Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/24/2016 09:02 -0400
If the four structural trends highlighted below don’t reverse, the middle class is heading for extinction.
Everyone knows the middle class is fading fast. I’ve covered this issue in depth for years, for example: Honey, I Shrunk the Middle Class: Perhaps 1/3 of Households Qualify(December 28, 2015) and What Does It Take To Be Middle Class? (December 5, 2013)
This raises an obvious question: what killed the middle class? While many commentators try to identify one killer cause (for example, the U.S. going off the gold standard in 1971), the die-off of the middle class is more akin to the die-off in honey bees, which is the result of the interaction of multiple causes (factors that increase the toxic load dumped on bees and other pollinators by modern agriculture).
Longtime collaborator Gordon T. Long and I discuss the decline of the middle class and other key topics in a new 29-minute video How did that work out for you?
So where do we begin this detective story? With the engine of all real prosperity, productivity. This chart reveals that wages stopped rising with productivity around 1980.
Here’s another look at the same phenomenon:
Productivity has been slipping since around 2003: Alan Greenspan:”Productivity is Dead”
Cause #1: declining productivity, which means the pie of real wealth is no longer expanding.
Exhibit #2: middle class wage earners have not received any of the gains. Wages as a percentage of GDP have been falling for decades, with occasional blips up in tech/housing bubbles:
Inflation-adjusted household income has dropped back to levels first reached in the 1980s:
More recently, wages have actually declined, regardless of educational attainment:
Income gains have all flowed to the top 10%, with most of the gains being concentrated in the top 5% and top 1%:
If the middle class didn’t receive any of the gains, who did? Corporate profits have soared to unprecedented levels:
Cause #2: all the gains in the economy have flowed to corporations and the top 10% of financiers, managers and technocrats.
But wait a minute–hasn’t the rising stock market enriched the middle class?Short answer: no. Middle class household wealth has absolutely cratered since the top of the housing bubble in 2007, and hasn’t recovered.
Why? Middle class wealth is based not in stocks but in the family home. The middle class does not own enough financial assets to have participated in the latest stock market bubble, while the majority did not recover the wealth lost in the housing bubble bust. This is the cost of allowing the financial sector to financialize housing and mortgages in the 2000s.
Cause #3: the middle class doesn’t own the “right” assets to benefit from systemic financialization and financial speculation.
How about rising costs? The federal agencies tasked with measuring inflation assure us inflation is near-zero. But these measures underweight big-ticket costs like healthcare and higher education, where costs have exploded higher, greatly increasing the burden on the middle class:
Cause #4: soaring costs of big-ticket expenses such as higher education and healthcare. Saving $10 on cheap jeans imported from Asia does not make up for 135% jumps in tuition and college fees, and $100 decline in the cost of a laptop computer does not make up for healthcare insurance and out-of-pocket expenses in the tens of thousands of dollars per household.
Correspondent Kevin K. submitted this article and accompanying note: Colleges with the biggest tuition hikes (my ala mater University of Hawaii-Manoa clocked in with an increase of 137% since 2004.)
“It looks like the article linked above didn’t do much research since:
University of California Davis
2004 in-state tuition $5,684
2015 in state tuition $13,951
Percentage increase 145.44 percent”
There is no way middle class households with declining real incomes can pay soaring costs imposed by state-enforced cartels and gain ground financially. If the four structural trends highlighted above don’t reverse, the middle class is heading for extinction, the victim of financialization, the glorification of financial speculation via central bank-central state policies, the decline of productivity and rising costs imposed by state-enforced cartels.
Gordon T. Long and I discuss the decline of the middle class and other key topics:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BBL-fJd9Lo]
MARCH 09, 2016
‘Our society attaches privilege to being white and male and heterosexual.’
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it obtained documents from the United States Department of the Army revealing that in April 2015, 400 soldiers in the 67th Signal Battalion at Fort Gordon, Georgia, were subjected to a “white privilege” briefing, including a PowerPoint presentation instructing the attendees: “Our society attaches privilege to being white and male and heterosexual …”
The slideshow also informed the soldiers: “Race privilege gives whites little reason to pay a lot of attention to African Americans.” It alleged that there are unspecified “powerful forces everywhere” keeping different kinds of people from being valued, accepted, and appreciated, but “we act as if it doesn’t exist.” This alleged privilege creates a “yawning divide” in income, wealth, and dignity. The material described a mythical African woman who isn’t aware that she’s black until she comes to America, encounters “white racism” and discovers the U.S. is “organized according to race.”
The Department of the Army documents were obtained in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking:
Any and all materials used in an Equal Opportunity briefing provided on April 2, 2015, to the 67th Signal Battalion at Fort Gordon, Georgia, which included a discussion of “white privilege,” including but not limited to, handouts, PowerPoint presentations, audio/video tapes, course syllabi, and any recordings of the presentation itself.
The response to the Judicial Watch FOIA request included the entire Equal Opportunity Training PowerPoint presentation entitled “Power and Privilege,” which states:
Privilege exists when one group has something of value that is denied to others simply because of the groups they belong to, rather than because of anything they’ve done or failed to do.
Privilege has become one of those loaded words we need to reclaim so that we can use it to name and illuminate the truth
Race privilege gives whites little reason to pay a lot of attention to African Americans or to how white privilege affects them. “To be white in American [sic] means not having to think about it” [Quotation not attributed]
Our society attaches privilege to being white and male and heterosexual regardless of your social class.
Imagine a school or a workplace where all kinds of people feel comfortable showing up. [sic] valued, accepted, supported, appreciated, respected, belonging. [sic] Something very powerful keeps this from us.
The truth of this powerful forces [sic] is everywhere, but we don’t know how to talk about it and so we act as though it doesn’t exist
The trouble we’re in privileges [sic] some groups at the expense of others.
It creates a yawning divide in levels of income, wealth, dignity, safety, health and quality of life.
It promotes fear, suspicion, discrimination, harassment, and violence.
Consider the “black woman” in Africa who has not experienced white racism and does not identify herself as a “black woman”. African, a woman, but not black.
She only became “black” when she came to the U.S. where privilege is organized according to race, where she is assigned to a social category that bears that name and she is treated differently as a result. [Emphasis added]
The trouble we’re in can’t be solved unless the “privileged” make the problem of privilege their problem and do something about it.
The fact that it’s so easy for me and other people in dominant groups not to do this is the single most powerful barrier to change.
Though news of the indoctrination incident was briefly reported in Stars and Stripes shortly after it occurred, only one of the above slides previously has been made public. Confronted with the information at the time, an Army spokesperson claimed the presentation was not officially sanctioned.
Judicial Watch previously obtained Defense Department equal opportunity training materials that depict conservative organizations as “hate groups” and advise students to be aware that “many extremists will talk of individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place.” And last month, Judicial Watch uncovered Air Force Academy documents that show how the Academy used its “Chapel Tithes and Offering Fund” to pay for cadets to participate in worship services featuring witchcraft, “Faery Magick,” and voodoo.
“Outrageous – that is the only word to describe this type of raw racist indoctrination,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Obama administration undermines the morale of our military with morally repugnant ‘equal opportunity training’ that makes many soldiers feel unwelcome because they are the wrong sex, race, religion or aren’t part of a politically correct group.”
NGOs caught forging documents for war, insider warns all NGOs infiltrated; ‘Independent military observers’ for EU-based group OSCE again turned away in Crimea, OSCE branded one more ‘vulgar instrument’ for foreign interests; and CNN buys the latest State Department hoax.
How Western NGOs Spearhead Coups Around the World
Sun, 09 Mar 2014 18:17:00 GMT
Today the DOW is up over 200 points…the MSM talking point is “Putin stands down”. Yesterday the DOW was down 160 points…the MSM talking point “Putin to invade the Ukraine”.
Last week it was the Fed that moved the market…the week before it was the employment numbers…tomorrow it will be the Fed again…next week it will be the Putin again…the week after that the weather…the week after that some other totally irrelevant event.
In reality…it’s all controlled on a computer program in the basement of the US Treasury. It has been since the 1960’s. Every move, every tick, every boom, every bust…programmed into a computer and with a click of a mouse the markets go where they are programmed to go. Then they invent the story of WHY the market moved and the Sheeple swallow the whole thing hook, line and sinker.
Computer market rigging is easy to prove. The proof is in the VOLUMES of trade. Every few days the total amount of shares issued by a public company for each individual stock is “traded”. All of it…every few days. Sometimes there are days when the entire float trades in a single day, in a single hour, in a single millisecond!
Same goes for gold and silver. Well over 100 Billion electronic “ounces” of silver are traded on the COMEX and LBMA every year.
100 BILLION OUNCES!!
It’s a con my friends. And it has sucked 99.9% of the population in and it CONTROLS us beyond any other method of emotional control. You can’t help it. When Silver goes up 5% in a day you jump for joy thinking “THIS IS IT!”. When it dives 10% you think “THOSE DAMN MARKET RIGGERS!”
It is a ride that “they” control. They manage. They manipulate,
Currently, the gold and silver markets are steered by Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew. His agenda for your emotions since he took office in Feb 2013 has been DESTROY HOPE. Keep pressing down the prices until there is nobody left to be bullish…and then press them down some more. Press the prices down all the way to the END.
But then it does END. Everything ends my friends so you’d better be ready for it. The end of silver and gold manipulation has consequences and that’s when you want to be positioned properly. Positioned for the END GAME. My advice has always been…be the last man standing with physical gold and silver in your own possession. Everything else will be washed out to sea with the Derivative Monsoon!
On the Road to Roota I’ve shown you WHO started this computer rigging game. I explained their intent to drag it on for as long as possible. I’ve showed you how the end will come. And finally…I’ve showed you what is planned to take it’s place.
The destruction of the global financial system is unavoidable but losing everything is not.
Prepare now for the end of manipulation – the end of the fiat system.
The end of “their” control of us is approaching fast.
May the Road you choose be the Right Road.