This page has been archived and commenting is disabled.

Guest Post: Why the Middle Class Is Doomed

Tyler Durden's picture




 

Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

Why the Middle Class Is Doomed

The dwindling middle class, squeezed by higher taxes and costs, is losing its political voice.

The middle class is doomed by some very basic dynamics. Economic historian David Hackett Fischer laid out the fundamental dynamic in his book The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History.

By assembling price and wage data stretching back hundreds of years, Fischer found that cycles of economic growth spawned population growth, an expanding number of workers entering the market economy (as opposed to the non-market subsistence economy) and a demand-driven expansion of essential commodities such as grain and energy (wood, coal, oil, etc.).

In the initial phase, wages rise and commodity prices remain stable as supplies of essential goods expand and the demand for labor pushes up wages.

But this virtuous cycle reverses when the supply of essentials no longer keeps pace with rising population and demand: the price of essentials begin an inexorable rise even as an oversupply of labor drives down wages.

We like to think that modern economies have escaped this cycle, but that is hubris and denial, not reality, for the 20th and early 21st centuries have been characterized by inflation (the U.S. dollar has lost approximately 96% of its value since 1900) and wages have stagnated for the past 40 years: Soaring Poverty Casts Spotlight on ‘Lost Decade’:

According to the Census figures, the median annual income for a male full-time, year-round worker in 2010 — $47,715 — was virtually unchanged, in 2010 dollars, from its level in 1973, when it was $49,065.

 

Overall, median household income adjusted for inflation declined by 2.3 percent in 2010 from the previous year, to $49,445. That was 7 percent less than the peak of $53,252 in 1999.

We can see this steady decline in wages in this chart:

The more recent fall-off is depicted in this chart:

Notice that the only age bracket with rising incomes is the 65 and over cohort; everyone younger than 65 has seen their income slashed. And this is assuming "official" inflation is accurate; if it understates real inflation (loss of purchasing power), then the income declines are actually much more severe than charted here.

As I have observed many times before, the middle class filled this gap between rising costs and stagnating wages with debt. This chart reflects this reality:

Household debt has soared far above wages. (Note that this chart is not adjusted to inflation; in real terms, wages have been flat for decades).

Now that the average household is heavily indebted with student loans, vehicle loans, credit card debt and mortgages, its ability to leverage a declining income into more debt is seriously impaired. So filling the gap between rising costs and declining wages with debt is no longer a possibility.

Living within their means and servicing their mountains of debt removes most families from the middle class. As a rough metric, I define middle class as any household with the following attributes:

1. Meaningful healthcare insurance, either provided by an employer or paid by the household

2. Significant equity in a home or other real estate

3. An income and expense sheet that enables the household to save at least 6% of its income

4. Significant retirement funds, either employer-provided or 401Ks, IRAs, income property, etc.

5. The ability to service all debt and expenses over the medium-term if one of the two primary household wage-earners lose their job, i.e. either the household has significant savings or its debts are modest compared to the household income.

Anything less than this basket of attributes is too precarious to qualify as middle class. These basics of financial security were standard-issue for the middle class in the postwar era.

A household could have all of the above attributes on an annual income of $40,000, or they may not have them with an income of $80,000, as "middle class" means some measure of financial security, i.e. owning assets and carrying a debt load that isn't large enough to crush the household balance sheet if income declines.

We can further understand the precariousness of many American households by examining IRS tax data. The top 25% of taxpayers--34 million workers out of a workforce of 160 million and 140 million wage earners--pay almost 90% of all Federal income taxes. Where Do You Rank as a Taxpayer?

An adjusted gross income (AGI) of $66,193 or more puts you in the top 25% of earners. The top-earning 25% of taxpayers reported 65.81% of all AGI and paid 87.30% of total federal income taxes ( $755.9 billion).

 

How much do you need to make to be in the top 50% of earners? Just $32,396. Fall below that level and you are in the bottom half, along with nearly 70 million of your fellow taxpayers. All told, that group earned just 13% of the income reported on 2009 tax returns. And they coughed up 2.25% of all the income taxes paid.

All these numbers mask the sobering reality that 38 Million Workers Made Less Than $10,000 in 2010-- Equal to California's Population (The Atlantic magazine)

If we dig into the data, we find that the top 25% (34 million workers) is really the top 33%, as only 104 million tax returns actually pay any Federal tax--and as noted above, the bottom 70 million paid a scant 13% of all Federal taxes while the top 34 million paid 87% of all income taxes.

Many Unhappy Returns? (America's aggregate 1040, from IRS tax data).

In 2009, the IRS reported 140.5 Million personal income tax returns were filed. From this starting point, 36.3 Million returns (or, one quarter of the total) are lost to the tax base because of losses, exclusions or deductions. By line 43, taxable income, only 104.2 Million returns survive. In aggregate dollar amounts, total income from all sources falls from $7.7 Trillion to $5.1 Trillion — a decline of more than one-third. This latter amount is what truly constitutes the tax base, since it is the income ultimately subjected to tax.

Of course Social Security taxes are paid by low-income workers, but this amounts to 7.6% of income--not zero, but not too punishing compared to Federal tax rates.

What all this reveals is that the middle class has lost its political power. Roughly 40% of all households receive a check or equivalent from the Federal government, while at the top Power Elite crony capitalists skim capital gains and pay an average of 17% of all income.

The 100 million dependents on the Federal government (Central State) vote to support their share of the largesse, regardless of the consequences to future generations, and the Power Elite crony capitalists buy political protection for their cartels and financialization scams. The dwindling middle class ends up paying most of the taxes even as their percentage of the population falls to the point that their political voice is drowned out by more numerous dependents and Elites that both favor the Status Quo.

The Federal government is supporting its dependents and its crony-capitalist Elites with borrowed money: $1.5 trillion every year, fully 40% of the Federal budget. It is in effect filling the gap between exploding costs and declining income, just like the middle class did until they ran out of collateral to leverage.

The dwindling middle class, now at best perhaps 25% of the workforce, has been reduced to tax donkeys supporting those above and below who are dependent on Federal largesse.

Fisher found that this cycle ends in transformational political upheaval. No wonder; even as the class paying most of the taxes shrinks and is pressured by higher costs, the class of dependents expands as the economy deteriorates and the super-wealthy Power Elites continue to control the levers of Central State power.

 

- advertisements -

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Tue, 04/17/2012 - 10:47 | 2351374 MFL8240
MFL8240's picture

Why the Middle Class Is Doomed- Whithout personel change in the White House.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 10:51 | 2351390 brewing
brewing's picture

not just the white house.  this country needs a total reboot...

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 10:56 | 2351413 MFL8240
MFL8240's picture

Couldnt agree more but, needs to start at the top first.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 10:59 | 2351418 t_kAyk
t_kAyk's picture

Look in the mirror. 

 

It begins and ends with us. 

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:04 | 2351444 brewing
brewing's picture

exactly.  there will be no reboot without revolution from the bottom...

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:20 | 2351525 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

investor class have union called corporate lobbists and executives doing the dirty work.

middle class has been brainwashed into bashing each other's unions until there aren't any.

poor class just keeps getting poorer and they don't even know it.

 

when you add healthcare costs and education costs which are largely privatized versus provided from taxes like in most other countries, middle class tax has increased significantly.

 

college loans and healthcare preimums are TAX which corporations don't want to pay for.

 

privatization of services necessary to work is TAX on labor.

 

elites have abandoned middle class long time ago.

 

"Our skilled wages are higher than anywhere in the world. If we open up a significant window for skilled workers, that would suppress the skilled-wage level and end the concentration of income." - Greenspan who was also wrong on housing bubble proposed to kill middle class to join the poor while super elite rich class benefits.

 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124112017018574119.html#articleTabs%3Dar...

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 12:20 | 2351779 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

The MSM has convinced the large majority of the middle class and ever increasing former-middle class that it is their fault they are losing ground.   After all, those green shoots have turned into flowers and everything is good again, right?   The "job creators" are using generational low tax rates (large U.S. corporations once contributed 40% to our tax base while also paying good benefits to employees, today they contribute less than 10%), to hire more people and give them good benefits, right?  Until people start to realize that the system is completely stacked against the little guy and in favor of concentrating more and more wealth in fewer and fewer hands, the oligarchs will continue doing what they do. 

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 12:40 | 2351869 The Big Ching-aso
The Big Ching-aso's picture

 

 

If the Middle Class is doomed then the only solution is 2 become rich. That's why I've decided to serve my country & go into politics.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 13:31 | 2352042 Clowns on Acid
Clowns on Acid's picture

Love the not so hidden syllogism !

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 13:44 | 2352089 Raymond K Hessel
Raymond K Hessel's picture

How are members of the middle class all in a union?

Calling healthcare and education expenses a middle class tax is wrong.  Everyone pays for these in taxes: sales tax, income tax, this tax, and that tax.  Suggesting that the middle class pay extra is ridiculous.  Many within the middle class don't want healthcare or education provided by the state on the state's terms.  That's why they pay extra for it.  In Italy and Canada, there's socialized medicine for everyone....if you can wait for it, or want to take the chance you'll be approved.  The middle class in those countries do what the middle class in the US do: they pay extra and cut the line.

Education and healthcare are not taxes.  They are services rendered by highly educated and dedicated people who have had their souls crushed by socialist fuck sticks, like you.

Privatisation of services making work necessary is not a tax on labor...it's called the grown-up world, Peter Pan.

Elites and middle class were never on the same team....ever.

 

But I do agree with your sentiment that Greenspan is a neo-zoom max dweebie, for sure.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 14:18 | 2352169 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

"Calling healthcare and education expenses a middle class tax is wrong."

You missed his whole point.  Healthcare for the middle class is a hidden tax because it is mostly privatized, e.g., not offered as a social benefit paid for with taxes.  Most middle class people do not qualify for Medicaid and only those over 65 qualify for Medicare.   If they need to see a doctor, they rely on private insurance if they can afford it or if it is offered by their employer (a shrinking benefit offered less and less), or they pay out of pocket.   Since you called out "socialist fuck sticks," perhaps you can explain why our predominently for-profit health care system is the most expensive in the world.  In case you don't have time to research Rush on this issue, I have the answer.  It is because that is really how the free market works in such instances.   Doctors and insurance companies and hospitals have as a group emassed enormous wealth providing a service we literally cannot live without.   If you are wealthy our for-profit system is awesome.  You have access to some of the best care in the world (though places like Germany which have entirely socialized medicine kick our ass in some areas).   If you are among the growing ranks of those who are not offered insurance through their employment and who cannot afford to pay for private insurance, our great health care system may as well be a unicorn because it is unaffordable.  But fuck the middle class, right?  It's their fault for not being rich.  Everyone should be able to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for life-saving treatment as needed and thus take personal responsibility and not be a socialist fuckstick, or should just die a proud free- market-always-works-even-when-it-doesn't cheerleader.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 16:53 | 2352677 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

explain why our predominently for-profit health care system is the most expensive in the world.

Because of government(state AND federal) interference, such as mandates on providers and insurance companies that raise their costs and prevent them offering market driven insurance and health care.   And then there is the corrupting effect of "insurance" which is so bastardized by mandates as to no longer be insurance by any classical measure hiding the cost of the provided health care from the consumer.   Health care costs will plunge if and when government exits regulation of the insurance and providers.    Take a look at plastic surgery, which is mostly elective.   The price/performance in that field improved historically, BECAUSE the cost is paid by the consumer, not hidden by government designed cockamamie.   

Consumers exposed to the cost of health care pay a lot closer attention, and shop around.   Providers who have customers that shop around are obliged to be more cost effective, and can be if they don't have to keep on board an army of paper pushers and worry over byzantine procedure.    For God's sake to get a wart frozen off by a dermatologist, old school, is a five minute interaction he could charge 20$ for, if not for the fucking paperwork etc.   Same deal with so many medical transactions.   But the insurance on both sides makes it cost a fortune to get this simple quick thing done.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 14:21 | 2352221 Slartibartfast
Slartibartfast's picture

Speaking purely from the Canadian standpoint, you're wrong. Been through a number of procedures over the years, some very serious (bone marrow transplant) and others more pedestrian (hernia) and I've never had to wait longer than was reasonable (hey, medicine isn't a MacDonald's drive-thru) and never had to pay anything more than a few bucks for supplemental services. Yeah, I hear people bitching from time to time, but not many. Contrast that with a US couple who recently told friends that their newborn got ill and they wound up losing their savings, their house, their child and finally their desire to remain US citizens. There are no death panels in Canada, no seniors set out on an ice floe when they're too old to be productive, and no rationing of care. If the case is serious enough you go straight to the head of the line, which may piss off some of the less serious cases, but again, no healthcare system is like a fast food joint, and even private care can make serious mistakes. If healthcare in Canada was as bad as yanks make it out to be, it would have been jettisoned long ago with nary a tear shed.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 16:54 | 2352685 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

uh huh, and getting an MRI scheduled for your pet takes how long, vs how long for a human?    In the US, it is TODAY for an MRI for a human, in Canada, good luck...unless you are a dog with an owner paying cash, or you have the good sense to take your health south for a day.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 13:12 | 2355277 Raymond K Hessel
Raymond K Hessel's picture

Such propaganda... you should be ashamed of yourself.  

My relatives up near the capital and Toronto have had nothing but horrible to things to say about Canadian health care.  From simple tests that take months to get results for and for the little things like seeing a doctor.  

You're last sentence is juvenile.  Socialists don't give a shit about your tears or your opinions.  They will not jettison socialized medicine.  I give you British socialized medicine as exhibit A.

 

 

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 18:18 | 2352901 BlackholeDivestment
BlackholeDivestment's picture

Brewing, the natural reboot you have described for America, that is just one country. Think global reboot, and then add fire.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=raql_Hh_NmU

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 13:17 | 2352004 rotagen
rotagen's picture

Please clarify the cliche "it begins with us" comment. If you are trying to say "be a nice guy and share your wealth" or some other "christian" BS I gotta call bullsh*t.  You can't fight crooks with guns by being a docile idiot.  Look in the mirror , yeah that might change something if you're a Rotschild, but those psycopaths are beyond repair.  Look in the gun store.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:06 | 2351454 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture

Bottom up.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:10 | 2351477 Vince Clortho
Vince Clortho's picture

Right on.  Start at the top (CBs).  We can deal with the politicos later.  In fact, our "elected officials" will start crapping their collective panties when the mainstreet mass starts to wake up to who the politicians have been working for all these years.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:25 | 2351559 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

50 and older also have political and executive powers. looks like they are not affected yet so they don't feel the pain.

 

We need to make oldies at the top feel the pain. They think Americans are just lazy and having it easy while their own children couldn't hack it into their own alma mater or profession these days due to super competition.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:43 | 2351650 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture

If 50 & older had any political & executive powers, we'd never have gotten into this mess. They don't feel the pain? 

Rumhead.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:41 | 2351640 KK Tipton
KK Tipton's picture

Yes, the central bank "system" has to be unplugged and dismantled.

Weaponized Inflation is a tool just as dangerous as any gun or bomb.
It's the literal prime mover of cash direct to the elite.

Reign inflation in and see the middle class spring back into action.

Second plan:
Stop the influence of lobbyists/corporations on government.
The laws/uneeded regulations they help enact are the second weapon aimed at the mainstream populace.

Help your fellow man in any way you can. It's going to be literal life or death for Americans in the next few years.
The aggressors are the people that want "something for nothing". By this I mean the elites.
They do not want to work....they want YOU to work FOR them.

Hence, "the system" as it stands in 2012 America.

 

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:02 | 2351441 AgShaman
AgShaman's picture

Middle Class needs to re-learn a couple things...

Like how to build a functional gallows and guillotine

Trailer them into D.C. on parade floats....let the traitors know what the future has in store for them

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:20 | 2351532 dark_matter
dark_matter's picture

Don't forget the body armour and gas masks.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 15:31 | 2352450 CH1
CH1's picture

Middle Class needs to re-learn a couple things...

Yes, but #1 - by a mile - is to act on their own will.

No waiting for permission. No waiting for a "movement." Just DO what you think is right.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:17 | 2351520 Nukular Freedum
Nukular Freedum's picture

The genius of the tax system consists of its appearance of taxing the rich progressively whilst appearing to favour the middle class. In reality the exact opposite is the case of course, which is why the MC is dwindling at an alarming rate.
What is needed therefore is an elimination of the 10 million word tax avoidance code combined with a taxation on capital gains which is identical to that of income. This implies a one page flat or fair tax or combination of the two. A final requisite safeguard against the depredations of the super rich is the elimination of all exemptions, even for oh so charitable institutions like trust funds.
This might just about do it for reviving the middle classes (along with a couple other things). Of course the corrupt, socially irresponsible elites will not institute such a system because there is no subterfuge there, it simply reveals the tax burden for what it actually is, no smoke or mirrors.
Oh and regarding those other things absolutely required for a middle class revival look here:

http://pearlsforswine.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/my-biggest-problem/

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:20 | 2351538 Nukular Freedum
Nukular Freedum's picture

Apologies in advance, double post, etc.

Btw, great post Charles, love your stuff. :)

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:45 | 2351668 Diogenes
Diogenes's picture

Capital gains are largely an illusion. The dollar has lost half its value in 10 years. If someone has owned an asset for ten years, and seen its value double, they have just kept even with inflation. They have gained nothing. But if they sold the asset they would pay tax on the phantom "gain".

So, a capital gains tax is actually a tax on capital. It would prevent an ordinary honest person from ever accumulating capital and getting out of the subservient class.

It would not prevent those who already have large capital from cheating and stealing as they do right now.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 12:05 | 2351750 marathonman
marathonman's picture

How about nationalizing the TBTF banks and letting their "profits/currency debasement" pay the income taxes? 

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 12:36 | 2351851 sessinpo
sessinpo's picture

marathonman                             2351750

How about nationalizing the TBTF banks and letting their "profits/currency debasement" pay the income taxes?

 

Comment:

Disagree on this one. By being TBTF, they are essentially nationalized in a corrupt way already. In fact, as with many corporations, they are globalized with their dirty fingers every where.

Investment banking needs to be separated from the traditional commercial lending side as before. Commercial lending banks should be regionalized or become much more like credit unions whereas the depositors are members/owners of the institution. Regionalizing them prevents them from becoming to big that they take down entire sectors of the country like housing.

 

As for the investment banking sector. They should be allowed to fail immediately through bankruptcy for their failed investments - period. In fact, that is the way it should be for all businesses.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 13:16 | 2352006 rwe2late
rwe2late's picture

 This might just about do it for reviving the middle classes (along with a couple other things).

I'm not sure what "couple other things" you have in mind.

But I think a "couple other things" have been much more critical in the recent massive upward shift of wealth and power than the ostensible tax structure.

A meaningfully amended "flat" tax structure, including the regressive SocSec, Medicare, state, and local taxes which you failed to mention, will not be legislated by TPTB, and even if legislated would be evaded,  and even if not evaded would make no significant inroad into the inequitable distribution of wealth and power.

Some more critical "things":

The trillion dollar profiteering budgets of military contractors are in a "locked black box".

Trillion dollar handouts to financial racketeers are in a "locked black box".

Money laundering for the underworld drug & weapon trades are in a "locked black box".

Monopoly premiums to big Pharma and Insurance grifters are in a "locked black box".

Military and petrodollar extortion of foreign nations are in a "locked black box".

Subsidies to global oil and global agribusiness are in a "locked black box".

Accounts of global corporations are in a "locked black box".

Aristocratic indulgences for a political elite are discreetly provided behind closed doors, and behind those closed doors are set policies to open markets, conquer resources, control finances, and police the world.

A privileged few and their political servants claim indisputable authority, however they see fit, to trample and negate rights formerly held by once equal citizens. 

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 14:53 | 2352322 centipede
centipede's picture

I think you are wrong. Capital gain is not the enemy of the MC. As written above CG is eroded over years by inflation and corporate taxes. To tax it more will make it just another option lost for the MC to invest their savings in. The real enemy is the aliance of privileged political and corporate elite. The real money which is made from CG of productive companies is tiny in comparison with the taxes expropriated by the government and siphoned off by crony corporations in form of bailouts and subsidies plus enormous debt burden created again by them and left again for taxpayers to pay for.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 12:59 | 2351942 Metalredneck
Metalredneck's picture

It's not just your country.  It looks similar here in Kanuckistan.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 13:48 | 2352100 Raymond K Hessel
Raymond K Hessel's picture

We're all spinning down the same toilet bowl swirl into fascism.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 10:51 | 2351394 johnu1978
johnu1978's picture

The only way the middle class will survive is if they start learning primitive and sustainable skills. Here's a school in the Northwest which teaches those types of skills: http://www.heartrootnatureconnection.com

Check the link it out when you have a chance, it'll be worth your time.

Take care,
John

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 10:59 | 2351417 LowProfile
LowProfile's picture

Troll your shit much?

You really are becoming tiresome.

I also doubt you can teach anyone anything they couldn't damn well learn themselves.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:04 | 2351449 LFMayor
LFMayor's picture

Does your holistics class teach how to field dress and smoke people?  I hate to piss on the campfire, but there just aren't going to be enough twigs and figs to go around and I doubt if the hordes will leave you and your little family group alone on your 10 acres long enough to harvest even a seasons worth of crops.

First we're going to play Mad Max.  And when the fuel is well and truly used up we're going to play the Hunger Games, which won't look much like the recent popular movie, it will look like people utilizing the readiest, most available source of nutrients at hand.

Wendigo Meats, LLC.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:42 | 2351648 Lednbrass
Lednbrass's picture

People in food producing areas are armed to the teeth and quite competent with what they own.  They also tend to know and rely on each other to a degree entirely unheard of in cities.

If there is a total societal breakdown then the urban zombie hordes with pitiful weapon skills and generally mediocre weapons get out into those areas they arent going to be picking off individual farmers, theyre going to encounter groups of very heavily armed people who know the local land and can kill at distances where the hordes wont be able to even see them before many are lying dead or dying.

 

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:55 | 2351714 10mm
10mm's picture

Correct LednBrass,they will drop like flys.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 12:20 | 2351798 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

Half of their fat, lazy asses won't be able to walk 5 miles out of the city... The other half will die of thirst before they get to 50 miles... The half dozen that make it through the first two will BEG you to take them in & they'll be your bitch...

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 12:19 | 2351788 Conor
Conor's picture

You are exactly correct.

Stupid southerners such as myself, and virtually everyone I know, has more firearms than people in the house. They know how to grow food, build structures, adapt to weather, etc.  We are resourceful and fiercely independent.

And there will be so much chaos in the big urban areas, nobody will pay much attention to us.  And we will do just fine.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 13:51 | 2352109 Raymond K Hessel
Raymond K Hessel's picture

I sincerely doubt the Mad Max eventually.  

More likely, there will be more forced labor, police actions, etc.  Federal and State govts pay farmers to destroy tons of grain and milk each year.  The resources are there.  

I don't think it'll go Mad Max.  I think the US will go full fascist long before it gets to urban zombies roaming the countryside.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 12:01 | 2351736 SilverRhino
SilverRhino's picture

Maybe so but I am absolutely NOT buying this statistic

According to the Census figures, the median annual income for a male full-time, year-round worker in 2010 — $47,715 — was virtually unchanged, in 2010 dollars, from its level in 1973, when it was $49,065.

No WAY people were making 49K as median levels of income in 1973. 

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 12:41 | 2351877 Goldust
Goldust's picture

"...in 2010 dollars..."

 

-1

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 16:10 | 2355898 SilverRhino
SilverRhino's picture

FUCK ... this is what happens when you fail reading comprehension because you're in a rush.   Damn.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 12:28 | 2351826 banksterhater
banksterhater's picture

As if our problems didn't start with REAGAN! You think Warmonger Romney is the answer? Obama gave me unemployment benefits and a HARP refi @ 4% (based on our savings/equity/loan sold to Freddie) both only happen once in a lifetime, imo, so even though he's not lived up to his promises, he's helped lots get thru this mess mostly dumped in his lap.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 12:57 | 2351940 Goldust
Goldust's picture

member for 2+ years and that's your comment?  WOW.  You are either hopelessly ignorant or a paid shill for Democrat talking points.

Sentences beginning with "Obama gave me" (substitute other politician if you like) are the mark of a fool.  "Obama", and government, give nothing that isn't taken from someone else in one form or another.

"Our problems" as commonly agreed to on ZH, started long before Reagan, though I doubt from your post that you will understand what this means.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 13:53 | 2352119 Raymond K Hessel
Raymond K Hessel's picture

CASS!!!  

Cass Sunstein!!!  Is that you?  

Is that you again, you dirty motherfucker!!

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 15:50 | 2352517 Lednbrass
Lednbrass's picture

If you think our problems began with Reagan you are either very young, very naive, or very dumb. Whichever it is you should look into it more.

Some of the dragons teeth now sprouting were sown before anyone here was even born.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 10:48 | 2351375 Spitzer
Spitzer's picture

god...

When are the shanty towns gonna spring up ?

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 10:53 | 2351401 GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/south_bay&id=8562204

"Up until a couple days ago, the empty grassy area was a cluttered filthy home to as many as 40 people. Caltrans said the biohazard alone was bad enough, but there were other threats to public health there as well.

Caltrans says the encampment is only one of 30 dismantled in Santa Clara County over the past two weeks." 2/12

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 10:58 | 2351416 Benjamin Glutton
Benjamin Glutton's picture

we just had a camp burn in our area...

 

since .gov sided with the banks the only humane thing to do is open the FEMA camps,imo.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:02 | 2351435 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

are you a "middle class" clonie? 

or just a meddling clonie ass?

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 12:23 | 2351792 AgShaman
AgShaman's picture

Hahaha....did you party too much in Colombia, pass out, and get your wallet taken by some shiksas?

Now they've got yer identity....aargh!

"A little dash 'll do ya"

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 10:59 | 2351428 CPL
CPL's picture

There are hundreds of them in the US.  Have been since 2007.

 

The citizens of the tent cities in the US are now called The Occupy Movement.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:14 | 2351495 johnu1978
johnu1978's picture

I think they already have, they're called Obamavilles.

There's also a lot of people moving into the National Forests. This is another reason why I recommend for people to learn primitive skills.

 

-John
Primitive Skills Classes - Edible Plant Tours
http://www.heartrootnatureconnection.com

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 14:43 | 2352294 Chaos_Theory
Chaos_Theory's picture

Blah blah blah primitive skills class.  If people wanted to live like the Amish, they'd learn Deutch, stop shaving and go be Amish.

My "Live like the Mongol Horde" class is much more fun, and readily accessible for the American nihilistic generation roaming the cities and plains from sea to shining sea.  As soon as they're done flash mobbing stores and state fairs during the "good times" of today, they'll be ready for the advanced 301 and 401 classes that upgrade them from punk to wasteland biker gang. 

 

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 10:47 | 2351381 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

and to think, this is just the beginning

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 10:49 | 2351383 jus_lite_reading
jus_lite_reading's picture

Don't worry. This is "transitory" and gold is an ancient barbarous "relic"...

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 10:50 | 2351384 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"Fisher found that this cycle ends in transformational political upheaval."

To some degree or another we are all captured by, and thus support, the financial/social/political system. This is why it must all end in tears.

The real question is this. When it does finally collapse will we have the courage to look deeply within and recognize our collective and individual part in the insanity and then discover our true inner sovereign?

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 10:58 | 2351415 Dr. Richard Head
Dr. Richard Head's picture

Sovereignty......I just got a woody.  If people understood what a wonderful world this would be if we all asserted our sovereignty.  Alas, as this article points out, Uncle Sam has a lot of titties for the people to suckle.  Crying while sucking a teet is not sexy.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:46 | 2351660 blu
blu's picture

Unless your sovereignty becomes my tyranny.

History is unkind.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:01 | 2351437 Toxicosis
Toxicosis's picture

When have humans, unless living in tribal communities ever discovered their inner sovereign?  Whatever that means.  The process into collapse and during collapse means chaos.  After that order as a result of exhaustion and essential survival just might kick in but to make the assumption that emotional maturity might make it to the top of the list and Maslow's hierarchy reign supreme is not likely on a collective scale.

And this time around as in other times around, political upheaval will be a daydream, the nightmare of violent insurrection is far more likely.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:48 | 2351675 KK Tipton
KK Tipton's picture

Everything was fine until "The System" was put into place.

Humans lived and died natural deaths. Mostly on their own terms.

The System caused millions of unnatural deaths (see feudalism, socialism/communism/etc., Americanism, corporatism)

The System is not done yet. It will keep on causing millions of unnatural deaths till it's dismantled.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 13:13 | 2351989 Toxicosis
Toxicosis's picture

Exactly.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 08:21 | 2354243 e-recep
e-recep's picture

Whatever has the advantage, will survive. Hence the system survives. Try living like a hunter-gatherer and see how many days you can keep alive. There's no going back. If you don't like the system, you have to build your own.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 12:03 | 2351679 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

You most certainly may be correct in your assumption that we will once again begin the same cycle we are now ending. But we can, and do, create our own reality based almost entirely upon our beliefs. So real change can only spring from within.

This is precisely why those in power divide and conquer, subvert and seduce. They fully understand that to allow the human beast to awaken means the end for them. We directly participate in our own enslavement and the powers-that-be enable us to remain in denial of this very fact. Quite symbiotic if you think about it. The pusher and the addict are both dependent upon each other.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbiosis

Is this "human condition" natural or conditioned. I suspect the latter. The proof (in my view) is that most of our conditioning comes from our own parents and peers. We are trained to comform by those who already conform.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 13:07 | 2351977 tarsubil
tarsubil's picture

I was raised by wolves and serpents.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 13:20 | 2352014 CPL
CPL's picture

You are American then?

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 13:10 | 2351985 Toxicosis
Toxicosis's picture

Sorry we do NOT create our own reality.  And believing in something does not make it true.  In fact if you have to believe in something there is a great possibility it isn't true. Schizophrenics may believe they are a savior, an alien or an omniscient being, but that does not make it true.  It makes it delusional.  Pretending is for children, and we foster magical thinking and even magical friends in children as part of the growth and imagination processes.  To remain in a childish state and pretend that things are or are not happening is the hallmark of emotional immaturity.

Perception is not reality, it can certainly be delusion, but is not reality.  If we see things and perceive things unprejudiced and unbiased for what they, instead of what we desire or want them to be, than that's reality   We may attempt to generate circumstances that favor a specific or certain outcome, but we must live within the dictates of nature, which creates reality.  CD there seems to be a great deal of post-modernistic thinking in much of what you write.  Reality and existence are already there irrespective of our perception of it.  A grown-up recognizes the need for maturity and dealing with reality whether they like it or not.

  And the more emotionally mature the less is an individual is swayed by programming and control tactics because they are aware.  Our society is chock full of narcissists, thus selfish, oblivious and vastly unaware mortals.  What you're prescribing is that individuals who have exercised and been taught self-serving and selfish behaviors are all of the sudden going to see the light and grow up.  Sorry, reality beckons, and it's not by a long shot buying it.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 14:43 | 2352292 Dagny Taggart
Dagny Taggart's picture

Perhaps in order to be emotionally mature and see the control system for what it is, we must create our own reality. Nothing changes when we mentally exist within the one the Matrix tells us is real.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 15:24 | 2352425 Toxicosis
Toxicosis's picture

Emotional maturity requires personal sacrifice and responsibility, not creating an alternate reality.  It's standing up, being straightforward, and even dealing with tyranny or control head on.  An alternate reality is an escape, and is exactly what most have succumbed to via the media and compulsive consumerism.  Pretending does not equate with dealing with reality and certainly not the thinking that is involved in attaining or maintaining human and humane cohesiveness necessary for a fulfilling or peaceful reality driven life.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 22:57 | 2353477 DanDaley
DanDaley's picture

"Emotional maturity requires personal sacrifice and responsibility, not creating an alternate reality."

"When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things."  1 Corinthians 13:11 KJV 2000

This means giving up golf and games for guns and gold -not something that a lot of people want to do.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 13:58 | 2352132 Raymond K Hessel
Raymond K Hessel's picture

It's the difference between Liberty and Freedom.  It's a thesis I'm working on lately.  

Liberty is innate to humanity and Freedom is permission from an authority to act without suffering negative consequences.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:28 | 2351570 Sockeye
Sockeye's picture

"True liberty cannot exist apart from the full rights of property, for property is the only crystallized form of free faculties...The whole meaning of socialism is a systematic glorification of force... No literary phrases about social organisms are potent enough to evaporate the individual, who is the prime, indispensable, irreducible element." - Auberon Herbert

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:52 | 2351690 sschu
sschu's picture

It is no longer a question of some sort of social/economic/political/all upheaval, this is a given.  The impetus or spark for the upheaval or crash and the nature of the crash are not entirely, but somewhat inconsequential.   

The important question becomes, what will the people do in response to the crash and how will this be manifest in the aftermath of the crash?  The 4th Turning talks about the vulnerabilities felt by the masses and how these feelings of vulnerability can coalesce around perceived solutions to their pain and system chaos.  There is no guarantee that the right “path” will be chosen by the masses, and in fact historically often the chosen path has been wrong, Hitler, Russian communism, Napoleon, and others are clear examples of huge errors.  The US has been fortunate in that during our history, the masses have usually made good choices.  Perhaps this is a product of our Christian heritage, certainly the quality of leadership during troubled times has been good.

But each situation is unique, and the present social dynamic and nature of the problems are different from the past.  Greed, centralization, secularization, “self-centeredness”, propaganda, progressivism and lack of social cohesiveness are challenges to people making the right decisions as a group.  Some of these are unique to our time and place, therefore predictions of what will happen are risky.  

I have to say I am not optimistic.  But then I cannot imagine my grandfathers were optimistic in 1930 while facing a deflationary depression and complete change in their world view.

sschu  

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 10:49 | 2351387 Jason T
Jason T's picture

peak oil and china speak volumes to this data.

in 2000, china had 3.5% of global auto production market share and the US had 22%.  In 2011, China had 23% market share and the US had only 10.8% market share.

 

peak oil .. US consumed 22 mb/d in 2007, now consuming a little over only 18 mb/d.  China is gobbling up our oil too.  Bitchez!

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 10:51 | 2351389 grimey
grimey's picture

"Gentlemen, I have merely sketched the power of one of the seven groups that constitute the brain of the Plutocracy.* Your twenty- four billions of wealth does not give you twenty-five cents' worth of governmental power. It is an empty shell, and soon even the empty shell will be taken away from you. The Plutocracy has all power in its hands to-day. It to-day makes the laws, for it owns the Senate, Congress, the courts, and the state legislatures. And not only that. Behind law must be force to execute the law. To- day the Plutocracy makes the law, and to enforce the law it has at its beck and call the, police, the army, the navy, and, lastly, the militia, which is you, and me, and all of us."

http://www.jacklondons.net/writings/IronHeel/chapter9.html

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 10:52 | 2351393 Chupacabra-322
Chupacabra-322's picture

It gets worse.  For those of you who haven't noticed.

Blackhawks Circle Low Through Chicago Skies as Secret Service Releases Security Details

Chicago - Blackhawks and A/MH-6 Little Bird helicopters used by special forces circling low through downtown Chicago skies made for a scary scene along the Chicago River, as they rattled windows flying among the city's skyscrapers.

The training exercise comes as the city found out some of the details of what the Secret Service wants for security at next month's summit at McCormick Place.

http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/news/metro/military-blackhawks-circle-downtown-skies-honing-urban-battle-skills-chicago-20120416

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 10:58 | 2351419 Everybodys All ...
Everybodys All American's picture

wonder why they chose Chicago?

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:05 | 2351452 cossack55
cossack55's picture

City full of hookers.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:09 | 2351472 Chupacabra-322
Chupacabra-322's picture

@ Everbodys All...  Wake the Fuck Up.  The G8/NATO meeting is scheduled to be there.  The Global Elite want to tie up loose ends for the coming collapse. 

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:20 | 2351540 CPL
CPL's picture

You make it sound like they get to keep it all?

 

Nobody wins in this situation.  Nobody.   Not the 1% or the 99%.  I'm not sure if people are clear on that yet.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:51 | 2351694 blu
blu's picture

The 1% will lose less than the rest of us, and remain on top of anything that emerges from the ashes.

In a race to the bottom, the winner arrives last.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:20 | 2351539 kralizec
kralizec's picture

City of disarmed citizens.

(Nobody but crooks and politicians are allowed to be armed in that shithole!)

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:19 | 2351522 Whoa Dammit
Whoa Dammit's picture

Stalinism. The paramilitary police will soon be the only middle class.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 13:42 | 2352084 nyquil762
nyquil762's picture

Quote of the day!

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:19 | 2351523 CPL
CPL's picture

Army, Air Force, nor municipal law enforcement can afford the gas to fuel them now.  In a month, LOL.  Whatever.  

 

Why sweat it?  I want them to run flight training six times a day.  Or twenty times a day.  The day's of summer wine are over for ALL helicopter pilots. Let them burn the last of the oil.

 

Let them have their last hurrah before they kiss their careers goodbye this summer.

 

 

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 13:45 | 2352087 nyquil762
nyquil762's picture

Why this summer? 

 

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 13:59 | 2352141 Raymond K Hessel
Raymond K Hessel's picture

That was pretty fucking ominous.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 20:40 | 2353173 squib
squib's picture

You said that last summer.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 10:52 | 2351395 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

LOL!!!

Why is the middle class doomed?  Aside from the vast majority being morons, compensation and the real fucking value of one's labor have been separated.  Fuck the paper-pushers, crash the system, and let's find out precisely what the value of everyone's labor really is.

The socialization of losses by a relative few who benefitted.  Blowback is indeed a bitch.  So long as the fraud continues, so does the downward trend.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:19 | 2351528 dogbreath
dogbreath's picture

Aside from the vast majority being morons, compensation and the real fucking value of one's labor have been separated.    <<<<<<<<  the conditions you identified certainly doesn't help and I'll add a few more.   

demographics   see the chart, only the oldsters are seeing increases in income

population growth is driven by immigration and so is real estate demand

social de-engeneering of the family resulting in wasted capital allocation

education system sucks, but I don't know if moronity is genetic or learned

 

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 10:52 | 2351396 engineertheeconomy
engineertheeconomy's picture

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE FALL OF ROME AND WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW IS

ROME WASN'T RADIOACTIVE

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:09 | 2351466 LFMayor
LFMayor's picture

I'd say the biggest factors will be:

Telecoms/Internet
Kalashnikov
internal combution engine

These things make history happen faster.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:53 | 2351699 Diogenes
Diogenes's picture

Maybe they weren't radioactive but they used large amounts of lead. Airborne lead from Roman era Spanish lead mines have been found as far away as Swedish lakes.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 10:55 | 2351402 Dr. Richard Head
Dr. Richard Head's picture

This article pretty well sums up why I file this form http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4868.pdf for my taxes on Anal Rape Day - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11XOyECrmz4&list=UUK7Q9Kl6xWpDtLIineKSgnw&index=1&feature=plcp

If Uncle Sam can pretend and extend, so can I!

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:01 | 2351433 SillySalesmanQu...
SillySalesmanQuestion's picture

+1

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 10:55 | 2351404 yabyum
yabyum's picture

We have met the enemy and he is us!

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 10:55 | 2351406 icanhasbailout
icanhasbailout's picture

Can't believe this post didn't even include a link to The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class (2007):

This is like required listening for anyone who wants to understand just how fucked the middle class is - and, most importantly, why.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akVL7QY0S8A

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 12:09 | 2351764 Rubbish
Rubbish's picture

The boomers are going to give you millions of cheap foreclosed homes to buy and tons of jobs changing diapers and administering drugs.

Boomers are all thinking of this, homeless? Maybe but they are learning survival methods. They will be ok and so will you.

 

All the middle class has to realize is rent, save, buy raw land then build your abode cash. Exploit credit as much aS possible and file a redue like Trump, because bailouts are the norm. So be normal.

 

Real worth will be judged by land, water and mineral rights.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 10:57 | 2351410 GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

Sweet, when do we start purging everyone over 67?

 

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:01 | 2351431 Dr. Richard Head
Dr. Richard Head's picture

The medical and food complexes are doing a pretty good job of that right now.  You ever see the ass size of these 60+ women?  My god!!!!  I could park a 57 Chevy on them. 

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 14:56 | 2352333 Bitchin Bear
Bitchin Bear's picture

It's not only the over 60 bunch.  In fact I would venture to guess that proportionally there are more fat asses under thirty than over!  Went to a wedding this weekend and the poundage of these young girls was simply astounding.  And worse than that is that they have no shame about it and wear the same short skirts and low cut dresses as those in the normal range.  It really must be some sinister government food plot to kill us all off.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:06 | 2351456 Dr. Richard Head
Dr. Richard Head's picture

Dup

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:00 | 2351420 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

The middle class is doomed by...corruption.  Sleaze.  Bribery.  Greed.  Weakness.

The second Obama named his Goldman Sachs team I knew it was all over. 

Whatever 'issue' you hear someone whining about, they have no sense of perspective.  Corruption is the issue that dooms all other issues.  Why worry about women's rights, racism, guns, the Bible, or any of it?  All of those things will just be memories in the refugee camps.

At the first global environmental crisis in the 1960s, the poor nations came in talking about clean water, infectious diseases, arable land...and the rich nations came in talking about billboards, litter and noise pollution.  Fifty years later, the poor nations are talking about clean water, infectious diseases, arable land....and the rich nations are talking about nothing, but clearly ACTING like they are planning on joining the poor nations. 

All over.  You know, a hundred years ago a performing artist would not expect to be rich.  Maybe a few, with enough work and assidious courting of patrons and royalty...but no.  All the celebrity and riches are merely artifacts of broadcast technology, and broadcast technology is changing, eroding, becoming as nothing.  So too may go the notion of the celebrity artist as a rich person.

Many aspects of our society can easily cease to be.  Have we any place to discuss the ones we find precious enough to keep?    Apparently not.  For we seem to be keeping none of it.

All for corruption and control.  The global elite and their police state.  For it is most certainly not ours, the dwindling middle classes.

Happy Post-Emancipation Day.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 12:02 | 2351743 Diogenes
Diogenes's picture

"You know, a hundred years ago a performing artist would not expect to be rich."

Not exactly true. There were popular international superstars in the 19th century who made fortunes without ever making a movie or recording of any kind and without royal or aristocratic patronage.

Possibly the outstanding example was Swedish singer Jenny Lind.

"In 1849, almost no one in the United States knew who Jenny Lind was. By September 1850, P. T. Barnum had changed all of that. Barnum promoted the concert tour of Lind, a Swedish opera singer, so successfully that he earned a vast fortune and created a new cultural phenomenon: the celebrity. Barnum drummed up such great public anticipation about the "Swedish Nightingale" that 40,000 people greeted the arrival of her ship in New York City harbor. He fueled "Lindomania" by orchestrating ticket auctions and negotiating a host of Lind-endorsed products (including Jenny Lind songs, clothes, chairs, and pianos). Barnum shrewdly promoted Lind’s character--her modesty, benevolence, and selflessness--as much as her artistry. One scholar contends that because of Barnum’s efforts, Lind became "the standard for measuring not just sopranos, or even women artists, but women" throughout the 1850s."

 

 

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 12:05 | 2351754 haskelslocal
haskelslocal's picture

Start your PHd thesis now.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 12:10 | 2351763 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

I kind of like celebrities, Jim.  I think with a little garlic and sea salt, all that fat, lazy stuff might taste like veal..., but I'm a fucking optimist;)

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:00 | 2351421 1fortheroad
1fortheroad's picture

Hey brother, can you spare a 5 spot?

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:00 | 2351426 Silveramada
Silveramada's picture

a dollar worth of silver coins pre 1964 buy you more gas and stuff now than it did before!!!

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:07 | 2351461 Long-John-Silver
Long-John-Silver's picture

A dollars worth of pre 1964 Silver coins still purchase the same gas and grocery's they always have.

The problem is your rapidly devaluing post 1971 Nixonized fiat dollars.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:02 | 2351439 Acet
Acet's picture

The middle class is not doomed.

It's the middle class in developed nations that's doomed. That's because they're dumb iGadget-buying impulsive-consumer debt-enslaved uncritical-thinking sheeple.

The middle class in places like China, India and Brasil is doing nicelly, thank you very much.

Frankly, people are getting what they voted for. It might be frustrating for those of us who use our brains for more than keeping one's cranium from caving in, but we just have to take it and meanwhile do what we can to keep us and those we love from suffering when the collapse eventually comes.

(and yes, I am sour about it)

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:07 | 2351460 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

"middle-class" in China, LOL!!!  Now that is funny stuff right there.  So you want to become more like China? LOL!  Another, "I want my cake and want to eat it too.

China is a socialist/communist, state-run, single-party country.  They are masters of currency manipulation and propaganda.  Damn, I just realized this sounds a lot like the U.S.

Oh Crap, nevermind.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 08:50 | 2354339 e-recep
e-recep's picture

Chinese middle-class is rising, whether you believe it or not. Try thinking out of the box. I cannot believe how brainwashed Americans are about the election system. China has none, yet it is screwing the entire world. Wake up and smell the coffee. Democratic elections DO NOT grant wealth. It's a "banker's lie".

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 13:24 | 2352021 Clowns on Acid
Clowns on Acid's picture

Acet - you use the term "middle class" across different countries as if each middle class enjoys the same living standards.

Thats really naive and worthy of a Huffing n Puffing Post comment doomkoff !

Look at sq footage per household, lok at trechnlgy access, look at food and water quality,...and indeed basic plumbing features. However..... 

Indeed "indebted slaves" in the West are uncritical sheeple of the banksters and Obama admin's redistribution policies.

If the linear progression of the deterioration of the US middle class is not changed (vote out Obama and the Dems, hold all politicians feet to the spending fire) there will be blood.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:04 | 2351446 1100-TACTICAL-12
1100-TACTICAL-12's picture

FUBAR'ed indeed ..

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:05 | 2351447 sbenard
sbenard's picture

I saw a comment by someone on another site the other day that seemed apropos:

"Obama and his elites are transforming the working class into the welfare class."

That's just about right! This is going to end in a crisis for the record books!

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:21 | 2351455 Mercury
Mercury's picture

Of course, any “progressive” will tell you that Obama and his ilk want nothing more than to grow the middle class while shrinking the rich and poor classes out of existence.

 

Did voters in 2008 really think that "spreading the wealth around" meant an end game with the reverse scenario from what is actually unfolding right now?

 

Now you know why they teach "social studies" instead of history in public schools.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 13:46 | 2352098 memyselfiu
memyselfiu's picture

'Oil Independance'

'War on drugs'

'Grow middle class'

And I don't think it's just 'progressives' that tow that party line, btw.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:06 | 2351458 Kina
Kina's picture

This wont end until the living standard and wages of the west match those of the east. Thats the ultimate end of globalisation where corporations have no true country. The whole world is one market one resource. Growing debt has kept us from this realisation.

Thus time to convert fiat to hard assets as fiat is continually devalued.

 

Bernanke you wanka. Do you think the USD purchasing power doesn't go down when you 'print' tirllions more of them unbacked except by a growing deficit?

Well yeh, they know what they are doing, and don't want gold to go free yet. Problem for the US is that they cant make gold laws that Asia will pay any heed to. They can make laws that trash the value of gold, but only to see Asia buy it all up.

 

In the end a $100 wont buy you a chop stick, but a spec of gold a loaf of bread.

 

 

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:09 | 2351465 pragmatic hobo
pragmatic hobo's picture

the middle class was sold out long time ago by volker/greenspan and reagan. The busting of union was in fact busting of middle class as politicians got sold for highest price to wall street and corporations. Without workers union US workers are nothing more than slaves. The rising price of cost of living, in particular the health care cost, is just another form of extortion by the ruling class to keep the workers in fear of losing their job and therefore maintain the slavery. Unless the politicians are forced out of the pockets of the top 0.01% the bottom 90% should just go ahead and have their brains lobotimized.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:21 | 2351541 Vince Clortho
Vince Clortho's picture

Compare the recent Presidents (gave us NAFTA, Union Busting, Pension theft, TBTF Bailouts, Massive Dollar printing) to JFK (Who stood up for the unions and took on the Big Corporations and Big Oil).

You can see why  Bush/Clinton/Bush/Obama get fat, wealthy retirements and JFK got Dealey Plaza.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:09 | 2351467 wisefool
wisefool's picture

If you go to the irs.gov site. Every tax form and preparedness software is free if you make less than $58,000/yr. The reason is that you do not pay overt tax. so why should you have to prepare for tax prep software?

When Ben said he can controll inflation "in 15 minutes" it has nothing to do with the machinations of debt, finance, stats, T-Bill auctions and precious metals. Ben can change the tax code, and enforce it with the proletarian gaurd. I am loving the prepper community where people who don't do even do sex drugs and rock and roll are stocking up on them to barter with the people who have the highest security cleearances that any goverment has ever issued.

Ron Paul write in 2012.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 14:21 | 2352231 unemployable
unemployable's picture

During the 1930s a law was passed requiring Americans to bring in their Gold for exchange into silver-backed Federal Reserve Notes.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:14 | 2351496 Nukular Freedum
Nukular Freedum's picture

The genius of the tax system consists of its appearance of taxing the rich progressively whilst appearing to favour the middle class. In reality the exact opposite is the case of course, which is why the MC is dwindling at an alarming rate.
What is needed therefore is an elimination of the 10 million word tax avoidance code combined with a taxation on capital gains which is identical to that of income. This implies a one page flat or fair tax or combination of the two. A final requisite safeguard against the depredations of the super rich is the elimination of all exemptions, even for oh so charitable institutions like trust funds.
This might just about do it for reviving the middle classes (along with a couple other things). Of course the corrupt, socially irresponsible elites will not institute such a system because there is no subterfuge there, it simply reveals the tax burden for what it actually is, no smoke or mirrors.
Oh and regarding those other things absolutely required for a middle class revival look here.

http://pearlsforswine.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/my-biggest-problem/

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:25 | 2351561 wisefool
wisefool's picture

They junked me, but they thumbs up you. Thanks for being on the watchtower, brother.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:16 | 2351510 dexter_morgan
dexter_morgan's picture

Hence, why a guy like Ron Paul scares both parties, and most 'dependent' voters, shitless. They may bitch and moan about wanting change, but when it comes right down to it they want change for everyone else but don't want it affecting their support program, be it social programs for the masses or corruption protection for the elites.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:23 | 2351555 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

"What is 'Less that 0.005%?" Alex Trebek.

Can I take "Times These Income Stats Will Be Mentioned in the MSM" for $800?

 

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:34 | 2351610 q99x2
q99x2's picture

What do you do with tax donkeys that don't work?

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:42 | 2351647 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

"Gawd these Mahkets!  Look at 'em go!

Time to buy humans!  No Worries!

Smoke 'em while ya' got 'em!"

http://www.flickr.com/photos/79008263@N05/6941472004/in/photostream

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:56 | 2351715 unemployable
unemployable's picture

"No one could suspect that times were coming when the man (or woman) who did not gamble would lose all the time, even more surely than he who gambled"

-Charles Péguy

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:59 | 2351726 gnomon
gnomon's picture

It is what you do when they come for one of your inalienable rights that will define your life.  Count on it!  All that came before means nothing.

Historical cycles are incapable of being stopped, but that does not absolve the individual of moral responsibility, for taking what is inescapably, ineluctably the correct course of action.

Let us not whimper out like some larger version of Venezuela or Argentina.  And though the victors may rewrite History the energy of what you did, what you had to do to live with yourself will live on forever.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 11:59 | 2351734 pods
pods's picture

Of course nobody can see the forest of why we are here in the first place.

Issuing debt with interest starts the cycle of HAVING to expand.  Eventually interest (compounded) catches up and you collapse due to the inability to exponentially expand to keep ahead.

People, it ain't that difficult.

pods

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 16:28 | 2352636 RallyRoundTheFamily
RallyRoundTheFamily's picture

Usury and it is forbidden in most religions.

Noticed Wikipedia entry as having added excessive, unreasonably high to the definition.

Usury ( /?ju???ri/[1]) is the practice of charging excessive, unreasonably high, and often illegal interest rates on loans.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 12:01 | 2351738 gnomon
gnomon's picture

dupe

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 12:03 | 2351744 Venerability
Venerability's picture

The "middle class" is not doomed, because every single person in the US should be a member of the middle class.

Politically, at least, anyone who dares to talk about the middle class as "other" - instead of "US" - is doomed to political oblivion.

Neither party yet understands how passionately the vast majority of Americans cares about this issue.

And it's a PRO-business, not anti-business, issue.

The US was, until very recently, the Beacon of Hope to the rest of the world BECAUSE OF our middle class-ness, our being the fist society to embrace the notion that everyone can and should be bourgeois. No poor. No rich. Everyone able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps in a real meritocracy without Elites and certainly without the pretense of Empire.

We were the ultimate Big Tent - and ironically, it was the GOP, the real GOP of Main Street and small business and farmers and shopkeepers - which embraced this bourgeois ideal well before the modern Democrats did.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 13:12 | 2351996 Clowns on Acid
Clowns on Acid's picture

The moderrn day DEM party 's sense of the ultimate Big Tent was the Great Society programs which have been an incredibly expensive (on borrowed money) experiement, in terms of not only $ but also socio-economic decline.

Close the Dept. of Housing and Urban Planning (save $48 billion / yr) , close the Dept. of education (save $48 billion / yr). Return these functionds to the States.

This cuts Fed spending by $1 T / yr. There I fixed it.

 

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 13:52 | 2352115 memyselfiu
memyselfiu's picture

that's...100...billion....but...great idea on closing dept of education, doesn't seem to be very effective anyways.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 12:07 | 2351755 Sandmann
Sandmann's picture

It is simply Marx. The Commoditisation of Labour and the driving down of Wages to Subsistence - it is clear that unfettered the Capitalist System will drive itself into bloody conflict. The USA always had the frontier to give opportunity to those escaping the East Coast ghettoes as the next boat load arrived from Italy or Hamburg or Russia.......Europe didn't have that and when Hitler tried to create a new Frontier for his Pioneers in Central Europe and Russia he met resistance and war.

That the US model is no longer feasible and the European model more realistic suggests bloody conflict ahead, perhaps Civil War. The issue is to decide if the Elites will engineer the Civil War to stay in power or if this Civil War will come from below and consume the ruling Elites. I am not sure that the ruling Elites will wait and will simply set groups to fight each other so they can accumulate yet more political power to entrench themselves

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 12:27 | 2351828 seek
seek's picture

I'm not sure if you're subtling trolling or actually believe this. The system this is happening in is far from unfettered capitalism. It's to the point it really doesn't deserve the capitalism label at all. Nor is the European model -- which is also a heavily parasitic model spending more on the dependent class than is actuall available -- an alternative. They are in the exact same boat as we, only in a weaker position to recapture their own governments.

The elites may or may not have recognized their real problem -- they're up against the same limits as governments with respect to taxation and skimming income. The parasitic classes simply can't take more from the middle class and have their total take increase, and the elites have been skimming from the lower classes as well -- we've passed beyond the maximum sustainable grift the remants of the middle class can carry. As this gets pushed further, everyone (dependent class, middle class, and elites) loses.

There's really no more political power for them to accumulate. In addition to peak oil and other peak resources, I think we're very much near/past peak middle class extortion. This sets the stage not only for a civil war, but also for wars within the elite as they fight over a pie that's getting smaller, not bigger, due to them injuring and perhaps even killing the host (middle class) of this particular set of parasites.

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 13:53 | 2352114 Sandmann
Sandmann's picture

The system this is happening in is far from unfettered capitalism.

 

You are very wrong. In financial markets the Banking Elites are getting EVERYTHING they want. Capitalism is the application of Capital. Capital is not restrained or controlled. The Offshore Banking System is huge and unregulated. 

http://www.chinaoffshore.com.hk/china-offshore-the-cayman-islands-a-nexu...

You should stop obsessing about what you see on TV and think Offshore where the real Capital Flows take place -

really no more political power for them to accumulate.

Then you have really no idea. You must think China and the USA are run by the same family......wow have you some surprises ahead !


Tue, 04/17/2012 - 13:54 | 2352123 memyselfiu
memyselfiu's picture

'hostile takeover' is capitalism. What did everyone think capitalism was going to devolve into sans regulation?

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 14:19 | 2352216 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

So glad you asked. Many here are devout believers, mostly from the US of Infants. Others have placed capitalism into a religious sphere. It's all very sad.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 23:35 | 2357142 icanhasbailout
icanhasbailout's picture

regardless of what happens offshore, what happens in the USA is not capitalism, it is fascism (merger of state and corporate power)

 

without the privileges and enforcement of the state the banking cartel would long have been bankrupt here

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 12:10 | 2351767 seek
seek's picture

I was just pondering this myself as I woke up this morning. The pool of actual producers is fairly small, and both the top and bottom feed parasitically upon them. So at some point they die (stop working), give up (stop caring), or snap. Presumably TBTP will keep raising taxes, but that encourages more of them to unplug, which I think means more stealth tax -- ie unacknowledged inflation.

What I haven't figured out if how they target inflation against middle-class producers without impacting the dependent class too much.

However it plays out, this article is spot on -- 40% of the federal budget is borrowed, and there's no possible way (Laffer curve/limit on tax revenue as a % of GDP) to make it balance. As well, nowhere does this story mention that the same shit (unbalanced budgets, whacked taxes, plus fees, fines, licenses, tags, etc) is also occuring at the state level. So the budget(s) will be balanced, ultimately, by expenditures matching revenue in the long run. My guess is that this happens catastrophically, when both effectively go to zero.

Of course there are agents of TPTB that already has a solution waiting, so a big part of the political revolution will be them trying to get the new solution adopted. I would not be surprised if we see two revolutions, the first being the collapse with TPTB stuffing their crap down everyone's throat, and then a second revolution when the people realize that it's the same shit again. One big clue this is/will be going on is an all-out war on communications as they try to prevent people from grouping and/or sharing discoveries of how the shitty TPTB solution takes advantage of them.

 

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 12:23 | 2351814 Bob Sacamano
Bob Sacamano's picture

You can achieve these "middle income" markers

"1. Meaningful healthcare insurance, either provided by an employer or paid by the household    2. Significant equity in a home or other real estate   3. An income and expense sheet that enables the household to save at least 6% of its income    4. Significant retirement funds, either employer-provided or 401Ks, IRAs, income property, etc.   5. The ability to service all debt and expenses over the medium-term if one of the two primary household wage-earners lose their job, i.e. either the household has significant savings or its debts are modest compared to the household income."

IF you don't borrow any money (or very little) and don't live like everyone else (in the US) who thinks the are entitled to more than two pairs of shoes, a house >1,000 sq ft, going to restaurants and movies, having cell phones and cable tv, not buying used cars and driving them 10 years, etc.    This is considered barbaric in the US, hence, bring on the debt and government dependency.   Americans really do not want to do what it takes to take care of themselves and their family so that they are not a burden on anyone (please, no anecdotal 0.5% exceptions to those who really can not care for themselves because they were born with no arms or something -- my family and others will sacrifice to take care of them).

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 12:54 | 2351922 penexpers
penexpers's picture

 

 

 

WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

 

 

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 15:53 | 2352526 Lednbrass
Lednbrass's picture

And of course, never forget that Debt is Wealth!

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