Once the money is spent on consumption (housing, energy, entertainment, hookers for the Security Guys, etc.), interest and taxes, then it's gone. It cannot be invested in productive assets.

If I invest the $1 million in software and robotics that produce equipment for the natural gas industry, then I will hire a software person to manage the software and technicians to maintain the machines, a few more to transport the raw materials and finished goods, a few more to oversee the accounts, and so on. The $1 million funds a number of jobs that will be permanent if the products being produced meet a real market demand and can be sold at a profit.

The $1 million spent on consumption pays for some labor, but it doesn't create any value. If we track where it went, it ended up in the government coffers as taxes, in the five "too big to fail" banks as interest, and in various agribusiness, food services and energy corporations. A few bucks were distributed as tips and donations.

Now imagine if that $1 million was borrowed. If the $1 million was squandered on consumption, interest and taxes, then it's gone in a short period of time--but the interest remains to be paid forever. If you're an investment banker and the Fed loves you (and of course it does), then you can roll that $1 million into a new $2 million loan. You use some of the $1 million in fresh debt to pay the interest, and then you blow the rest on unproductive consumption.

The causal connection between debt, risk and jobs is now visible. Debt is intrinsically risky because the interest accrues until the debt is paid in full. If the debt will never be paid--for instance, the $14 trillion in Federal debt--then the interest is eternal, or at least until the system implodes and all the debt is renounced.

If the money has been squandered on consumption (marginalized college degrees, medical procedures with minimal or even negative results, $300 million a piece F-35 fighter jets, etc.) then there are two risks: the interest that piles up must be paid, meaning potentially productive investments must be passed over to pay the interest, and productive uses that could have been funded by the borrowed capital have been passed over.

Consumption funds temporary labor, but there is no wealth created or sustainable employment created. When you borrow $100K for a marginal MBA, the money paid some staffers at the Status Quo educrat edifice and some overhead/profit, but when it's gone, the debt remains and the staffers need another debt-serf to fund their pay next semester.

If the borrowed money were actually invested in a marketable product (in our example, equipment for natural gas production), then jobs and wealth are created by the increase in productivity and output created by the enterprise.

What we have instead is a Central State and an economy that has borrowed and squandered trillions of dollars on consumption and malinvestment in unproductive "stranded" assets. The debt and risk pile up, while the labor that results from consumption is temporary and does not create wealth or permanent employment.

Figuratively speaking, we're stranded in a McMansion in the middle of nowhere, a showy malinvestment that produces no wealth or value, and we're wondering how we're going to pay the gargantuan mortgage and student loans.

Debt and the risk generated by rising debt create a death-spiral when the money is squandered on consumption, phantom assets, speculation and malinvestments. Sadly, that systemic misallocation of capital puts the job market in a death spiral, too.


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Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:21 | 2410067 Sandmann
Sandmann's picture

The West has done exactly what it accuses Africa of having done. Taking huge injections of Capital and siphoning it off into sterile offshore bank accounts or into politically driven projects with no real return.


The West has turned into the Third World with its Rotten Elites and corrupt Bankers

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:26 | 2410085 The trend is yo...
The trend is your friend's picture

The PPT team is at work

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:41 | 2410306 Jack Burton
Jack Burton's picture

PPT team has been busy the last couple days. They have made more saves than an NHL goalie!

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:31 | 2410097 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

+1 nothing more needs to be said

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:02 | 2410195 All Risk No Reward
All Risk No Reward's picture

Except that the whole monetary system is a fraud created by money supply rentiers that essentially perched themselves atop the national "roost" and charge everyone else "rent" for living in the country. The flow chart looks like this...

(Note: Keep And Share is a PDF Hosting site - it is just a PDF file containging the flow of "fraud" inherent within our "monetary system")

But it doesn't stop there.  The Trojan Horse enforcer of this monetary con game in America, the Federal Reserve System (the system is almost worldwide, though... give them time to bomb everyone who isn't under it already), is also a black letter law criminal.

PLEASE stop reinforcing the "dual mandate" lie everyone.  THERE IS NO DUAL MANDATE.  Their mandate is singular.  The expected results of following that singular mandate have been, in Orwellian fashion, pawned off as the mandate itself so the Trojan Horse could break its mandate and blow the world's largest credit bubble...  which will always lead to the worlds largest credit bust...  think of it as an "operation."

Federal Reserve Act Section 2A. Monetary Policy Objectives

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Open Market Committee shall maintain long run growth of the monetary and credit aggregates commensurate with the economy's long run potential to increase production, so as to promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.

[12 USC 225a. As added by act of November 16, 1977 (91 Stat. 1387) and amended by acts of October 27, 1978 (92 Stat. 1897); Aug. 23, 1988 (102 Stat. 1375); and Dec. 27, 2000 (114 Stat. 3028).]

The mandate is in bold and underlined.  It IS NOT dual, it is singular.

The reason they lie about the mandate is so they can break it without most people figuring out that they've broken their own law...

BTW, is it even a law if there is no penalty for breaking it?  Denninger said he read FinReg and there wasn't one, single, solitary "or else" penalty in the whole thing.  I can't verify - but if you don't trust Denninger, you can verify it.

It's all a con gam, an Alladin's lamp of fraud.

There is no way out until we kick out the criminals and change the system.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:13 | 2410217 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

What is this "rule of law" that you speak of? - John Corzine

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:33 | 2410276 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

I am Justice!   - Eric Holder

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 13:41 | 2410491 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

I stand corrected +1

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 18:59 | 2411600 All Risk No Reward
All Risk No Reward's picture

SR, No problem - the chit runs so thick it is very, very difficult to keep it all straight.  ;-)


I didn't even get into the bankster / government duopoly drug running out of Afghansitan - #1 world producer in heroine and marijuana.

People, 7,700 tons of heroine isn't being exported to Europe on mules under U.S. military radar.

I could go on and on...  arming Sinaloa, allowing Sinaloa to bring in tons of cocaine for "information."  All the while grandma is being strip searched for "national security" when the government sanctioned drug runners don't get checked.

You knew the banks were involved in this evil...

How a big US bank laundered billions from Mexico's murderous drug gangs

No criminal charges filed and only the whistle blower was forced out.

There's no mention the money was ever recovered, either.  The bankster/black ops/CIA cartel isn't giving up their hard earned cash, PROLES!

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:44 | 2410145 dwdollar
dwdollar's picture

At this point, the only thing which distinguishes the West from Africa is the crumbling infrastructure built by better men long since gone.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:54 | 2410173 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

Um, the roads in Windhoek and Cape Town are better than anything the East Coast or MidWest have.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:53 | 2410337 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

The New York State Thruway is pretty nice. And I highly doubt there exists anywhere on the planet Interstate 80.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 15:03 | 2410902 mickeyman
mickeyman's picture

The New York State Thruway has a different problem. On a recent drive along there, I stopped at a rest stop to answer an urgent call, but there was a herd of enormous, slow-moving animals waddling between me and the washroom. It was my closest brush with death yet!

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 15:00 | 2410891 mickeyman
mickeyman's picture

Also in West Africa there is lots of crumbling infrastructure from times long gone. 

I stayed at a grand old hotel in Axim in 1997 (western region of Ghana), up on the fourth floor, with flush toilets--but there was no water. The girl had to walk over 400 m to collect water and carry it up the stairs to fill the toilet. But at one time, there was hot and cold running water at that hotel.

I saw much the same more recently in Sierra Leone, especially in the country. A nice highway, which has been resurfaced for 100 km or so, but past the end of the repaving, you are down to horse-and-buggy speeds.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:54 | 2410175 Hero Protagonist
Hero Protagonist's picture

Agreed, but the question is one of timing.  When does the inefficiency of expended (borrowed) capital manifest into a reaction from Joe/Jill Six Pack of the world?  Is it possible we're seeing the beginning of it in Greece, Spain, et al?  That is the rejection of "austerity" is just another way of saying to the Central Bank higherarchy, why do we have to pay for it, you spent it too.

If the average person realizes that they are paying back debt of another country that spent it, watch out.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:23 | 2410072 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Yea Charles its all screwed. 

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:30 | 2410082 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

"If you pay me $1 million for a manicure (OK, you're an investment banker and can afford it), that money funds consumption, interest and taxes (presuming I pay taxes, which I might not if I hire the right Wall Street law firm). Once the money is spent on consumption (housing, energy, entertainment, hookers for the Security Guys, etc.), interest and taxes, then it's gone. It cannot be invested in productive assets."

Has anyone else noticed that CEO pay has skyrocketed the last few decades while worker pay has remained flat?  And for some reason our economy is going down the tubes despite the rich rewards being given to the "productive" class.  Yet here on ZH and in other places we hear over and over that the problem is that the productive class is being squeezed.  Too many taxes, regulations, etc.  It all comes down to the fact that trickle down does not work, as explained so well in this article.  

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:30 | 2410101 Seize Mars
Seize Mars's picture

I don't think anyone has said that the productive people are getting paid well. Quite the opposite. There is a complete clusterfuck of mispriced assets and malinvested capital. Otherwise productive people can't be productive. Not even if you wanted to be.

Saying that trickle-down doesn't work is silly. Or rather it depends on what you mean by "works." It works great for banks.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:38 | 2410123 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Trickle down doesn't work.   I guess I'm silly, but it seems to me like we've tried it for the last 40 years and.....  Or did you miss the fact that the 400 people in the United States now control more of the nation's wealth than the bottom 50% of the entire country.  They are not using it to build factories and create jobs.  The bottom 50% of this country is consuming solely through debt, not through wages. That can't last.  Trickle down doesn't work.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:48 | 2410149 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Time for some Obamenomics  trickle up poverty.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:59 | 2410184 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Nicely thought out substantive response.  Obama is a trickle down economics guy.  Prove me wrong.  How much money has gone to the bankers and CEO's under his presidency?

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:45 | 2410313 Jack Burton
Jack Burton's picture

"Prove me wrong". Of course they can not do that, because Obama is a Ronald Reagan conservative. Sure Obama talks different than old RR did, but the policies are the same. And aren't the policies what really matter, not the chatter.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 13:44 | 2410499 Spastica Rex
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Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:55 | 2410342 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

I guess I should have put my sarc disclosure in there for you Rand...

So here you go.. This is sarcasm by the way for those of you who can't figure it out... You know who you are.

Now for the truth ... Obama and his counterpart Romney are both New world order tools, nothing more. They are both one in the same.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:50 | 2410157 ATM
ATM's picture

The bottom 50% are bankrupt because they live a lifestyle that is beyond their means, made easy by TPTB who wish them to be debt slaves (peons) and neither seem to have any issues with the arrangement - yet.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:30 | 2410268 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

The bottom 50% are bankrupt because they live a lifestyle that is beyond their means

Kind of like the TBTF banks?  Except their "lifestyle" includes racketeering which apparently is what qualifies them for infinite bailout money.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:33 | 2410251 Everybodys All ...
Everybodys All American's picture

Free market capitalism works. What has been employed as of late is centralized socialism. If that's what you mean by trickle down I agree. The US has created the most innovation in the history of the world in the last 100 yrs or more. When the government and governemnt social programs are down sized to a much much smaller size again we'll see that same innovation create many more jobs and new discoveries. If not we'll continue to flounder.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:35 | 2410287 Ben Burnyankme
Ben Burnyankme's picture

Capitalism is a phrase coined by Marx.  Let's just call it the free market.  Then, please tell me where in the hell a free market has existed on the globe in the last 80 years?  USA, USA, USA.  Now I have a bridged I'd like to sell you.  Don't get me wrong as I believe in free markets and would love to see and participate in one but we have not enjoyed anything close since Wilson came along. 

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 13:20 | 2410427 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Capitalism is much more than a free market, see, that's why the word exists.

There are free markets all over the world, but they're just a necessary component.  You also need contract enforcement mechanisms, even-handed adjudication of disputes, and a clearing-system for virtual/synthetic commodities.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 13:23 | 2410436 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

And where are those free markets?

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 13:59 | 2410578 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Back alleys and online games, mostly.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 19:40 | 2411674 All Risk No Reward
All Risk No Reward's picture

...and that ain't rain water doing the tricklin', either, no matter what they say.

In theory (assuming the kleptocracy crime syndicate didn't have the nation by the throat with their fraudulent societal asset stripping monetaary "torture rack" system), "trickle down" works when demand is high and supply is low.  "Trickle up" would work when supply is high and demand is low.

The reason you only heard about "trickle down" is because those "above" you and I simply wanted to control the money that is necessary for society to pay back its debts.

When they control the money, they can then bankrupt the nation and take it into receivorship - which is the plan.  The feudal lords...




They don't want to serf guff, either.  Just shut up and know your place or else you will get some re-education in this here Banker Federalist State of America.

Debt Money Tyranny

Yes, The Re-Education Camp Manual Does Apply Domestically to U.S. Citizens

Re-Education Camp Manual Includes Rules On Isolating Political Prisoners

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:33 | 2410109 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

You're being a pussy, gay, communist, fascist joo.


/fucking sarcasm off 

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:56 | 2410180 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

...and "tits"... (Bertie)


Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:42 | 2410138 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

Laissez-faire and egalitarianism are not contradictions you silly.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:47 | 2410147 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Are you operating under the premise that only CEO's can comprise said "productive class?"

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:03 | 2410192 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Quite the opposite, but in practice the CEOs get all the money don't they.  In my view, the productive class is the middle class.   But that makes me a Commie or worse, I think.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:04 | 2410200 tmosley
tmosley's picture

LetThemEatRand read half of Atlas Shrugged, and didn't understand the difference between the characters of Dagney Taggart and James Taggart.  Or Dagney and Wesley Mouch, for that matter.

As such, he totally fails to understand that the vast majority of CEOs of large, government favored companies got their due to their influence and pull, not because of their ability to produce.  They are not the productive class.  The productive class is largely gone.  His continuing failure to understand this has lead to intense bitterness regarding economic freedom.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:12 | 2410208 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Do you have an altar of Rand at your home?  Do you really believe that all of the complexities of our economy and what is wrong with it can be defined by her simplistic thinking?  How do you explain that every single Rand offspring such as Alan Greespan becomes completely corrupt in practice?  Never mind, it's like trying to convince any religious zealot that they are wrong.   

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 13:24 | 2410438 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

     How do you explain that every single Rand offspring such as Alan Greespan becomes completely corrupt in practice?

I want to hear this, too. 

It can't be difficult to explain where it goes wrong.  The average high-school kid is able to read and understand the books.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:17 | 2410226 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

By the way, have you ever considered that Rand is actually a demonic figure?  I'm not a very religious person, but the coincidences are striking.  Let's compare the philosophies of the traditional Satan character with Rand:

1) selfishness is good.  Check.

2) the poor can go fuck themselves.  Check.

3) wealth accumulation is an end onto itself and a worthy goal of one's entire life.  Check.

4) helping others is not only unnecessary, but actually a bad thing.  Check.

5) altruism is a bad thing.  Check

6) the higher good is the happiness of the individual, even at the expense of other individuals.  Check.




Wed, 05/09/2012 - 14:08 | 2410607 akak
akak's picture

In your idiotic and rabid mischaracterization of the philosophy of Ayn Rand (which you evidently learned from skimming a letter to the editor of The Nation), you demonstrate not only a gross dishonesty and a hysterically irrational hatred, but actual "Rand Derangement Syndrome".

Get help.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 15:10 | 2410924 malek
malek's picture

Ok, lets turn this around:

1) the slightest bit of selfishness is the worst crime possible and has to be punished harshly

2) the rich are to be fucked by everybone else

3) wealth destruction is an end onto itself and a worthy goal of one's entire life

4) helping others without limits is absolutely necessary, and nothing bad will come out of it

5) any amount of altruism is a good thing

6) the higher good is the happiness of society, even at the expense of single individuals

So you want to live in such a place, LTER?

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 16:56 | 2411322 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

You do realize that "Malek" is the Arabic guardian angel of hell, don't you?   Maybe I'm on to something....

Thu, 05/10/2012 - 13:51 | 2413913 malek
malek's picture

Actually it is the Na'vi translation of my name - according to some now defunct online translator.

Shall I also start trying to find out what LETR means, for example, in Suaheli?

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:30 | 2410264 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

As such, he totally fails to understand that the vast majority of CEOs of large, government favored companies got their due to their influence and pull, not because of their ability to produce. They are not the productive class.


Made me laugh. But influence and pull have to be produced. You have to work for this kind of things.

Extorting the weak, farming the poor is work. It is production.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 13:07 | 2410362 akak
akak's picture

It would appear that a great many things make you laugh.

Too bad there evidently isn't anything that can make you make any sense, or that can stifle your virulently anti-American bigotry and blind and sweeping collectivist hatred of EVERY American for the crimes of a few at the top.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 13:14 | 2410401 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture


What is that? You cant answer to this question.

'Americanism' being what it is, please explain how collectivistic it is to develop the required actions as guided by 'Americanism'

Is it collectivistic to tell that Christians believe in one god?

If yes, how?

As to the austitic point, while you have proven so far unable to deal with any argument provided,I am pretty aware of the surroundings.

Projection is such a US citizen thing.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 14:04 | 2410446 akak
akak's picture



What is that? You cant answer to this question.

I have in fact addressed that exact point over and over in my many challenges to the evil bigoted bile that you spew against EVERY American, and for which you explicitly deride each and every resident of the USA for the crimes of a tiny sociopathic elite (just as your nation of China is controlled by a tiny sociopathic elite), but you adamantly refuse, in your cowardice and blind prejudice, to ever acknowledge it.

Your simplistic and childishly hate-filled thinking is yes, collectivist, by the simple act of condemning EVERY American for the actions of a small minority, our rulers.  Does it not even impinge to the slightest degree on your woefully limited intellect that millions of us "US citizens" are fighting AGAINST that sociopathic ruling elite in almost every way we can, and that millions of us similarly deny and mock the self-serving nationalistic propaganda of "American exceptionalism" and all the rest of that kind of bullshit?  But you glibly lump the victims in with the criminals as all equally guilty --- THAT is being collectivist.


EDIT: As expected, nothing but a chorus of Chinese crickets in response to a direct challenge to this maliciously prejudiced troll.

Thu, 05/10/2012 - 04:37 | 2412457 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Chinese citizenism offuscationism subterfuge and treachery have predictability like the sunrise.

Denial being the primary characteristic of Chinese citizenism, and is always the step one of Chinese citizenism offuscationism.

Very can kicking, which is the path pointed to follow by all Chinese citizenism road signs.

Running dog ignoration is always the step two of Chinese citizenism offuscationism. Again, following the Chinese citizenism traditional path of can kicking.


Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:48 | 2410319 Jack Burton
Jack Burton's picture

Was that Rand bitch a memeber of the productive class? 

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 13:15 | 2410409 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

She produced juvenile fantasy and there is quite a lot of demand for fantasy among US citizens.

Seems to fit the US citizen definition of productive.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:38 | 2410292 Iwanttoknow
Iwanttoknow's picture

And why were the CEOs jobs not offshored or outsourced?

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:26 | 2410083 l1b3rty
l1b3rty's picture

As we al get consumed by a ghost economy - producing nothing of value for ourselves and getting taxed of our wealth through the shadow of inflation.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:55 | 2410088 Henry Chinaski
Henry Chinaski's picture

Figuratively speaking, we're stranded in a McMansion in the middle of nowhere, a showy malinvestment that produces no wealth or value, and we're wondering how we're going to pay the gargantuan mortgage and student loans.

Figuratively speaking, we are now paying the mortgage with credit cards and when that runs out, we cash in the IRA (outright wealth confiscation and/or abrupt currency devaluation). 

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:32 | 2410092 bdc63
bdc63's picture

We should have all seen this coming when the government stopped calling us "citizens" and starting referring to us as "consumers"

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:44 | 2410142 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Reminds me of a story......Hansel and Gretel are the consumers and  the government is the wicked old witch fattening us up for the kill.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:44 | 2410144 semperfi
semperfi's picture

obese consumer debt serfs on disability (sounds like the name of a punk band, eh?)

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:29 | 2410093 the not so migh...
the not so mighty maximiza's picture

The Death Spiral Of Debt, Risk And Jobs,,,Bullish

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:30 | 2410095 TheSilverJournal
TheSilverJournal's picture

All that fiat's just counterfeit gold.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:31 | 2410098 GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

Do you think people that make controlled automation software and robotics grow on trees, Charles?

Another "one eye closed" argument from the man with "two minds". LOL

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:31 | 2410100 Temporalist
Temporalist's picture

Goldman raises AIG from neutral to buy.  Everything must be fine now.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:31 | 2410104 Jason T
Jason T's picture

Where can I get a 10 year bond that pays 2% less than the current rate of inflation whose funds were used for food stamps are are backed by contents sitting in a cesspool?

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:55 | 2410346 fuu
fuu's picture

Treasury Direct?

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:33 | 2410106 CPL
CPL's picture

The Algos/HFT's are about to trap the powers that be into a locked and immovable position.  Look at it.


There won't be a pension fund left or a single mutual fund worth looking at.  I can smell the margin calls in the air.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:34 | 2410115 GOSPLAN HERO
GOSPLAN HERO's picture

A McMansion is just a big plywood tent built with wetback labor.

... with a huge mortgage.


Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:36 | 2410121 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

Don't forget maintenance on the riding vacuum cleaner.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:04 | 2410199 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

Those are probably not sanctioned for Quidditch either.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:53 | 2410165 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

at least the foundation is poured at the setback, so you save on lawnmowing

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:35 | 2410117 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

The question is ..what finally triggers the debt implosion?

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:43 | 2410137 prains
prains's picture

Already triggered, this is the thrash before drowning, just depends on how much energy you have left

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:49 | 2410118 tickhound
tickhound's picture

Talking heads still refusing to see these problems as structural... "just a little more pump and we can get through this..."

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." -Upton Sinclair

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:35 | 2410120 MrNude
MrNude's picture

Put these guys in charge of the Sahara desert and they'd run out of sand in a few years.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:03 | 2410196 Bartanist
Bartanist's picture

Not exactly sure how that applies, but I like it.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 16:55 | 2411315 EFNuttin
EFNuttin's picture

Milton Friedman said "That if you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there would be a shortage of sand."  Attribution please.  Note that Friedman is one of the fathers of Maximum Utility Theory in Economics.  Did he win a Nobel Prize?

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:38 | 2410129 Balmyone
Balmyone's picture

Well, well, well. Gainesville Coins is plum out of 90% silver. No silver shortage at all.  Never seen that before.

Wonder if the silver selling has run its course. I'm surprised spot silver hasn't broken through December's low.

I'm a happy camper owning silver, silver miners and gold.


Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:02 | 2410193 Bartanist
Bartanist's picture

You might want to look at the linked chart from the silver institute:

From the larger perspective, maybe putting money into silver is a misallocation of money. For the individual, maybe not... depends what happens with the dollar.

I can tell you though, as an industrial user, there has ben no shortage of silver and if there is, it won't be because of the lack of production, it will be because of silver squirreled away and unproductive.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:20 | 2410239 Marginal Call
Marginal Call's picture

The supply of silver and the supply of 90% silver (coins minted in 1964 and earlier) aren't the same.  Demand for pre 64 coins might be higher than actual silver, and they aren't producing them anymore.



Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:40 | 2410131 TooBearish
TooBearish's picture

IN other news credit/equity divergence wildly fukked

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:44 | 2410140 fuu
fuu's picture

But at least Tepco is getting nationalized, while raising electricity prices 10%.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 22:51 | 2412060 GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

They can't keep their actinides safe, but they sure can shuffle meaningless bits of paper!

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:49 | 2410154 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

What is going to have to happen is simple.

Gold Standard.

It has to stop and we can simply say enough and stop. It's going to hurt in the morning, but there will be a bright future instead of one clouded by debt.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:53 | 2410168 manhunter
manhunter's picture


Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:55 | 2410174 Jerry Maguire
Jerry Maguire's picture

You'd have to have a jubilee first.  And gold would wind up at about $25,000 per ounce or more, even with that:

And as you see, you'd have to do a few other things to cushion the blow.  But a gold standard after all that?  Sure.

In fact, it's the only way out, if you do it right.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:14 | 2410223 semperfi
semperfi's picture



C. Munger

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:18 | 2410227 theTribster
theTribster's picture

Don't think so. BRICS are likely create a new bank and a new currency, this currency will be Gold backed. BRICS will then force all export trade to be transcated via this currency. So, you want manufactured goods from China? Simple, turn in your Gold to some ordained institution that will then dispense the new currency and you can buy the goods. This obviously by passes the dollar completely and its smart - especially for the BRICS. They have enough Gold to start it up, especailly given all the covert accumulation happening over the past few years.

Many argue this is actually good for the US in that it will massively devalue the dollar, the BRICS will do this only after they've repositioned their US based holdings into short(er) term instruments and cash. This, by the way, is an act of war - no doubt that it is a frontal attack on the dollar. We won't be able to do much and as I've suggested there are many that believe this to be a good thing. I don't see it as a good thing, prices will go through the roof.

I think China has realized this is their best play, they can no longer fund US debt becuase it is irresponsible. They'll shift growth focus to be much more internal as well as garnishing the relationships with the other BRICS. This will also allow them to capitalize on declining American relationships - essentially filling the void that will be created when confidence drains from the USD and therefore the country.

We have forced them into this position, viscously stealing growth through currency devaluation - just ask Brazil. China has faired better because of the peg and other reasons but in the end - that isn't sustainable and they know it. The whole world is literally going to hell in a hand basket, all becuase of debt and oil! No way around it now, wars are inevitable even places like Europe where feelings are reverting to 1930s considitons - just read some of the Greek, Spanish, Italian, Portugese, German, French, Irish, British newspapers or their TV programs!

Amazing it is. Short everything European - banks, bonds, equities, currency - everything! Even Germany will fall to the contagion (and they haven't de-levered their banks yet!!). I've been short the euro (DRR), bond markets (EPV) and Yen (YCS) for a few weeks. The YCS position is early still but DRR and EPV are good representations of the status of Europe. There is likely to be some positive blips quickly followed by lower lows - BTFDs -:)

Get your popcorn, peanuts and beer - this show is likely to be the best since 1941!

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:23 | 2410249 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

BRIC and the rest of the world by the world would be well inspired to try to insulate themselves from US citizen nations as the latter are now bottomless pit to suck in the rest of the world's wealth.

But it wont happen. Even if they manage to overcome their differences, they will meet US citizen nations wrath.

It is simple: in an extortion of the weak, farming of the poor scheme, the extorter/farmer can not afford the extorted/farmed to simply walk out as long as the extorted/farmed represents a revenue producing asset.

When it is no longer the case, (and this will happen), then it will be another story. Usually, the extorter/farmer gets rid of the extorted/farmed.

Watch for it.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:40 | 2410303 bahaar
bahaar's picture

You obviusly never have lived in any of the BRICS nations.  They have a bigger wealth gap than Europe or US.  And the poor in those nations are far poorer than the poor in developed nations.  In other words, they have a  class, quite large in size, with absolutely no stake in the society.   Political instability is a far greater risk there than in the developed nations.

Thu, 05/10/2012 - 13:07 | 2413725 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture


I can understand why the rest of the world no longer wants to take a porking like the US taxpayer does at the hands of the FED.

When the dollar gets completely dumped it's going to feel like a nail studded baseball bat in the 'Land o' the Free'.

Too bad we won't be able to sell cheap sneakers to China when that happens.

But for some good news... They're back.



Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:51 | 2410163 manhunter
manhunter's picture

How productive is a doomer blog writer?

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:56 | 2410178 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Judging by the adds and the growing subscribers I'd say pretty productive. Then you have the second derivative of some subscibers prepping for the eventual bad outcome.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:17 | 2410225 semperfi
semperfi's picture

How productive is a doomer blog reader reply-er ?

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:09 | 2410210 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Transferring it to others is a neat "solution" but when it blows up then those who took the fall are not pleased.

Risk and gain are causally connected: no risk, no gain. The ideal setup is to keep the gain but transfer the risk to others. This was the financial meltdown in a nutshell: the bankers kept their gains and transferred the losses/risk to the taxpayers via the bankers' toadies and apparatchiks in Congress, the White House and the Federal Reserve.

If you are a decent US citizen, the fall is big to leave the faller a maimed cripple. And US citizens can now risklessly express their US citizenhoood on the maimed cripple.

The second part tells. While the exploitation of the supposed causality between risk and gain is confusing, the main purpose is to limit a strong characteristic of US citizen economics to the banking sector only.

US citizens have long transferred any kind of risk onto a third party.

The tax payer mantra is once again here, totally unfounded as usual.

The FED does not transfer the risk on the tax payer exclusively, the FED transfers the risks on the USD holders, no matter who they are.

Risks are unevenly distributed, rich commodity countries that yield their commodities against USD are taking a far greater risk than the salary person.

In one hundred years, all these countries might find out that the resources they have yielded out for USD have grown so scarce they can not buy them back with their USD stash.


Wed, 05/09/2012 - 13:06 | 2410373 akak
akak's picture

Autistic and rabidly anti-American Chinese bigots with internet connections:
like handing matches to a child.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 13:17 | 2410412 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

He actually raised a decent point in that post, but there's been so much mindless repetition from him historically that I can't fault anyone for jeering at the guy.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 13:23 | 2410432 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Woooo, that is superb. My, my, my.

Have you written about what I think you have? That is a US citizen dissociating from his own US citizen group to repell the lie propagated by his group?

That would be big...

Huh, no. Cant happen, US citizen nature is eternal. Better to stick to the pack. Or you fall on the wrong side of it.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 13:32 | 2410462 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

If your English was better, you might pick up on a lot of variety of thought and opinion among the American Citizens you keep pretending are a monolithic group.

I know you're from a hive society, tho.  It might be too difficult to think different over there, I dunno how you guys are wired.  The Chinese I've known here all had the brains to leave.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 13:45 | 2410504 akak
akak's picture


If your English was better, you might pick up on a lot of variety of thought and opinion among the American Citizens you keep pretending are a monolithic group.

That is the problem with this autistic and retarded Chinese nut in a nutshell.

He cannot see beyond national borders and labels, and disingenuously and/or stupidly assumes that EVERY American thinks as one.  It is actually HIS society of Communist China that is much more the Borg-like hive that he tries to project on Americans.  I have nothing but contempt for this truly evil troll.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 14:04 | 2410596 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

He's not so different, tho.  It's just that he grinds an axe that offends a lot of the readers here.  I'd wager about 70% of the regular posters have a similar view of whichever "outgroup" they prefer to blame for everything. 

Liberals, blacks, the Jews, the young, the old, the government, the bankers, the politicians, the college students, the unemployed, the immigrants, the...oh, well. 

You get the point.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 13:52 | 2410547 Colonial Intent
Colonial Intent's picture

Its good to see Mr 8472 here again, did Ignatius Trebitsch Lincoln put you up to this?

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 13:19 | 2410419 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

I am the multiple man.

It is funny how US citizen look for symetry.

From one observer who deduce from many samples to one observer who deduce from one sample.

Maybe that is my autistic attitude that allows to see that the site is filled with US citizens while it might host one Chinese.

But it has to be symetric.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 16:53 | 2411306 LFMayor
LFMayor's picture

can we get that on a fortune cookie slip, by chance?

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:18 | 2410229 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

If I invest the $1 million in software and robotics that produce equipment for the natural gas industry, then I will hire a software person to manage the software and technicians to maintain the machines, a few more to transport the raw materials and finished goods, a few more to oversee the accounts, and so on. The $1 million funds a number of jobs that will be permanent if the products being produced meet a real market demand and can be sold at a profit.


US citizens love their stories and fail to renew them. A shame when you work in the propaganda/ fantasy business.

Just as so many other US citizens, that US citizen author would like to oppose consumption and consumption.

Somehow, they would like to see production as a self perpetuating scheme no matter what, something that has to pay it off because you can produce more than you can consume.

So here, this extract depicts a way to consume faster the environment and ends with the bold claim that the attached jobs will be permanent if they meet a demand for it and a profit.

No, those jobs wont be permanent as they are tied to the environment limits.

Ultimately, US citizen economics always leads the environment to be on the loser side as US citizen economics is all about consumption.

But US citizens cant not admit that so they have to dismiss the environmental limitations.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:30 | 2410265 Stackers
Stackers's picture

Where they teach you to talk like this, in some Panama City sailor wanna hump hump bar ? Sell crazy some place else we're all stocked up here.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 13:19 | 2410424 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

I can teach you if you have the drive and the money. Dont be so envious...

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:23 | 2410247 Stackers
Stackers's picture

And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 16:55 | 2411314 LFMayor
LFMayor's picture

and whipped red welts on all their asses just for for being there, too.  He was a Mean drunk.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:27 | 2410256 Omen IV
Omen IV's picture

when you do the same analysis for military expenditures it gets really scary especially when you park the F-35 eventually in the desert or the ship in a fjord or river  - like the liberty ships were on the hudson near west point for decades - in the interim they need maintenance and manpower that will get wages, pensions and disability - all wasted $$ looking for war in all the wrong places

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:52 | 2410333 Snakeeyes
Snakeeyes's picture

No kidding. Look at Spain and they don't even have that much debt!


Look at the charts. Death knell of Socialism.


Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:55 | 2410347 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

"Law of Comparative Advantage." move along...

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 13:04 | 2410372 TrulyBelieving
TrulyBelieving's picture

This is what a country run by socialist Ivy League educated wanting to transform never had a job hating free market sociopaths looks like.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 13:14 | 2410404 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

     Interest creates a death spiral when the borrowed money was squandered on unproductive bridges to nowhere and consumption.

No, it creates a death spiral because interest is INHERENTLY inflationary.

     Figuratively speaking, we're stranded in a McMansion in the middle of nowhere, a showy malinvestment that produces no wealth or value, and we're wondering how we're going to pay the gargantuan mortgage and student loans.

A bad metaphor describing the problem is less useful than a bad metaphor describing a solution.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 14:05 | 2410606 lostcause
lostcause's picture

 Anyone catch the song that was playing on CNBC as the market ramped higher? "I get by with a little help from my friends."


Wed, 05/09/2012 - 14:38 | 2410770 tony bonn
tony bonn's picture

the trillions of dollars in malinvestment has to be liquidated to restore economic health but that is precisely what the banksters and the toady congressshits won't allow....

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 15:13 | 2410934 Towgunner
Towgunner's picture

I think a huge symptom of malinvestment is reflected in the so-called 'accession of women'. Mind you a huge proportion of the trillions spent on worthless political pet projects went to the "empowerment of women". Ref barry’s latest “life of Julia”. Moreover, per Chris Martenson's analysis we desperately need to show any growth in order to keep the scheme going. Women are perfect for this job, since they will spend until they have no more money and then borrow just to be able to have a new outfit, handbag, shoes and accessories for their night out filled with tapas and wine. Consider that these items carry no economic value. Specifically, the female handbag represents the highest form of human waste. Whereas, a brief case, backpack or carrying bag for men, displays a fusion of form and function...nothing functional can be seen in a female handbag other than an extension of holder's ego, which exists in the abstract. The same thing can be said about female shoes, but analyzing that will take too long. The old adage 'buyer beware" just doesn’t apply to women, hence, the massive global scam unfolding before our eyes.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 15:17 | 2410951 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Did you enlist to meet guys?

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 15:52 | 2411101 Towgunner
Towgunner's picture

No to protect your monkey a*s because you're too lazy and cowardly to do it yourself. Have a problem with my opinions do you? Bring it. I don't hold back, I call it like it is. Unlike you, I haven't submitted to this artificial matriarchy that has you dressing like a dandy, talking with a lisp and finishing every sentence as if it were a question. I don't believe in passive aggressive, I believe in upfront aggression. It served me well in my endeavors. I take it by your reply you've fallen for the media's rebranding of the military to be a bastion of repressed homosexuality? Why don't you look me up and we can go visit all the parents of my friends that were killed and you can explain that to them. How's that sound, pus*y?

Takes a big man or woman to take jabs at someone over the internet. Why can’t you offer a counterpoint or debate, you pathetic Wuss.


Wed, 05/09/2012 - 16:32 | 2411239 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

It's more fun to fuck with ya.  I don't have anything against gays, though, you don't need to get all huffy. 

You've never protected me from anything, don't kid yourself. 

If you didn't enlist for the sex, it must be because you couldn't hack a living without Uncle Sam telling you what to do.

The military is my personal favorite welfare program, for what it's worth.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 16:57 | 2411324 LFMayor
LFMayor's picture

go get fucked. 

Also,  you're welcome. even though you don't deserve it.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 17:03 | 2411340 Towgunner
Towgunner's picture

I can play your game, I joined for sex, with your mother, grandmother and any sisters, aunts and female cousins you may have. I did in fact protect you assh*le, don't kid yourself. Although, you're right in the military being a welfare program of sorts. When I was in, it wasn't the case. Now with most grads unable to find jobs, well, what do you expect. I do take issue with gays in the military, don't bother with homophobe, try to be more creative. I don't fear many people, you included, and certainly not a person on the basis of their sexual tendencies, so, homophobe is a made-up word used to shut down real debate. What kind of creature are you anyway? Don't kid yourself, assuming you're a wall street pus*y, what you do isn't hazardous. What would really irk a conceited, disrespectful and thankless prick like you is to see that many of these welfare recipients are in fact just as, if not, more capable then you and your private school friends. Of course, ignorance is bliss. Lets fight? I'm all for it, I'm sure we can figure out a way to meet up with all this technology. Need me to taunt you more? Your mother wasn't very good in bed, she just lay there, and her vagina stunk or maybe she crap the bed? Let's go b*tch. Throw me a safe email, we'll arrange a time, and let's physically fight.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 17:32 | 2411405 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Sure, you can drop a line to blunderdog.x over at gmail, what the hell.  But I have so many fans here, how will I know it's really you?

Given you've been fucking her, if you include my mom's eye-color, hair-color, height, and breast-size, I'll take that as good enough.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 18:42 | 2411570 KingdomKum
KingdomKum's picture

now, now boys, let's play nice  .  .  .

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 20:23 | 2411761 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Yeah, I'm not really much one for physical violence, but I wanted to give the guy a chance.  He's obviously not equipped for a battle of wit, and he seems to have some hostility issues.  (Alas, I'm not a woman, but it's better that way, right?)

If beating me up would really make him feel better, I'd try to be sporting about it.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 18:58 | 2411610 covert
covert's picture

bread and circuses. thats the age.



Thu, 05/10/2012 - 01:00 | 2412276 headless blogger
headless blogger's picture

Don't we have enough hate going on around the world? Why trash our wives, daughters, mothers???

I don't understand your thinking, although I've seen it too often anymore. My own wife, and daughter, do not even fit this characterization, as well as most women I know. But then again, I've always gotten along well with females and they've always treated me good. Maybe you have a chip on the shoulder.


Thu, 05/10/2012 - 14:39 | 2414121 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

Towgunner sounds like he has some Mommy issues.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!