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The Economy => SOLUTIONS! => Topic started by: Geolibertarian on August 24, 2010, 09:34:08 am

Title: How do we eliminate the paradox of poverty & privation amid plenty & abundance?
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 24, 2010, 09:34:08 am
There are many knowledgeable and well-meaning reformers -- most notably Webster Tarpley ( -- who maintain that the solution to the worsening levels of lower class poverty and middle class privation is for everyone to “produce” more.

Yet that is exactly what the hard-working people of this country have done for the past several decades. So much so, in fact, that by early 2008 worker productivity ( was triple what it was in the mid-1950s:

------------------------------------- (

If productivity has tripled, why are we working ever longer hours?

By Richard Clark
January 9, 2008

More specifically, if worker productivity has tripled in the last 53 years, why are Americans working longer hours ( than any time since 1938?

Yes, it’s true:  U.S. labor productivity has tripled over the last 53 years.

Source: (

Even more remarkably, productivity in Denmark has tripled over the last 40 years: (

One might respond to the title question by simply answering that Americans have chosen to enjoy more consumer goods than ever before.  Most of our homes are considerably larger than they were in the mid-to-late 1950s, and our automobiles have much greater quality, durability and life expectancy.  In addition, the amount of home electronics and appliances most of us possess is many times larger than what we had access to back then.  So what’s the beef?
The ‘beef’ is that a growing majority of Americans have real incomes that purchase less housing, less college education, and less health care than they did 40 or 50 years ago.  Until very recently, the minimum wage purchased less, generally, than it did 30 years ago, and still purchases less in the way of basic goods and services like health care, college education, and housing.  Working class couples now work (both of them) so as to be able to make mortgage payments on houses that were once paid for by one person, the head of the family.  This was 40 years ago – back in the days when physicians would come to your home if you were sick, and college tuition was much less than today.

[Continued… (]


Yet despite this productivity surge, wealth and income were -- and continue to be -- concentrated in the hands of the top 20 percent ( at a level not seen since at least the 1920s (if not since the Gilded Age ( about which Austrian School ( cranks love to wax nostalgic).

And, perhaps more importantly -- particularly from the point of view of family life and child rearing, -- most wage-earners were, and are, having to spend more time at work instead of less just to make ends meet (as both the above article and the following two explain): ( (             

Now, I think most will agree that, if workers are producing three times more than they were in the mid-1950s, then, all else being equal, they should be able to earn the same real income in less than half the time -- and thereby enjoy a (horror of horrors!) “leisure dividend.” Yet all else is clearly not equal, which means someone else got the difference.

Who is that someone else?

Not just one person, obviously, but rather a segment of the population composed of people who, through the use of various privileges (see this (, this ( and this ( are able to extract enormous amounts of wealth and income from the economy each year while rendering in return either no commensurate “service” or, worse, an actual disservice.

An obvious case in point is our debt-based money system (, which allows private bankers to extract countless billions in usurious interest ( from the economy each year in exchange for the nothing out of which they create the “money” they loan.

Of at least equal import, however, is our anti-labor ( speculation ( tax system, which parasitizes workers both by

* levying crippling tolls on wages, sales, houses and capital goods, mostly so corrupt politicians can use the revenue thus generated to fund the numerous disservices they gleefully impose -- including the “six basic functions (,327.0.html)” of compulsory government schooling, the horribly destructive and ridiculously hypocritical drug war (, Soviet-style surveillance ( of “We the People,” Nazi-style police state thuggery (, and imperialist (, terroristic (, hornets’ nest-stirring ( wars of aggression; and by

* allowing what is, in effect -- and in the words of economist Fred Foldvary, -- a “forced transfer of wealth from workers to landowners (” (see this ( and this (,333.0.html)).

Those two systems, i.e., our money system and tax system, are undoubtedly the two primary reasons for the alarming wealth and income disparities in this country (not to mention other countries) -- disparities that are so large and so destructive to the very fabric of society, they have us on the verge of a hellish new Dark Ages.

Two secondary, though far from insignificant, reasons are (a) a rigged, privilege ( regulatory system that (mostly through prohibitively high “licensing (” barriers and overextended “patent (” protection, and with the aid of court-protected “corporate personhood (”) gives rise to an economy dominated by price-gouging cartels and oligopolies, and (b) a corporatist trade policy ( that -- with the aid of subsidies and favored tax treatment afforded by bought-off politicians to select corporations -- gives rise to a retail sector dominated by slave goods (http://walmar****, small business-destroying corporate retail chains.

Having identified the underlying causes of our present trouble, the question arises as to what the best solutions are.

The Austrian School (,395.msg1218.html#msg1218) approach is a non-solution at best, because it involves allowing the ever-worsening economic collapse to simply “run its course,” which means sheepishly letting the very bankers who engineered this collapse in the first place foreclose ( on everyone, even though they (the bankers) gave no lawful consideration (,379.msg1155.html#msg1155) for any of the collateral-backed IOUs they accepted in exchange for the non-existent "money" loaned! And if that weren’t bad enough, it also involves adding insult to injury by euphemistically (,401.0.html) characterizing this parasitic transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to filthy-rich oligarchs as a mere case of “market forces” imposing a just and necessary “correction” on the economy (implying thereby that to politically interfere with this divine “correction” in any way would be to wage a blasphemous assault on “liberty” and the “free market").

The Keynesian ( approach of establishment politicians is also a non-solution at best, because it mostly involves perpetuating the very economic policies (particularly our debt-based money system and backwards tax system) that got us into this mess in the first place.

This brings us back to Webster Tarpley, who advocates the so-called “American System” of political economy (see this ( and this ( as not only a far preferable alternative to both the Austrian School and Keynesian School, but as the “only” alternative worthy of consideration.

Now, as much as I like and admire Mr. Tarpley, and as much as I enjoy and agree with his scathing critiques of the Austrian School, I nevertheless think he is sadly off the mark when he suggests that the solution to involuntary poverty and privation is merely to increase “production” on a mass scale, and in the particular style of FDR’s New Deal ( This seems to imply that the reason so many Americans lack the wealth ( they need is that there’s a shortage of wealth. Yet this is simply not the case, as a trip to virtually any nearby supermarket, shopping mall or car lot will illustrate.

What most people lack is the money with which to buy that wealth. And, as explained above, this is due to the combined effect of our parasitic money system, backwards tax system, oligopoly-creating regulatory system and race-to-the-bottom trade policy.

If the socioeconomic structure that currently underlies all economic activity is such that the bulk of the returns on new production is always appropriated ( by the top 20% (, then increasing production will only enrich the top 20% that much further while leaving everyone else either little or no better off than before.

Thus, even if we all agree with Mr. Tarpley that the American School ( of economics is superior to what either the Austrians or Keynesians have to offer, that doesn’t mean it can’t be greatly improved upon. On the contrary, not only “can” it be improved, it must be if we are to avoid repeating in the future the same old mistakes and failures of the past.

It’s not enough, for instance, that we have higher production levels, and hence (presumably) higher wages and lower unemployment. We must also have a tax system (,333.0.html) that

(a) puts everyone on a level economic playing field with regard to land ( (the only alternative to this being a system that -- irrespective of “production” -- eventually gives rise to an overprivileged class of landed aristocrats (, on the one hand, and an underprivileged class of landless peasants (, on the other -- with perhaps a relatively small “middle class” consisting mostly of bureaucrats, prison guards, and militarized goons-for-hire to keep the peasants in line); and

(b) doesn’t penalize or discourage any of the wealth-producing activity which occurs on that playing field (in other words, one that doesn’t tax wages, sales, houses or capital goods; only land values (,333.0.html)).

We must have a monetary system (,379.0.html) that provides not only an adequate money supply, but a permanent money supply that exists independently of debt, thus making money our servant for a change instead of our master.

We must have a regulatory system that penalizes and discourages fraud, but which does not -- in the name of protecting consumers from fraud (but for the actual underlying purpose of protecting politically-connected businesses from competition) -- effectively criminalize the very sort of grassroots entrepreneurship that would otherwise allow poor families and communities to produce their way out of poverty.

We must have a non-corporatist trade policy that allows for genuine free trade (,608.0.html) instead of the corporate-managed trade we have now (see this (, this ( and this (

And last but certainly not least, we must have a Guaranteed Income below which no one can ever fall; and we need for it to be funded not from a tax on the very productive activities that generate monetary “income” in the first place, but from both our national credit and the economic rent of land (more on this here (,374.0.html)).

Once all those reform measures are fully implemented, only then will “poverty amidst plenty” truly be a thing of the past. Indeed, not only will poverty be nonexistent, so too will middle class privation in all its current degrees and variants. No longer will it be necessary, as it is now in most cases, for both parents to work just to make ends meet. Nor will it any longer be necessary for relatively low-skilled wage-earners to spend all or most of their working lives living “paycheck to paycheck” -- working spirit-crushing “dead end jobs,” just to survive.

Title: Re: How do we eliminate the paradox of poverty & privation amid plenty & abundance?
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 24, 2010, 09:35:36 am
Earlier this year an online debate, of sorts, arose between Austrian School enthusiast Jacob Hornberger of the Future of Freedom Foundation and “liberal” John Sumner of Daily Kos.

The debate was sparked by an article from Mr. Hornberger entitled, “Liberal Delusions about Freedom.” In response to this Mr. Sumner wrote the article, "What Conservatives Mean When They Say ‘Libertarian,’" which quickly evoked a rather scathing -- and at times sophomoric -- follow-up article by Hornberger (who is clearly obsessed with propagating and reinforcing the ridiculously false Austrian School “capitalism”-vs.-Marxist “socialism” (,395.0.html) paradigm) entitled, “Economic Ignorance and Liberal Hypocrisy.”

Since the issues raised in this debate bear directly on the subject matter of this thread, and since it’s only appropriate that both sides be fairly represented, I thought I’d post all three articles here before weighing in with thoughts of my own.

Beginning first with Mr. Hornberger’s initial article:

------------------------------------- (

Liberal Delusions About Freedom

Jacob Hornberger
Campaign For Liberty
March 10, 2010

To combat the town-hall protests that sprang up around the nation against President Obama’s health-care plan, one of the favorite tactics employed by liberals was to question the sanity of the protesters. Anyone who showed up at such meetings angrily protesting Obama’s plan to socialize medicine was termed a crazy.

That was especially true if a protester happened to be combining freedom of speech with the right to bear arms, as some protesters in New Hampshire and Arizona did. That drove liberals up the wall, given their deep antipathy toward gun rights and the Second Amendment.

But who really are the crazies around here? Let’s examine the issue. Among the points that liberals made to buttress their claim that the protesters were crazy was the comparison that some of the protesters made between Obama’s economic philosophy and that of the National Socialists under Hitler.

Indeed, according to the liberals, the notion that Obama’s plan for America was socialistic was itself just crazy. After all, everyone knows that America has a free-enterprise system, one that was saved by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, an economic program that Obama, like other liberals, extols and wishes to build upon.

Yet, let’s analyze that comparison that some of the protesters were making and the insanity and irrationality that liberals claim it represents. I believe we’ll find that when it comes to sanity and rationality, those protesters had a much firmer grip on reality than the liberals who are criticizing them.


First of all, let’s talk about the economic system that existed in the United States from the inception of the nation to the latter part of the 19th century. The principles are simple to enumerate: No income taxation (except during the Civil War), Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, economic regulations, licensure laws, drug laws, immigration controls, or coercive transfer programs, such as farm subsidies and education grants.

There was no federal department of labor, agriculture, commerce, education, energy, health and human services, or homeland security. There was no SEC, DEA, FEMA, OSHA, or EPA.

There was no Federal Reserve System and no paper money or legal-tender laws (except during the Civil War). People used gold and silver coins as money.

There were no foreign military bases and no involvement in foreign wars. The size of the military was small.

Now, I ask you a simple question: Does that way of life resemble even in the remotest way the way of life under which Americans live today? Of course it doesn’t, because the way of life under which we live today is precisely opposite to that under which our American ancestors lived. Today’s Americans do live under all those programs, departments, and agencies, and principles that were absent during the first 125 years or so of American history.

Why is this important? Because both sets of Americans — our ancestors and Americans living today — operate under the same assumption when it comes to freedom. Our ancestors prided themselves as a free people. But modern-day Americans pride themselves on being free, too.

But how likely is it that people who live under economic and political philosophies and programs that are contradictory to one another can both be free? Not very likely at all! In fact, the likelihood is that one of them is suffering a very serious case of self-deception and self-delusion bordering on what psychiatrists might call psychosis.

American freedom

Why did early Americans consider themselves free? The answer is rooted in the principles enunciated in the Declaration of Independence. As Thomas Jefferson observed in that document, people have been endowed by their Creator with certain fundamental and inherent rights. These include, but are certainly not limited to, the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The reason that people call government into existence is to protect the exercise of such rights. But Jefferson recognized that sometimes government becomes worse than the murderers, rapists, thieves, invaders, and marauders that it is supposed to protect the people from. In such a case, it is the right of the people to alter or even abolish the government and institute new government. Since violent revolutions inevitably involve massive death and destruction, Jefferson observed that people will often choose to put up with lots of tyranny before they finally decide to revolt.

A critical question arises: What do the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness connote?

For our American ancestors, such rights meant more than the absence of physical constraint, e.g., not being incarcerated in jail.

Freedom also meant the right to criticize government officials and protest their actions without being punished for it.

It meant the right to worship, each in his own way, or, on the other hand, not to worship at all.

It meant the right to keep and bear arms, not only as a protection against criminals and invaders but also to ensure that the right to resist tyranny was retained by the people.

It meant the protection of centuries-old procedures in the event of federal criminal prosecutions, including habeas corpus, right to counsel, trial by jury, bail, due process of law, and protection from coerced confessions, unreasonable searches, and cruel and unusual punishments.

To our ancestors, however, freedom meant even more than that, and there arises the rub with today’s liberals. Freedom, our ancestors maintained, also meant the right to keep everything you owned and to decide for yourself what to do with it. Everyone had the right, they contended, to pursue an occupation or trade without seeking the permission of the government. They had the right to enter into mutually beneficial trades with others who were doing the same thing. They had the right to accumulate unlimited amounts of wealth as part of that process. They had the right to decide for themselves what to do with their own money — spend, save, invest, speculate, or whatever. They, not the government, were responsible for how they lived their lives and how they used their money. For our American ancestors, freedom entailed the right to handle their own retirement, health care, food, clothing, transportation, charity, and other parts of everyday life.

Now obviously that’s precisely opposite to what today’s liberals believe. They say that freedom entails the power of government to take whatever portion of a person’s income or wealth it deems appropriate and give the money to people who government officials feel need it more. They say that freedom entails the power of government to require people to secure governmental permission before engaging in many occupations and trades. They say that freedom entails the power of government to control and regulate the trades that people make with others. They say that freedom entails the power of government to take care of people, especially with respect to retirement, health care, unemployment compensation, housing, and welfare.

American socialism

How did liberals arrive at a conception of freedom that is so different from that which our American ancestors had? A clue lies in the comparison that people were making between Obama’s economic philosophy and that of the National Socialists in Germany.

Take a look at this URL: ( There you will see an engraving. It is not an engraving of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, or any of the Founding Fathers. Instead it is an engraving of Otto von Bismarck, who served as chancellor of Germany from 1862 to 1890.

You may have noticed that the URL has the letters “” in it. That is the Internet domain name for the U.S. Social Security Administration.

You might then ask, What in the world is the U.S. government doing glorifying a chancellor of Germany rather than America’s Founding Fathers?

The answer is provided on the SSA’s website itself: Bismarck was the world’s first political ruler to adopt a social security program. On that web page, the SSA states, “Despite his impeccable right-wing credentials, Bismarck would be called a socialist for introducing these programs, as would President Roosevelt 70 years later. In his own speech to the Reichstag during the 1881 debates, Bismarck would reply: ‘Call it socialism or whatever you like. It is the same to me.’”

In mocking that claim of socialism, however, what the SSA doesn’t tell you is where Bismarck got the idea of social security and, for that matter, the whole idea of a paternalistic welfare state. He got the idea from German socialist intellectuals, who saw social security as an ideal way to use the state to implement the Marxian principle “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

As the years went on, the German people became accustomed to having the government care for them, with their own money of course. Thus, by the time that Hitler became chancellor of Germany, the paternalistic welfare state had become a permanent feature of German life. Given Hitler’s devotion to National Socialism (abbreviated by the term “Nazi”), it was hardly surprising that he embraced such socialist programs as social security, national health care, and public (i.e., government) schooling.

In fact, Hitler embraced not only socialism but also fascism, an economic philosophy that leaves property in private hands but subjects it to government control and regulation. Another feature of Hitler’s fascism was partnerships between government and private industry, whose aims were to further the interests of the nation.

As Jonah Goldberg points out in his book Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning, in principle there was no difference between socialists and fascists, notwithstanding historical animosity between the two groups. They shared a deep antipathy toward economic liberty, the free market, and private property. They shared a commitment to the socialist and fascist concepts of government ownership or control of the means or results of production, albeit in different variations and degrees.

That brings us to Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal. For decades, and especially in the public schools and the state-supported colleges and universities across America, officials have indoctrinated American students with the notion that Roosevelt’s New Deal was nothing more than a series of government programs that saved America’s free-enterprise system. The idea is that free enterprise failed and caused the Great Depression and that all that Roosevelt did was to save the system by adopting needed free-market “reforms.”

Living a lie

It would be difficult to find a better example of a life of the lie and a denial of realty than that. For what Roosevelt actually did was adopt the principles of socialism and fascism that were spreading across the world, including the premier examples of Benito Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany.

After all, ask yourself: How can social security be a socialist program in Germany and, at the same time, a free-enterprise program in the United States? How can programs that entail government control over business and industry and government-business partnerships be fascism in Italy and Germany and, at the same time, be free enterprise in the United States?

Consider the thesis of another book, Three New Deals: Reflections on Roosevelt’s America, Mussolini’s Italy, and Hitler’s Germany, 1933-1939, by Wolfgang Schivelbusch, a book that the Minneapolis Star-Tribune called “controversial, well written, and convincing.” It is a scholarly comparison of Hitler’s socialism, Mussolini’s fascism, and Roosevelt’s New Deal.

Schivelbusch carefully draws the parallels between the economic programs of Hitler, Mussolini, and Roosevelt, and anyone who reads his book is left with but one conclusion: Roosevelt’s New Deal was not free enterprise at all, as liberals have maintained for decades. Instead, it constituted a wholesale abandonment of the principles of economic liberty, free markets, and private property that had guided the United States for more than a hundred years.

A close examination of the programs that Roosevelt adopted reflects that they were no different in principle from those of Mussolini and Hitler. Social Security was based on the socialist principle of forcibly taking money from one group of people and giving it to another group. Mortgage moratorium laws entailed government interference with private contracts. The National Industrial Recovery Act converted American industry into cartels, with the power to set their own prices.

Moreover, just as Mussolini and Hitler were doing in their countries, Roosevelt resorted to propaganda and intimidation to effect compliance and conformity with his programs. That’s what his “Blue Eagle” was all about — a means by which federal officials could threaten and bludgeon American businessmen to get onboard Roosevelt’s new world order. It was also what Roosevelt’s infamous court-packing scheme was all about — to intimidate the Supreme Court into ceasing to declare his alien programs unconstitutional.

Is it surprising, then, that Hitler, the chancellor of Germany, expressed admiration for what Roosevelt was doing and how he was doing it in the United States? Not at all. Was it surprising that Winston Churchill expressed admiration for Hitler’s “New Deal”? Not at all. Was it unusual that officials in the Roosevelt administration admired Benito Mussolini for his fascism and Joseph Stalin for his socialism? Not at all.

But through it all, the lie and the denial of reality have been steadfastly maintained. From the first grade on up through college, American students are ingrained with the idea that America’s economic system is — and always will be — a free-enterprise system and that the paternalistic welfare state and controlled economy are simply needed modifications and reforms of that system.

Is it any surprise, then, that liberals feel so threatened by people who are exposing this life of the lie and this denial of reality? In a sense, such people are therapists. Through their exposition of truth, they are causing liberals to face reality, which, as the eminent late psychiatrist M. Scott Peck pointed out in his book The Road Less Traveled, is a necessary precondition to a healthy mindset.

You see, the liberal notion is that as long as people believe a lie, then everything will be okay. Sure, socialism has failed all over the world, but Americans don’t need to worry because they haven’t adopted socialism. When the programs move into chaos and crisis, it’s not that socialism has failed; it’s that free enterprise has failed, again. Thus, all that’s needed is more “reform” to further save “free enterprise.”

Then, along come people speaking the truth, pointing out that this is all sheer nonsense. What is failing are the socialistic welfare programs, the ones that have their roots in Roosevelt’s New Deal and, going back even further, to Bismarck’s Germany.

What is needed to restore a healthy society to America? The most important thing Americans need to do is get a grip on reality with respect to the type of socialist economic system that liberals have imported to their land.

Once people are ready to acknowledge the socialism that the United States has embraced, then there can be a real debate, one that focuses on whether America should continue going down the socialist road or whether the time has come to cast America’s disastrous experiment with socialism into the dustbin of history and restore its heritage of economic liberty, free markets, and private property to our land.


Title: Re: How do we eliminate the paradox of poverty & privation amid plenty & abundance?
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 24, 2010, 09:36:15 am (

What Conservatives Mean When They Say "Libertarian"
by Devilstower
Daily Kos
April 18, 2010

It took the Republican Party sixty years of dedicated effort to make the word "liberal" radioactive in some parts of the United States. In less than half that time they've also done a pretty good job of making "Republican" just as disliked, associated as it is with the politics of wretched excess, fetishizing ignorance, bowing to K street lobbyists, and diaper-wearing-toe-tapping-lesbian-bondage sexual hypocrisy.

So lately conservatives, and especially the most hard right wing of conservatives, have been on the lookout for other terms they can use rather than the dreaded "R" word when describing themselves. Some of them have jumped on board the Glenn Beck self-promotion tour. Considering that it's an artificial movement generated around a cheap media persona, declaring yourself a supporter of the Tea Party is a bit like being a proud member of a Monkees Fan Club (and you don't even get to hear "Last Train to Clarksville"), but hey, it plays better than being a part of the George W. Bush legacy.

Other conservatives have jumped in a different direction and declared that they're really "small government Libertarians." Only they don't seem to understand what Libertarian actually means. Take for example this article ( in which Jacob Hornberger anoints 1880 as the peak of America's Libertarian golden age.

    Let’s consider, say, the year 1880. Here was a society in which people were free to keep everything they earned, because there was no income tax. They were also free to decide what to do with their own money—spend it, save it, invest it, donate it, or whatever. People were generally free to engage in occupations and professions without a license or permit. There were few federal economic regulations and regulatory agencies. No Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, bailouts, or so-called stimulus plans. No IRS. No Departments of Education, Energy, Agriculture, Commerce, and Labor. No EPA and OSHA. No Federal Reserve. No drug laws. Few systems of public schooling. No immigration controls. No federal minimum-wage laws or price controls. A monetary system based on gold and silver coins rather than paper money. No slavery. No CIA. No FBI. No torture or cruel or unusual punishments. No renditions. No overseas military empire. No military-industrial complex.

    As a libertarian, as far as I’m concerned, that’s a society that is pretty darned golden.

Ah, the 1880s. I can hear people getting wistful from here.

A golden age in which people kept all that they earned. Of course, what they earned in the absence of those debilitating minimum wage laws could be nothing more than worthless tokens from the company store. What they earned from twelve hours of work seven days a week could be actually be a bigger debt to the company that sent you into a mine or factory and made you pay for the wear on your tools, the water you drank, the fuel for your lamp, even the blasting powder you used.

Still, a lifetime of debt wasn't so bad in a golden age without OSHA and its safety laws, since lifetimes could be quite brief. Mining accidents didn't kill a piddling 29 men, they killed thousands every year. Over 3 miners out of every 1,000 died on the job each year (twice the rate of Great Britain with it's freedom-robbing concern for safety). But miners were pikers compared to folks on the railroad. Trainmen fell at a rate that made each year of work roughly equal to the risk of being among the troops on D-Day. Now that's freedom you can feel (well, briefly). It was an age where any construction project worth its salt could measure progress by body count and factory workers were privileged to know that they really were valued far less than the machines they tended. And death wasn't all that this golden age had to offer! It was an age when American workers could look forward to the liberation of being disabled for life, and know that they wouldn't be burdened by the crushing burden of worker's compensation or government aid.

Any laborer making it to to retirement would find... well, whatever they had laid aside for themselves, assuming they were paid in actual money and that they were cagey enough to hide it somewhere their employer couldn't "borrow" it. Meaning that a large percentage got to experience the invigorating freedom of starting a second career as a beggar after decades of crippling repetitive work, breathing toxic fumes, and exposure to corrosive chemicals made them unable to continue to hum hi-ho at their old tasks. Well over half of America's senior citizens basked in the autumnal liberty of living in poverty.

It was a golden age without labor laws in which only 5% of people faced the awful restriction of an 8 hour work day while 3 times that many were blessed with a workday that was 12 hours or longer. Many industries, breweries for example, had a standard workday of 15 hours. And with all the extra freedom of that age, many children were able to experience the blessings of back-breaking labor starting every day by the time they reached the age of 10, with more than a third generating freedom dollars before they turned 15.

Of course, that wasn't hard since this was a golden age of few public schools. Except it wasn't. Public education was common across the country, even in remote communities. Even the tiniest frontier village rarely went long without a school, many states had organized school districts, and in a good number of areas the ratio of teachers to students was actually higher than in our own socialistic era. Perhaps what Hornberger meant to say was that there were few schools available to minorities. In many areas minorities lived with "compulsory ignorance," as they were not only excluded from public schools, but discouraged (often violently) from seeking education. That accounts for a literacy rate of less than 40% among African-Americans in 1880. As laws changed and more schools became available for all, that rate grew by more than 30% over the next three decades. However, white literacy remained about the same -- not surprising since whites were already suffering from those socialistic public schools well before 1880.

It truly was a golden age. One in which, thanks to that lack of nasty safety requirements and the troublesome health organizations, the average lifespan was all the way up to 40! An age in which, unfettered by the shackles of regulations on clean water and Hitler-like restrictions on sewage, 50,000 Americans died of cholera. An age in which parents could experience the ultimate freedom endowed by watching 1 child in 5 die in infancy, and 1 out of 3 fail to reach adulthood. Those numbers are for white Americans. Minorities experienced even more of the freedom that comes from burying your children.

It truly was a golden age where there were "no immigration controls" as long as, you know, you were white and European. Oh, and wealthy. Otherwise, you were subject to laws like the Chinese Exclusion Act, or regulations that allowed anyone to be denied admission on the basis of poverty. Once you were in, you could love the freedom from Jim Crow laws, and the liberty that came with being denied to right to vote, or the ability to protect yourself from abuse. Of course Hispanic, Black, and Asian-Americans were all stimulated by the freedom that comes from having your home burned, your community ransacked, your wife and daughters raped, your belongings stolen, and your body left to turn as "strange fruit" in trees that sprouted across the country. All without un-American interference by the government. There's no freedom like the freedom that comes when you aren't forced to endure a trial by a jury of your peers and can get on with more expedited forms of justice.

It was a golden age when the last bands of Native Americans still struggling along under the illusion that they were free, were invited into the real liberty that is life on the reservation. And an age where they got to see the lands their ancestors had occupied for centuries or tens of centuries handed over for destruction. Imagine the liberty you get from seeing your lands taken away, your children beaten for speaking their own language, your religious practices used as an excuse for slaughter, and your entire culture erased.

A golden age, free from money-grubbing FEMA, where 400 people could die in a snow storm... then 400 more could die in the next. An age when Florida didn't need no stinking assistance in picking up the thousands who died in hurricanes and Midwestern states laughed off the hundreds who died in tornadoes -- all without warning from a communist government weather bureau.  An age where dams could be built without concern for any damn fish living in the water, or any damn people living downstream. An age where you were free to inhale the asbestos that wafted from factories and the mercury fumes that steamed from metal refineries. And free to see the interesting effects such exposures had on your offspring.

An age without communist limits on commerce or immoral government tests, where thousands of Americans each year died from tainted food. Where you didn't need no stinkin' license to hand out medicines. An age free from the horrors of the FDA where parents could feel good about using a childrens' cough remedy laced with opium, ****, formaldehyde, and wood alcohol. An age when nobody told us how much lead we could have in our water, or how much soot we could have in our air. An age where the injured and elderly had the God-given right to starve.

It was a golden age of rights for women in which... oh, wait. Sorry. I forgot for a moment that women don't count when measuring freedom. Good thing, since in 1880 they couldn't vote, were excluded from many occupations, faced restrictions on their ownership rights, and were often treated as the property of their husbands. Naturally, their reproductive rights consisted of the right to reproduce -- or die trying.

Of course, what Hornberger was likely envisioning was the flip side of all this liberty. The freedom of being a rich in a society where those with money enjoyed tremendous advantage. The freedom that factory owners and robber barons enjoyed in treating workers as they wanted, employing private armies to beat or kill those who opposed them, and indulging any whim in the sure knowledge that a large enough bribe could smooth things over.

The good news for Jacob is that it's not too late. It doesn't require a time machine and a trip to the 1880s to experience all the joys of this golden age he so longs for. You can reach this land of paradise with a couple of flights and a short boat ride. It's called Somalia.

The truth is, there are real Libertarians out there, people who place a very high value on individual rights and who believe this government -- like most every government -- too often interferes with those rights. Of course, actual Libertarians realize that for individual rights to have any meaning, they require the presence of a body that can ensure those rights.  They know that freedom can't be maintained in an absence of information, and that there must be agencies that create the transparency needed for effective individual action and ensure there are consequences to dishonesty. Real advocates of the free market realize that term has no meaning unless the market is free from coercion and the law is not defined by "might makes right." They know that individual freedoms are incompatible with a system where corporations are treated as super-citizens and that Libertarianism requires that workers be more valued that abstract entities that live only on paper.

The difference between actual Libertarians and Republicans hiding from their tarnished name is quite easy. Actual Libertarians are concerned about the freedom of individuals. Conservatives use Libertarian as a code word meaning "I want to continue to enjoy all the privileges I do now, but I don't want to share them with you and most of all I don't want to pay any taxes." Push come to shove, they're happy to abbreviate that to "Screw freedom. I just don't want to pay taxes."

Title: Re: How do we eliminate the paradox of poverty & privation amid plenty & abundance?
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 24, 2010, 09:36:47 am (

Economic Ignorance and Liberal Hypocrisy

Jacob Hornberger
Campaign For Liberty
April 24, 2010

A liberal named John Sumner, who goes by the pseudonym Devilstower, has weighed into the debate originally inspired by my article “Liberal Delusions about Freedom.” Sumner’s article, “What Conservatives Mean When They Say ‘Libertarian’,” which appeared yesterday on the liberal website, reveals a lot about the liberal mindset as well as the reasons why America today is suffering so many economic woes.

Sumner takes me to task for singing the praises of our American ancestors, who chose a federal government without such statist programs as income taxation, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, public (i.e., government) schooling, food stamps, corporate bailouts, foreign aid, a central bank, paper money, drug laws, and many, many more.

Sumner thinks that that type of society was absolutely horrible and cites the terrible things that were taking place in the United States in 1880, the year I pointed to in my article “Up from Serfdom (” Sumner’s response contains all the standard stuff that has long been taught in America’s government-approved schools, where Sumner just happens to work as a substitute teacher.

You know, like the stuff that suggests that our American ancestors hated their wives and children, as reflected in their sending them into dangerous factories to work long hours. You know, like the stuff that suggests that liberals love the poor, needy, and disadvantaged while advocates of the free market just love the rich, greedy, and selfish people in life. You know, like the stuff that suggests that without the coercive apparatus of the welfare state, poor people and old people would just be dying in the streets.

As I have long pointed out, the problem with liberals is their dismally poor understanding of economics, and Sumner’s article is just the most recent example of this phenomenon.

Permit me to explain why.

In their purported concern for the poor, liberals never ask the important question: What is it that causes wealth and prosperity to come into existence? The only question they ask themselves is, “What is the cause of poverty”?

But the latter is a ridiculous question because poverty has always been the natural state of mankind. Throughout history, most people have been poor.

Thus, the real question is: What are the causes of wealth? What is it that enables societies to break free of the chains of poverty? Why are some societies wealthier than others?

You would think that those would be important questions for a liberal, especially since liberals have long purported to be concerned about the poor.

Alas, those questions are unimportant to liberals. Sumner, not surprisingly, doesn’t raise the questions either.

Instead, he points out all the bad things that were taking place in, say 1880, and then concludes that all those statist programs that our American ancestors rejected, and which are so beloved to Sumner, should be embraced. In other words, he’s suggesting that the absence of the statist programs is the cause of the bad living conditions in American society that he laments. But his logic and his conclusions are faulty and fallacious.

No one denies that economic conditions were bad for many people in 1880. No question about it. No dispute there.

But in focusing on those bad conditions, Sumner makes a common mistake. He is comparing those conditions to conditions in which we live today or at least to some sort of ideal economic utopia. In doing that, he misses the important point, which is this: What were conditions for ordinary people prior to the Industrial Revolution? Answer: As Hobbes put it, life was nasty, brutish, and short — that is, much, much worse than it was in 1880 America.

As bad as things were in 1880 America, it was a golden era compared to the pre-industrial age. This point was made as long ago as 1954 in a book entitled Capitalism and the Historians, which was edited by libertarian Nobel Prize-winning economist Friedrich Hayek. As Austrian economist Murray Rothbard stated, “Hayek contributed to and edited a series of essays that showed conclusively that the Industrial Revolution in England, spurred by a roughly free-market economy, enormously improved rather than crippled the standard of living of the average consumer and worker in England. In this way, Hayek led the way in shattering one of the most widespread socialist myths about the Industrial Revolution.”

So, does that help clarify why I would refer to 1880 as a golden era? Not because of the bad things that were still existing (duh!) but rather because for the first time in history, massive numbers of poor people actually had a decent chance to survive and even prosper. In fact, in the 1880s there are countless stories of poor people actually becoming wealthy people! Imagine that!

And why was this so? That’s the critical question, the one that liberals never ask. They just assume that wealth is a given, that there is this big economic pie, and that the state should confiscate the pie and redistribute it in the interests of making everyone have an equal share of the pie. What liberals fail to recognize, however, is that in doing so, they begin a process that ends up condemning people to a life of massive poverty, starvation, famines, and short life spans that characterized the pre-industrial age.

To explain why I consider 1880 to be a golden era, especially for the poor, let’s consider a modern-day example, one that a good liberal like John Sumner would consider to be a model society: the socialist paradise of North Korea. In that country, everyone is equal in terms of economic condition. The state owns everything, and everyone works for the state. There are no profits, speculators, or entrepreneurs. Greed and selfishness have been stamped out of society. Total government ownership and total government control. Everyone works for the benefit of the collective.

In other words, a liberal dream!

Oh, did I mention that there is also horrific poverty, famine, and starvation in North Korea? Let’s assume, just for the sake of argumentation, that each year some 10 percent of the North Korean population is dying from malnutrition or illness.

Now, suppose we asked Sumner to give us his recommendation for ending poverty in North Korea. What would he say? He would say: “Adopt a welfare state and a controlled economy! Create bureaucratic departments, modeled on the IRS and U.S. welfare agencies, whose job it is to confiscate wealth from the rich and give it to the poor!”

Do you see the problem though? Sumner would be doing what liberals always do: they assume that there is a pie of wealth to confiscate and redistribute. That’s their solution to ending poverty. But he would be missing the obvious point: They already have total socialism in North Korea, which is precisely why there is no pie for Sumner to confiscate and redistribute. Everyone has nothing.

So, obviously the standard liberal statist solution for ending poverty isn’t going to work in our North Korea hypothetical. Instead, we have come up with another solution.

Let’s try a free-market-oriented solution, similar to the one that our American ancestors adopted and embraced. (I say “oriented” because freedom isn’t really freedom when government is permitting people to exercise it.) Let’s assume that the North Korea authorities place 60 percent of the land and buildings in North Korea under private ownership. They also enact a law that permits 60 percent of the North Korean populace to engage in any economic enterprise they want, without any permission or interference from the state. The people in that sector will be free to engage in any mutually beneficial exchange with anyone in the world. There will be no income tax, and people will be free to accumulate unlimited amounts of wealth. There will be no economic regulations whatsoever, including price controls, minimum-wage laws, and anti-speculation laws. There will be no Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or any other government welfare plan. No central bank and no paper money; the market will determine the media of exchange. No one will be coerced into helping another person but will be free to do so if he wishes. There will be no restrictions on emigration or immigration.

After 10 years, Sumner and I make a visit to North Korea. We discover that there is now an enormous difference between the liberated sector and the government-owned sector. In the liberated sector, there are no more famines, no more starvation. People’s real standard of living is soaring.

That’s not to say though that things are easy in the liberated sector. There is still much poverty given that it was only 10 years ago that people had absolutely nothing and were on the verge of starvation. People are having to work long hours in difficult working conditions, and that includes spouses and children. But everyone knows that those conditions are a blessing, compared to what is still happening in the government-controlled sector, where everyone is suffering much more horrific poverty and where 10 percent of the populace continues to die, year after year.

Now, I would call that a golden era, one in which 60 percent of the population was not only being saved but actually prospering.

What would Sumner say in response? He would say, “Why, that’s just the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard! That’s no golden era because the people in the government-owned sector are still suffering and dying. Hornberger must think that all that misery and death is a good thing. And look at how much poverty there still is in the liberated section.”

Even worse is what Sumner would propose. Furious over the fact that people in the free-market sector now have more wealth than people in the government-owned sector, he would propose statist programs that would restore government control and ownership over the free-market sector. As a good liberal, what would matter to him is that everyone should be made equal, even if everyone is made equally poor.

Would his criticism leveled at me be valid? Would I really be praising the government-owned sector when I referred to this period as a golden one? Of course not! What I would be praising is that libertarian economic means — i.e., the free market — have been used to bring 60 percent of the population out of horrific poverty and given them a chance to survive and even to prosper, especially as the generations progress.

What would be my solution to the bad things still remaining? That’s obvious — I would expand private-property, free-market principles to the 40 percent sector, enabling everyone in North Korean society to experience the benefits of the unhampered market economy.

And this is precisely what was going on in the United States throughout the 1800s, notwithstanding the fact that there were a large number of people to whom free-market principles were not being applied, such as the slaves. But for the sector that was liberated, it was the most phenomenal era in history, insofar as living standards were concerned. People were actually going from rags to riches into one, two, or three generations.

The proof of the pudding was the thousands of penniless immigrants who were fleeing the lands of government control and regulation to come to the land of little or no income taxation, regulation, or welfare. They just wanted a chance to make it, all on their own.

Did I mention that 19th-century America was not only the most prosperous nation in history but also the most charitable nation in history? In a land with no income tax and no welfare state, it was voluntary contributions that built the churches, opera houses, museums, and so much more.

So, what was the obvious solution to those Americans who were not permitted to experience the benefits of economic liberty? Expand it to them! What was the solution to the restrictions on liberty still being enacted in the 19th century? Repeal them!

In fact, the best thing Americans could ever do today is enact a constitutional amendment for economic liberty similar to the one our American ancestors enacted for religious liberty: “No law shall be passed respecting the regulation of commerce or abridging the free exercise thereof.”

The worst thing that could have ever happened was to return to the old, bankrupt idea of government ownership and control. But that’s precisely where liberals took us, with their socialistic welfare state. Gripped by envy and covetousness and unable to control themselves as they saw the enormous wealth coming into existence because of the free market, liberals (or “progressives” as some of them like to call themselves) brought into existence in the 20th century a massive confiscatory and redistributive socialist system, one that has been taking our country down the road to serfdom, impoverishment, and loss of liberty, the road that humanity has traveled throughout the ages.

Liberals have long justified their socialist and interventionist schemes under the pretense of loving the poor, needy, and disadvantaged. And their favorite justification whenever their programs go awry is, “But we have good intentions.” But good intentions are irrelevant. All that matters is reality, especially in terms of the immorality and destructiveness that have accompanied socialism and interventionism.

Sumner piously points out that 1880, the year that I used as an example of economic liberty, was characterized by the Chinese Exclusion Act. Of course, that couldn’t be true given that the Act wasn’t enacted until 1882. (Oh well, what’s a couple of years?) But his real point in bringing it up was to imply that the period wasn’t really golden because there was an immigration restriction on Chinese immigrants.

But let’s use Sumner’s example to show the rank hypocrisy with which liberals have long suffered. He complains about a law that excluded Chinese from freely immigrating to America, and rightfully so. Yet, look at what 20th-century liberals have done for decades: They’ve used immigration controls to exclude not only Chinese but also Mexicans, Nicaraguans, Africans, Haitians, and, well, the poor of just about every country in the world.

Isn’t it the liberals — the lovers of the poor — under liberal icon Barack Obama who are continuing the building of that fortified fence along our southern border, to keep the poor from coming here and trying to sustain their life through labor? Isn’t it the liberals who are conducting those raids on businesses all across the land, rounding up poor people who just want to work and improve the lot of their families, deporting them to their home countries where they can experience a life of hardship and poverty?

In fact, wasn’t it under the regime of liberal icon Bill Clinton that U.S. forces were attacking defenseless poor people, including women and children, who had escaped socialist and communist tyranny in Cuba and were trying to make it to the United States? Didn’t liberals forcibly repatriate those refugees to Cuba? Oh well, maybe Sumner would argue that is was for their own good, since in Cuba there is free education, free health care, and free everything else in that paternalistic society.

Please, Sumner, remind me again how much you liberals love the poor, because I’m tempted to say that an era in which there is only one group of people who are being excluded is golden compared to the massive numbers of poor people that you liberals have been excluding from our country for decades under the guise of immigration controls.

In fact, would you, as a good, poor-person-loving liberal, explain something to me that I’ve always had trouble understanding. As you know, the premier icon for you people is Franklin D. Roosevelt. You liberals say that his enactment of Social Security, the crown jewel of the socialistic welfare state, showed how much he loved the poor, needy, and disadvantaged.

Well, if that’s the case, would you please explain to me FDR’s attitude toward German Jews during the 1930s? Would you please explain to me why he refused to permit them to come to America when Hitler was willing to let them go? Weren’t they poor? And while you’re at it, can you please explain to me why he refused to let those poor Jews traveling on the SS St. Louis to disembark at Miami Harbor in the infamous “voyage of the damned”?

You see, I’m having a difficult time understanding why a man who purports to love the poor would do that to poor Jews. And I’m also having a difficult time understanding why you liberals would extol a man who did that sort of thing to poor Jews.

Please provide me with your best explanation on this, because I’m tempted to conclude that Roosevelt’s Social Security plan had nothing to do with any purported love of the poor but instead everything to do with the love of power and with making as many people dependent on the federal government as possible.

Oh, and while you are at it, would you explain to me something about FDR’s protégé, the liberal icon Lyndon Johnson, who brought Medicare and Medicaid into existence because of his purported love for the poor, needy, and disadvantaged? LBJ, as I hope you know, killed some million Vietnamese people, most of whom were poor, in an illegal war that was based on nothing but lies. He also sent some 58,000 of my generation to their deaths in Vietnam, many of whom were poor because that’s who they were drafting to fight in that war.

Would you be so kind as to reconcile that one for me, because I’m getting real tempted to conclude that LBJ’s Medicare and Medicaid plans were nothing more than a political power grab designed to put more Americans under the yoke of federal power and dependency?

While we’re on the subject, I also have a question about liberal icon Bill Clinton, another purported lover of the poor, needy, and disadvantaged. During the entire 8 years he was in office, he killed hundred of thousands of Iraqi children with the brutal sanctions that he enforced against that country. His U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Madeleine Albright, another liberal icon, said that those deaths were worth the attempt to oust Saddam Hussein from power.

That’s always been difficult for me to swallow. How can the deaths of poor, innocent children ever be worth a political goal such as regime change, especially given that Saddam had once been the partner of the U.S. government?

Of course, I’d be remiss if I failed to mention the vicious attack by liberal icon Janet Reno (and Bill Clinton) on the poor people inside the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, including innocent children, given that today is the 17th anniversary of that horrific slaughter.

Oh, one final thing, Sumner. Please don’t lump conservatives with libertarians, especially since there ain’t a dime’s worth of difference between liberals and conservatives. Both of you are statist to the core, and both of you are lovers of big government, big spending, big debt, and big inflation. And both of you are taking our nation down the road to serfdom, bankruptcy, and moral debauchery.

The only solution to the woes that you statists, both liberals and conservatives, have foisted onto our nation lies with libertarianism. Our American ancestors discovered the truth, and lots of Americans are now re-discovering it, which is precisely why you statists are so terrified.

Title: Re: How do we eliminate the paradox of poverty & privation amid plenty & abundance?
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 24, 2010, 09:48:30 am
Now that everyone has had a chance to read all three articles, I will now respond to some of the key claims and arguments made in each one -- beginning first, again, with Jacob Hornberger’s “Liberal Delusions about Freedom”:

…according to the liberals, the notion that Obama’s plan for America was socialistic was itself just crazy.

Actually, it is crazy, just not for the reasons most liberals seem to think it is. It’s crazy because Obamacare is the virtual opposite of the Canadian-style system most people envision when they hear the term “socialist health care.”,332.0.html (,332.0.html)

After all, everyone knows that America has a free-enterprise system, one that was saved by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, an economic program that Obama, like other liberals, extols and wishes to build upon.

This is a classic illustration of how Austrian School types continually give Obama “left cover” by characterizing him as some sort of New Deal ( "liberal," when in reality he is both a corporate fascist and puppet of Wall Street intent on quietly dismantling the New Deal via IMF-style austerity measures (

Obama biographer, Webster Tarpley, has made this very point countless times on his radio show ( over the past two years.

First of all, let’s talk about the economic system that existed in the United States from the inception of the nation to the latter part of the 19th century. The principles are simple to enumerate: No income taxation (except during the Civil War), Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, economic regulations, licensure laws, drug laws, immigration controls, or coercive transfer programs, such as farm subsidies and education grants.

What Mr. Hornberger is either unaware of or unwilling to admit to is that there were, in fact, “coercive transfer programs.” Specifically, there was

(a) government-protected rent-seeking ( on the part of land speculators, and consequently a “forced transfer of wealth from workers to landowners (”;

(b) government-sanctioned fractional reserve lending ( (i.e. loaning non-existent “money” in exchange for collateral-backed IOUs and charging usurious interest on it), and consequently a forced transfer of wealth from the productive class to the non-productive, parasitic banking class; and

(c) banker-orchestrated, government-allowed monetary contractions -- most notably the “Crime of '73 (” -- and consequently a forced transfer of landholdings and other pledged collateral from bankrupted farmers and business owners to criminal financiers.

But because those three coercive transfer programs were not implemented by government directly, but rather by private interests for private gain with the aid and protective cover of government sponsorship and approval; because Austrian Schoolers tend to regard all government “regulations (” -- not just most -- as bad and evil by definition, and would hence allow fractional reserve banking to go unchecked despite their professed opposition to it; and because they have an almost religious-like adoration for both land speculation ( and depression-inducing monetary contractions, they prefer either to ignore these privilege-based transfer programs altogether (particularly when gushing about the Gilded Age (, or, when forced to address them, to define the utterly parasitic nature of these programs out of existence by characterizing them as mere “market activities.”

In mocking that claim of socialism, however, what the SSA doesn’t tell you is where Bismarck got the idea of social security and, for that matter, the whole idea of a paternalistic welfare state. He got the idea from German socialist intellectuals, who saw social security as an ideal way to use the state to implement the Marxian principle “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

Actually it is Mr. Hornberger who’s engaged in deception by omission, here, because as that same government web site acknowledges (, it was actually Thomas Paine -- one of the very “Founding Fathers” in whose memory Hornberger so loves to wrap his Austrian School snake-oil -- who pioneered the idea of a "social insurance" program -- the key difference being that Paine (to his credit) advocated financing it with a tax on “ground-rent” rather than a tax on wages: (

As the years went on, the German people became accustomed to having the government care for them, with their own money of course. Thus, by the time that Hitler became chancellor of Germany, the paternalistic welfare state had become a permanent feature of German life. Given Hitler’s devotion to National Socialism (abbreviated by the term “****”), it was hardly surprising that he embraced such socialist programs as social security, national health care, and public (i.e., government) schooling.

In fact, Hitler embraced not only socialism but also fascism, an economic philosophy that leaves property in private hands but subjects it to government control and regulation. Another feature of Hitler’s fascism was partnerships between government and private industry, whose aims were to further the interests of the nation.

As Jonah Goldberg points out in his book Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning, in principle there was no difference between socialists and fascists…

Translation: “Anyone who supports Social Security -- or a social safety net of any kind -- is, by definition, a socialist, fascist, and philosophical soulmate of Adolf Hiter!” (

If you were a top international banker who wanted to “divide” the anti-NWO ( (,402.0.html) movement against itself so that it might be more easily “conquered,” isn’t that just the sort of ridiculously inflammatory rhetoric you would urge your propagandists and disinfo artists to aggressively employ? I know I would if I were one. So even if Mr. Hornberger isn’t a paid “agent” (as opposed to an overzealous, unwitting “dupe”) of the ruling elite, he may as well be!

For what Roosevelt actually did was adopt the principles of socialism and fascism that were spreading across the world, including the premier examples of Benito Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany.

If that is true, then why did Hitler-admiring industrialists and financiers attempt to overthrow FDR for the purpose of installing a “fascist dictatorship”? (

Oh, that’s right! Austrian School cranks don’t want us asking annoying questions like that, do they? We’re just supposed to accept, without question, that political reality is as conveniently black-and-white as they make it out to be, with virtually no shades of grey. Either you blindly accept each and every aspect of Austrian School dogma as divine gospel, or you’re automatically “delusional” about freedom, and very likely a freedom-hating socialist or fascist! (

Now does everyone see why I regard the Austrian School as little more than a glorified cult?

Turning now to Mr. Sumner’s article:

So lately conservatives, and especially the most hard right wing of conservatives, have been on the lookout for other terms they can use rather than the dreaded "R" word when describing themselves. Some of them have jumped on board the Glenn Beck self-promotion tour. Considering that it's an artificial movement generated around a cheap media persona, declaring yourself a supporter of the Tea Party is a bit like being a proud member of a Monkees Fan Club (and you don't even get to hear "Last Train to Clarksville"), but hey, it plays better than being a part of the George W. Bush legacy.

Other conservatives have jumped in a different direction and declared that they're really "small government Libertarians."

In fairness to Mr. Hornberger and to Austrian Schoolers generally, they have always been (to their credit) at serious odds with neocons like Glenn Beck on both civil liberties and foreign policy matters. So it is misleading at best to lump both into the same ideological category simply because they agree on certain economic issues. Indeed, that’s like calling Ralph Nader a “libertarian” since he actually agrees with most libertarians on civil liberties and foreign policy matters. 

I know of no time -- certainly not in the last 20 years -- in which Mr. Hornberger was in any way affiliated with, or supportive of, the Republican Party. As far as I can tell, he’s always been a 3rd party person. In fact it was he who gave the keynote address at the 1996 National Libertarian Party Convention. Republicans have always hated the Libertarian Party for the same reason Democrats have long hated the Green Party (particularly since 2000).

Ah, the 1880s....A golden age in which people kept all that they earned. Of course, what they earned in the absence of those debilitating minimum wage laws could be nothing more than worthless tokens from the company store. What they earned from twelve hours of work seven days a week could be actually be a bigger debt to the company that sent you into a mine or factory and made you pay for the wear on your tools, the water you drank, the fuel for your lamp, even the blasting powder you used.

Still, a lifetime of debt wasn't so bad in a golden age without OSHA and its safety laws, since lifetimes could be quite brief. Mining accidents didn't kill a piddling 29 men, they killed thousands every year. Over 3 miners out of every 1,000 died on the job each year (twice the rate of Great Britain with it's freedom-robbing concern for safety). But miners were pikers compared to folks on the railroad. Trainmen fell at a rate that made each year of work roughly equal to the risk of being among the troops on D-Day. Now that's freedom you can feel (well, briefly). It was an age where any construction project worth its salt could measure progress by body count and factory workers were privileged to know that they really were valued far less than the machines they tended. And death wasn't all that this golden age had to offer! It was an age when American workers could look forward to the liberation of being disabled for life, and know that they wouldn't be burdened by the crushing burden of worker's compensation or government aid....

It was a golden age without labor laws in which only 5% of people faced the awful restriction of an 8 hour work day while 3 times that many were blessed with a workday that was 12 hours or longer. Many industries, breweries for example, had a standard workday of 15 hours. And with all the extra freedom of that age, many children were able to experience the blessings of back-breaking labor starting every day by the time they reached the age of 10, with more than a third generating freedom dollars before they turned 15.

Although perhaps a bit oversimplified, the above is (despite what Austrian Schoolers want desperately for everyone to believe) a fairly accurate assessment of just how anti-“golden” life for the average worker was in those days. More on that later.

Even the tiniest frontier village rarely went long without a school, many states had organized school districts, and in a good number of areas the ratio of teachers to students was actually higher than in our own socialistic era. Perhaps what Hornberger meant to say was that there were few schools available to minorities.

Thinly-veiled race-baiting, straight out of MSNBC’s playbook, and completely inappropriate --  not to mention unnecessary, considering how much historical reality supports Sumner’s assessment of the 1880s over Hornberger’s. I’ve been following Mr. Hornberger politically for many years, and I can assure Mr. Sumner that Hornberger is no more a “racist” than Ralph Nader is a “fascist.”

However, white literacy remained about the same -- not surprising since whites were already suffering from those socialistic public schools well before 1880.

Now here is where I part company for the moment with Mr. Sumner and express my general agreement with the Austrian School about the true nature and purpose of compulsory government schooling. I should probably add, however, that my approach to education reform (,327.0.html), though similar to theirs in some respects, is nevertheless different in others.

It truly was a golden age where there were "no immigration controls" as long as, you know, you were white and European. Oh, and wealthy.

Does this mean Mr. Sumner supports the ruling class policy of letting countless millions of banker-impoverished Mexican peasants break our immigration laws (, all so the modern-day robber barons who’ve hijacked our government can (a) want less for slave labor and (b) bankrupt more easily and quickly our already-strained social safety net?

Of course Hispanic, Black, and Asian-Americans were all stimulated by the freedom that comes from having your home burned, your community ransacked, your wife and daughters raped, your belongings stolen, and your body left to turn as "strange fruit" in trees that sprouted across the country.

Does Mr. Sumner realize that many if not most of the criminals who commited those horrible crimes would today be working as cops (, CPS (,453.0.html) workers, TSA ( thugs or Homeland “Security” ( goons? Does that type of predatory, psychopathic behavior magically become less wrong merely because the person engaged in it happens to have on a fancy government uniform?

To hear the corporate **** “news” media -- including MSNBC -- talk (deafening silence itself being a form of political speech), it does!

It was a golden age when the last bands of Native Americans still struggling along under the illusion that they were free, were invited into the real liberty that is life on the reservation. And an age where they got to see the lands their ancestors had occupied for centuries or tens of centuries handed over for destruction. Imagine the liberty you get from seeing your lands taken away, your children beaten for speaking their own language, your religious practices used as an excuse for slaughter, and your entire culture erased.

The same type of “liberty” you get from having economic WAR waged against you by Obama's ruling-class string-pullers (,368.msg1066.html#msg1066), perhaps? Or, considering you have an obvious political bias of your own, is that a question you’d rather not answer, since that would mean having to question the legitimacy of the Democrat-vs.-Republican paradigm?

A golden age, free from money-grubbing FEMA, where 400 people could die in a snow storm... then 400 more could die in the next. An age when Florida didn't need no stinking assistance in picking up the thousands who died in hurricanes and Midwestern states laughed off the hundreds who died in tornadoes -- all without warning from a communist government weather bureau.

Oh puh-leeze! If that’s what you think FEMA’s primary purpose is, Mr. Sumner, then you’re either deeply delusional or a bald-faced liar! ( ( ( (

An age without communist limits on commerce or immoral government tests, where thousands of Americans each year died from tainted food.

Now we have your beloved FDA ( looking the other way while companies like Monsanto not only “taint” our food, but play genetic roulette ( with it!

And why do establishment liberals say virtually nothing about this? Because -- when they’re not signing petitions to ban water ( -- they’re too busy waxing alarmist about plant food (!  (

It was a golden age of rights for women in which... oh, wait. Sorry. I forgot for a moment that women don't count when measuring freedom. Good thing, since in 1880 they couldn't vote

It is, of course, good that women were granted the right to vote. But what good is the right to vote if -- due to an utterly rigged “election” system (,331.0.html) -- there’s nothing to vote for?

    "Would the essence of slavery change if the rules at a slave auction permitted a slave to choose between the two highest bidders for himself? Could the fact that he made such a choice be interpreted as his sanction for his chains? How can it be argued that the citizen is free in a democracy when he has the choice of two candidates if neither candidate is willing to recognize his right to freedom?"

-- James Bovard, Freedom In Chains, p. 132

Of course, what Hornberger was likely envisioning was the flip side of all this liberty. The freedom of being a rich in a society where those with money enjoyed tremendous advantage. The freedom that factory owners and robber barons enjoyed in treating workers as they wanted,

Thanks to the aforementioned “war” that Obama the Wall Street Puppet ( is helping to wage against We the People, today’s robber barons are quickly regaining ( that particular “freedom.” (As I’m certain any sweatshop owner will readily attest, the more desperate people are for employment, the less they tend to complain openly about how badly their employers “treat” them. So don’t let those fake smiles at Wal-Mart fool you.)

employing private armies to beat or kill those who opposed them

News flash: that is exactly what’s going on now, yet the Democrat-controlled Congress and White House refuse to even acknowledge this as an issue, let alone counteract it: (

and indulging any whim in the sure knowledge that a large enough bribe could smooth things over.

Again, bad as that was, how is it any different from what we have today -- particularly after more than a year of a Democrat-controlled White House and more than three years of a Democrat-controlled House and Senate? ( ( ( (

It doesn't require a time machine and a trip to the 1880s to experience all the joys of this golden age he so longs for. You can reach this land of paradise with a couple of flights and a short boat ride. It's called Somalia.

For reasons given above, one doesn’t even have to take a long trip to experience certain of those “joys.” One need only remove one’s partisan blinders and open one’s eyes to the reality that surrounds him. It’s called America.

Real advocates of the free market realize that term has no meaning unless the market is free from coercion and the law is not defined by "might makes right."

By that measure, would you characterize either President Obama or Democratic Congressional leaders as “advocates” of the free market? If so, don’t be surprised if it isn’t just “conservatives” and “libertarians” who laugh at you!

They know that individual freedoms are incompatible with a system where corporations are treated as super-citizens

And the Democrat-controlled Congress and White House have done what exactly (legislatively, not rhetorically) to eliminate corporate personhood ( .... [20 seconds later] .... Hello? You still there?

And now for Hornberger’s response to Sumner:

Sumner’s response contains all the standard the stuff that suggests that our American ancestors hated their wives and children, as reflected in their sending them into dangerous factories to work long hours.

In his masterwork, Progress and Poverty -- the first regular market edition of which was published in 1880 -- Henry George explains that it was economic necessity, far more than anything else, that drove countless “wives” and “children” to work long hours in dangerous, dehumanizing factories; and that this necessity had, in turn, been imposed on them by overprivileged landlords and slumlords via parasitic rent-gouging. (

Albert Jay Nock -- to whom many Austrian School ideologues pay homage (ironically enough) -- explains in the following excerpt how the equally horrid economic conditions that plauged Britain throughout the 19th century were mere symptoms of the very same root cause:


"This imperfect policy of non-intervention, or laissez-faire, led straight to a most hideous and dreadful economic exploitation; starvation wages, slum dwelling, killing hours, pauperism, coffin-ships, child-labour -- nothing like it had ever been seen in modern times....People began to say, perhaps naturally, if this is what State absentation comes to, let us have some State intervention.

"But the State had intervened; that was the whole trouble. The State had established one monopoly, -- the landlord's monopoly of economic rent (, -- thereby shutting off great hordes of people from free access to the only source of human subsistence, and driving them into the factories to work for whatever Mr. Gradgrind and Mr. Bottles chose to give them. The land of England, while by no means nearly all actually occupied, was all legally occupied; and this State-created monopoly enabled landlords to satisfy their needs and desires with little exertion or none, but it also removed the land from competition with industry in the labour market, thus creating a huge, constant and exigent labour-surplus." [Emphasis original]

-- Albert Jay Nock, Free Speech and Plain Language, pp. 320-1


To eliminate this original layer of privilege that had been bestowed to rent-seeking landlords and speculators, Henry George advocated the Single Tax (,333.0.html), which, if fully implemented, would have quickly eliminated the widely perceived need for all of the additional layers of privilege that (as an inevitable consequence of George’s remedy not being implemented) were eventually granted to the working class as a means of mitigating the poverty-creating effects of the original layer just enough to neutralize the threat of armed revolt.

Austrian Schoolers have always been vehemently opposed to eliminating that original layer of privilege, and, consequently, have spent the last century helping to fuel -- however unwittingly -- popular demand for the very “welfare state” protections and safeguards about which they incessantly whine. And the more one learns about who financed the Austrian School’s rise to apparent prominence, the more one realizes why:

    “The Austrian School came into existence when a bunch of Viennese rent-gouging landlords didn’t want rent control on the rents they could gouge out of their tenants in old Vienna, so they hired a bunch of scribblers--and that’s the Austrian School.”

-- Webster Tarpley, World Crisis Radio ( broadcast, 9/27/08

    "For the first years of Mises’s life in the United States...he was almost totally dependent on annual research grants from the Rockefeller Foundation.”

-- Richard M. Ebeling, “The Life and Works of Ludwig von Mises (,” The Independent Review, Summer 2008

You know, like the stuff that suggests that liberals love the poor, needy, and disadvantaged while advocates of the free market just love the rich, greedy, and selfish people in life.

In my experience, neither establishment liberals nor Austrian School ideologues “love” the “poor.” But even if either group did, that of course wouldn’t change whether or not the policy agenda they advocate would, if fully implemented, actually help the poor not be poor in the first place. (And I’m sure Mr. Hornberger knows this, which is why this is a pathetic and shameless appeal to emotion on his part.)

If, metaphorically speaking, it’s a choice between

(a) an “unloving” good doctor who actually cures the disease,

(b) a “loving” liberal doctor who merely treats the symptoms of the disease while leaving the underlying root cause untouched, and

(c) a “loving” Austrian doctor who, in a sweet, caring voice, tells his financially bankrupt would-be patients they must have faith that the mystical, God-like entity euphemistically called the “free market” will see to it that “charity” groups will give them the money they need to secure his services (presumably before they die of sickness or injury), and that in the mean time he has some divinely-inspired Austrian School literature for them to read,

I’d choose the first option, and I suspect most others would as well. But for establishment liberals and Austrian Schoolers alike, truth and intellectual honesty are both secondary to ideology, so each group wants desperately for the masses to not even be aware of the first option, lest the oh-so-precious dogma of each group be seen for the ideological snake oil it really is.

You know, like the stuff that suggests that without the coercive apparatus of the welfare state, poor people and old people would just be dying in the streets.

As contrasted with ideological snake-oil salesmen such as Mr. Hornberger, whose greatest fear is a mass awakening to the aforementioned “original layer of privilege,” and how -- in the Gilded Age ( about which Austrian School cranks so love to wax nostalgic -- it was this privilege, more than anything else, that made so many people poor and destitute in the first place. Because if such an awakening occurred, people everywhere would realize that the primary purpose of the Austrian School all along has been to protect and entrench this privilege -- not eliminate it -- and would consequently see their (the Austrian School’s) bumper-sticker slogans about “liberty” and the “free market” not as something to mindlessly cheerlead and applaud at Tea Party rallies, but as a sick joke.

As I have long pointed out, the problem with liberals is their dismally poor understanding of economics, and Sumner’s article is just the most recent example of this phenomenon.

Unfortunately for Mr. Hornberger, the very same thing can be truthfully said about both his article and the Austrian School cult he fronts for.

Neither side of this controlled-opposition “debate” is part of the solution. On the contrary, both are part of the problem.

In their purported concern for the poor, liberals never ask the important question: What is it that causes wealth and prosperity to come into existence? The only question they ask themselves is, “What is the cause of poverty”?

By contrast, Austrian Schoolers, in their shameful attempt to make their economic snake-oil seem like a legitimate cure, ignore the question of to whom -- and on what basis -- wealth is ultimately distributed ( once it’s been brought into “existence.” Because they know that to not ignore this question would be to draw attention to other questions -- particularly the ones asked by John Stuart Mill in the following quote -- which they want desperately to remain unasked:


“Suppose that there is a kind of income which constantly tends to increase, without any exertion or sacrifice on the part of the owners: those owners constituting a class in the community, whom the natural course of things progressively enriches, consistently with complete passiveness on their own part. In such a case it would be no violation of the principles on which private property is grounded, if the state should appropriate this increase of wealth, or part of it, as it arises. This would not properly be taking anything from anybody; it would merely be applying an accession of wealth, created by circumstances, to the benefit of society, instead of allowing it to become an unearned appendage to the riches of a particular class.

“Now this is actually the case with rent ( III, Chapter 2). The ordinary progress of a society which increases in wealth, is at all times tending to augment the incomes of landlords; to give them both a greater amount and a greater proportion of the wealth of the community, independently of any trouble or outlay incurred by themselves. They grow richer, as it were in their sleep, without working, risking, or economizing. What claim have they, on the general principle of social justice, to this accession of riches? In what would they have been wronged if society had, from the beginning, reserved the right of taxing the spontaneous increase of rent, to the highest amount required by financial exigencies?”

-- John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy, Bk 5, Ch. 2


But the latter is a ridiculous question because poverty has always been the natural state of mankind.

What Hornberger is either unaware of or unwilling to admit to is that this “ridiculous” assertion of his comes straight from Thomas Malthus:,394.msg1206.html#msg1206 (,394.msg1206.html#msg1206)

You would think that those would be important questions for a liberal, especially since liberals have long purported to be concerned about the poor.

You would think that Austrian School “libertarians” wouldn’t be so blatant about their agreement with Malthusian dogma, considering their professed opposition to the global elite’s depopulation agenda -- which is rooted in Malthusianism.

Instead, he points out all the bad things that were taking place in, say 1880, and then concludes that all those statist programs that our American ancestors rejected, and which are so beloved to Sumner, should be embraced. In other words, he’s suggesting that the absence of the statist programs is the cause of the bad living conditions in American society that he laments. But his logic and his conclusions are faulty and fallacious.

Unfortunately for Mr. Hornberger and his ideological cheerleaders, the logic he employs in defense of the Austrian School’s 19th-century alternative to these statist programs is -- for reasons already given -- equally “faulty and fallacious.”

No one denies that economic conditions were bad for many people in 1880. No question about it. No dispute there.

But what is in dispute is the extent to which these conditions were because of, not in spite of, the very tax and monetary policies that Austrian Schoolers are chomping at the bit to reinstitute.

But in focusing on those bad conditions, Sumner makes a common mistake. He is comparing those conditions to conditions in which we live today or at least to some sort of ideal economic utopia. In doing that, he misses the important point, which is this: What were conditions for ordinary people prior to the Industrial Revolution? Answer: As Hobbes put it, life was nasty, brutish, and short — that is, much, much worse than it was in 1880 America.

True to Austrian School tradition, what Mr. Hornberger is counting on his readers to remain blissfully ignorant of is (a) the alarming extent to which life for the average landless wage-earner continued to be “nasty, brutish, and short” precisely where wealth ( was most abundant, and (b) the extent to which these horrid economic conditions were the direct result of both the pro-land speculation ( tax system and deflationary “gold standard (” he and his fellow Austrian Schoolers routinely endorse.

But don’t take my word for it, nor the contrary word of some Austrian School ideologue blabbing about how wonderful things were back then. Read what a highly respected author who actually lived in 1880, and who observed the socioeconomic conditions of that era first hand, had to say on the matter:


“I hold, and I think no one who looks at the facts can fail to see, that poverty is utterly unnecessary. It is not by the decree of the Almighty, but it is because of our own injustice, our own selfishness, our own ignorance, that this scourge, worse than any pestilence, ravages our civilisation, bringing want and suffering and degradation, destroying souls as well as bodies. Look over the world, in this heyday of nineteenth century civilisation. In every civilised country under the sun you will find men and women whose condition is worse than that of the savage: men and women and little children with whom the veriest savage could not afford to exchange. Even in this new city of yours with virgin soil around you, you have had this winter to institute a relief society. Your roads have been filled with tramps, fifteen, I am told, at one time taking shelter in a round-house here. As here, so everywhere; and poverty is deepest where wealth most abounds.

“What more unnatural than this? There is nothing in nature like this poverty which to-day curses us. We see rapine in nature; we see one species destroying another; but as a general thing animals do not feed on their own kind; and, wherever we see one kind enjoying plenty, all creatures of that kind share it. No man, I think, ever saw a herd of buffalo, of which a few were fat and the great majority lean. No man ever saw a flock of birds, of which two or three were swimming in grease and the others all skin and bone. Nor in savage life is there anything like the poverty that festers in our civilisation.

“In a rude state of society there are seasons of want, seasons when people starve; but they are seasons when the earth has refused to yield her increase, when the rain has not fallen from the heavens, or when the land has been swept by some foe--not when there is plenty. And yet the peculiar characteristic of this modern poverty of ours is that it is deepest where wealth most abounds….

“I read in the New York papers a while ago that the girls at the Yonkers factories had struck. The papers said that the girls did not seem to know why they had struck, and intimated that it must be just for the fun of striking. Then came out the girls' side of the story and it appeared that they had struck against the rules in force. They were fined if they spoke to one another, and they were fined still more heavily if they laughed. There was a heavy fine for being a minute late. I visited a lady in Philadelphia who had been a forewoman in various factories, and I asked her, ‘Is it possible that such rules are enforced?’ She said it was so in Philadelphia. There is a fine for speaking to your next neighbour, a fine for laughing; and she told me that the girls in one place where she was employed were fined ten cents a minute for being late, though many of them had to come for miles in winter storms. She told me of one poor girl who really worked hard one week and made $3.50; but the fines against her were $5.25. That seems ridiculous; it is ridiculous, but it is pathetic and it is shameful.

“But take the cases of those even who are comparatively independent and well off. Here is a man working hour after hour, day after day, week after week, in doing one thing over and over again, and for what? Just to live! He is working ten hours a day in order that he may sleep eight and may have two or three hours for himself when he is tired out and all his faculties are exhausted. That is not a reasonable life; that is not a life for a being possessed of the powers that are in man, and I think every man must have felt it for himself. I know that when I first went to my trade I thought to myself that it was incredible that a man was created to work all day long just to live. I used to read the Scientific American, and as invention after invention was heralded in that paper I used to think to myself that when I became a man it would not be necessary to work so hard. But on the contrary, the struggle for existence has become more and more intense. People who want to prove the contrary get up masses of statistics to show that the condition of the working classes is improving. Improvement that you have to take a statistical microscope to discover does not amount to anything. But there is not improvement….

“Here is a broad general fact that is asserted by all who have investigated the question, by such men as Hallam, the historian, and Professor Thorold Rogers, who has made a study of the history of prices as they were five centuries ago. When all the productive arts were in the most primitive state, when the most prolific of our modern vegetables had not been introduced, when the breeds of cattle were small and poor, when there were hardly any roads and transportation was exceedingly difficult, when all manufacturing was done by hand — in that rude time the condition of the laborers of England was far better than it is today. In those rude times no man need fear want save when actual famine came, and owing to the difficulties of transportation the plenty of one district could not relieve the scarcity of another. Save in such times, no man need fear want. Pauperism, such as exists in modern times, was absolutely unknown. Everyone, save the physically disabled, could make a living, and the poorest lived in rude plenty. But perhaps the most astonishing fact brought to light by this investigation is that at that time, under those conditions in those 'dark ages,' as we call them, the working day was only eight hours. While with all our modern inventions and improvements, our working classes have been agitating and struggling in vain to get the working day reduced to eight hours.

“Do these facts show improvement? Why, in the rudest state of society in the most primitive state of the arts the labour of the natural bread-winner will suffice to provide a living for himself and for those who are dependent upon him. Amid all our inventions there are large bodies of men who cannot do this. What is the most astonishing thing in our civilisation? Why, the most astonishing thing to those Sioux chiefs who were recently brought from the Far West and taken through our manufacturing cities in the East, was not the marvellous inventions that enabled machinery to act almost as if it had intellect; it was not the growth of our cities; it was not the speed with which the railway car whirled along; it was not the telegraph or the telephone that most astonished them; but the fact that amid this marvellous development of productive power they found little children at work. And astonishing that ought to be to us; a most astounding thing!

“Talk about improvement in the condition of the working classes, when the facts are that a larger and larger proportion of women and children are forced to toil. Why, I am told that, even here in your own city, there are children of thirteen and fourteen working in factories. In Detroit, according to the report of the Michigan Bureau of Labour Statistics, one half of the children of school age do not go to school. In New Jersey, the report made to the legislature discloses an amount of misery and ignorance that is appalling. Children are growing up there, compelled to monotonous toil when they ought to be at play, children who do not know how to play; children who have been so long accustomed to work that they have become used to it; children growing up in such ignorance that they do not know what country New Jersey is in, that they never heard of George Washington, that some of them think Europe is in New York. Such facts are appalling; they mean that the very foundations of the Republic are being sapped. The dangerous man is not the man who tries to excite discontent; the dangerous man is the man who says that all is as it ought to be.” [Continued… (]

-- Henry George, “The Crime of Poverty,” April 1, 1885


As bad as things were in 1880 America, it was a golden era compared to the pre-industrial age.

For land speculators ( and robber barons, yes, but not necessarily for the average worker.

This point was made as long ago as 1954 in a book entitled Capitalism and the Historians, which was edited by libertarian Nobel Prize-winning economist Friedrich Hayek.

As noted above by Henry George, the obvious fallacy of that “point” (to the extent it applies to the working class) becomes obvious to anyone who reads Thorold Rogers’ authoritative, exhaustively-researched book, Six Centuries of Work and Wages (, wherein Rogers explains how the progressive push for the 40-hour workweek was actually a mere effort to reclaim what the average worker used to enjoy:

    “According to Oxford Professor James E. Thorold Rogers, the medieval workday was not more than eight hours. The worker participating in the eight-hour movements of the late nineteenth century was ‘simply striving to recover what his ancestor worked by four or five centuries ago.’”

-- Juliet B. Schor, The Overworked American (, p. 46

Austrian economist Murray Rothbard stated, “Hayek contributed to and edited a series of essays that showed conclusively that the Industrial Revolution in England, spurred by a roughly free-market economy, enormously improved rather than crippled the standard of living of the average consumer and worker in England. In this way, Hayek led the way in shattering one of the most widespread socialist myths about the Industrial Revolution.

This is a classic illustration of how Austrian Schoolers, in their cult-like zeal to appear anti-“socialist,” replace socialist half-truths with equally false anti-socialist half-truths (

Did the industrial revolution make life better, or at least less intolerable, for many workers? Of course. But this, again, was in spite of, not because of, both the pro-land speculation tax system and deflationary gold standard they (Austrian Schoolers) endorse.

With particular regard to said tax system, whenever this system is in place, there is always -- in the words of economist Fred Foldvary -- a "constanct race (” between (a) the process by which labor-saving technology increases wages and (b) the process by which increasing numbers of people with increasing incomes all competing for access to the same amount of land enables titleholders to absorb much of these wage gains through higher rent demands while providing no service ( in return -- a parasitic process commonly referred to as rack-renting (

In early 19th-century America, workers could always “move west” to escape the rack-renting that had long plagued the laboring classes of England, and which was now beginning to rear its ugly head in numerous population centers throughout the eastern half of the U.S. But by the late 19th century, all cheap land had been appropriated (much of it by land speculators), and it was at this point that industrial progress started to become less of a blessing to the working class and more of a curse, since continued increases in production were always met by higher and higher rent demands.

Thus, whatever increase there was in the average worker’s quality of life during the 19th century was due in large part to the fact that so much cheap land was available. Once all land became appropriated, however, the paradox of “poverty admid plenty” quickly began to appear where wealth was most abundant. That’s the dirty little secret about the Gilded Age ( that Austrian School cranks don’t want anyone to know about.

In summary: although Sumner’s article is not itself without its glaring flaws and omissions, it is nevertheless (insofar as the Gilded Age is concerned) a more accurate account of what life was like for the average worker in the late 19th century than Hornberger’s. Although Hornberger pays obligatory lip service to the notion that this so-called “golden era” was tarnished by certain “bad” things, he is noticeably careful not to identify what those things were or what caused them. And the reason for this convenient omission is obvious: because deep down he knows damn well that most if not all of those “bad” things would return with a vengeance if his beloved Austrian School’s economic agenda were fully implemented, and that most people would -- upon realizing this -- reject this insane agenda accordingly.

What is perhaps most laughable of all, however, is that, since Hornberger describes 1880 as an economic “golden era” in the context of railing self-righteously against the “welfare state” that was instituted decades later by FDR and subsequently expanded by LBJ, he is clearly implying that the average worker was not only better off in 1880 than he was in, say, 1772, but better off than he was in 1972.

Quite frankly, anyone who parrots this absurd belief is either a disinfo agent or a brainwashed dupe of someone who is. But then Ludwig von Mises -- a virtual deity to most Austrian Schoolers -- was admittedly financed out of obscurity by the Rockefeller Foundation. So is it really any surprise that the school of “thought” which von Mises (for all practical purposes) founded -- and to which Hornberger subscribes -- would turn reality on its head in order to make the Rockefeller-dominated Gilded Age seem like a worker’s paradise (as opposed to a robber baron’s paradise)? Certainly not to me.

All that being said, I’d like to close with a point of clarification: I’m well aware (,374.0.html) of how horribly flawed and corrupt our welfare system is. I just reject the ridiculous notion that the only alternative to the current system is to (a) have no social safety net at all and (b) reinstitute the tax and monetary policies that gave rise to the very economic conditions (dehumanizing sweatshops, widespread pauperism, etc.) that in turn created the apparent need for welfare programs in the first place.

Title: The American Workplace: Sweatshop USA
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 24, 2010, 09:55:26 am
Although I do not share either her one-sided view of the Founders ( or her apparent preference for pure democracy ( over constitutional republicanism (, I nevertheless agree with much of what Vi Ransel has to say in the following article -- particularly her assessment of the Gilded Age (which is certain to make Austrian School ideologues cringe) and her point about how “slavery (” -- despite being officially abolished in the 19th century -- was never truly eliminated, but simply transformed into more sophisticated, less obvious guises, and how it thrives to this day.

------------------------------------- (

The American Workplace: Sweatshop USA
Workhouse Nation: Part Three

by Vi Ransel


Global Research
April 7, 2010

"Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?" - Ebenezer Scrooge. "A Christmas Carol," Charles Dickens

"Labor is prior to, and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is superior to capital, and deserves much the higher consideration." - Abraham Lincoln

"I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a revolution of values. We must rapidly begin to shift from a 'thing-oriented' society to a 'person-oriented' society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

While Constitutional architect James Madison spoke of the rights of minorities in general, his writings make it clear that he had a particular minority in mind. Madison believed that government's primary responsibility is "to protect the opulent against the majority." To that end the constitutional system he instituted was designed to secure the rights of persons with property and to forestall the threat of democracy.

The yeoman farmers who'd fought and won the revolution had to be taught, by force if necessary, "that the ideals of the revolutionary pamphlets were not to be taken too seriously, that they would not be represented by people like themselves, but by 'responsible men' who could be trusted to defend privilege."

In his last letter on politics, Alexander Hamilton warned against dismembering the union, saying that it offered "no relief to our real disease, which is democracy..." (Because democracy disperses power.)

Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, slave-owning, propertied plutocrats though they were, warned us against businesses, that is, corporations, used to accumulate and concentrate wealth, which is then translated into political power. They predicted a financial aristocracy via corporate tyranny. Having lived under the tyranny of the British East India Company, the first and most powerful transnational corporation in history, they knew from whence they spoke.

But since the states had placed legal limits on corporations before the Constitution was written, the Bill of Rights did not, as Jefferson implored, contain an eleventh amendment forbidding monopolies, which would have kept these dangerous corporate mechanisms from becoming more powerful than the people, who are the sovereigns in a functioning democracy, whether direct or representative. Initially corporations were limited to projects undertaken in the public interest, but corporate shareholders used the Supreme Court as a scalpel to excise the protections and the immunities of the Fourteenth Amendment and transplant them into their property, the corporations. That operation allowed shareholders' property to begin assuming control of the United States government by exercising the constitutional rights of US citizens, and further, to assume the protections and immunities of the entire Bill of Rights under the mantle of "corporate personhood."

Repeat. Democracy disperses power. Corporations concentrate power. Corporations are property. Property as power, when concentrated in the hands of a few, inevitably becomes power over the majority. But it's no longer about freedom and democracy - if it ever was - since the US was created to protect the right of an "opulent minority" to property. And the "opulent minority" has always had the freedom to present the facade of democracy while doing exactly as it pleases.

By the Gilded Age, it had become in-your-face apparent that exploitation by this "opulent minority" created poverty - child labor, Astor's fetid tenements, Sinclair's expose' of the meat-packing industry in "The Jungle," Rockefeller's 90% monopoly of oil, and industrial "accidents" like the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, et al. Such blatant, self-serving injustice was so morally repulsive that corporate shareholders would change their modus operandi - but only after threatened with another rebellion, deep in the depths of the Great Depression.

As a result of the New Deal, Americans, when elderly, would no longer be destitute. After paying into Social Security all of their working lives, they could at last stop working, and enjoy a modest retirement. Those still working could now come together to bargain collectively with the collectives known as corporations, for which they toiled and yielded up the greater part of the real wealth they created for society with their labor.

After a new set of "yeoman farmers" won World War II, they came home to go to college on the G.I. Bill and bought into the Ownership Society with veterans' loans for Levit houses. The limited reforms of the New Deal, these veterans' programs, and the fact that the US was the only industrial democracy left standing after the war, helped to create the most prosperous period in America's history across the board, and the most prosperous middle class in the history of the world.

But the US juggernaut hit the wall in the 70s in the aftermath of two manipulated oil "crises," and as Japan and Europe recovered and began creating some serious economic competition. The remedy for waning corporate profit came in 1981 with "Volcker Shock." Paul Volcker, then head of the Federal Reserve, prescribed a ratcheting up of interest rates - to 21%. Severe repression kicked in. The wages of working people froze in place and then began to go backward as corporate profits resumed their climb.

In the 70s, one income could support a family. By the 80s and 90s it took two incomes. Now it often takes two incomes made up of two jobs each. But this is now the American way. At a town hall meeting, George W. Bush once asked a woman what she did for a living. When she replied that she had three jobs, he patted her on the head and said, "Isn't that great? That's an all-American story." And it's even truer today.

Today's slave wages don't cover the most basic human needs, leaving us exposed to the predators that have stalked humankind throughout history - disease, starvation and exposure to the elements. Even pre-Civil War slaves got room and board. Today's wage slaves pay for their own, returning the pitiful pittance they receive from the stingy, "invisible hand" of one corporation to the greedy "invisible hand" of another in the endless siphoning up of our hard-earned money to the top of the economic pyramid in order to provide the repulsive luxuries the "opulent minority" flaunts contemptuously in our faces just to prove to us that they can. And as far as a nation of the people, by the people and for the people – all the people - what we achieved via the Civil Rights Movement was the "freedom to starve without regard to race, creed, color or national origin." - Harold Cruse

At the bottom of all America's crises lies the mechanism by which the power that created the crises was itself created - corporations - finance corporations like banks, insurance corporations, pharmaceutical corporations, energy corporations, agricultural corporations, retail corporations, weapons corporations, telecommunications corporations, prison corporations, etc., etc., etc. They're all corporate mechanisms for maximizing profit, which is accumulated, concentrated and then translated into political power. And because there's a difference between politics and policy, the people may participate in the electoral theater of politics (talk), but they may not take part in the actual making of policy (action), which determines who gets what and how much.

And the "opulent minority" of shareholders and their corporations are not held to account for the results of their policy-making; for shamelessly exploiting the poor; for polluting the environment on a massive, industrial scale; for callously selling products that maim, injure and kill; for buying our representatives via "one dollar, one vote;" nor for colonizing defenseless countries backed by the obese power of the US military in order to extract their labor and resources for next to nothing.

And rather than confront corporations and shareholders, great groups of the impoverished population are scapegoated and reviled as the cause of corporations' effects. The poor, as they have been conditioned to do, blame themselves and suffer the shame of their poverty silently, or else allow themselves to be set one upon the other to create a buffer that insulates and protects the "opulent minority" from the immiserated majority. Witness the Tea Partiers.

The "opulent minority" rightly fear retaliation for having poisoned the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink; for trashing our economy, our schools and our infrastructure; for exporting our jobs, taking our homes and our savings and putting healthcare out of reach; for using human beings as interchangeable tools, that they throw out like garbage after they've used them up; and for turning our children into the ammunition that secures the interests of their transnational corporations - all to make one more buck on top the billions they've already got. And all the while they pretend to be protecting us from an enemy without, while using sophisticated Public Diplomacy developed for use against foreign populations; advertising created by PhDs in human psychology to press our fear and greed buttons; and corporate-owned information distributed by corporate-owned media to prevent us from recognizing that the "opulent minority" is the enemy within, our homegrown, economic terrorists, who continue to **** us as our "representatives" stand by, looking from the side, taking a payoff to let them do it.

This propaganda is so effective that after 30 years of voodoo economics, "free" market fundamentalism, and harsh, neoliberal SAPs, most of us still can't, or still refuse to, see who the enemy really is. And what keeps the enemy up at night like ante-bellum South Carolina slave owners? Wondering when we'll snap. What will it take? No food or fuel? No jobs at all? Banks refusing to give us our money? Inflation making a loaf of bread worth a wheelbarrow full of cash? Granny burning alive as she "steals" electricity to keep warm after hers is shut off? Or all of the above "concurrent whirlpools of misery, sucking in the collective grievances of millions." This has always been the "opulent minority's" most terrifying nightmare. "There's a f--k load of them, and they have guns." - Frank Leone

Corporations, as well as individual members of the "opulent minority," are hiring private security, much like the railroad, coal and steel barons of the Gilded Age. Blackwater (Xe) and its ilk are present day incarnations of Pinkertons, Baldwin-Felts "detectives" and Henry Ford's own back-shooting "Service Department." From the post-Katrina streets of New Orleans, where American citizens were left to rot like garbage, to Baghdad, where these mercenaries protect State Department personnel, such contractors/assassins, though vastly more expensive than the army, are employed because they're so much more loyal - to money. And one day the "opulent minority" may no longer be able to trust that the US military rank and file will turn on their fellow Americans, their families and friends in defense of their masters' property.

On October 4, 2008, 4,700 regular Army troops were made available to the US Northern Command (NORTHCOM). The remainder of the 20,000 troop "allotment" will be added as they complete their assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan by 2011. The pretext is, as always, the danger of terrorism, but it's in preparation for military intervention in the event that the people's reaction to economic and societal meltdown crosses the line the "opulent minority" finds acceptable.
The "Army Times" noted that "They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control...These troops are equipped with a new, modular package of nonlethal capabilities." The Army Times also reported, that the "3rd Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team [BCT] has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys. Now they're training for the same mission--with a twist--at home."

This deployment was made possible as a result of the 2007 Defense Authorization Act's Section 1076, empowering the president to impose martial law in the event of a threat to "public order," regardless of its causes, i.e., potentially produced by domestic political or social upheaval, not in response to 9/11 or the threat of terrorist attacks.

With the Defense Authorization Act 2007, George W. Bush signed away a 200-year-old provision of the Insurrection Act, prohibiting the use of United States military forces for law enforcement purposes domestically unless Congress saw fit to authorize it in cases of national emergency. This would allow a president to declare such an emergency without consulting Congress and send our troops to put down whatever he decided was public disorder - anti-war protests, environmental activism, demonstrations for immigrants' rights, unions marching against globalization, students sitting in in protest of tuition hikes, or any group of citizens unwilling to tolerate policies detrimental to the general welfare and demanding restoration of their constitutional rights. (In California, students occupying campus buildings to protest budget cuts and tuition hikes were characterized by their "Governator" as engaging in "terrorism.") These laws were put in place to combat citizens' attempts to change the country's policy direction. They allowed pre-emptive crackdowns on potential threats to minority rule.

But both Democratic and Republican governors objected to Section 1076 as an unneeded expansion of presidential authority to federalize the National Guard and usurp the powers of state officials. And the president's power to declare martial law was limited by the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act.
But after the H1N1 flu "pandemic" hysteria and the media feeding frenzy that created a terrorism panic over Flight 253's "Underwear Bomber," President Obama signed Executive Order 13528 on Jan. 11, 2010. It establishes a Council of Governors which the president can choose to "advise" him/agree with plans to seize control of the National Guard in the event of a "national emergency." Obama's Executive Order further weakens Posse Comitatus and allows federal seizure of control over armed forces historically under the democratic control of elected state officials. This effort to "synchronize and integrate" state National Guards with the Armed Forces would effectively place them under NORTHCOM's control.

This is "a practical demonstration of the bipartisanship of ruling class consensus," and the reality is that support for repressive legislation like the PATRIOT Act has been a bipartisan affair from the start.

The Senate passed the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001 with only one dissenting vote. Members of Congress admitted they hadn't even read it. In 2010, the Democrats in Congress pushed through an unamended extension of the PATRIOT Act’s most egregious provisions. The Obama Administration declined to support even minimal changes like barring government use of National Security Letters (NSLs)— FBI, CIA and Pentagon administrative subpoenas — for obtaining confidential records of US citizens not suspected of terrorism or espionage; letting the “lone-wolf” provision expire; requiring the government to explain, in writing, the factual basis for securing an NSL; allowing NSL recipients a limited ability to challenge gag orders barring them from informing the target of an investigation; and repealing the section of the FISA Amendments Act that granted blanket immunity to telecommunications companies that cooperated with the government in its illegal, warrantless wiretapping program.

REX 84 was established during the Reagan Administration to keep order during a "mass exodus" of "illegals" flooding across the Mexico/US border, who'd then be rounded up and detained by Immigration prior to being deported. REX 84 also allows military bases to be closed and converted into prisons. It's existence was uncovered during the Iran-Contra hearings in 1987 and reported by the Miami Herald.

In early 2006, KBR, then a Halliburton subsidiary, was given a contract to build detention processing capabilities to expand Immigration's Detention and Removal Operations Program facilities in order to house people in the event of that emergency influx of immigrants, a natural disaster, or undefined "new programs that require additional detention space."

World War Two Japanese internment camps and German and Italian POW camps were rehabilitated, and these facilities are operational. In the event of martial law it would only take two signatures - one on a Presidential Proclamation and the other on a warrant from the Attorney General with a list of names attached - to determine who will serve as forced labor in an attempt to reassert America's global industrial hegemony.

Nat Parry, writing about "Bush's Mysterious 'New Programs'" for Consortium News in February of 2006, noted an "item posted at the U.S. Army Web site, about the Pentagon's Civilian Inmate Labor Program. This program 'provides Army policy and guidance for establishing civilian inmate labor programs and civilian prison camps on Army installations.' The Army document, first drafted in 1997, underwent a 'rapid action revision' on Jan. 14, 2005. The revision provides a 'template for developing agreements' between the Army and corrections facilities for the use of civilian inmate labor on Army installations. On its face, the Army's labor program refers to inmates housed in federal, state and local jails. The Army also cites various federal laws that govern the use of civilian labor and provide for the establishment of prison camps in the United States, including a federal statute that authorizes the Attorney General to 'establish, equip, and maintain camps upon sites selected by him' and 'make available...the services of United States prisoners' to various government departments, including the Department of Defense." Parry also notes that the timing of the document's posting, and its reference to a "rapid action revision," coincided with KBR's contract foreshadowing the "rapid development of new programs."

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed both Executive Order 11000 and Executive Order 11051. EO 11000 allows the federal government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision (2/16/62). EO 11051 delegates authority to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of international tensions and economic or financial crisis to the Office of Emergency Planning (9/27/62).

An orderly enforcement of all these provisions will at first be made possible by troops returning from the Middle East equipped with a new, modular package of non-lethal "capabilities." "Non-lethal" weapons (NLWs) have been used by police for a long time, and when used worldwide by military forces they're meant to ensure compliance (from hostile "natives.")

Americans, however, have already allowed themselves to be tear-gassed, maced, hit with water and sound cannons and tasered for exercising their right to free speech. They've meekly requested permits to exercise their right to freely associate. They've allowed themselves to be caged behind chain anchor fences and barbed wire as they "exercise" both these rights, unable to move from their designated "free speech zones." And when they pass the permissible parameters of protest, police move in and taser, gas, and deafen them into submission.

Now taser’s distributor is planning a flying drone that fires stun darts at criminal suspects or rioters. The “Shockwave Area-Denial System” blankets an area with electrified darts and uses a wireless Taser projectile to pick off “ringleaders."

XM1063 is a “non-lethal personal suppression projectile” containing an "advanced riot control agent." It's an artillery shell that bursts in midair and scatters 152 parachuting canisters of its chemical payload - probably fentanyl - creating a "literal opiate of the masses." The Pentagon's only problem was developing an effective delivery vehicle and regulating dosages, but these problems were easily solved by partnering with the pharmaceuticals industry. (Fentanyl is a narcotic 100 times more powerful than morphine, with an effect similar to heroin. However, it often acts as more of a sedative than a "high," and it carries with it the risk of death from respiratory depression.

A Long-Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) is a non-lethal weapon capable of producing ear-shattering sounds that has been deployed in Iraq as an "anti-insurgent weapon." At 150 decibels, it can cause major hearing damage. At almost a thousand yards away it's painful, even with hands held over the ears - and ear plugs in. The Banshee II "sonic blaster" emits a piercing 144-decibel shriek that also physically pumps the ear drums."

The Active Denial System (ADS), also called a pain ray, is a directed-energy weapon used primarily for crowd control. It works by firing a beam of high-frequency microwaves that excite the water and fat molecules in the body - just like a microwave oven heats food. It causes immediate and intense pain. The temperature keeps rising as long as the beam is applied, and it makes the skin feel as if it were on fire. A Reuters correspondent who volunteered to be shot with the ADS during a demonstration said it was "...too painful to bear without diving for cover."

Defense contractor Raytheon has developed a smaller version of the ADS, for which it was granted an FCC license in 2004 to demonstrate the technology to "law enforcement, military and security organizations." Contrary to Raytheon's claims, Michael Hanlon, another volunteer, said the finger he offered for a demonstration "was tingling hours later."
It's uncomfortably easy to imagine peaceful, civilian protestors, e.g. "rioters," being sonically blasted or brought to their knees with pain rays before street-clearing operations by SWAT teams. NLWs like gas and tasers are presently used to subdue people in civilian settings. A lower threshold of use may lead those armed with NLWs to use them as casually as they use tasers. In addition, weapons with the primary purpose of inflicting pain make excellent torture devices. It's for this reason that the Active Denial System was rejected for use in Iraq. The Pentagon feared it would be seen as an "instrument of torture."

Having such weapons at public events makes people think twice about exercising their constitutional rights. It uses fear and pain to enforce compliance, pre-empting the exercise of free speech and association. And that is precisely the point.

China's Information Office of the State Council released "The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2009" on March 13, China's version of the US State Department's "Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2009" released on March 11. The Chinese used publicly available US government documents and US media sources to reveal America as the rest of the world sees it, not as it sees, or purports to see, itself. The report notes that police in the US killed 45 people with tasers from January to October of 2009, making the total 389 in the last ten years – or one American about every nine days. In New York City alone, there were 315 "internal supervisions" of police for unrestrained use of violence.

There are already 2.3 million of us incarcerated, many for non-violent drug offenses. An additional population of protesters/"rioters" and up to 50 million insurance scofflaws would create a magnificently cheap labor platform on which to build the supply of US products the president proposes to export. "Incarceration may be the only US industry that enjoys unlimited growth potential..." "A new prison opens somewhere in the US every week." - David Cole, Georgetown law professor

At present, those of us who can't afford insurance can't be forced to buy it, or sent to prison for refusing to buy it. We can't be fined if we can't afford annual premiums. At least not 'til 2014. But healthcare "reform" will force people to buy insurance with no options, public or otherwise. And if you do opt for the choice of food, mortgage payments, gas to get to your job, heat and electricity, your family or your life itself over using that money to further enrich insurance corporations, that will make you a criminal. And if you refuse to pay for this "insurance," the only economy you'll be contributing to is the prison economy. Perhaps the individual penalty for not buying insurance company products could be thought of as the functional equivalent of the 20 shillings owed by over half the inmates in New York City's debtors' prison in 1787 and 1788.

Prison corporations will see shareholder profits rise. And those who own prison stocks and are incarcerated for non-payment will probably do well, but like occupants of "The Hotel California," they will never do well enough to leave. Imprisoned debtors could see their prison stocks rise while watching the money confiscated to pay their healthcare costs in prison.

Prison privatization actually began with the contracting of confinement and care of British prisoners after the American Revolution. Since the British could no longer ship their criminals and undesirables to the American colonies, they confined them on ships moored in British ports. The first for-profit prison in America opened in 1852 in California - San Quentin. But it was so badly mismanaged that it was turned over to the state government.

After the Civil War, the South was able to continue its "peculiar institution" via the sharecropper system. The freed slave/sharecropper borrowed money from a land owner to work the same land he'd worked as a slave, and then shared the profits with the land owner, often his former master. But if the crop failed, the nouveau slave, white or black, still owed what he'd borrowed to the land owner, who shared only the profit, not the risk. In this way, while one man could no longer own another man, he could own another man's debt, the same way, today, another man owns his mortgage, his student loan, or his credit card debt.

A "hiring out" system of convict labor also served to perpetuate slavery. Prisons proved a cheaper, more efficient method of turning human beings into commodities. Freed slaves were accused of not making good on their sharecropping obligations, or of unproven, petty thievery. They were then incarcerated and "hired out" for cotton picking, mining and railroad building, and for work in brickyards, lumber camps and quarries. In 1868, plantation owners, businessmen and farmers were able to replace slave labor with convict leases, renting, rather than owning their workers.

From 1870 until 1910, 88% of hired out convicts in Georgia were Black, as were 93% of hired-out miners in Alabama. In Mississippi, the Parchman plantation, a huge prison farm, replaced hiring out. It lasted until 1972.

In the industrial north, working conditions were medieval: child labor, sub-subsistence wages, dangerous conditions, interminable hours... Labor unions were a direct result of this abuse, and as soon as the Labor Movement began, there were protests against the use of for-profit convict labor as a means of breaking strikes and driving down wages across the board. (The way "illegal" immigrants are used today, again as a buffer for those who profit off them.) But the "opulent minority" and their corporations fought reform tooth and nail, and literally, with bullets, insisting that a decent standard of living for working people was an intrusion on their freedom (to exploit and control.) But by 1890, public opposition to convict labor for profit had forced state after state to forbid the sale of convict-made goods.

In the 30s, the Hayes-Cooper and Ashurst-Sumner Acts outlawed convict labor and made it a felony to move prison goods across state lines. But during the 70s, a new series of laws, starting with the Carter Administration's Justice System Improvement Act of 1979, allowed inmates to be put to work for profit again. Even Chief Justice Warren Burger wanted prisons to become "factories with fences."

In the 80s, the prison population exploded due, in large part, to the "War on Drugs." The cost of running prisons, as well as prison overcrowding, exploded along with the population. Private corporations seized this opportunity to go beyond contracting for convicts' services and began contracting for complete management and operation of entire prisons. In 1984, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) became the first modern, for-profit prison to establish itself publicly.

For-profit use of convict labor really boomed under Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and reached a peak in 1990 under Bill Clinton, with prison stocks selling like sub-prime mortgage-backed securities on Wall Street. State governments and corporate "entrepreneurs" teamed up to use prisoners to generate profit, and were soon joined on the bandwagon by politicians from both parties.

By the 90s more than 100 corporations were using thousands of convicts in at least 29 states. In 1994, the owner of DPAS, a San Francisco computer corporation, brought its data retrieval operation back from Mexico - to San Quentin prison. He said, "We have a captive labor force... And the whole thing is very profitable."

U.S. Technologies sold its Austin, Texas plant and fired all 150 of its employees. Forty-five days later it had replaced them with convict labor from a nearby private prison, where circuit boards were assembled for companies like IBM and Compaq. Corporate underwriters of the construction of such "entrepreneurial enterprises" included American Express, General Electric, Smith Barney and Goldman Sachs.

By 2000 California inmates were processing "more than 680,000 pounds of beef, 400,000 pounds of chicken products, 450,000 gallons of milk, 280,000 loaves of bread, and 2.9 million eggs (from 160,000 inmate-raised hens)" every month. A Starbucks subcontractor hired convicts to package holiday coffees and Nintendo Game Boys. Prisoners made "brooms and brushes, bedding and mattresses, toilets, sinks, and showers." They shrink-wrapped products for a Microsoft subcontractor that also worked for Costco and JanSport. Convicts made "dorm furniture and lockers, diploma covers, binders, logbooks, library book carts, locker room benches, and juice boxes." They worked in dental labs to produce a complete line of "prostheses: custom trays, try-ins, bite blocks, and dentures." Convicts have also helped build a Wal-Mart distribution center, stocked merchandise for Toys 'R' Us and made lingerie and leisure wear for Victoria's Secret and JCPenny.
UNICOR, aka Federal Prison Industries, sells its products strictly to the US government. In 2008, its net sales were $854.3 million, up from $459 million in 1996. These products were made by 21,836 convicts, or 17% of the inmates available in federal prisons. And for their generation of these sales, the inmates received 4% of them as wages.

UNICOR's 109 federal prison factories pay for themselves, or rather, the convicts pay for them, since they receive no government funding while producing about 175 different products and services: clothing and textiles; electronics; vehicle parts; industrial products; office furniture; recycling; and data entry and encoding. (See a job you'd like?) Unicor said that its inmate call centers are the "best kept secret in outsourcing." Unicor convicts also made soldiers' uniforms, bedding, shoes, helmets, and flak vests. Prisoners "produced missile cables and wiring harnesses for jets and tanks." A Boeing subcontractor had inmates cutting airplane components for $7 an hour, $23 less than the same work paid on the outside.

And "Under current law, all physically fit inmates who are not a security risk or have a health exception are required to work, either for UNICOR or at some other prison job. Inmates earn from 23 cents to $1.15 per hour, and all inmates with court ordered financial obligations must use at least 50% of this UNICOR income to satisfy these debts."  (emphasis added)

Weapons manufacturing corporations see prisons as a profitable new market for "defense technology" like electronic bracelets and stun guns. Private transportation corporations make money moving prisoners. Healthcare corporations provide prisons with doctors and nurses. Food service corporations make prisoners' meals. High-tech corporations hope to barcode prisoners or implant them with RFID chips and then sell scanners to monitor them. Telecommunications corporations like AT&T are looking for a piece of the enormously lucrative prison action.

By 2008, 37 states had legalized "hiring out" convicts to private corporations that operate inside state prisons: "IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom's, Revlon, Macy's, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more." And all these corporations experienced a powerful boost in shareholder profits as a result of using convicts, rather than "unincarcerated," labor.

And while crime rates have gone down, inmate population has gone up. From less than 300,000 inmates in 1972, the prison population rose to one million in 1990 and 2 million in 2000. In 1990 there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates. In 2000 there were 100 private prisons with 62,000 inmates. Today there are 264 for-profit prisons in America, housing almost 100,000 inmates. Most of these are in the southern and western parts of the country. They house both state and federal prisoners, and juveniles as well as adults.

"No other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens." The United States has locked up a half million more people than China, which has a population five times greater. And while the United States has only 5% of the world's population, it has 25% of the world's convicts. China's "Human Rights Record of the United States in 2009" states that there are 7.3 million Americans under the authority of US correctional systems.

The prison industrial complex is one of the fastest-growing sectors of US industry. "This multimillion-dollar industry has its own trade exhibitions, conventions, websites, and mail-order/Internet catalogs. It also has direct advertising campaigns, architecture companies, construction companies, investment houses on Wall Street, plumbing supply companies, food supply companies, armed security, and padded cells in a large variety of colors."

Privatizing prisons is an incentive to imprison people, because in order to guarantee enough profit to attract investors, these prisons have to be 90-95% filled. Corporate shareholders who make money off convict labor lobby for longer sentences and get-tough policies in order to enlarge and secure their workforce, as well as to continue the growth and profitability of their "enterprise."

Private prison corporations are major contributors to ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. Based in Washington, D.C., this public policy organization develops legislative models for tough-on-crime laws and advances "free" market principles like privatization. ALEC's Criminal Justice Task Force developed and helped to implement "Truth in Sentencing" and "Three Strikes" laws. ALEC's major contributors include private prison corporations like CCA and the GEO Group.

From 1980 to 1994, profit off hired-out convict labor went from $392 million to $1.31 billion. And thanks to hiring out convicts, the United States once again became an attractive location for investment in work designed for a globalized, "Third" World labor force. Corporations and their congressional marionettes will argue that this is justified - America needs the jobs - even if Americans have to go to prison to get them. And the exports produced by this convict labor will not only increase the pool of available labor and strengthen US corporations against overseas competition, it will pay for itself - long the stuff of corporate nirvana - as it helps to rebuild US global economic hegemony.

"...slavery is but the owning of labor and carries with it the care of the laborers, while the European plan, led by England, is that capital shall control labor by controlling wages." - from the Hazard Circular, 1862, purportedly from the banking interests of Britain to those of Civil War-era America (emphasis added)

In Bangladesh, a garment worker makes 22 cents an hour. The wage in Cambodia is 33 cents an hour; in Pakistan, 37 cents an hour; in Vietnam, 38 cents; in Sri Lanka, 43 cents; Indonesia, 44 cents; India, 55 cents; the Philippines, $1.07; and Malaysia, $1.18. This is the globalized marketplace for labor in which we must compete. (Note that convicts at Federal Prison Industries make from 22 cents to $1.18 an hour.)

The president's State of the Union goal is doubling US exports in five years by pursuing a "more strategic and aggressive effort to open up new markets for our goods" and "send(ing) more products over seas" and "borrow(ing) less and produce(ing) more."

The National Labor Committee's (NLC) mission statement highlights the conditions we're likely to experience in an American workhouse nation. "Transnational corporations (TNCs) now roam the world to find the cheapest and most vulnerable workers. Because TNCs are unaccountable, a dehumanized global workforce is ruthlessly exploited, denied their civil liberties, a living wage, and the right to work in dignity in healthy safe environments."

This is the very definition of a "sweatshop," in which maximum profit is "sweated" out of each worker. This was a big part of the reason for the success of the Industrial Revolution.

Today "a sweatshop is a workplace that violates the law and workers are subject to: extreme exploitation, including the absence of a living wage or long hours; poor working conditions, such as health and safety hazards; arbitrary discipline, such as verbal or physical abuse; or fear and intimidation when they speak out, organize or attempt to form a union." - Sweatshop Watch

The US Department of Labor says a sweatshop is "a place of employment that violates two or more federal or state labor laws governing wages and overtime, child labor, industrial homework, occupational safety and health, workers' compensation or industry regulation."

NLC notes that Wal-Mart, "with over $400 billion in sales and about 2.1 million the world’s largest retailer and private employer." Under Wal-Mart’s “Open Availability” policy, all "associates" must be available 24/7. This puts its "associates" in a position in which they are forced to put Wal-Mart ahead of their families.

At Wal-Mart, "associates" have to ask for a day off four weeks in advance. There are no emergencies. And since "associates" get demerits for any absences - no matter what the reason - this encourages them to go to work sick - even food-handlers. "Associates" are not told how many demerits they've racked up 'til "D-Day" comes. On “Decision Day" "associates" have to "write an essay on why they like working at Wal-Mart, why they should keep their job, and how they’ll improve their future performance." Based on this essay, they’re kept on or fired. If they keep their jobs, they're put on a year's probation and can be fired for the slightest infraction.

Half of Wal-Mart's "associates" get no health insurance, and those who do pay much of the cost and get very little for it. When "associates" opt out, or decline these magnanimous "benefits," Wal-Mart saves the money it doesn't have to pay in wages. Half of Wal-Mart's American "associates" make so little money they need Food Stamps in order to feed their families. That makes taxpayers liable for the portion of their "associates'" wages that Wal-Mart refuses to pay.

Overall, Wal-Mart's "associates" are "overworked, underpaid, (many below the federal poverty line), denied benefits, discriminated against, punished for the slightest infraction, and treated like" property.

And this is what's going on in America now.

Let's look into our future at work under globalized wages and working conditions. Let's take a look at China. Jason Chen reported that "Microsoft, IBM, Dell, Lenovo, and HP keyboards were likely were made under horrific working conditions at a Meitai Dongguan City, China factory" where workers are forbidden to talk, raise their heads, or put their hands in their pockets. They lose 3 day's pay for leaving their work stations without permission. They’re fined if they're a minute late. They get searched when they come to and leave work. And if they hand out flyers or discuss working conditions with outsiders, they're fired.

The assembly line never stops. Workers who need to go to the bathroom have to wait for a scheduled break. Taking Sunday off costs them two and a half days’ pay. They average up to 81 hours a week, including 34 hours of overtime, 318% over China’s legal limit. Their base pay is 64 cents an hour, and after deductions for room and board (and in our case, that would include health insurance), their take-home pay amounts to 41 cents an hour. And they're often cheated out of as much as 19% of it.

They lose two hours pay for “not lining up correctly while punching time cards or at the cafeteria", for not working “diligently,” and for putting personal possessions on their work desks. They also face a loss of two hours pay for “not parking bicycles according to company regulations, riding them at the facility not according to company rules, and returning to dorms after curfew."

They lose seven hours pay for switching dorm beds without permission, and one and a half day’s pay for getting to work over an hour late, "riding the elevator without permission, using dorm electricity without permission, using company phones for personal calls, producing low quality products, socializing with other employees during working hours, entering or leaving the factory without being inspected, or treating supervisors 'with an arrogant attitude.'"

But perhaps that's the pot calling the kettle black. China's "Human Rights Record of the United States in 2009" found documentation on 5,057 workplace deaths in the US in 2007, the last year for which figures are available. That's 17 of us - every day! And "Not one employer was criminally charged for any of these deaths." The report also found child hunger combined with "rampant child labor in agriculture: some 400,000 child farm workers pick America's crops. The US also leads the world in imprisoning children and juveniles..." (emphasis added)

Now let's look further into our future as a globalized work force. Let's look at the Kabir Steel Yard in Chittagong, Bangladesh.

In September 2009, NLC reported that Kabir Steel Yard was “Where Ships and Workers Go To Die." NLC Executive Director Charles Kernaghan subtitled the report “If There Is a Hell on Earth, This Is It,” calling the Kabir site “one of the strangest, most striking and frightening (ones) in the world.”

"About 30,000 workers dismantle decommissioned," 25 million-pound "tanker ships - 20 stories high, up to 1,000 feet long and from 95 to 164 feet wide - 12 hours a day, seven days a week for 22-32 cents an hour while 'handling and breathing in dangerous toxic waste with no safeguards whatsoever and under conditions that violate every local and international labor law.' Workers use hammers to break up 15,000 pounds of asbestos in each ship, then dump it on the sand to wash away."

Last September, one "worker was burned to death while breaking apart a South Korean tanker," and another was left in critical condition. "Three more were seriously burned when their blowtorches struck a gas tank that exploded..." Workers are "often paralyzed or crushed to death by falling metal plates."

On average, each ship, in addition to "15,000 pounds of asbestos, contains 10 to 100 tons of lead paint. As a result, workers are exposed to toxins from asbestos, lead, PCBs, mercury, arsenic, dioxins, cadmium, solvents, black oil residues and carcinogenic fumes from melting metal and lead paint."

"Helpers, often children, go barefoot or wear flip flops, use hammers to break apart asbestos, then shovel it into bags to dump in the sand." There's no basic protective gear. "Cutters using blowtorches wear sunglasses, not protective goggles; baseball caps, not hardhats; dirty bandanas around their noses and mouths, not respiratory masks; and two sets of shirts, not welders’ vests..." "They often work on 'floating stairs,' bamboo rope ladders. They hang on with one hand and operate a blowtorch with the other and use their teeth to turn liquid gas and oxygen valves on and off."

Note that "a UNICOR operation in California that 'de-manufactures' computer cathode-type monitors neglected the industry standard practice of using a crushing machine to minimize the danger of flying glass. This uses an isolated air system that also avoids releasing lead, barium, and phosphor compounds into the air workers breathe. At this UNICOR operation, convicts smashed CRTs with hammers."

In February of this year, at least 21 workers were killed and about 30 others injured in a fire inside the Garib and Garib Sweater Factory at Gazipur, Bangladesh. An electrical short-circuit probably caused the fire, but, as in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, locked exits were the main reason for the deaths. The fire broke out on the first floor about 9:30 pm and spread quickly to other floors, trapping workers. It took two hours for fire fighters and 11 fire engines to bring it under control. Most of the deaths appeared to have been from smoke inhalation.

Abdur Rashid, the officer-in-charge of Joydevpur police station, said “Most of the workers died from suffocation in the blaze as they were locked into the factory room on completion of their night duty.” Fire officials said fire prevention equipment at the factory was “virtually useless” and the building was poorly ventilated. In addition to illegal structures in the factory, lack of emergency lighting made it impossible for workers to escape. And the workers did not know how to operate the fire extinguishers. (emphasis added)

Garib and Garib, which produced sweaters for Swedish fashion chain H&M, as well as clothing for Wal-Mart and JC Penny, is just one of 4,000 textile producers in Bangladesh. And this fire wasn't the first. Factory fires and collapses are commonplace in Bangladesh. Since 1990, at least 240 people have died in garment factory fires. One fire killed 54 workers and injured over a 100, but there's still widespread violation of safety regulations and a lack of properly maintained fire equipment, fire exits, emergency lighting and fire drills.

This is the predictable result of the drive for profit, since Bangladesh depends so heavily on its garment industry, which brings in about $10 billion in exports every year and employs about two million workers, mostly women. Bangladesh is now the world’s second largest apparel producer.

When the Multi-Fiber Agreement, which had allocated quotas to individual countries, ended in January 2005, Bangladesh faced competition from China and India. As a result the government has been preoccupied with keeping garment industry profits high by keeping costs low — meaning wages and working conditions.

"NLC calls the world 'a desperate place for the poor.'" Global trade rules won’t protect them. They have to keep jobs they know will harm or kill them. They have no choice. They have to support their families. Globalization is not the engine of prosperity and wealth for people everywhere - just for the "opulent minority." Globalization is a major cause of inequality and unemployment. It's actually a worldwide version of capitalism's basic mechanism, the exploitation of labor via the appropriation of "surplus" value, with globalization prompting a race to the bottom for profits. And this is the abyss into which we're headed.

But "...any human institution that requires the dehumanization of human beings to by its very nature immoral, even if it is not illegal. To intentionally treat another human being as a thing, as something less than human; to degrade ourselves as human beings by surrendering our conscience, our reason, our dignity, or our self worth for some temporary advantage; are crimes against the inherent value of all members of mankind." And crimes against life itself.

However, today "Greed, for want of a better word, is good."

The Lust After Money has finally been freed from the chains of religion, morality, ethics, empathy and all sense of shame. Ancient ingrained inhibitions, warnings, and taboos against greed and acquisition have been erased, and sociopathic, genocidal self-interest elevated to a sacrament.

The fire of unbridled and insatiable gluttony on the part of the "opulent minority" for money and power is fueled by the accelerant of the ease of accumulation of unearned gain via the corporate mechanism of unaccountable appropriation of the real wealth of society - which is produced only by the majority of their laboring brothers, who are sacrificed, and who sacrifice themselves, to the corporation, an inhuman idol-mechanism for accumulating wealth, that is translated into political power to accumulate even more wealth. In its single-minded transformation of living resources into dead profit, it uses us as its means.

To accelerate this transformation, the "opulent minority" had exported the very means they engineered to keep us alive to serve them - our jobs - because they thought they didn't need us any longer, that they could cut out the middle man - labor - between them and money. But in the depths of the engineered economic "crisis," which they instigated to transfer even more of the wealth the people create to themselves, the "opulent minority" has discovered that they do have use for us after all.

And in order to re-establish the global imperial reach the "opulent minority" once comfortably enjoyed, the US method of self-enrichment via the mechanism of corporate economic colonization is now cannibalizing its own, and so Cain is once again killing Abel - and all for a few dollars more on top a pile that reaches to the heavens and stinks in the nostrils of whatever gods there may be. The Earth itself is preparing to cleanse the celestial airs of this stench, and on the petard of our own creation - climate decimation - hoist us into history.

America is once more the designated economic colony du jour. When King George III and the British East India Company instituted such economic oppression there was a revolution. Will we distinguish ourselves and honor that memory, file obediently into the KBR workhouses, or follow the mis-directed, free-floating anger of the Tea Partiers into fascism?

    "The illusion of freedom will continue for as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, pull back the curtains, and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater." - Frank Zappa

    "The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it." - Edward Dowling

    "All experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security." - The Declaration of Independence

© Copyright Vi Ransel, Global Research, 2010


Title: Re: The American Workplace: Sweatshop USA
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 24, 2010, 09:59:05 am
Although I do not share either her one-sided view of the Founders ( or her apparent preference for pure democracy ( over constitutional republicanism (, I nevertheless agree with much of what Vi Ransel has to say in the following article -- particularly her assessment of the Gilded Age (which is certain to make Austrian School ideologues cringe) and her point about how “slavery (” -- despite being officially abolished in the 19th century -- was never truly eliminated, but simply transformed into more sophisticated, less obvious guises, and how it thrives to this day.

I think the following is as relevant and insightful now as when originally written in 1883:


"That a people can be enslaved just as effectually by making property of their lands as by making property of their bodies, is a truth that conquerors in all ages have recognized, and that, as society developed, the strong and unscrupulous who desired to live off the labor of others, have been prompt to use. The coarser form of slavery, in which each particular slave is the property of a particular owner, is fitted only for a rude state of society, and with social development entails more and more care, trouble and expense upon the owner. But by making property of land instead of the person, much care, supervision and expense are saved the proprietors; and though no particular slave is owned by a particular master, yet the one class still appropriates the labor of the other class as before.

"That each particular slave should be owned by a particular master would in fact become, as social development went on, and industrial organization grew complex, a manifest disadvantage to the masters. They would be at the trouble of whipping, or otherwise compelling the slaves to work; at the cost of watching them, and of keeping them when ill or unproductive; at the trouble of finding work for them to do, or of hiring them out, as at different seasons or at different times, the number of slaves which different owners or different contractors could advantageously employ would vary. As social development went on, these inconveniences might, were there no other way of obviating them, have led slave owners to adopt such device for the joint ownership and management of slaves, as the mutual convenience of capitalists has led to in the management of capital ( In a rude state of society, the man who wants to have money ready for use must hoard it, or, if he travels, carry it with him. The man who has capital must use it himself, or lend it. But mutual convenience has, as society developed, suggested methods of saving this trouble. The man who wishes to have his money accessible turns it over to a bank, which does not agree to keep or hand him back that particular money, but money to that amount. And so by turning over his capital to savings-banks or trust companies, or by buying the stock or bonds of corporations, he gets rid of all trouble of handling and employing it. Had chattel slavery continued, some similar device for the ownership and management of slaves would in time have been adopted. But by changing the form of slavery--by freeing men and appropriating land--all the advantages of chattel slavery can be secured without any of the disadvantages which in a complex society attend the owning of a particular man by a particular master.

"Unable to employ themselves, the nominally free laborers are forced by their competition with each other to pay as rent all their earnings above a bare living, or to sell their labor for wages which give but a bare living; and as landowners the ex-slaveholders are enabled as before, to appropriate to themselves the labor or the produce of the labor of their former chattels....They no longer have to drive their slaves to work; want and the fear of want do that more effectually than the lash. They no longer have the trouble of looking out for their employment of hiring out their labor, or the expense of keeping them when they cannot work. That is thrown upon the slaves. The tribute that they still wring from labor seems like voluntary ( payment. In fact, they take it as their honest share of the rewards of production--since they furnish the land! And they find so-called political economists, to say nothing of so-called preachers of Christianity, to tell them it is so....

"But it may be said that the analogy between our industrial system and chattel slavery is only supported by the consideration of extremes. Between those who get but a bare living and those who can live luxuriously on the earnings of others, are many gradations, and here lies the great middle class. Between all classes, moreover, a constant movement of individuals is going on. The millionaire's grandchildren may be tramps, while even the poor man who has lost hope for himself may cherish it for his son. Moreover, it is not true that all the difference between what labor fairly earns and what labor really gets goes to the owners of land. And with us, in the United States, a great many of the owners of land are small owners--men who own the homesteads in which they live or the soil they till, and who combine the characters of laborer and landowner.

"These objections will be best met by endeavoring to imagine a well-developed society, like our own, in which chattel slavery exists without distinction of race....

"[In such a society] the indolence, interest and necessity of the masters would soon develop a class of intermediaries between the completely enslaved and themselves. To supervise the labor of the slaves, and to keep them in subjection, it would be necessary to take, from the ranks of the slaves, overseers, policeman, etc., and to reward them by more of the produce of slave labor than goes to the ordinary slave. So, too, would it be necessary to draw out special skill and talent. And in the course of social development a class of traders would necessarily arise, who, exchanging the products of slave labor, would retain a considerable portion; and a class of contractors, who, hiring slave labor from the masters, would also retain a portion of its produce. Thus, between the slaves forced to work for a bare living and the masters who lived without work, intermediaries of various grades would be developed, some of whom would doubtless acquire large wealth....

"And, as has always happened where slavery had not race character, some of these ex-slaves or their children would, in the constant movement, be always working their way to the highest places, so that in such a state of society the apologists of things as they are would triumphantly point to these examples, saying, 'See how beautiful a thing is slavery! Any slave can become a slaveholder himself if he is only faithful, industrious and prudent! It is only their own ignorance and dissipation and laziness that prevent all slaves from becoming masters!' And then they would indulge in a moan for human nature. 'Alas!' they would say, 'the fault is not in slavery; it is in human nature' -- meaning, of course, other human nature than their own. And if any one hinted at the abolition of slavery, they would charge him with assailing the sacred rights of property, and of endeavoring to rob poor blind widow women of the slaves that were their sole dependence; call him a crank and a communist; an enemy of man and a defiler of God!....

"It must be remembered, however, that the slavery that results from the appropriation of land does not come suddenly, but insidiously and progressively. Where population is sparse and land of little value, the institution of private property in land ( may exist without its effects being much felt. As it becomes more and more difficult to get land, so will the virtual enslavement of the laboring-classes go on. As the value of the bare land rises, more and more of the earnings of labor will be demanded for the use of land, until finally nothing is left to laborers but the wages of slavery--a bare living.

"But the degree as well as the manner in which individuals are affected by this movement must vary very much. Where the ownership of land has been much diffused, there will remain, for some time after the mere laborer has been reduced to the wages of slavery, a greater body of smaller landowners occupying an intermediate position, and who, according to the land they hold, and the relation which it bears to their labor, may, to make a comparison with chattel slavery, be compared, in their gradations, to the owners of a few slaves; to those who own no slaves but are themselves free; or to partial slaves, compelled to render service for one, two, three, four or five days in the week, but for the rest of the time their own masters." [Continued... (]
-- Henry George, Social Problems (, pp. 150-156


Title: Re: The American Workplace: Sweatshop USA
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 24, 2010, 10:01:59 am (

The American Workplace: Sweatshop USA
Workhouse Nation: Part Three

Preceding the above was Part Two ( of Ransel's "Workhouse Nation" report, from which the following key excerpt is lifted:


Robert Reich, Clinton's Labor Secretary, has posited that there's a "radical restructuring of the economy that is going on behind the scenes."  In other words, behind the people's backs.  "...people who lost their jobs were pushed into lower paying jobs..."  And those who had lower paying jobs were pushed out entirely, while bank, and other corporate profits, continue to escalate.  Corporations continue to consolidate, further concentrating power in the hands of their shareholders, as real property/wealth is distributed upward to the "opulent minority."   
And now all of us freeloading, entitlement-grasping working people on whom they not only depend, but whom they themselves have immiserated, must be made to pay for the "opulent minority's" good times via a present-day version of the Victorian workhouse ( 
The Enclosure Acts in Britain forced people off the land they'd worked by right for centuries, fencing them out, driving them into the "great dim sheds" of the Industrial Revolution (1700-1800). Though Britain amassed natural and financial resources from its colonies and profits from its slave trade, this made up only 5% of Britain's national income during the Industrial Revolution.  Britain's dense population for its small size, and the Enclosure of common land created a readily available labor supply.  And it was through the Enclosure movement, in large part, that the peasantry was destroyed as a meaningful resistance and removed the obstacles to Britain's mandate of capitalism.
And while prior to the Protestant Reformation (1517-1648), it had been a Christian's duty to undertake the seven corporal works of mercy: feed the hungry; give drink to the thirsty; welcome the stranger; clothe the naked; visit the sick; visit the prisoner; and bury the dead, after the Reformation, "outdated," other-directed values became inconvenient. Moral expectations and noblesse oblige disappeared and it became necessary to regulate poor relief by law.
The moral economy was replaced by a political economy in which the well-off had no moral obligation to help the ill, the aged, the widowed, the orphaned or the unemployed.  Such obligations were replaced with a cash payment which destroyed both the human link between the haves and the have-nots, as well as the right of the poor to claim relief in times of hardship, like illness, a hard winter or trade depressions.  And with the appearance of laissez-faire economic theory, poverty came to be seen as the result of self-chosen immorality, irresponsibility, or idleness, or an inherent weakness or inferiority - all of which were used to justify leaving the destitute to their destitution at the "invisible hand" of the "free" market. 
At approximately the same time, Thomas Malthus (,430.msg1404.html#msg1404) was expounding his theory that the relief of poverty itself created poverty.  In other words, those who could not work should, if necessary, starve rather than have government provide any kind of relief because it "distorted" the "free" market that determined the "natural" level of wages and prices.  The "law" of supply and demand had to be allowed to operate freely without acknowledging that the "free" market was often the cause of unemployment/idleness.  This "natural law" assumed that people would work for any wage offered rather than starve themselves and their families (which was exactly the point) and in order for wages to rise, the labor supply had to become scarce through starvation, disease and/or exposure to the elements.
There's a modern version of this theory at work today in South Carolina, where "Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer has compared giving government assistance to 'feeding stray animals.'  'My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals.  You know why?  Because they breed.  You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply.'  'How do you fix it?  Well you say, look, if you receive goods or services from the government, then you owe something back.'  "We can't afford to keep just giving money away."  He said that government continues to reward bad behavior by giving money to people who 'don't have to do a thing.'
He failed to mention Bush's $1.3 trillion tax cut for the disgustingly wealthy.  Nor did he touch on tax breaks, abatements and subsidies to our largest corporations.  He seems to have forgotten the more than $23 trillion allocated to the banks, no questions asked, or the onerous workfare obligations imposed on those who receive public assistance and the tax on unemployment benefits.
Britain's remedy for fixing the problem of giving money to people who "don't have to do a thing" was workhouses.  Workhouses had appeared in Britain in the 1600s as places for people to live and work when they couldn't support themselves. The unemployed, able-bodied poor could only get relief by going into these workhouses, even if trade depressions had caused their "idleness."  The work, like factory work, was continuous, boring, hard and degrading.  They crushed bones, broke stones and "picked" oakum, e.g. unbraided bits of used, tarry rope, the fibers of which were then used as caulk for sailing ships.  The workhouse, like workfare, was used as a deterrent.  And as they are for welfare, conditions were made as harsh and degrading as possible so only the truly desperate would apply to "the house."  And once poor parents entered a workhouse, they were held to have forfeited responsibility for their children, enabling landlords to take them as unpaid "apprentices" until they came of age, 18 for girls, 24 for boys.
At the same time, debtors could be locked up "until their families paid their debt.  Some debt prisoners were released into debt bondage to become indentured servants until they paid off their debt in labor." (emphasis added)
And in fact, two to three Europeans who came to the American colonies were debtors when they got here.  Some colonies, like Georgia, were supposed to be debtors' asylums.  In 1789, the Society for the Relief of Distressed Debtors determined that of 1,162 debtors in New York's debtors' prison in 1787 and 1788, over half, 716 of them, owed less than 20 shillings.  In 1831 imprisonment for debt was abolished in New York, and in 1841 Congress passed a law that offered bankruptcy to everyone.  Debtors' prisons all over America were finally abolished and bankruptcy laws liberalized as Americans realized that most people do not fall into debt of their own choosing - or as a result divine retribution. 
But in 2009 in Georgia, people who couldn't pay their fines - plus the monthly fee to the private corporation that collects the payments - were often sent to jail, according to Stephen Bright, President of the Southern Center for Human Rights.  And in 2006, the center sued on behalf of a woman locked up for eight months in Atlanta because she couldn't pay a $705 fine.  And until a few years ago in Gulfport, Mississippi, defendants who couldn't pay their fines were put in jail 'til they "sat off" their fines.
Barbara Ehrenreich ( points out that while debtors' prisons no longer exist, a creditor can petition a court to issue a summons for nonpayment of a bill.  If you fail to appear you're in contempt of court, which lands you in jail - where you can run up more debt.  An increasing number of prison systems charge their inmates for room and board.  Taney County, Missouri charges $45 a day, Springfield, Oregon charges $60, and New Jersey is considering a $10-15 day fee. Nobody knows what happens if an inmate can't pay.  More time in jail to "sit it off?"
Prisoners' rights advocates worry that as government budgets come increasingly under pressure, courts and prisons will get even tougher about forcing indigent defendants to pay cost and fees, and will imprison more of them if they can't come up with the money, in effect imprisoning them for poverty.
In America prior to the 1930s and Social Security, destitute elderly poor people went to the poorhouse (, or workhouse (  Such "houses" were widespread in America.  Poorhouses were often on "poor farms," where any able-bodied residents were made to work.  These could be part of the same economic complex as a prison farm, and most produced at least some of the produce, grain and livestock they consumed, like serfs working on a medieval manor, or Victorian residents of a workhouse.  "Residents" (inmates) were expected to provide labor to the extent that their health would allow, in the fields as well as providing housekeeping and care for other residents.  Rules were strict and accommodations minimal.

Now the "opulent minority" is instituting another set of Enclosure Acts.  This time, rather than fencing us out, they've built a fence to keep us in.  The wage slave system wasn't escape-proof enough, so we've been enclosed within a fence of debt from which there is no escape.  To that end wages will be halved - again.  Foreclosures strictly carried out.  Insurance for health, like that for cars, will be mandatory.  Unions have already been neutralized, reduced to shells of their former selves.  Free speech is relegated to zones behind barbed wire fences policed by minions of mammon armed with gas, guns and tasers.  And now that Obama's healthcare "reform" has become law, the workhouses of Victorian England will pale by comparison with the "great dim sheds" of our new plantation-poor farms constructed by Halliburton.


Title: Too Poor to Make the News
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 24, 2010, 10:02:51 am (

Too Poor to Make the News

by Barbara Ehrenreich
June 15, 2009

The human side of the recession, in the new media genre that's been called "recession ****," is the story of an incremental descent from excess to frugality, from ease to austerity. The super-rich give up their personal jets; the upper middle class cut back on private Pilates classes; the merely middle class forgo vacations and evenings at Applebee's. In some accounts, the recession is even described as the "great leveler," smudging the dizzying levels of inequality that characterized the last couple of decades and squeezing everyone into a single great class, the Nouveau Poor (, in which we will all drive tiny fuel-efficient cars and grow tomatoes on our porches.

But the outlook is not so cozy when we look at the effects of the recession on a group generally omitted from all the vivid narratives of downward mobility - the already poor, the estimated 20 percent to 30 percent of the population who struggle to get by in the best of times. This demographic, the working poor, have already been living in an economic depression of their own. From their point of view "the economy," as a shared condition, is a fiction.

This spring, I tracked down a couple of the people I had met while working on my 2001 book, "Nickel and Dimed (," in which I worked in low-wage jobs like waitressing and housecleaning, and I found them no more gripped by the recession than by "American Idol"; things were pretty much "same old." The woman I called Melissa in the book was still working at Wal-Mart, though in nine years, her wages had risen to $10 an hour from $7. "Caroline," who is increasingly disabled by diabetes and heart disease, now lives with a grown son and subsists on occasional cleaning and catering jobs. We chatted about grandchildren and church, without any mention of exceptional hardship.

As with Denise Smith, whom I recently met through the Virginia Organizing Project and whose bachelor's degree in history qualifies her for seasonal $10-an-hour work at a tourist site, the recession is largely an abstraction. "We were poor," Ms. Smith told me cheerfully, "and we're still poor."

But then, at least if you inhabit a large, multiclass extended family like my own, there comes that e-mail message with the subject line "Need your help," and you realize that bad is often just the stage before worse. The note was from one of my nephews, and it reported that his mother-in-law, Peg, was, like several million other Americans, about to lose her home to foreclosure.

It was the back story that got to me: Peg, who is 55 and lives in rural Missouri, had been working three part-time jobs to support her disabled daughter and two grandchildren, who had moved in with her. Then, last winter, she had a heart attack, missed work and fell behind in her mortgage payments. If I couldn't help, all four would have to move into the cramped apartment in Minneapolis already occupied by my nephew and his wife.

Only after I'd sent the money did I learn that the mortgage was not a subprime one and the home was not a house but a dilapidated single-wide trailer that, as a "used vehicle," commands a 12-percent mortgage interest rate. You could argue, without any shortage of compassion, that "Low-Wage Worker Loses Job, Home" is nobody's idea of news.

In late May I traveled to Los Angeles - where the real unemployment rate, including underemployed people and those who have given up on looking for a job, is estimated at 20 percent - to meet with a half-dozen community organizers. They are members of a profession, derided last summer by Sarah Palin, that helps low-income people renegotiate mortgages, deal with eviction when their landlords are foreclosed and, when necessary, organize to confront landlords and bosses.

The question I put to this rainbow group was: "Has the recession made a significant difference in the low-income communities where you work, or are things pretty much the same?" My informants - from Koreatown, South Central, Maywood, Artesia and the area around Skid Row - took pains to explain that things were already bad before the recession, and in ways that are disconnected from the larger economy. One of them told me, for example, that the boom of the '90s and early 2000s had been "basically devastating" for the urban poor. Rents skyrocketed; public housing disappeared to make way for gentrification (

But yes, the recession has made things palpably worse, largely because of job losses. With no paychecks coming in, people fall behind on their rent and, since there can be as long as a six-year wait for federal housing subsidies, they often have no alternative but to move in with relatives. "People are calling me all the time," said Preeti Sharma of the South Asian Network, "They think I have some sort of magic."

The organizers even expressed a certain impatience with the Nouveau Poor, once I introduced the phrase. If there's a symbol for the recession in Los Angeles, Davin Corona of Strategic Actions for a Just Economy said, it's "the policeman facing foreclosure in the suburbs." The already poor, he said - the undocumented immigrants, the sweatshop workers, the janitors, maids and security guards - had all but "disappeared" from both the news media and public policy discussions.

Disappearing with them is what may be the most distinctive and compelling story of this recession. When I got back home, I started calling up experts, like Sharon Parrott, a policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, who told me, "There's rising unemployment among all demographic groups, but vastly more among the so-called unskilled."

How much more? Larry Mishel, the president of the Economic Policy Institute, offers data showing that blue-collar unemployment is increasing three times as fast as white-collar unemployment. The last two recessions - in the early '90s and in 2001 - produced mass white-collar layoffs, and while the current one has seen plenty of downsized real-estate agents and financial analysts, the brunt is being borne by the blue-collar working class, which has been sliding downward since deindustrialization began in the '80s.

When I called food banks and homeless shelters around the country, most staff members and directors seemed poised to offer press-pleasing tales of formerly middle-class families brought low. But some, like Toni Muhammad at Gateway Homeless Services in St. Louis, admitted that mostly they see "the long-term poor," who become even poorer when they lose the kind of low-wage jobs that had been so easy for me to find from 1998 to 2000. As Candy Hill, a vice president of Catholic Charities U.S.A., put it, "All the focus is on the middle class - on Wall Street and Main Street - but it's the people on the back streets who are really suffering."

What are the stations between poverty and destitution? Like the Nouveau Poor, the already poor descend through a series of deprivations, though these are less likely to involve forgone vacations than missed meals and medications. The Times reported earlier this month that one-third of Americans can no longer afford to comply with their prescriptions.

There are other, less life-threatening, ways to try to make ends meet. The Associated Press has reported that more women from all social classes are resorting to stripping, although "gentlemen's clubs," too, have been hard-hit by the recession. The rural poor are turning increasingly to "food auctions," which offer items that may be past their sell-by dates.

And for those who like their meat fresh, there's the option of urban hunting. In Racine, Wis., a 51-year-old laid-off mechanic told me he's supplementing his diet by "shooting squirrels and rabbits and eating them stewed, baked and grilled." In Detroit, where the wildlife population has mounted as the human population ebbs, a retired truck driver is doing a brisk business in raccoon carcasses, which he recommends marinating with vinegar and spices.

The most common coping strategy, though, is simply to increase the number of paying people per square foot of dwelling space - by doubling up or renting to couch-surfers. It's hard to get firm numbers on overcrowding, because no one likes to acknowledge it to census-takers, journalists or anyone else who might be remotely connected to the authorities. At the legal level, this includes Peg taking in her daughter and two grandchildren in a trailer with barely room for two, or my nephew and his wife preparing to squeeze all four of them into what is essentially a one-bedroom apartment. But stories of Dickensian living arrangements abound.

In Los Angeles, Prof. Peter Dreier, a housing policy expert at Occidental College, says that "people who've lost their jobs, or at least their second jobs, cope by doubling or tripling up in overcrowded apartments, or by paying 50 or 60 or even 70 percent of their incomes in rent." Thelmy Perez, an organizer with Strategic Actions for a Just Economy, is trying to help an elderly couple who could no longer afford the $600 a month rent on their two-bedroom apartment, so they took in six unrelated subtenants and are now facing eviction. According to a community organizer in my own city, Alexandria, Va., the standard apartment in a complex occupied largely by day laborers contains two bedrooms, each housing a family of up to five people, plus an additional person laying claim to the couch.

Overcrowding - rural, suburban and urban - renders the mounting numbers of the poor invisible, especially when the perpetrators have no telltale cars to park on the street. But if this is sometimes a crime against zoning laws, it's not exactly a victimless one. At best, it leads to interrupted sleep and long waits for the bathroom; at worst, to explosions of violence. Catholic Charities is reporting a spike in domestic violence in many parts of the country, which Candy Hill attributes to the combination of unemployment and overcrowding.

And doubling up is seldom a stable solution. According to Toni Muhammad, about 70 percent of the people seeking emergency shelter in St. Louis report they had been living with relatives "but the place was too small." When I asked Peg what it was like to share her trailer with her daughter's family, she said bleakly, "I just stay in my bedroom."

The deprivations of the formerly affluent Nouveau Poor are real enough, but the situation of the already poor suggests that they do not necessarily presage a greener, more harmonious future with a flatter distribution of wealth. There are no data yet on the effects of the recession on measures of inequality, but historically the effect of downturns is to increase, not decrease, class polarization.

The recession of the '80s transformed the working class into the working poor, as manufacturing jobs fled to the third world, forcing American workers into the low-paying service and retail sector. The current recession is knocking the working poor down another notch - from low-wage employment and inadequate housing toward erratic employment and no housing at all. Comfortable people have long imagined that American poverty is far more luxurious than the third world variety, but the difference is rapidly narrowing.

Maybe "the economy," as depicted on CNBC, will revive again, restoring the kinds of jobs that sustained the working poor, however inadequately, before the recession. Chances are, though, that they still won't pay enough to live on, at least not at any level of safety and dignity. In fact, hourly wage growth, which had been running at about 4 percent a year, has undergone what the Economic Policy Institute calls a "dramatic collapse" in the last six months alone. In good times and grim ones, the misery at the bottom just keeps piling up, like a bad debt that will eventually come due.

Title: How the Poor Vote themselves into Poverty
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 24, 2010, 10:04:04 am (

How the Poor Vote themselves into Poverty

by Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor
The Progress Report
May 17, 2010

The poor we always have with us, because they vote themselves into poverty. It starts out with an aristocracy ( that owns the land ( and collects rent ( from the poor. The aristocracy can either be smart or stupid. If they are stupid, they keep repressing the rebellions of the poor until finally the army switches sides and the royalty gets overthrown by the revolution. That’s what happened with the French and Russian revolutions, and with the Shah of Iran.

However, no revolution has ever ended up helping the poor. A new aristocracy takes over, but this time they are smarter, as for example, they don’t call it "aristocracy." In the USSR, for example, the new aristocracy was the Communist Party "nomenklatura," but they called themselves the party of the workers.

If the aristocracy is smart, they avoid revolution by enlisting the middle class as allies. They sell some of their land to the bourgeoisie. They tax the income of the middle class, but then rebate their tax money with public goods that increase their rent and land value. This financial roundtrip causes a reduction of wealth, the deadweight loss ( or excess burden of taxation, but the bourgeoisie is happy, as they have enough money left for café latte.

To keep the poor from rebelling, the smart aristocrats hand out welfare ( Welfare consists of economic rent handed back to the poor as services. The poor pay rent to the aristocracy for the use of dwelling space, and then the ruling class hands some of it back as schooling, medical services, housing assistance, and food coupons. "Look at how much we are helping you," say the aristocrats. "To keep getting your aid, you need to vote in favor of us rulers." So they do.

The poor pay little or no income tax, but they pay sales ( and excise taxes. The purpose of taxes on the sale of goods, and taxes on value added during production (, is to force the poor to pay taxes. There is an even bigger tax on the poor, the deadweight loss of taxation, the reduction of income and growth caused by taxation, which falls hardest on the poor. The poor get taxed much more than the value of the aid they receive, but the schooling provided by government avoids any hint of this. That is why governments provide "public education" rather than vouchers that would let parents send their children to private schools where they just might learn the hidden economic reality.

But there is a problem with this arrangement. The middle class resists being taxed too much, as they see much of the money being routed to the poor and to wealthy rent seekers ( To enlist the voting support of the poor and the middle class, the ruling aristocracy borrows money to spend on more welfare. The poor also support labor unions so that they can strike to get higher wages, and government workers then get unionized also. Labor unions in the private sector end up pricing themselves out of the market, but government workers can get big pensions and higher wages if the government borrows more money. Governments end up with huge budget deficits and unpayable debts.

That’s where we are now. On the vanguard of government debt are California ( and Greece (, which resorted to accounting tricks to keep on borrowing, but that game is now checkmated. Unable to borrow, governments cut the welfare aid to the poor. They also try to cut some of the pensions and wages of workers. Outraged, the poor go into the streets and riot.

A little voice in the corner cries out, "untax labor, tap the rent, stop the subsidies," but that voice is drowned out by the yelling of the protestors who demand their welfare aid. The middle class does not want their rent tapped for public revenue, because they feel insecure in their jobs, and see their land value as their security. They don’t understand that in a pure free market, their untaxed labor and full employment would be better security. They say, "if this were true, we would have learned this in our government schooling ("

Economists are trained in graduate school that there are only two factors, land and capital. What about land? That is part of capital. Why not tap the rent? Because it is only a tiny part of national income. Why do you think so? That is what the government reports say ( Have you analyzed this? "If that were important, I would have learned this in graduate school."

Now the landed aristocracy is in deep trouble. California can’t borrow much more. Greece can still borrow from the International Monetary Fund and from the wealthier Europan countries, but only for a couple of years. The USA still has good credit, but it is doing nothing to reduce future deficits. The line of least political resistance is a default, softly in the form of a restructuring of the debt, or harshly as repudiation during a financial crisis.

The banks holding these failed bonds will get bailed out. They have to get rescued, because they loan out the money for the real estate purchases that prop up land values. But the debt crunch ends up hurting everybody, the rich, middle class, and the poor, when governments are no longer able to borrow.

We are now coming to an "end of history," of a century of government deficits that got the revenue to placate the poor. After the crunch, a new history will begin, but the price will have been paid as environmental damage, conflict, and the perpetuation of poverty. That’s what Henry George ( foresaw when he explained how perverse progress creates poverty.

Henry George also foresaw the rise of new barbarians. Who are they? Terrorists who have grievances, but have no clue as to the ultimate source of the injustice. The ultimate cause of the terrorist threat is injustice in land tenure, but they don’t teach that in school either.

Copyright 2010 by Fred E. Foldvary

Title: Sweatshop Manufacturing: Engine of Poverty
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 24, 2010, 10:09:30 am
Note: Although the author of the following article is clearly unaware of the fundamental difference between (a) the Austrian School version of "capitalism" and the "free market" which -- thanks to an elite-funded propaganda campaign (,395.msg1218.html#msg1218) -- largely dominates economic thought among conservatives and right-leaning libertarians, and (b) the sadly lesser known Georgist ( version, he nevertheless conveys a keenly accurate assesssment of the monstrous, dehumanizing, 19th century-style working conditions that plague countless millions of landless peasants throughout the Third World, and which the ruling class oligarchs who've hijacked our government ( are slowly and quietly reestablishing in the U.S. As you read, please bear in mind that these horrific conditions were one of the key defining characteristics of what Austrian Schoolers shamelessly and laughingly define as America's "golden era."

------------------------------------- (

Sweatshop Manufacturing: Engine of Poverty

by Gregory Elich


Global Research
May 16, 2010

On a global scale, the reign of free market ideology has wrought deep changes. Manufacturing jobs in the developed nations are rapidly shrinking while abroad there has been a rise in sweatshop manufacturing, with conditions reminiscent of the worst of the 19th century. The effect has been to widen the gulf between the living conditions of the wealthy and those who labor for them.

Inequality has reached such an astounding level that it requires an act of willful blindness on the part of Western media not to notice it. Over half of the world’s population subsists on less than $2 a day, while the 200 richest individuals own more wealth than 41 percent of the world’s population, or in other words, more than 2.6 billion people. Such an extreme concentration of wealth in the hands of the few cannot be construed as a failure of global capitalism. Indeed, it is a mark of its success, for this is what the system is designed to do. Nor can the mass immiseration on which the system rests be dismissed as an unfortunate mistake or an unintended byproduct of the process. Pillage is the very engine that drives the accumulation of riches.

It is abroad where the repercussions of triumphant capital are at their most troubling, especially in underdeveloped nations offering a pristine opportunity for unfettered exploitation. Even as the domestic workforce is being relentlessly driven into insecurity, the profits to be had from the exploitation of labor, markets and resources in the Third World are unsurpassed. Capitalism is a global system, and capital flows where it stands to reap the highest returns. It knows no boundaries.

Naked exploitation of labor is the hallmark of manufacturing jobs exported abroad. Giant corporations such as Wal-Mart constantly press suppliers to lower costs, causing plant managers to wring more production from already over-exploited workers. At a typical plant in Honduras, managers blame Wal-Mart’s continual demands for cheaper clothing for the need to drive their workers so hard. Isabel Reyes labors at this plant for ten hours a day, where she is expected to sew sleeves onto 1,200 shirts during a single shift, an average of one sleeve every 15 seconds. “There is always an acceleration,” she says. “The goals are always increasing, but the pay stays the same.” After eleven years at the plant, her Carpal Tunnel Syndrome has worsened to the point where she cannot lift a pot or hold her baby without first taking anti-inflammatory pills. In compensation for her toil, she earns about $35 a month.

U.S. corporations threaten to move production to countries with cheaper labor if demands for lower prices are not met. To meet that challenge, Honduran manufacturers slashed 20 percent of staff over a three-year period while maintaining the same level of production. Henry Fransen, director of the Honduran Apparel Manufacturers Association, remarked sardonically, “We’re earning less and producing more, following the Wal-Mart philosophy.” The Wal-Mart technique for purchasing fabrics is to approach a few plants in different countries and then pit them against each other. “We’ll be putting our global muscle on them,” gloated the head of the company’s global procurement division. Even in Bangladesh, with its abysmal labor conditions and rock-bottom production costs, Wal-Mart asked factory owners to lower prices by up to 50 percent. With over 10,000 suppliers worldwide, Wal-Mart is a trendsetter in the apparel industry.

The harsh reality is that employment in a sweatshop is akin to imprisonment. The Alejandro Apparel plant in Honduras is representative of sweatshops throughout the Third World, with its barbed-wire fence, locked gates and armed security guards. Situated in the Choloma Free Zone, the firm is exempt from all taxes, import and export duties and tariffs. An average worker at Alejandro Apparel earns a wage of 86 cents per hour and sews 230 T-shirts in a ten and a half hour shift. Thus, a worker earns just four cents per shirt, less than one percent of its retail price. This plant supplies several American corporations, including Nike, Adidas and Hanes. In contrast to the insignificant sum a worker is paid for actually producing a shirt, Nike spends over two dollars to advertise it. Keeping up with harsh production quotas is difficult, and workers take just ten minutes for lunch. Management monitors bathroom use and any worker regarded as taking too long is ordered over a loudspeaker to return to his or her workstation. Employees are forbidden to speak to one another and supervisors routinely scream at and berate workers.

The situation is very much the same at Southeast Textiles, also located in the Choloma Free Zone, except that here before workers can use the restroom they must first ask permission and present a toilet pass stamped by a supervisor. Workers caught drinking water “too often” are called into the office and given a warning, because such a practice can lead to the need for a restroom break. A second infraction brings swift punishment. At both plants, the relentless pace of production and unvarying routine produce repetitive strain injuries in a majority of workers.

Lydda Eli Gonzalez was one of 15 workers fired from Southeast Textiles for attempting to organize a union. Only because she had lost her job did she feel free to describe the working conditions there. Her job consisted of attaching sleeves to Sean John shirts. The quota set for a production line was to sew 2,288 shirts per shift; a goal intentionally set at an impossible level. The best that could be managed during a regular shift was half that amount, so workers were customarily required to work unpaid overtime in order to “compensate” management for the shortfall. “The supervisors stand over us shouting and cursing at us to go faster,” she said. “We are under constant pressure. They call us filthy names, like maldito, donkey, ****, and worse things. You can’t answer the supervisors or they will fire you. It is very hot in the factory and you are sweating all day. There is also a lot of dust in the air. You breathe it in, and you go into the factory with black hair and come out with hair that is white or red or whatever the color of the shirts we are working on.” Once a worker succeeds in receiving permission to use the restroom she must first suffer the indignity of being searched by a guard before being allowed to proceed. “You can go once in the morning and once in the afternoon,” Gonzalez explained. The work process at the plant is grueling. “You can’t move or stretch, or even look to the side. You just have to focus and work as fast as you can to complete the production goal, always under pressure. Because of this, and because the benches are just wood with no backs, by the end of the day your whole body aches, your back, arms, shoulders, everything, and one feels exhausted.”

At Niagra Textiles in Bangladesh, workers sew garments for Disney and Wal-Mart, earning the princely sum of 11 to 20 cents per hour. Helpers are paid even less than sewers, just 7 to 8 cents an hour. The pay is so abysmal that four workers must share a single shack, and one outhouse and water pump serves sixty people. Meals consist of nothing but rice, only occasionally flavored with a small amount of beans or potatoes. To manage even such a meager diet as this, workers must borrow money each week. The workweek is 14 hours a day, seven days a week. At best, employees are given one day off a month. On top of that schedule, employees are required to work a 19-hour shift once a week, from 8:00 AM until 3:00 AM the following morning. At the end of this extended shift, workers sleep on the floor at the factory. If a worker is caught talking in the factory, he is fined a day’s wages. “It is a bleak life. We have no hope,” confessed one worker. Another complained, “We have no life. We can’t afford to marry; we have no wife, no social life. We live just to work.”

It is the practice of Niagra Textiles to pay its workers two weeks late in order to earn extra interest from the bank. On one occasion, a small group of workers entered the manager’s office, asking when they would be paid. The outraged manager responded by assaulting one of the workers and screaming, “How dare you come into my office!” The manager made a cell phone call for assistance and then he and his assistant beat the workers. Thirty-some minutes later, five gang members arrived and thrashed the workers with sticks and stomped on those who had fallen to the ground. Police arrived during the melee, and gang members helpfully pointed out the workers they were to arrest. Eight employees were taken to jail, where they remained for two weeks before being released on bail and facing charges. Every worker who had inquired about pay was dismissed, including those who had eluded arrest. 

At the Western Dresses factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Robina Akther usually worked from 7:45 in the morning until 10:00 or 11:00 PM, and seven or eight nights a month she was ordered to work until 3:00 AM. “The factory never shuts down,” she reported. “In the first six months I did not have a single day off.” In a typical year, Akther would get less than ten days off. “My job was to sew the flaps on the back pockets of these pants. I had to sew 120 pieces an hour. It was difficult to reach. If you made any mistakes or fell behind on your goal, they beat you. They slapped you and lashed you hard on the face with the pants. This happens very often. They hit you hard.” Workers at the factory are not permitted to talk. “If the supervisors even see you move your lips or make a gesture to a friend, they cut your overtime pay as punishment. We work sitting on hard wooden stools with no backs or arm rests. But if you even stand up to stretch, they cut your overtime pay.”

At a factory in Thailand producing clothing for Reebok, Adidas and Levi’s, amphetamines were added to the large drink containers during busy production periods, enabling employees to work up to 48 hours straight. The practice was so commonplace that many workers became addicted to the drugs and sought them on the black market. Discipline was harsh, and anyone perceived to be working too slowly could expect to be grabbed and shouted at. The fine for a worker caught yawning was more than $11, and in one case, a worker was docked more than $46 for bringing a lemon to work to help her stay awake. The owner often hectored the workers over a loudspeaker, telling them that anyone attempting to organize a union could “say goodbye to your parents.” Since six thuggish bodyguards always accompanied the owner and security guards monitored workers, the threat was taken seriously. Then one day without any warning the owner disappeared, having absconded with the workers’ back wages.

Conditions are no better at sweatshops operating in China, as factory owners there routinely ignore legal protections for workers, and little or no attempt is made to enforce such laws. At Kin Ki Industrial on the outskirts of Shenzhen, the Etch-a-Sketch toy is manufactured. Workers there are paid 24 cents an hour, little more than two-thirds of the legal minimum wage. The workweek consists of 12-hour shifts, seven days a week, exceeding the legal permissible limit on working hours. At Foreway Industrial in Dongguan, toys for American major league sports, Wal-Mart, Disney and Hasbro are produced. The workweek is seven days long. Workers receive one day off every other month and about half of the national holidays. During peak production periods, employees work from 8:00 AM until 2:00 to 4:30 AM. For their efforts, they are paid an average of 16 and a half cents an hour. Wages are frequently paid late, and in one instance when desperate workers organized a strike over late pay, all fifty activists were fired. Workers who wish to quit automatically forfeit one and a half month’s back wages.

At Daxu Cosmetics in Anshan, workers painstakingly assemble false eyelashes by hand. It is tedious and exhausting work that strains the eyes. The starting wage at Daxu is $24 a month, from which $13 is deducted for overcrowded and inadequate lodging. Even during off-hours, workers are locked inside the facility, although they are occasionally permitted to spend time on the grounds of the adjoining mental hospital. Workers are allowed only one shower per week, and the menu for every meal never varies - cabbage and potato porridge. If an employee wants to quit, she must first pay the owner a penalty fee of $58, an impossible sum to save. One woman who in her attempt to escape through a third story window fell and broke both legs and displaced vertebrae, characterized the plant as follows: “What they called a company was really a prison.”   

Such stories are legion, and reveal the mean-spirited heart of the all-consuming drive for profit by global capitalism far more accurately than the gleaming images of affluence that are beamed into our living rooms on the television. We are never shown the downtrodden millions: 852 million undernourished people, including 9 million in industrialized countries. Despite a sharp reduction of hunger in China, the global number of hungry has increased in recent years, a trend that has been particularly pronounced in underdeveloped nations and the republics of the former Soviet Union which are now enjoying the fruits of the free market. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization asks, “If we already know the basic parameters of what needs to be done, why have we allowed hundreds of millions of people to go hungry in a world that produces more than enough food for every woman, man and child? Bluntly stated, the problem is not so much a lack of food as a lack of political will.” There is indeed enough food in the world to sustain every person. The problem of hunger is not one of supply but of an economic system based on inequality and a gross concentration of wealth in the hands of the few.

As long as glorification of the free market holds sway, the political will for addressing this urgent problem will never materialize. The lure of profit will trump people’s needs every time. This is “the system that works.” And so it does - for those at the top. It is often said that capitalism is the most efficient system for producing wealth. It would be more accurate to say that what the system accomplishes is to produce a concentration of wealth. Capitalism does not generate wealth from the thin air. It seizes it. The price for this concentration of wealth in the hands of the few is poverty and misery on an extraordinary scale, yet we rarely if ever hear the cries of those who are trampled underfoot in the stampede for riches.

© Copyright Gregory Elich, Global Research, 2010


Title: Pancakes and Poverty
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 24, 2010, 10:11:29 am (

Pancakes and Poverty

by Lindy Davies
The Henry George Institute
September 22, 1999

My 2½ year old son and I like making pancakes in the morning. We like eating them too, but making them is really way cool. He supervises the mixing of the batter. "Don't over-mix, Daddy!" he reminds me (all true flapjack chefs know that over-mixed batter makes rubbery cakes). He deposits the first bit of batter in the pan, and recently he has begun to learn flipping. Often while I cook subsequent panfuls, he plays in the kitchen sink, and I have a few moments to sip coffee and think.

His Mom and I do our best to take care of our kid. We reconfigured our lives to make sure we were ready and able to give him our very best attentions. We worry if he doesn't feel like eating. We make sure he hasn't outgrown his shoes. We feel for fevers. We sing, walk, play, tell stories, name things, explain processes; we frequent three libraries. None of this is heroic, of course. We do what parents are expected to do: take the best possible care of their kids. Children are our hopes, our loves -- it's our job to do right by them and they owe us nothing in return. All they have to do is grow, and gain an identity.

We do not think kindly -- do we? -- of those who disregard their children. We cluck judgementally at parents who we consider to be too young, or too irresponsible. We are horrified at parents who abandon, neglect, malign or misuse their children. Let's consider a few examples. What about a parent who habitually leaves lead paint chips and stagnant, scummy water around for a kid to consume? Or perhaps one who lolls in fur coats while the kids have no blankets? Or forces a child to go out and work, while the parent sits at home watching TV? Or perhaps even blames the child for his own poverty?

Yet as a community we have not done so very well by our children. Tens of millions of children die each year due to diseases borne by unsanitary drinking water and lack of sewage facilities. A quarter of the children in the world today lack adequate shelter. And multitudes of kids are forced to fend for themselves, lacking support from parents who are unemployed, or ill, or absent -- ground down by their own poverty until they can no longer function as parents.

It is striking how much attention we pay to our own children, and to the parenting standards of those in our own community, while disasters of such mind-addling proportion are going on around us. Perhaps there isn't too much we can do, in the short term anyway. Like Scarlett O'Hara, we just cannot think of it today, we'll go mad if we do! But it is not healthy to be in too much denial for too long. Kids are kids, and the majority of them in the world today are forced to live in appalling hardship.

Seeing this, we immediately seek refuge in the notion of the parents' irresponsibility. They simply shouldn't be having children if they can't provide for them. All those people in Bangladesh should look around them and see how selfish it is to create another mouth to feed, when so many go hungry. Before those crazy young couples in Mexico City have more kids, they should work hard, save their pesos and buy a few acres in the campo, ¿Si?

But there's one problem with that argument: it's irrelevant. It's never the kid's fault, no matter how "irresponsible" its parents might have been. Does the child not have rights of its own?

               My kid                   Someone else's kid

We have to realize that more money, energy and resources is spent on taking photographs of children in the United States than goes toward feeding them in the world's LDCs ( What about the millions upon millions of acres squandered on subsidized meat production? The insane wars over natural resources, fought with the leftover weapons of the cold war, that result in starving refugees?

It was once a sort of hip, existential-despair sort of thing to say, "How could I bring a child into such a hopeless world as this?" I think of that as we flip our pancakes. There's nothing hopeless about the world. The world provides for its children with abundant generosity. The hand-wringing about the Earth's "carrying capacity" is misplaced. The world can never can be overpopulated while so many resources go wasted, while the top ten per cent ( live in such luxury and feel so free to throw their garbage wherever they wish.

Proliferation of hungry children, and destruction of the natural environment, are not parts of the natural order of things, as Malthus (,394.msg1206.html#msg1206) and his later-day enthusiasts ( would have you believe. That is a formula for despair. Human beings are not a cancer on this planet. The world would not be better off without us. Would the world be a better place without the paintings of Cezanne, the music of the Davis/Coltrane quintet, the polio vaccine, or those two little guys pictured above? No. It is up to us to fashion social institutions that are worthy of us, our children and our best achievements. How do we do that? That, too, is known. Ignorance is no excuse.

Title: Religious Conversion: from Theology to the Temple of Mammon
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 24, 2010, 10:12:41 am
In his November 23, 2008 article, End the Fed, End Wall Street Bankster Rule, End the Derivatives Depression (, Webster Tarpley wrote the following:

    "Monetarist dogma is a mix of Herbert Hoover, Robert Taft (of the Skull & Bones family), Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, and other reactionary Republicans. Monetarism is based on the von Hayek-von Mises Austrian school, which started when a bunch of rent-gouging Viennese landlords wanted to abolish rent control and hired some scribblers to prove that 'the market' was always infallible and government is always the enemy. Von Hayek got his chance under the reactionary old battle axe Margaret Thatcher, who brought back rickets, scurvy and pellagra for British working people. The dumbed-down US version of the same doctrine is Milton Friedman and his Rockefeller-funded Chicago School, which got its big road test under the fascist Pinochet regime in Chile."

In a recent article, economist Michael Hudson expands on Tarpley's scathing assessment of the Austrian School's ideological cousins -- the Chicago School monetarists:

------------------------------------- (

Religious Conversion: from Theology to the Temple of Mammon

by Michael Hudson
May 24, 2010

The Friedman Institute upgrades Theology to condone Neoliberal Greed
What would Jesus Say?

Many academics recently received a petition signed by 111 University of Chicago faculty members, explaining that “without any announcement to its own community, [the University] has commissioned Ann Beha Architects, a Boston firm, to remake the Chicago Theological Seminary building into a home for the Milton Friedman Institute for Research in Economics (MFIRE) and has renewed aggressive fund-raising activity for the controversial Institute.”

It would be hard to find a more fitting metaphor than what the press release characterizes as “conversion of the Seminary building into a temple of neoliberal economics.” Even the acronym MFIRE seems symbolically appropriate. The M might well stand for Money in Prof. Friedman’s MV = PT (Money x Velocity = Price x Transactions). And the FIRE sector comprises finance, insurance and real estate – the “free lunch” sector whose wealth the Chicago monetarists celebrate.

Classical economists characterized the rent ( and interest ( accruing to the FIRE sector as “unearned income,” headed by land rent ( and land-price (“capital”) gains (, which John Stuart Mill described as what landlords made “in their sleep.” Milton Friedman, by contrast, insisted that “there is no such thing as a free lunch” – as if the economy were not all about a free lunch and how to get it. And the main way to get it is to dismantle the role of government and sell off the public domain – on credit.

As Charles Baudelaire quipped, the devil wins at the point where the world believes that he does not exist. Paraphrasing this we may say that free lunch rentiers achieve economic victory at the point where government regulators and economists believe that their returns do not exist – and hence, do not need to be taxed, regulated or otherwise subdued.

By “free market,” the Chicago Boys mean giving free rein to the financial sector – as opposed to the classical economists’ idea of freeing markets from rent [read: rack-renting (] and interest [read: spurious interest (]. Whereas traditional religion sought to lay down precepts for regulation, the Friedman Institute will promote deregulation (

Physically replacing the theology school with a “temple of neoliberal economics” is ironic inasmuch as one tenet that all the major religions held in common at one point or other was opposition to the charging of interest. Judaism called for Clean Slates (Leviticus 25), and Christianity banned interest outright, citing the laws of Exodus and Deuteronomy.

The Chicago Boys thus have inverted traditional theology.

Yet the teaching of economics as an academic discipline began as moral philosophy courses in the 18th and 19th centuries. The leading universities of most countries were founded to train students for the ministry. The moral philosophy course evolved into political economy, dealing largely with economic reform and taxation of the unearned income accruing to vested interests as a result of legal privilege. The discipline was stripped down into “economics” largely to exclude political analysis, and the distinctions between productive and unproductive investment, earned and unearned income, value and price.

The classical economists saw rent and interest as a carry-over from Europe’s feudal conquest of the land and the privatization of money and finance into an institutionally based debt and monopoly overhead. The classical economists sought to tax away such “unearned income,” to regulate natural monopolies or shift them into the public domain.

Needless to say, this history of economic thought will not be taught at the Friedman Center.

The first thing that the Chicago Boys did in Chile ( when they were given power after the 1973 military coup was to close down every economics department in the country – and indeed, every social science department outside of the Catholic University where they held sway. They realized that “free markets” for capital required total control of the educational curriculum, and of cultural media generally.

What free marketers realize is that without an Inquisition authority, you cannot have a “stable” free market – that is, a market free for the financial predators who presumably are targeted as the major potential donors to the U/C’s Friedman Center.

Chicago School monetarists have achieved censorial power on the editorial boards of the major refereed economics journals, publication in which has become a precondition for career advancement for academic economists. The result has been to limit the scope of economics to “free market” celebration of rational choice theory and a narrow-minded “law and economics” ideology opposed to the ideas of moral justice and economic regulation that formed the basis of so much Western religion.

I had a foretaste of this inquisitorial spirit when I attended the U/C Laboratory School. I remember the large banner strung over the blackboard in Mr. Edgett’s social science classroom in 1953: “Give them all what the Rosenbergs got.” After the Freedom of Information Act opened up FBI files, my fellow classmates got quite a kick out of reading the reports filed on them and their political views by U/C professors and those of its associated Shimer College.

Who would have anticipated that economics would end up more right wing and authoritarian, more explicitly opposed to the very idea of human rights and distributive justice ( than theology? Or that the latter discipline itself would be so inverted?

The classical economists were reformers, after all, seeking to free markets from unearned income – the “free lunch” of land rent by Europe’s hereditary aristocracies (, and from monopoly rents administered by the royal trading corporations created by European governments to pay off their war debts. But the Chicago monetarists seek to deregulate monopolies and usury laws, favoring rentiers rather than the “real” economy of labor ( and capital (

Their focus is on financial and property claims on income and on assets pledged as collateral: bank loans, stocks and bonds, for which they urge tax cuts. And to increase the market for leveraged buyouts, the Chicago Boys advocate privatizing the public domain, starting in Chile after 1973.

So what is inverted is not only the classical idea of free markets, but the economic core of early religion. Today, the Chicago Boys deem those most in need of salvation to be high finance, real estate and monopolies in their fighting to reverse the past seven centuries of classical economic reform since the Churchmen debated how to define a Just Price (socially necessary costs of production) for banks to charge back in the 13th century.

It seems largely about fund-raising, but isn’t that true of most religion nowadays?

The University of Chicago was financed by John D. Rockefeller, prompting Upton Sinclair to call it “The University of Standard Oil” in The Goose Step. When I attended in the 1950s, Lawrence Kimpton had replaced Robert Hutchins as chancellor, and in 1961 became general manager of planning (and subsequently, director) for Standard Oil of Indiana. His most famous act (apart from supervising the Manhattan atom bomb project) was to suppress The Chicago Review issue that contained excerpts from William Burroughs’ The Naked Lunch. Significantly, the reason he gave was that publication might discourage financial grants being given to the university.

Mr. Rockefeller at least duly gave his tithe to “those in need.” In a contrasting spirit, Herman Kahn’s wife, Jane, told me that once at a party, Milton Friedman replied to her suggestion of better public welfare and medical care, “Mrs. Kahn, why do you want to subsidize the production of orphans and sick people?” This is not exactly the classical religious spirit.

The problem with the Friedman Institute is that its economic doctrine rose to notoriety in the Pinochet ( period, the high tide of the Chicago Boys in Chile. Privatization of public enterprise, “freeing” markets from usury laws and promoting deregulation is the antithesis of nearly all religions, whose guiding purpose after all was to socialize their members and create a moral state.

Friedmanite monetarism has been characterized as a post-modern ideology which, like religion, has its own sacred cows and idols – and an Inquisition. In place of tithing of unbelievers as in Islam, we have the tax shift off the religion of finance capital onto labor standing outside its gates.

As the press release reports: “wide protest … has centered on the Institute’s strong ideological bias toward free market fundamentalism in the Friedman tradition. In this way and others, its nature runs contrary to the University’s tradition of free inquiry and unfettered debate.”

Well, I’m not sure about how recent that tradition of unfettered debate was, but the announcement concludes with a note that “FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert Kendrick, Professor of Music (, 773-702-8500) or Bruce Lincoln, Caroline E. Haskell Professor of History of Religions (, 773-702-5083).”

The problem with the Friedman Institute [as mentioned before] is that its economic doctrine rose to notoriety in the Pinochet period, the high tide of the Chicago Boys in Chile.

I therefore suggest that it should be called the Pinochet Center of New Economic Theology.

The privatization of public enterprise (“freeing” markets from usury laws and promoting deregulation) is the antithesis of nearly all religions – whose guiding purpose after all was to socialize their members and create a moral state. Thus it really deserves to be called a New Theology.

Copyright © 2010 Michael Hudson


Title: "Dying Detroit": The Impacts of Globalization. Social Decay and Destruction...
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 24, 2010, 10:14:47 am (

"Dying Detroit": The Impacts of Globalization. Social Decay and Destruction of an Entire Urban Area

by Li Onesto


Global Research
June 23, 2010

A YouTube video titled "Dying Detroit" takes you on a tour of "neighborhoods literally falling apart"—through streets that look like "a hurricane has recently swept through, destroying nearly everything on its path." Thousands of houses have been abandoned—in many areas 50-60% of the houses are in foreclosure. Some blocks have only a few homes left standing. A thousand people a month are leaving what has been called " America ’s fastest dying city." (

There used to be almost 2 million people in Detroit. Today the city’s population is just under a million and 85% Black. Many thousands are living the city’s slow death:

- 1 in every 3 people live below the federal poverty level. Almost half of the children live in poverty. (2004 figures)

- The unemployment rate among Black people, especially the youth, is over 30%—city officials say it is actually closer to 50%.

- There is NO public hospital for the uninsured and, due to budget cuts, public health departments have largely eliminated programs providing direct health care services.

- 29 schools were closed the summer of 2009. An additional 32 schools—almost 20% of the city’s schools—were closed the summer of 2010. Detroit ’s dropout rate of 68% is the highest in the country (along with Indianapolis and Cleveland ). The illiteracy rate is close to 50%.

- Michigan state spends more on prisons than it does on higher education and has the second highest incarceration rate in the country.

For many decades after World War 2, big auto plants and other factories that once hired tens of thousands of workers moved to the suburbs and overseas. And more recently, over the last 15 years, U.S. imperialism has forged a globally integrated cheap-labor manufacturing economy, with huge labor reserves from China , India , and other parts of the Third World.

These larger workings of global capitalism/imperialism have deeply impacted Detroit, leading to further de-industrialization, loss of jobs and many people moving out of the city. In 1992 the big Chrysler plant moved, and overnight 4,500 people were left unemployed. More recently, when the sub-prime bubble burst, a wave of foreclosures displaced an estimated 5,000 people. Today, Detroit has at least 80,000 empty houses.

The federal and city government has responded to all this by basically throwing the city and the people to the dogs. And meanwhile all kinds of schemes are being proposed to find new ways to exploit the people and "rebuild" the city in a way that will be profitable.

The twisted and cruel logic of current federal and city policy in Detroit is that since fewer people now live in the city, everything must be "downsized"—which means cutting back on health care, education, city services, etc., and abandoning whole neighborhoods where people still live. And in line with this, DTE Electric has been heartlessly cutting off power for non-payment to tens of thousands of people in poor neighborhoods even in cold weather—making it even more difficult and dangerous to remain in these areas.

The Obama administration has an "urban policy" to deal with "shrinking cities" which the Mayor of Detroit, David Bing, is following. Bing is using a $40 million federal award for "renewal work" to carry out a plan which amounts to expelling poor people from "desolate" neighborhoods and promising to relocate them to more "stable" areas. According to the Detroit News, "Brookings Institution, local foundation leaders, several national funding groups and the White House offered financial support of up to $100 million a year for downsizing the city." The vice president of the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, Bruce Katz, said, "There is a nothing-left-to-lose quality in Detroit, much like there was in New Orleans after Katrina."

Mayor Bing has said he will use studies to determine who the "winners and losers" will be and put it this way: "If we can incentivize some of the folks that are in those desolate areas, they can get a better situation. If they stay where they are I absolutely cannot give them all the services that they require." The city is reportedly planning to use eminent domain laws to physically remove people who resist and then seize their homes and bulldoze them. The city’s argument is that a single house in an abandoned neighborhood is "blighting" the city because it requires fire and other services to the detriment of the larger community.

Bing explains: "There is just too much land and too many expenses for us to continue to manage the city as we have in the past... You can’t support every neighborhood. You can’t support every community across this city. Those communities that are stable, we can’t allow them to go down the tubes. That’s not a good business decision from my standpoint."

Think about it: The city and the people are dying an accelerating death and the Mayor justifies massive cutbacks and the abandonment of whole communities by saying these are "good business decisions."

Good business decisions is what has led to tens of thousands of people in Detroit losing their jobs. Good business decisions is what’s behind the killing cutbacks in healthcare and education.Good business decisions is what is killing the city and the people of Detroit .

This is a system that develops and brings together vast productive forces, including masses of working people. It organizes and utilizes great resources that have great potential to benefit society and people. But when these things and people cannot be profitably used by the capitalist system—factories are shuttered and left to rot, people are tossed aside and left with no way to feed their families. Cities are devastated and left to decay.

Just think about the fact that the "dying city" of Detroit is overwhelmingly Black. The USA arose on the foundation of the genocidal theft of Native American (Indian) lands, and the enslavement of African people. Since that time, the oppression of Black people has been essential to the functioning of this system, changing as that system has changed, but always deeply woven into the very fabric of society. For generations, Black people in Detroit have faced vicious discrimination in all spheres of life—and this continues in old and new ways.

This doesn’t necessarily mean a place like Detroit will be left to completely die. But as long as capitalism [read: corporate fascism (] is running the show, any "re-invention" or "revival" of the city will be because new ways have been found to extract profit from the people and the city.

The productive forces in society—natural resources, technology, the creativity and knowledge of the people—are all held back and constrained, by the private and exploitative nature of capitalism. They are fettered by the need of [spurious (] capital to constantly produce [read: extract (] for profit—not to meet the needs of the people.

This basic rule of capitalism—that the whole point of production is to make profit—means that people are treated as things to be used or tossed aside. It means the system considers thousands of Black people, especially the youth, as just so much surplus that can’t be profitably employed. It means the system, through its armed enforcers, must come down with even more repression against this socially combustible and potentially rebellious section of society. And it means poisonous ideological assaults that justify such attacks and blame the people for the oppressive situation the system has put them in.

Detroit is a painful and clear example of how we need a whole new way, a whole new system, a whole new society. And we need revolution ( to bring this into being.

© Copyright Li Onesto, Global Research, 2010

Title: Collapse in Living Standards in America: More Poverty By Any Measure
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 24, 2010, 10:22:05 am (

Collapse in Living Standards in America: More Poverty By Any Measure

15 million unemployed, homelessness has increased by 50 percent in some cities

by Christine Vestal


Global Research, July 14, 2010
Stateline - 2010-07-08

More than 15 million Americans are unemployed, homelessness has increased by 50 percent in some cities, and 38 million people are receiving food stamps, more than at any time in the program’s almost 50-year history.

Evidence of rising economic hardship is ample. There’s one commonly used standard for measuring it: the U.S. Census Bureau’s poverty rate. It guides much of federal and state spending aimed at helping those unable to make a decent living.

But a number of states have become convinced that the federal figures actually understate poverty, and have begun using different criteria in operating state-based social programs. At the same time, conservative economists are warning that a change in the formula to a threshold that counts more people as poor could lead to an unacceptable increase in the cost of federal and state social service programs.

When Census publishes new numbers for 2009 in September, experts predict they’ll show a steep rise in the poverty rate. One independent researcher estimates the data will show the biggest year-to-year increase in recorded history.

According to Richard Bavier, a former analyst for the federal Office of Management and Budget, already available data about employment rates, wages, and food stamp enrollment suggest that an additional 5.7 million people were officially poor in 2009. That would bring the total number of people with incomes below the federal poverty threshold to more than 45 million. The poverty rate, Bavier expects, will hit 15 percent — up from 13.2 percent in 2008, when the Great Recession first started to take its toll.

Still, the U.S. Census Bureau’s new numbers will offer only a partial picture of how the nation’s sputtering economy is affecting the poorest Americans — a problem state officials and the Obama administration want to address.

Overestimating food costs

The current formula for setting the federal poverty line — unchanged since 1963 — takes the cost of food for an individual or family and multiplies the number by three, under the assumption that people spend one-third of their incomes putting meals on the table. While the formula may have been a good way to estimate a subsistence cost of living in the early 1960s, experts say food now represents only one-eighth of a typical household budget, with expenses such as housing and child care putting increasing pressure on struggling families.

In addition, the official measure fails to account for regional differences in the cost of housing, it doesn’t include medical expenses or transportation, and at $22,000 for a family of four, the poverty line is considered by many to be simply too low.

Equally worrisome for policy makers is the Census Bureau’s failure to consider in-kind federal and state aid in calculating income. The existing formula counts only pre-tax cash income, leaving out such benefits as food stamps, housing vouchers and child-care subsidies, as well as federal and state tax credits for the working poor.

As a result, the nation’s official poverty count is unaffected by the billions spent on safety-net programs. Yet it remains by far the most frequently used measurement of how well governments are taking care of their most vulnerable citizens.

Conservatives have consistently argued that if safety-net programs were taken into account, the poverty rate would be much lower. At the same time, advocates for the poor have argued that poverty counts would be much higher if the cost of housing, child care and other expenses were factored in.

Nearly two decades ago, Congress asked the National Academies of Science (NAS) to revisit the official poverty measure and come up with recommendations for a new measure that would satisfy critics on both ends of the spectrum.

This past March, the Obama administration said it would use the NAS 1995 guidelines to update the federal government’s poverty calculation and promised to unveil the first new “supplemental poverty measure” in September of 2011.

“The new supplemental poverty measure will provide an alternative lens to understand poverty and measure the effects of anti-poverty policies,” Under Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank said. “Moreover, it will be dynamic and will benefit from improvements over time based on new data and new methodologies.”

Under the NAS recommendations, Commerce Department expenditure data for food, clothing, shelter and other household expenses would be used to set a poverty threshold for a reference family of four — two adults and two children. Then a family or individual’s resources would be compared to that line by including income and in-kind benefits, with taxes and other non-discretionary expenses, such as medical expenses and child care, excluded.

Because many expect the new calculation will result in a higher poverty count, the March announcement met with fiery criticism from some conservatives who charged the federal government could ill afford to increase its safety-net spending.

State experiments

But state and local policy makers applauded the move because they said it would give them the tools they need to assess the effectiveness of anti-poverty programs.

In New York City, for example, where an NAS-type poverty measure was adopted three years ago, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the new data would allow the city to pinpoint who needs assistance most and which of the city’s social services have been most effective at improving its residents’ standard of living.

Using an updated measurement, New York City found that children — the recipients of a broad range of social welfare programs — were less poor than originally thought, while elders, who were struggling with previously unaccounted for medical expenses, were poorer.

As states become increasingly challenged by shrinking revenues and rising numbers of people in need, more than a dozen have set up commissions to help low-income families and many have set poverty reduction goals.

Among them, Minnesota and Connecticut have used NAS-like formulas to assess the effectiveness of current and proposed anti-poverty measures.

With technical assistance from the public policy research group The Urban Institute, both states used the results to support aggressive anti-poverty campaigns. Minnesota has a Legislative Commission to End Poverty in Minnesota by 2020, and Connecticut created a Child Poverty and Prevention Council with the goal of cutting child poverty in half by 2014.

Connecticut found only a slight increase in the number of people living in poverty when using the updated calculation — 21,000 people in 2006, compared to 20,000 using the existing Census measure.

But it got very different results when determining which public assistance programs did the most to reduce poverty. Under previous assumptions, child care subsidies and adult education and job training were seen as the most highly effective at moving people out of poverty over time. But the new formula showed that increasing enrollment in programs such as food stamps, energy assistance and subsidized housing was a more effective way to reduce child poverty in the near term. As a result, the state redoubled its outreach efforts to sign up as many low-income families as possible for these federally-funded programs.

In Minnesota, where the results were similar, a bipartisan legislative committee recommended the state refine its definition of poverty, build public awareness, and carefully monitor the impact of all major legislation on existing anti-poverty programs.

Both states joined 12 others earlier this year in calling on the federal government to adopt an NAS-like formula that would “consider the increased financial burden of housing, child care, and health care on the modern American family while recognizing the benefit of critical work supports such as tax credits, food stamps, and other non-cash subsidies.”

The administration’s supplemental poverty measure remains controversial, and some leaders on both ends of the political spectrum are urging Congress and the administration not to adopt the new formula for purposes of allocating federal funding or determining individual eligibility anytime soon.

If used to parse federal grants among states, it could radically change the amount of money each state receives. It stands to reason, for example, that a family of four trying to make it on $22,000 would have an easier time in rural Alabama than they would in suburban Massachusetts. And should the new measure be used to set individual eligibility for safety net programs, some are fearful that current recipients would be disqualified if all of their federal and state benefits were counted.

For the Obama administration, the Census Bureau’s current measure is problematic because it will fail to show the benefits of at least $100 billion in 2009 stimulus money spent for low-income families. Even so, as those direct subsidies and other job-creating federal funds are phased out, advocates expect the poverty rate will shoot up again next year, when the data is in for 2010.

© Copyright Christine Vestal, Stateline, 2010

Title: The Economy Is A Dead Horse And People Are Starting To Get Really Pissed Off
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 24, 2010, 10:23:29 am (

The U.S. Economy Is A Dead Horse And The American People Are Starting To Get Really Pissed Off And Frustrated

The Economic Collapse
July 15, 2010

The economic frustration of the American people is reaching a fever pitch.  Millions of Americans can’t seem to get a good job no matter what they do.  Millions of others are working as hard as they can but find that they keep coming up short at the end of the month.  Record numbers of Americans are still going bankrupt.  Record numbers of Americans are still losing their homes.  Meanwhile, the U.S. economy is a dead horse at this point.  It just doesn’t have any more to give.  At this point the U.S. economy is like an aging rock star that requires larger and larger doses of drugs each night just to be able to perform.  The U.S. economy is addicted to “drugs” such as debt and government stimulus, and years ago those things really supercharged the U.S. economic system, but at this point they aren’t provoking much of a response at all.  In fact, the things that once “stimulated” the economy are now slowly killing it.  But the vast majority of the American people do not understand this.  All they know is that the economy is broken and they want someone to “fix” it.

For most Americans, all we have ever known is tremendous prosperity.  All our lives we have been taught that America is the richest and most prosperous nation on the planet, and that while there will always be times of “recession”, things will always bounce back and be better than ever before.

But this time things aren’t bouncing back.

And Americans are starting to become extremely frustrated.   

A couple of quotes that appeared in a recent article in The New York Daily News really embodied the growing frustration that so many are feeling at this point….

“My husband and I are fortunate to be able to move in with my 81-year-old mother-in-law. But how sad is that? I apply for jobs and nothing happens,” writes Gayle Hanson. “Who wants to hire a 59-year-old woman? My answer is nobody. I have years of experience, excellent references. And nothing to show for it.”

“I am soon to be 57 and considered too old, too expensive, etc. I can’t get an employer to hire me at any salary,” writes Mike Stiller. “I am BOILING MAD.”

But Gayle Hanson and Mike Stiller are far from alone.

Millions upon millions of Americans are “boiling mad” about the economy at this point.

The truth is that the United States has lost 10.5 million jobs ( since 2007. Many of those jobs have been shipped off ( to countries like China and India where labor is much cheaper and they are never coming back.

There just are not enough jobs for everyone in America at this point. The number of “chronically unemployed” has been rising at a frightening pace. In fact, the average duration of unemployment in the United States has risen to an all-time high (

If you have never been unemployed and unable to find a job, then you just don’t know how soul crushing it can be. This is especially true when you have a family to support.

Right now, there are 9.2 million Americans ( that are unemployed but are not even receiving an unemployment insurance check. It is easy to tell those unemployed workers that they should “get a job”, but as the chart below shows, the gap between the number of unemployed workers and the number of job openings has increased dramatically over the last couple of years….


But in this economy, even many of those who do have jobs are still struggling mightily. According to a poll taken in 2009 (, 61 percent of Americans ”always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck. That was up significantly from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.

And Americans are still losing their homes in record numbers. Banks repossessed an average of 4,000 south Florida properties a month in the first half of 2010, which was up 83 percent ( from the first half of 2009.

Meanwhile, demand for homes is dropping through the floor. The Mortgage Bankers Association announced on Wednesday that demand for loans to purchase U.S. homes sunk to a 13 year low last week (, and refinancing demand also plummeted despite near record-low mortgage rates.

So considering all of these statistics, is it any wonder why so many Americans are so pessimistic?

According to a recent poll conducted by Bloomberg, 71% of Americans ( say that it still feels like the economy is in a recession.

But the truth is that we haven’t seen anything yet.

Things are going to get much worse.

[Continued... (]

Title: Economic Pain
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 24, 2010, 10:24:30 am (

Economic Pain

The Economic Collapse
July 20, 2010

For decades, most Americans have enjoyed an extremely high standard of living.  In fact, most of us have been “enjoying the high life” and “living the dream” for so long that we have assumed that it is just always going to be that way.  But now a rapidly growing percentage of Americans is getting the chance to experience some very serious economic pain.  Today, over 40 million Americans are on food stamps and over 20 million U.S. children are living in poverty.  Tens of millions of Americans are unemployed, and personal bankruptcies and foreclosures continue to set all-time records.  For many people, all of this economic turmoil was completely unexpected.  Millions of people now can’t sleep at night because they are constantly stressed about finances.  More couples than ever are being torn about by arguments over money.  Unprecedented numbers of Americans have experienced a sinking feeling in the pit of their stomachs upon the realization that they are going to lose the homes that they have been raising their families in.  Money may not buy happiness, but as tens of millions of Americans are finding out, the lack of it can bring a whole lot of pain.

Now, the truth is that there have always been a small percentage of Americans that have struggled to get by, but today we are seeing more Americans who are “down on their luck” than at any other time in recent memory. According to one shocking new survey, 28% of all U.S. households ( have at least one member that is looking for a full-time job.

It seems like almost everyone has a family member or a close friend who is looking for a job. The truth is that there are not enough jobs for everyone, and there certainly are not nearly enough good jobs.

A recent Pew Research survey ( found that 55 percent of the U.S. labor force has experienced either unemployment, a pay decrease, a reduction in hours or an involuntary move to part-time work since the recession began.

55 percent?

That is incredible.

That means that over half of all American workers have been unemployed or have been forced to take a reduction in pay since the recession started.

Things are getting really tough out there.

Millions of Americans are wondering why their husbands or wives suddenly can’t find jobs.

In fact, the average duration of unemployment in the United States has risen to an all-time high ( The declining economy has created a new class of chronically unemployed Americans who would love to work but can’t seem to find anyone to hire them.

Millions of Americans have been forced to turn to part-time work. In fact, one recent survey found that approximately 8.6 million American workers are working part time ( because they can’t get full-time jobs.

In this economic environment, there is significant competition for even the lowest paying jobs.

You never know – this holiday season the friendly gentleman greeting you down at the local Wal-Mart may actually have several advanced degrees but just cannot find anyone else who will hire him.

As the economic situation continues to deteriorate, record numbers of Americans are going bankrupt and are losing their homes. In fact, banks repossessed a record number ( of U.S. homes during the second quarter of 2010.

So it is really no wonder why so many Americans are feeling so negative about the economy.

According to one new survey, U.S. consumer sentiment weakened in early July to its lowest in 11 months ( In addition, one recent poll found that 76 percent of Americans ( believe that the U.S. economy is still in a recession.

But sometimes what gets lost in all the numbers are the individual stories of the very real pain that so many Americans are going through. Today, I thought that I would share just a few of the stories of economic pain that my readers have been sharing with me.

A reader of my column on The American Dream ( blog named Kate recently graduated from college but now finds that she can’t even get a retail job….

I just graduated college in May… Moved to a new state and am now living with my boyfriend who should not and cannot continue to have to pay everything because i just plain can’t get a job.

I’m over qualified for retail survivor jobs… so I lie on my application. But then retail stores just plain don’t hire full time. So even if I could get a job as a cashier someplace… I’d only work enough hours to maybe pay for my car payment/ car insurance/ gas…. and my half of rent/electric and such is out of the question… not to mention charged to the limit credit cards from being unemployed and student loans that will hit in just a matter of months.

Any other jobs either don’t exist or they just ALL want 5 years professional experience…. which is impossible for someone who just graduated and has been working part time retail jobs since high school.

AND internships are unpaid or only for college students so thats out of the question....

But the fact of the matter is that jobs don’t care about education in the least bit if you don’t have the real professional work experience to back it up.

A reader of this column named David ( ended up taking a very low paying job overseas because he simply couldn’t find anything here in the United States….

I have been looking for a job since June 2009. I am a prior Army officer who knows four foreign languages and has lived around the world. I have sent out over 100 resumes over the past year. Finally, I got a job offer to teach English in Russia for $720 per month. Yes, $720 per month. Luckily my housing is paid for. So, I took my tax return and left for Russia to teach English. The American economy is broken and it will get worse. We are in the early stages of a total meltdown in America. Yes, if you are an American, you better prepare yourself for the worst is still to come.

But even those who do have jobs are facing some very difficult circumstances as one of my readers named Ana ( recently described….

I am a cop’s wife. My husband currently works for a Sheriff’s office who is extremely understaffed and the county wastes money like there is no tomorrow. They threaten the Sheriff with more layoffs if they don’t write more tickets on the highway. My husband has often had to patrol the entire county by himself for a full 12 hour shift. It is a bad situation for everyone.

The truth is that there are millions of stories like the ones above. Economic pain is everywhere, and the American people are becoming increasingly frustrated. Most Americans don’t understand why the economy is suddenly in the toilet – all most of them know is that things are broken and they desperately want someone to fix things.

A lot of this frustration is coming out as anger towards the government. People are waking up and are starting to realize that the American ruling class has been doing an incredibly bad job of running things. The American people are hungry for a real change. In fact, a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that just 23% of voters nationwide ( believe that the U.S. government has the consent of the governed.

But will we start to see some real changes in the years ahead?

Unfortunately, that is quite doubtful. The reality is that the American ruling class has a stranglehold on both political parties, and they are not going to release their grip easily.

Meanwhile, our leaders continue to perpetuate the same failed policies that got us into this mess in the first place. But unless some fundamental changes are made soon, the economic pain that Americans are experiencing is going to continue to get even worse.

So do you have a story of economic pain to share? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below…. (

Title: 15 Economic Statistics That Just Keep Getting Worse
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 24, 2010, 10:25:50 am (

15 Economic Statistics That Just Keep Getting Worse

The Economic Collapse (
Aug 11, 2010

A little over a week ago, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner penned an article for the New York Times entitled “Welcome To The Recovery” ( in which he touted the great strides that the U.S. economy was making. But with unemployment still dangerously high and with foreclosures and personal bankruptcies continuing to set all-time records, should we really be talking about a “recovery”? The truth is that the numbers don’t lie, and statistic after statistic shows that the economic fundamentals continue to get progressively worse. The U.S. government can continue to try to pump up with economy with more debt, but the reality is that there is not going to be a legitimate “recovery” until consumer spending rebounds. Consumer spending makes up the vast majority of U.S. GDP. But without good jobs, consumers are not going to be able to spend money. Unfortunately, our jobs base continues to be erode as millions upon millions of middle class jobs are shipped over to China, India and dozens of third world nations by the global predator corporations that now dominate the world economy.

The U.S. government cannot create real wealth out of thin air. It can borrow even more money and flood the economy with even more [debt-based (] paper currency, but the short-term “buzz” that creates does absolutely nothing to solve our long-term economic problems.

It is the private sector that actually creates wealth. But unfortunately, over the last several decades we have allowed that wealth to become highly concentrated. Now the giant global predator corporations have decided that American workers aren’t really that desirable after all. They are slowly taking away their factories and their offices and they are moving them to where people are willing to work for one-tenth the pay.

So where does that leave middle class American “consumers”?

Well, it leaves us in a world of hurt.

The following are 15 key economic statistics that just keep getting worse and which reveal the horrific economic plight in which we now find ourselves….

1 – The number of Americans who are receiving food stamps rose to a new all-time record of 40.8 million ( in May. The number of Americans receiving food stamps has set a new all-time record for 18 months in a row. But there is every indication that things are going to get even worse. The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that the number of Americans on food stamps will increase to 43 million in 2011.

2 – The U.S. economy lost 131,000 more jobs ( during the month of July. But the truth is that the U.S. economy has been bleeding jobs for a long time. According to one analysis, the United States has lost 10.5 million jobs ( since 2007. Meanwhile, immigrants (both legal and illegal) continue to pour into this nation in unprecedented numbers.

3 – Americans who are out of work are finding it incredibly difficult to get back into the workforce. In the United States today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to an all-time record of 35.2 weeks (

4 – The U.S. government keeps trying to pump up the economy with debt, and in the process things are getting wildly out of control. According to a U.S. Treasury Department report to Congress, the U.S. national debt will top $13.6 trillion this year and climb to an estimated $19.6 trillion by 2015 (

5 – The interest on all of this debt is becoming increasingly oppressive. As of July 1st, the U.S. government had spent $355 billion ( so far in 2010 on interest payments to the holders of the national debt. The total for 2010 should be somewhere in the neighborhood of $700 billion. According to Erskine Bowles, one of the heads of Barack Obama’s national debt commission, the U.S. government will be spending $2 trillion ( just on interest on the national debt by 2020. Keep in mind that the entire U.S. government budget is less than $4 trillion for the entire year of 2010.

6 – If the U.S. government was forced to use GAAP accounting principles (like all publicly-traded corporations must), the annual U.S. government budget deficit would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 trillion to $5 trillion (

7 – Social Security will pay out more in benefits in 2010 than it receives in payroll taxes ( This was not supposed to happen until at least 2015. In the years ahead, these new “Social Security deficits” are projected to be absolutely catastrophic (

8 – There are simply far too many retirees and not nearly enough workers to support them. Back in 1950 each retiree’s Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 workers. Today, each retiree’s Social Security benefit is paid for by approximately 3.3 workers. By 2025 it is projected that there will be approximately two workers ( for each retiree.

9 – Wealth continues to become highly concentrated at the top. Since 1973, the average CEO’s salary has increased from 26 times the median income to over 300 times the median income (

10 – According to a poll taken in 2009 (, 61 percent of Americans ”always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck. That was up significantly from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.

11 – The Mortgage Bankers Association recently announced that more than 10% of all U.S. homeowners with a mortgage had missed at least one mortgage payment during the January to March time period. That was a new all-time record ( and represented an increase from 9.1 percent a year ago.

12 – A recent survey of last year’s college graduates found that 80 percent ( moved right back home with their parents after graduation. That was up substantially from 63 percent in 2006.

13 – During the first quarter of 2010, the total number of loans that are at least three months past due in the United States increased for the 16th consecutive quarter (

14 – The total number of U.S. bank failures passed the 100 mark in July of this year. In 2009, the total number of U.S. bank failures did not pass the century barrier until October (

15 – The U.S. dollar continues to rapidly decline in value. An item that cost $20.00 in 1970 would cost you $112.35 ( today. An item that cost $20.00 in 1913 would cost you $440.33 ( today.

Any rational observer (and clearly U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner does not qualify) can see that the foundations of the U.S. economy are coming apart. The rapidly accumulating mountain of debt that has fueled our “prosperity” is impossible to repay and is going to progressively choke the life out of our economic system. The good jobs that we have allowed to be shipped out of our country are never coming back. Every single day, more wealth flows out of this country than flows into it.

Anyone who claims that things are getting “better” is either ignorant, completely deluded or is purposely lying.

The U.S. economy is not getting “better”.

The U.S. economy is dying.

You should adjust your plans accordingly.

Title: Re: 15 Economic Statistics That Just Keep Getting Worse
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 24, 2010, 10:27:28 am
The U.S. economy is not getting “better”.

The U.S. economy is dying.

You should adjust your plans accordingly.

As individuals, it is of course a no-brainer that each of us should "adjust" his or her respective "plans" in accordance with the banker-engineered economic collapse that is currently underway.

But as a citizenry, first we must

*  break out of the television/cell phone-induced state of “parallel play (,406.msg1302.html#msg1302)” we've long been in; and

*  break free from our conditioned state of “learned helplessness (” by simply realizing that there are FAR more of “us” than there are of “them (,” and that the real power thus lies not with the relative handful of filthy-rich, power-obsessed plutocrats attempting to enslave us all, but with We the People.


Then we must unite across both party and ideological lines for the purpose of pressuring our elected representatives into implementing urgently-needed and long-overdue public policy reforms, such as those called for in my initial post to this thread and the additional ones called for here (,368.0.html).

It's either that or spend the rest of our “lives” as deeply-impoverished and militarily-repressed SLAVES to a group of criminal, parasitic, psychopathic robber barons.

Which option do you prefer?

Title: 18 Signs That America Is Rotting Right In Front Of Our Eyes
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 24, 2010, 10:28:28 am (

18 Signs That America Is Rotting Right In Front Of Our Eyes

The Economic Collapse (
Aug 17, 2010

Sometimes it isn’t necessary to quote facts and figures about government debt, unemployment and the trade deficit in order to convey how badly America is decaying.  The truth is that millions of Americans can watch America rotting right in front of their eyes by stepping out on their front porches. 

Record numbers of homes have been foreclosed on and in some of the most run down cities as many as a third of all houses have been abandoned.  Unemployment remains at depressingly high levels and the number of Americans on food stamps continues to set new records month after month.  Due to severe budget cuts, class sizes are exploding and school programs are being eliminated.  In some areas of the U.S. schools are even going to four day weeks.  With little to no funding available, bridges are crumbling and street lights are being turned off in many communities.  In some areas, asphalt roads are actually being ground up and turned back into gravel roads because they are less expensive to maintain.  There aren’t even as many police available to patrol America’s decaying cities because budget problems have forced local communities across the U.S. to lay off tens of thousands of officers.

Once upon a time, the American people worked feverishly to construct beautiful, shining communities from coast to coast.  But now we get to watch those communities literally crumble and decay in slow motion.  Nothing lasts forever, but for those of us who truly love America it is an incredibly sad thing to witness what is now happening to the great nation that our forefathers built.

The following are 18 signs that America is rotting right in front of our eyes….

1 – Due to extreme budget cuts, school systems across the United States are requiring their students to bring more supplies with them than ever this year. In Moody, Alabama elementary school students are being told to bring paper towels, garbage bags and liquid soap ( with them to school. At Pauoa Elementary School in Honolulu, Hawaii all students are being required to show up with a four-pack of toilet paper (

2 – According to the American Association of School Administrators (, 48 percent of all U.S. school districts are reporting budget cuts of 10 percent or less for the upcoming school year, and 30 percent of all U.S. school districts are reporting cuts of 11 to 25 percent.

3 – In Chicago, drastic budget cuts could result in an average class size of 37 students (

4 – The governor of Hawaii has completely shut down that state’s schools on Fridays - moving teachers and students to a four day week (

5 – According to the Federal Highway Administration, approximately a third of America’s major roadways are already in substandard condition (

6 – All over the United States, asphalt roads are being ground up and are being replaced with gravel because it is cheaper to maintain ( The state of South Dakota has transformed over 100 miles of asphalt road into gravel over the past year, and 38 out of the 83 counties in the state of Michigan have now turned some of their asphalt roads into gravel roads.

7 – According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 25 percent ( of America’s nearly 600,000 bridges need significant repairs or are burdened with more traffic than they were designed to carry.

8 – In a desperate attempt to save money, the city of Colorado Springs turned off a third of its streetlights ( and put its police helicopters up for auction.

9 – The state of Arizona has eliminated funding for full-day kindergarten ( and has shut down a number of state parks.

10 – Over the past year, approximately 100 of New York’s state parks and historic sites have had to cut services and reduce hours (

11 - In Georgia, the county of Clayton recently eliminated its entire public bus system ( in order to save 8 million dollars.

12 – Elsewhere in Georgia, 30,000 people recently turned out to pick up only 13,000 applications for government-subsidized housing. A near-riot ensued ( and 62 people were left injured. The amazing thing is that all of this commotion was just to get on a waiting list. There are no aid vouchers even available at this time.

13- In the city of Philadelphia, rolling fire station “brown outs” recently cost a 12 year old autistic boy named Frank Marasco his life (

14- Oakland, California Police Chief Anthony Batts says that due to severe budget cuts there are a number of crimes that his department will simply not be able to respond to any longer ( The crimes that the Oakland police will no longer be responding to include grand theft, burglary, car wrecks, identity theft and vandalism.

15- The sheriff’s department in Ashtabula County, Ohio has been slashed from 112 to 49 deputies (, and there is now just one vehicle remaining to patrol all 720 square miles of the county.

16 – Of 315 municipalities the New Jersey State Policemen’s union recently canvassed, more than half ( indicated that they were planning to lay off police officers.

17 – Not that the criminals are doing that much better. Things have gotten so bad in Camden, New Jersey that not even the drug dealers ( are spending their money anymore.

18 – Almost everyone knows someone who has been severely impacted by this economic downturn. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey has found that 81 percent of American adults ( know someone who is out of work and looking for a job.

So can’t the states just step up and start spending more money and fix these things?

Well, no. The truth is that the states are absolutely broke ( Quite a few of the states are actually on the verge of default, and there is no getting around the fact that budget cuts that are much more severe are going to be required in the years ahead.

So can’t the U.S. government step in and bail out the states?

Well, yes, but as we have detailed previously, the U.S. government is literally drowning in a sea of red ink. The U.S. government is already spending an amount of money equivalent to approximately 25.4 percent of GDP ( this year.

How much more money can the U.S. government possibly spend?

To get an idea of just how bad things are already, the IMF says that in order to fix the U.S. government budget deficit, taxes need to be doubled ( on every single U.S. citizen.

Are you ready to pay double the taxes?

No matter how you slice it, the U.S. is in a massive amount of financial trouble and the American people are starting to realize this fact. In fact, one new poll found that nearly two-thirds of Americans ( believe that the U.S. economy will get worse before it gets better.

But unfortunately things are not going to get “better” – at least in the long-term. The decay and the rot that have already set in are only going to get worse.

[Continued... (]

Title: This Economy Is Ripping The Dignity Of Millions Of Unemployed To Shreds
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 24, 2010, 11:55:02 am (

This Economy Is Ripping The Dignity Of Millions Of Unemployed Americans To Shreds

The Economic Collapse (
Aug 24, 2010

If you can still put a roof over your head and food on the table for your family, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate.  There are millions of Americans out there right now that are really, really suffering.  The cold, hard reality of it is that there aren’t even close to enough jobs out there for everyone right now.  It is almost as if we are all caught in a really bizarre game of musical chairs where the losers get stripped of their tickets to the middle class.  What this horrible economy is doing to the dignity of millions of middle class Americans is incredibly saddening.  There are a lot of very highly educated and very hard working Americans who cannot seem to get jobs no matter what they do and now find themselves doing whatever they can just to survive.  It can be really hard to keep your dignity when you played by all the rules and you worked as hard as you could all your life and now you find yourself a half step away from being homeless.  Those of us who are still doing okay should never look down on those who are struggling in this economy, because the truth is that any of us could be next.   

If you really want to read some horror stories about what long-term unemployment is doing to some people in America, you should go spend an hour or two over at Unemployed-Friends ( some time. It is a great forum with a lot of great resources for the unemployed, but it also contains dozens and dozens and dozens of heartbreaking stories from middle class Americans who have had their lives shattered by this economic downturn.

The following is a typical story on Unemployed-Friends ( It is from a 48 year old Air Force veteran who has lost everything and is now sleeping in his vehicle. It turns out that Scott48’s job was shipped off to India and now he has been out of work for over two years….

“I am a 48 year old USAF Vet. I got my house in 1996 with the help of the VA. In 2009 the company I worked for went out of buisness (gone to India) I then became a 99er. I notified Wells Fargo that I lost my job and they said they would work with me, the next mortgage statement I got they conveniently increased my mortgage! With what I got from UE was enough for the house but I had to cut out the luxury of food, gas, utillities, insurance, entertainment and alcohol. That was it for me, so the forecloser ball was in motion. I had to give my dog to my cousin so he would get fed, I took everything I owened to the auction (execpt tools, clothes, pictures, tech manuals and my Saxophone) and sold it. I went to a half-way house the VA recomended for a week and it was joke, so my cousin said I could stay with her. After 4 months she diecided that I wasnt looking hard enough and kicked me out, and Ive applied for everything except selling myself. This summer I was staying in an abandoned house due to forecloser and the real estate company has now put it on the market, and I am now on the street sleeping in my vehicle or a friend here and there. Keeping clean is going to be a challenge cuz the Flying J truck stops charge $10 for a shower, rip-off. What a country!”

The truth is that this economy is driving many Americans to the brink of desperation. Even recent college graduates are becoming desperate enough to actually consider suicide. The following story is from an Unemployed-Friends ( user known as 08pacollegegrad….

“I could just take any job like working at fast food places, but I hear people who try can’t even get hired there. I went to Wendy’s for lunch the other day and I thought of picking up an application…but the slot where they keep the applications was completely empty. That should say it all. Plus, I feel like if I take just any job…I will be set back further and never be able to gain experience in my chosen fields.

I follow up on job applications, but employers ignore me for the most part when I try to contact them. I sent five follow up e-mails last week and got no responses. I contacted an employer expressing my interest in working for them, but all they gave me is the link to their online application system that I have never gotten a job from.

I am thinking of applying for more internships (I have already done two), but I don’t want employers to think why I am applying for an internship when I should have had a full fledged job by now.

I have almost killed myself over my situaion and am taking anti-depressants right now. I see a psychiatrist every 4-6 weeks, but I still have days where I feel so empty. I am sick of sitting at home searching for jobs and praying for a response that never comes.”

Many Americans spend day after day after day looking for a job that never comes. The sense of hopelessness that can build after doing this for a few years is almost indescribable. The following is another incredibly sad story from an Unemployed-Friends user known as feuxdejoie….

“I lost my job in June 2008, my husband was working but sentenced to prison for 4 years, for DUI, no accidents or injuries. I had been using my unemployment to pay bills but my last check came June 12, 2010. I’m alone and scared. The city that I live in has the highest unemployment in the State, Illinois. Our children are grown and I sit alone all day searching for jobs. My husband can only call once a month because of the outrageous rates for telephone calls. I’m at the end of my rope and don’t know where to turn if they don’t pass a tier V for unemployment or open up some jobs.

I turned 50 in April and had worked all of my life, starting at age 14 with a work permit! My employer stated to me that they needed someone bilingual and terminated me even after I told them that I would take classes to learn. I signed up for college and began classes in January then unemployment told me that I wasn’t elgible for unemployment while attending school.”

There are millions of Americans who believe that their lives are over because they can’t get decent jobs. When you lose your job, your home, your car, your health insurance and then finally your unemployment insurance runs out, it is easy to lose all hope as an Unemployed-Friends user named Ember has done….

“so i feel pretty much hopeless. been unemployed since July 2008. in over two years i haven’t even been called for an interview. tired of looking and applying for jobs outside of my field that require experience i don’t have. it’s all for naught. i have two bachelor of science degrees. my BS degrees, cuz that’s what they’re worth. since losing my job i’ve gotten divorced. lost my house. lost my health insurance. totalled my car and sustained chronic back pain. and moved in with my mom. and did i mention, when all this started i was a new mom, just back from maternity leave? so (now) i’m raising a toddler on my own, with no income. my unemployment insurance ran out a few weeks ago. i don’t even know what to do now. i just want to disappear. i’m tired of trying. i’m tired of being a burden on everyone. if i didn’t have the responsibility to take care of my child i wouldn’t be around anymore.”

This final example is from an Unemployed-Friends user identified as Faith1028. Be warned that this one will shake you to your core if you have any sensitivity at all. As you read this, keep in mind that this kind of thing is literally happening to millions of Americans these days….

“HI, y’all! This is my story. I’m from Chicago.

I lost my job 11.06.09 – I did my best to remain positive & confident that I would get a job by the end of November.

December 2009 – Still no job. I’m getting food stamps (LINK card) & Unemployment Benefits. Not much money at all, but I’m surviving. Thanks to all this stress, my stomach has been burning and/or been painful daily for all December. I puked my guts out on the 26th.

January 2010 – My stomach is still hurting every day. I had to close out my savings account. I haven’t told my slumlord or my fellow tenants that I lost my job; I go on pretending I’m still going to work everyday. Unfortunately on the 26th, I got my eviction notice. I called the office to ask why. The response was “I don’t know.” I became hysterical. I’ve no job, no money, no family/friends to help. (I have many *relatives*, but no *family*.) I truly believed my only alternative was suicide. I wanted to say good-bye to my brother (my only sibling), but we haven’t spoken to each other for over 4 years; I no longer have his address/phone number. I found him on Facebook. I didn’t bring up my situation because I felt he wouldn’t care. We exchanged a few messages and that was it. I haven’t heard from him since. Good riddance.

February 2010 – Someone found a family that I can stay with for only $250/month! My own room! They turned out to be aquaintances of mine. Vegetarian, too! At least I have a place to stay. I’d rather live alone, but, hey, I’m desperate! — And I’m not too crazy about the bedbugs. OW!

June/July 2010 – Thanks to daily/nightly use of citrine crystals since 30 May, I have no more stomach problems!

Thanks to weekly use of a natural (green!) pesticide from, I no longer have a problem with bedbugs! However…

Mid-June, my Unemployment Benefits ran out. Of course, I’m still looking for a job! What am I supposed to do – put a gun to someone’s head and force them to hire me? As of this date, I have $12 left to my name; $0 in my chequeing account. I recently reapplied for and am now receiving food stamps. Before I got my food stamps back, I’ve eaten whatever (Vegetarian!) food I can get, even stuff I’m allergic to. As a result, I’ve become sick: cold-like symptoms, pain in lower intestines…and a rash over my arms, legs, & neck. Oh, does it itch! At least my food allergies are not life-threatening.

Needless to say, my depression has gotten worse.

I am really trying hard to remain positive — and alive.

But why? Is it really all worth it?

I haven’t paid July’s rent, and the people I’m staying with are getting very *impatient*; I fear I’ll be evicted again! The money is coming! It’s not my bloody fault!

Someone on Twitter sent me a link to this site. I know I’m not the only one suffering; some folks have already committed suicide. I don’t want to die, but I don’t want to be homeless, either. I am so bloody scared.

Just give me money that my tax dollars paid for!

–Or better yet: GIVE ME A BLASTED JOB!!”

The really sad thing is that there are countless other stories just like these being posted all over the Internet all the time.

People are hurting.

People are losing hope.

So how did we get here?

Well, it turns out that the “haves” have figured out that they really don’t need the “have nots” after all. Incredible advances in technology have increasingly enabled employers to replace humans with machines and computers. In addition, as we have detailed previously (, millions upon millions of middle class American jobs are being shipped off to China and to dozens of third world nations where workers are more than happy to work for less than a tenth of what an American worker would make.

All of those jobs that have been lost to technology and that have been sent overseas are not going to come back. The hordes of long-term unemployed that we are seeing now is just the beginning. It is going to get a lot worse.

So the next time you hear a hard luck story from an unemployed American, don’t look down on that person.

You might be next.

Title: 30 Statistics That Prove The Elite Are Getting Richer, The Poor Are Getting Poor
Post by: Geolibertarian on September 01, 2010, 12:21:35 pm (

30 Statistics That Prove The Elite Are Getting Richer, The Poor Are Getting Poorer And The Middle Class Is Being Destroyed

Economic Collapse Blog (
Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Not everyone has been doing badly during the economic turmoil of the last few years. In fact, there are some Americans that are doing really, really well. While the vast majority of us struggle, there is one small segment of society that is seemingly doing better than ever. This was reflected in a recent article on CNBC ( in which it was noted that companies that cater to average Americans are doing rather poorly right now while companies that market luxury goods and services are generally performing exceptionally well. So why aren’t all American consumers jumping on the spending bandwagon? Well, it seems that there are a large number of Americans who either can’t spend a lot of money right now or who are very hesitant to. A stunningly high number of Americans are still unemployed, and for many other Americans, there is a very real fear that hard economic times will return soon. On the other hand, there is a significant percentage of Americans who are blowing money on luxury goods and services as if the economy has fully turned around and it is time to let the good times roll. So exactly what in the world is going on here?

Well, in 2010 life is very, very different depending on whether you are a “have” or a “have not”. The recent article on CNBC ( referenced above described it this way….

Consumer spending in the U.S. has turned into a tale of two cities in 2010, with an entire segment of consumers splurging confidently on the finer things in life, while another segment, concerned about unemployment and with little or no discretionary income, spends only on bare necessities.

So why is this happening?

It is happening because the rich are getting richer and they have plenty of money to buy stuff and the poor are getting poorer and have less money to spend than ever.

In case you haven’t been paying attention over the past couple of decades, what we have in America today is a system that is designed to funnel as much wealth into the hands of the elite as possible.

This isn’t capitalism that we have in America in 2010. Instead, what we have created is a system where the laws are set up so that the power elite and their big, dominant corporations always win.

Why do you think so many of America’s largest corporations pay so little in taxes?

Why do you think so many of them are showered with government subsidies, tax breaks and bailouts?

It’s not about competition anymore.

It’s about rigging the game in your favor.

The power elite and the giant corporations they control spend millions and millions on lobbying and campaign contributions and they expect a big return on that investment.

Let’s take a look at one example. Many people think that Barack Obama and the Democrats are supposed to be anti-business, right?

Well then why are some of Barack Obama’s biggest donors the very same corporations that are receiving giant bailouts, making record profits and paying their employees billions in bonuses?

Goldman Sachs was Barack Obama’s second biggest donor ( Microsoft was number four. Citigroup was number six. JPMorgan Chase was number seven. Time Warner was number eight.

Are you starting to get the picture?

Every single year, the U.S. Congress passes law after law after law that makes it easier for big corporations to dominate and makes it easier for the rich to get even richer.

America’s economy is not about competition anymore.

It is about eliminating competition.

And unfortunately for middle class Americans, the giant predator corporations that now dominate our economy are realizing that they don’t really need nearly as many American workers anymore.

Instead, they are slowly but surely shipping our jobs off to the other side of the world where workers are willing to work for about a tenth as much.

And yet we still run out to the “big box” stores and fill up our carts with a bunch of plastic crap made on the other side of the world by these giant corporations.

Meanwhile, those giant corporations are taking the profits they make out of our communities and they are taking our jobs and are shipping them overseas.

So in the final analysis, is it any wonder why the income inequality gap is growing?

Without small businesses having a legitimate chance to compete and without good jobs for American workers, the middle class in America is going to continue to get chewed up and spit out.

The following are 30 statistics that prove that the elite are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer and the middle class is being destroyed in 2010….

The Rich Are Getting Richer

1 - As of 2007, the top 1 percent of all Americans was taking home 24 percent ( of the national income. This was a level that had not been seen since the days of the Great Depression.

2 – Incomes have been growing in the United States, but those at the very top of the pyramid have been gobbling up almost all of the income growth. According to Harvard Magazine (, 66% of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.

3 – Even official government figures bear out the fact that the rich are getting richer. An analysis of income-tax data by the Congressional Budget Office a few years ago found that the top 1% of all American households own nearly twice as much ( of the corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.

4- Most Americans have suffered during the last few years, but not the boys and girls down on Wall Street. New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says that Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent ( when compared with 2008.

5 – Even as the number of Americans living in poverty skyrockets, the number of millionaires just keeps growing. In fact, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent ( to 7.8 million during 2009.

6 – The amount of money some of these Wall Street hotshots are making is incredible. Back in 2005, the top 25 hedge fund managers earned a total of 9 billion dollars. That would be bad enough, but even in these hard economic times the rich just keep getting richer. One year after the recent financial collapse the top 25 hedge fund managers earned a total of approximately $25 billion ( That breaks down to an average of $1 billion each. The truth is that the United States has been experiencing uneven prosperity for quite some time and things just seem to get worse with each passing year.


The Poor Are Getting Poorer

7 – Government anti-poverty programs are exploding in size in response to the recent economic difficulties. USA Today is reporting that a record one in six Americans ( are now being served by at least one government anti-poverty program.

8 – Over 50 million Americans ( are on now Medicaid. That figure is up more than 17 percent since the beginning of the recession.

9 – The number of Americans in the food stamp program rose to a new all-time record of 40.8 million ( in May. That number is up almost 50 percent since the beginning of the recession.

10 – The number of Americans who cannot afford even the basic necessities is absolutely staggering. A whopping 50 million Americans could not afford to buy enough food (,1518,712496,00.html) in order to stay healthy at some point over the last year.

11 – Compared to other industrialized nations, the United States is doing very poorly. The U.S. poverty rate is now the third worst ( among the developed nations tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

12 – The saddest part of this is what we are doing to our children. According to one recent study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 (

13 – But the American people cannot provide for their families if they don’t have jobs. Today there are not nearly enough jobs for everyone. In 2010, it takes the average unemployed American worker over 8 months ( to find a job.

14 – Approximately 10 million Americans ( are currently receiving unemployment insurance, which is a number that is nearly four times higher than what it was at back in 2007.

15 – The truth is that we are creating a permanent underclass of Americans that cannot get jobs. The number of Americans receiving long-term unemployment benefits has increased over 60 percent ( in just the past year.

16 – Increasingly, the wealth of the United States is being held in fewer and fewer hands. One study ( found that as of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.

17 – It is not a good time to be living in “the bottom half” in America. The size of “the pie” being divided up among those at the low end of the wage scale is becoming really, really small. In fact, the bottom 40 percent of all income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent ( of the nation’s wealth.

The Middle Class Is Being Destroyed

18 – Even those Americans that still do have decent jobs are seeing their wealth fade rapidly. For example, U.S. families have $6 trillion less (,8599,2013684,00.html) in housing wealth than they did just three years ago.

19 – Home ownership used to be a sign that one had arrived in the middle class, but in 2010 an increasing number of Americans are finding out that they simply can’t afford their homes anymore. One out of every seven mortgages ( were either delinquent or in foreclosure during the first quarter of 2010.

20 – The reality is that incomes have just not kept up with housing costs. This has put an incredible amount of pressure on the middle class. Just how much pressure? Well, only the top 5 percent ( of all U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.

21 – The debt binge middle class Americans have been on over the past couple of decades has drained many of them completely dry, and now more Americans than ever have bad credit scores. Over 25 percent of Americans now have a credit score below 599 (, which means that they are a very bad credit risk.

22 – A rapidly rising number of Americans are actually choosing bankruptcy as a way out of their financial problems. Nationwide, bankruptcy filings rose 20 percent ( in the 12 month period ending this past June 30th.

23 – The middle class manufacturing jobs that once defined so many American cities are rapidly disappearing. Despite the fact that the U.S. population has dramatically increased, less Americans are employed in manufacturing today than in 1950 (

24 – These days it seems like almost everyone is looking for a good job, but very few people are finding them. According to one recent survey, 28% of all U.S. households ( have at least one member that is looking for a full-time job.

25 – Even many of those Americans that still have decent jobs have been hit hard by this economic downturn. A recent Pew Research survey ( found that 55 percent of the U.S. labor force has experienced either unemployment, a pay decrease, a reduction in hours or an involuntary move to part-time work since the recession began.

26 – The number of jobs that are evaporating is absolutely stunning. According to one analysis, the United States has lost a total of 10.5 million jobs ( since 2007.

27 – So where are the jobs going? It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out. China’s trade surplus (much of it with the United States) climbed 140 percent ( in June compared to a year earlier.

28 – The truth is that “globalism” and “free trade” have put middle class American workers in direct competition with the cheapest labor in the world. This is what middle class American workers must now compete against: in China a garment worker makes approximately 86 cents an hour ( and in Cambodia a garment worker makes approximately 22 cents an hour.

29 – Due to these difficult economic conditions, the middle class is being squeezed as never before. According to a poll taken in 2009 (, 61 percent of Americans ”always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck. That was up significantly from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.

30 – So what kind of future do our young people have in front of them? Unfortunately, things don’t look pretty. Many fresh college graduates can’t even get a job that will allow them to be independent. One recent survey of last year’s college graduates discovered that 80 percent ( moved right back home with their parents after graduation. That was up significantly from 63 percent in 2006.

Title: Can A Family Of Four Survive On A Middle Class Income In America Today?
Post by: Geolibertarian on September 02, 2010, 10:02:54 am (

Can A Family Of Four Survive On A Middle Class Income In America Today?

Economic Collapse Blog (
Thursday, September 2, 2010

When I was growing up, $50,000 sounded like a gigantic mountain of money to me.  And it was actually a very significant amount of money in those days.  But in 2010 it just does not go that far.  Today, the median household income in the United States for a year is approximately $50,000.  About half of all American households make more than that, and about half of all American households make less than that.  So if your family brings in $50,000 this year that would put you about right in the middle.  So can a family of four survive on $50,000 in America today?  The answer might surprise you.  Twenty years ago a middle class American family of four would have been doing quite well on $50,000 per year.  But things have changed.

You see, despite government efforts to manipulate the official inflation numbers, the price of everything just keeps going up.  The price of food slowly but surely keeps moving up each year.  The price of gas is far higher than it was 10 or 20 years ago.  Taxes just keep going up.  Utility bills just keep going up.  Each year middle class American families have found themselves increasingly squeezed as their expenses have risen much more rapidly than their incomes.

So just how far will $50,000 go for a middle class American family of four today?  Well, $50,000 breaks down to about $4,000 a month.  So how far will $4,000 a month stretch for a family of four in today’s economy?….

First of all, the family of four needs some place to live.  Even though house prices have come down a bit recently, they are still quite expensive compared to a decade ago.  Let’s assume that our family of four has found a great deal and is only spending $1000 a month on rent or on a mortgage payment.  In many of the larger U.S. cities this is a completely unrealistic number, but let’s go with it for now.

Next, our family of four has to pay for power and water for their home.  This amount can vary dramatically depending on the climate, but let’s assume that the average utility bill is somewhere around $300 a month.

Our family is also going to need phone and Internet service.  Cell phone bills for a family of four can balloon to ridiculous proportions, but let’s assume that our family of four is extremely budget conscious and has found a package where they can get basic phone service, Internet and cable for $100 a month.  Most middle class American families spend far more than that.

Both parents are also going to need cars to get to work.  Let’s assume that both cars were purchased used, so the car payments will only total about $400 a month.  If the vehicles were purchased new this number could potentially be much higher.

If our family has two cars that means that they will also be paying for automobile insurance. Let’s assume that they both have exemplary driving records and so they are only spending about $100 a month on car insurance.

Our hypothetical family of four is also going to need health insurance. In the past, families could choose to go without health insurance (at least for a while), but now thanks to Barack Obama all American families will essentially be forced to purchase health insurance. Health insurance premiums are absolutely skyrocketing, but let’s assume that our family has somehow been able to find an amazing deal where they only pay $500 a month for health insurance.

Our hypothetical family is also going to have to eat. Let’s assume that our family clips coupons and cuts corners any way that it can and only spends about $50 for each member of the family on food and toiletries each week. That works out to a total of $800 a month for the entire family.

Lastly, the parents are also going to need to buy gas to get to and from work each week. Let’s assume that they don’t live too far from work and only need to fill up both cars about once per week. That would give them a gasoline bill of about $50 a week or $200 a month. Of course if either of them lived a good distance from work or if a lot of extra driving was required for other reasons this expense could be far, far higher.

So far our family has spent $3400 out of a total of $4000 for the month. Not bad, eh?


We haven’t taken federal, state and local taxes out of the paycheck yet. Depending on where our family lives, this will be at least $1000 a month.

So now we are $400 in the hole.

But to this point we have assumed that our family does not have any credit card debt or student loan debt at all. If they do, those payments will have to be made as well.

In addition, the budget above includes no money for clothing, no money for dining out, no money for additional entertainment, no money for medications, no money for pets, no money for hobbies, no money for life insurance, no money for vacations, no money for car repairs and maintenance, no money for child care, no money for birthday or holiday gifts and no money for retirement.

On top of all that, if our family of four has a catastrophic health expense that their health insurance won’t pay for (and health insurance companies try to weasel out of as many claims as they can), then our family of four is not just broke – they are totally bankrupt.

Are you starting to get the picture?

It is getting really, really hard out there for middle class American families these days.

And unfortunately, many American families now have at least one parent that is not working. In some areas of the nation it just seems like there are virtually no jobs available. For example, at 14.3%, the state of Nevada now has the highest unemployment rate in the nation ( Michigan (which had been number one) is not very far behind.

But even those Americans who are able to find work are finding themselves increasingly squeezed. For many Americans, a new job means much lower pay ( Millions of highly educated people who once worked in professional positions now find themselves working in retail positions or in the food service industry. Many are hoping that the economy will “turn around” soon and that they will be able to go back to higher paying jobs, but the truth is that the U.S. economy is simply not producing enough good jobs for everyone any longer.

So where did all the good jobs go? Well, millions of them have been shipped off to China, India and dozens of other nations around the globe. Today the United States spends approximately $3.90 ( on Chinese goods for every $1 that China spends on goods from the United States. A Chinese factory worker makes about a tenth of what an American factory worker makes. And China continues to keep their currency artificially low so that jobs will continue to flow into China and so that we will continue to run a massive trade imbalance with them.

In a previous article, “Winners And Losers (“, I went into much greater detail about how globalism is destroying middle class jobs. We are rapidly moving toward an America where there will be a small group of “haves” and a very large group of “have nots”.

The middle class in America is going to continue to shrink and shrink and shrink in the years ahead. Not only are both parents going to have to work to pay the bills, but both parents in many families will be forced to take two or three jobs each just to make it each month.

So what do you think? Do you think that a family of four can make it on a middle class income in America today? Feel free to leave a comment (http://) with your thoughts….

Title: US Ruling Class Prepares Attack on Social Security
Post by: Geolibertarian on September 10, 2010, 01:36:20 pm
"You know what they want? They want obedient workers; obedient workers -- people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork, and just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly sh*ttier jobs with the lower pay (, the longer hours (, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And now, they're comin' for your Social Security ( money. They want your f**kin' retirement money. They want it back, so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street (" -- George Carlin (

US Ruling Class Prepares Attack on Social Security

by Tom Eley
Global Research
September 9, 2010

Prominent figures in the US ruling elite have recently made a series of statements that forewarn of massive cuts in social spending, up to and including Social Security, the bedrock federal insurance entitlement for elderly and disabled workers.

These comments reveal that, whatever the precise outcome of the midterm elections on November 7, they will set the stage for a bipartisan assault, in the name of “fiscal responsibility,” on what remains of the social reforms of the last century.

The knives are already being sharpened for a long-awaited attack on Social Security. In a rude and provocative e-mail to the president of the Older Women’s League dated August 23, former Republican Senator Alan Simpson—appointed by President Obama as co-chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform—revealed his deep hatred of both Social Security and the working people who depend upon it.

Social Security “has reached a point now where it’s like a milk cow with 310 million ****! [sic],” Simpson said. He blasted its recipients—retirees, those maimed and sickened by their work, and dependent survivors of dead workers—who, he said “milk it to the last degree.”

In an earlier outburst—in June, Simpson was caught on tape berating an independent journalist— he revealed the ruthless logic behind the ruling class drive for cuts: Workers, whom Simpson dubbed “the lesser people,” live too long. When Social Security was created “they never dreamed that the life expectancy would go from 57 years of age to 78 or 75 or whatever,” Simpson said. “Who would dream that? No one. They just died.”

Simpson’s commission, established earlier this year by an Obama executive order to rein in budget deficits, is reportedly considering several measures, including raising the retirement age, perhaps to as high as 70, and cutting benefits as well as cost-of-living increases. It is expected to announce its recommendations in December—not accidentally, one month after the November elections.

There is unanimity in the ruling class in favor of the attack on Social Security. Co-chairing the Fiscal Responsibility commission is Erskine Bowles, formerly a White House chief of staff to Bill Clinton, and another long-time advocate of Social Security “reform.” And signaling the trade union bureaucracy’s active collaboration, Andy Stern, former president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), also sits on the commission.

“I agree with many Commissioners who have said that all entitlement programs should be on the table,” Stern has declared. “We should include as part of our agenda ideas for strengthening the private parts of the retirement security system, reviewing both the adequacy and the solvency of the Social Security system, and the possibility of universal add-on retirement accounts.”

Deepening the fiscal attack on the working class in the US, Europe and internationally was also the primary topic for discussion at the Ambrosetti Forum held last week on the shores of Italy’s elite Lake Como. Attended by political figures such as Spain’s José María Aznar, Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Henry Kissinger from the US and Israeli President Shimon Peres, as well as numerous European Union functionaries, top bankers, businessmen and academicians, the forum provides a sounding board for policies that few politicians would dare identify themselves with in public.

In one session, Hans-Werner Sinn of the University of Munich declared that Americans will “just have to go down in their living standards after years in which their living standards soared in part based on foreign credit which is no longer there.” And Jacob Frenkel, chairman of JP Morgan Chase International “urged the United States to rein in entitlements as part of a ‘political deal’ that recognizes reality,” according to an Associated Press account of the conference. JP Morgan has received tens of billions in loans, debt buy-downs, and direct cash infusions from the federal government.

The attack on entitlements and social spending is the second phase in a broad offensive against the living conditions of the entire working class, following quickly on the heels of the unprecedented attack on jobs and wages spearheaded by the Obama administration’s forced reorganization of the auto industry.

Workers are being conditioned to accept what is referred to as “the new normal” typified by low wages and benefits and the total absence of any form of social protection. Or, in the blunter words of Fiat head Sergio Marchionne, US workers must accept a “culture of poverty,” abandoning what he contemptuously referred to as a “culture of entitlement.”

The class character of the calls for “sacrifice” and “responsibility” is increasingly naked. Even as Washington prepares for drastic cuts to Social Security and all manner of social spending, Congress appears likely to extend or make permanent the Bush-era tax cuts for the extremely wealthy, which have cost the federal government trillions of dollars.

Peter Orszag, until July 30 Obama’s director of the Office of Management and the Budget, in a Tuesday column for the New York Times called for a two-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for the richest income earners. In the very same article, Orszag called for Social Security “reform,” a 5 percent cut to discretionary social spending, a 6 percent value added sales tax, and higher taxes on “middle-class and lower-class families,” which he called “troubling” but “unavoidable.”

The sharp move toward austerity and the attack being prepared on Social Security stand as a testament to the bankruptcy of American democracy. The upcoming election and the official debate that surrounds it—including Obama’s latest in a series of purely symbolic jobs proposals—only aim to disorient the population.

The basic thrust of US policy has already been determined. The ruling class is determined to shift the full burden of the financial and economic crisis onto the working class. In this context, the widely anticipated gains for Republicans in the election are already being presented as evidence that the demand for attacks on social spending originate in the population itself.

[Continued... (]

Title: Re: How do we eliminate the paradox of poverty & privation amid plenty & abundance?
Post by: Geolibertarian on September 30, 2010, 02:30:23 pm (

15 Shocking Poverty Statistics That Are Skyrocketing As The American Middle Class Continues To Be Slowly Wiped Out


The "America" that so many of us have taken for granted for so many decades is literally disintegrating right in front of our eyes. Most Americans are still operating under the delusion that the United States will always be "the wealthiest nation" in the world and that our economy will always produce large numbers of high paying jobs and that the U.S. will always have a very large middle class. But that is not what is happening. The very foundations of the U.S. economy have rotted away and we now find ourselves on the verge of an economic collapse. Already, millions upon millions of Americans are slipping out of the middle class and into the devastating grip of poverty. Statistic after statistic proves that the middle class in the United States is shrinking month after month after month. Meanwhile, millions of Americans are starting to wake up and are beginning to realize that we have very serious problems on our hands, but they have no idea what is causing our economic distress and they are unaware that most of our politicians have absolutely no idea how to fix the economic disaster that we have created.

On the mainstream news, the American people are treated to endless footage of leaders from both political parties proclaiming that the primary reason that we are in the midst of such an economic mess is because of what the other political party has done.

Republicans proclaim that we are experiencing all of this economic chaos because of the Democrats.

Democrats proclaim that we are experiencing all of this economic chaos because of the Republicans.

Even many readers of this column (who are generally more educated and more informed than most average Americans) leave comment after comment blaming either the Democrats or the Republicans for our current economic mess.

But do you really want to know who is to blame for our economic problems?

Both of them.

This economic nightmare has taken literally decades to develop, and both Democrats and Republicans have contributed greatly to this disaster.

Both parties have absolutely refused to stand up to the Federal Reserve and the horrific economic policies that they have been shoving down our throats for decades.

Both parties have stood idly by as the U.S. trade deficit ( has absolutely exploded in size and the United States has become significantly poorer month after month after month.

Both parties have refused to do anything as month after month after month large numbers of factories and good paying jobs leave the United States.

Both parties have shoved the spending accelerator to the floor when they have been in power and now we have the largest national debt ( in the history of the world.

Both parties have done essentially nothing as the health care industry (, which was once the envy of the world, has degenerated into a cesspool of corruption and greed and now seems designed to do little more than to provide pharmaceutical companies and health insurance crooks with obscene profits.

If factories keep leaving the United States and jobs keep leaving the United States and the federal government keeps going into more debt and state governments keep going into more debt and local governments keep going into more debt, then things are going to keep getting worse.

It does not take a genius to figure that out.

The United States is continually getting poorer and is continually going into more debt.

Can anyone out there explain how that is a formula for economic prosperity?


Can anyone explain how that would work?

Please leave a comment and explain that to all of us if you can.

The truth is that as wealth continues to leave the United States and as the U.S. gets even deeper into debt, more Americans are going to become poor.

It really is that simple.

The following are 15 shocking poverty statistics that are skyrocketing as the American middle class continues to be slowly wiped out....

[Continued... (]

Title: Re: How do we eliminate the paradox of poverty & privation amid plenty & abundance?
Post by: Geolibertarian on September 30, 2010, 02:32:01 pm (

20 Signs That The Economic Collapse Has Already Begun For One Out Of Every Seven Americans

The Economic Collapse (
Sept 18, 2010

For most Americans, the economic collapse is something that is happening to someone else.  Most of us have become so isolated from each other and so self-involved that unless something is directly affecting us or a close family member than we really don’t feel it.  But even though most of us enjoy a much closer relationship with our television sets than we do with our neighbors at this point, it is quickly becoming undeniable that a fundamental shift is taking place in society.  Perhaps you noticed it when two or three foreclosure signs went up on your street.  Or perhaps it got your attention when that nice fellow down the street lost his job, and he and his family seemingly just disappeared from the neighborhood one day.  The Census Bureau made front page headlines all over the nation this week when they announced that one out of every seven Americans was living in poverty in 2009.  Every single day more Americans are getting sucked out of the middle class and into soul-crushing poverty.   

Unfortunately, most Americans don’t really care because it has not affected them yet.

But this year, millions more Americans will discover that the music has stopped playing and they are left without a seat at the table.

Meanwhile, neither political party has a workable solution.  They just like to point fingers and blame each other.

The Democrats blame Bush for all the poverty and advocate expanding programs for the poor.  Not that there is anything wrong with a safety net.  But the “safety net” was never meant to hold 50 million people on Medicaid and 40 million people on food stamps.  The number of Americans on food stamps has more than doubled since 2007.  So do we just double it again as things get even worse?

The truth is that welfare programs are only short-term solutions.  Unfortunately, the Democrats do not understand this.  What Americans really need are good jobs.

The Republicans are so boneheaded that they don’t even like to talk about poverty because they think it is a “liberal issue”.  Some conservative commentators have even been so brutally cold as to mock the “99ers” (those who have been unemployed so long that even their extended federal benefits have run out).

Instead of showing some compassion and being the party of the American worker (as they should be), the Republicans are often very uncompassionate and they allow the Democrats to be “the party of the poor” by default.

Both political parties need a big wakeup call.  There is a tsunami of poverty sweeping the United States, and somebody better wake up and do something about it.  More handouts will help people get by in the short-term, but there is no way that the federal government can financially support tens of millions more poor Americans.

How long is it going to be before the “safety net” simply collapses under the weight of all this poverty?

The path we are on is not sustainable.

The economy is falling apart, and somebody better wake up and do something before even more Americans find themselves drowning in poverty.

The following are 20 signs that the economic collapse has already begun for one out of every seven Americans….

[Continued... (]

Title: Re: How do we eliminate the paradox of poverty & privation amid plenty & abundance?
Post by: Geolibertarian on September 30, 2010, 02:32:36 pm (

19 Facts About The Deindustrialization Of America That Will Blow Your Mind

The Economic Collapse
September 24, 2010


The United States is rapidly becoming the very first "post-industrial" nation on the globe.  All great economic empires eventually become fat and lazy and squander the great wealth that their forefathers have left them, but the pace at which America is accomplishing this is absolutely amazing.  It was America that was at the forefront of the industrial revolution.  It was America that showed the world how to mass produce everything from automobiles to televisions to airplanes.  It was the great American manufacturing base that crushed Germany and Japan in World War II.  But now we are witnessing the deindustrialization of America.  Tens of thousands of factories have left the United States in the past decade alone.  Millions upon millions of manufacturing jobs have been lost in the same time period.  The United States has become a nation that consumes everything in sight and yet produces increasingly little.  Do you know what our biggest export is today?  Waste paper.  Yes, trash is the number one thing that we ship out to the rest of the world as we voraciously blow our money on whatever the rest of the world wants to sell to us.  The United States has become bloated and spoiled and our economy is now  just a shadow of what it once was.  Once upon a time America could literally outproduce the rest of the world combined.  Today that is no longer true, but Americans sure do consume more than anyone else in the world.  If the deindustrialization of America continues at this current pace, what possible kind of a future are we going to be leaving to our children?

Any great nation throughout history has been great at making things.  So if the United States continues to allow its manufacturing base to erode at a staggering pace how in the world can the U.S. continue to consider itself to be a great nation?  We have created the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world in an effort to maintain a very high standard of living, but the current state of affairs is not anywhere close to sustainable.  Every single month America does into more debt and every single month America gets poorer.

So what happens when the debt bubble pops?

The deindustrialization of the United States should be a top concern for every man, woman and child in the country.  But sadly, most Americans do not have any idea what is going on around them.

For people like that, take this article and print it out and hand it to them.  Perhaps what they will read below will shock them badly enough to awaken them from their slumber.   

The following are 19 facts about the deindustrialization of America that will blow your mind....

[Continued... (]

Title: Social Inequality in America: 2009 income gap in the US highest on record
Post by: Geolibertarian on September 30, 2010, 02:33:42 pm (

Social Inequality in America: 2009 income gap in the US highest on record

by David Walsh


Global Research
September 29, 2010

Figures released Tuesday by the US Census Bureau reveal sharply worsening conditions for tens of millions of Americans under the impact of the economic crisis and the accumulation of vast wealth by a relative handful.

Some of the figures, for particular states and regions, are simply staggering. Michigan residents experienced a 6.2 percent decrease in median income in the course of one year, from 2008 to 2009, while Illinois has suffered a 24 percent increase in poverty in the past decade. More than 36 percent of Detroit’s population officially lives in poverty.

Overall, the 2009 American Community Survey reveals that median household income fell in the US nearly 3 percent between 2008 and 2009, from $51,726 to $50,221. This was the second consecutive year in which household incomes dropped. Median income declined in 34 states, and increased only in sparsely populated North Dakota.

“Thirty-one states saw increases in both the number and percentage of people in poverty between 2008 and 2009,” reported the Census Bureau in a press release. “No state had a statistically significant decline in either the number in poverty or the poverty rate.”

National median income is down 4 percent from its peak when the recession officially began in December 2007. Last year alone, noted the Washington Post, accounted for $1,500 of that average loss.

The Associated Press, based on an analysis of the Census Bureau numbers, reports that the income gap between the rich and the poor “grew last year to its widest amount on record as young adults and children in particular struggled to stay afloat in the recession.” The US also has the greatest income disparity among the advanced capitalist countries.

The proportion of Americans living in extreme poverty, defined as half the derisory official poverty line, or $10,977 for a family of four, rose from 5.7 percent in 2008 to 6.3 percent last year, an 11 percent increase in the number of people living in dire circumstances in one year. The 2009 figure was the highest level since the US government began tracking the very poor in 1975. To the everlasting shame of the American political establishment, the District of Columbia, home to the US government, has the highest proportion of residents living in extreme poverty of any state or district, 10.7 percent.

The top 20 percent of the population, those making more than $100,000 a year, took in nearly 50 percent of all income generated in the US in 2009, while the 44 million people living below the poverty line received only 3.4 percent. “That ratio of 14.5-to-1 was an increase from 13.6 in 2008 and nearly double a low of 7.69 in 1968” (AP).

The top 5 percent of the US population in terms of income, those making $180,000 or more, added slightly to their annual incomes last year.

The most revealing statistics, however, relate to the wealthiest 1 percent, 1/10 of 1 percent and 1/100 of 1 percent of the population—no news about their gains in 2009 has been reported yet.

New York, Connecticut, Texas and the District of Columbia, along with the territory of Puerto Rico, had the largest gaps between rich and poor. Similar income gaps, reported AP, existed in major cities such as New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Boston and Atlanta. Some 22 percent of Mississippians live in poverty, the highest proportion of any state’s population, and only five states (Alaska, Connecticut, Maryland, New Hampshire and New Jersey) had fewer than one in 10 residents living in poverty in 2009.

Other social phenomena reported by the Census Bureau are associated with job losses and declining incomes:

[Continued... (]

Title: Re: How do we eliminate the paradox of poverty & privation amid plenty & abundance?
Post by: Geolibertarian on September 30, 2010, 02:35:16 pm (

Plundering the middle class – 35 percent of American households live on $35,000 or less each year. Bailouts a success for the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans

My Budget 360 (
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The middle class ( is being slowly dismantled piece by piece. New Census data released this week highlights a continuing trend that is pushing more average Americans ( into a perpetual struggle to stay financially afloat. New data shows that the median household income is $50,221 in 2009 which is down from $52,029 in 2008. This drop of 3.6 percent comes at a time when many U.S. households are struggling to make payments on mortgages and more importantly, find jobs. The only group that grew their household income was for those making $180,000 or more (top 5 percent). This growing inequality gap demonstrates that this recession is actually widening the chasm between the working and upper-classes of our society. I went ahead and took the data from the new Census report and created the following income distribution chart:


35% of U.S. households live on $35,000 or less. The hope of making it into the middle class for this group is getting tougher and more financially challenging. Those making more than $100,000 fall under the top 20 percent category. But the real income disparity ( shows up clearly once you go over the $200,000 range. The top 20 percent of Americans made close to 50 percent of all income while those below the poverty line made up 3.4 percent. This ratio of 14.5 to 1 is the highest on record keeping history. In 2008 the ratio was at 13.6 and back in 1968 it was 7.69:


Source: Census

    “(AP) A different measure, the international Gini index, found U.S. income inequality at its highest level since the Census Bureau began tracking household income in 1967. The U.S. also has the greatest disparity among Western industrialized nations.

    At the top, the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans, who earn more than $180,000, added slightly to their annual incomes last year, census data show. Families at the $50,000 median level slipped lower.

    “Income inequality is rising, and if we took into account tax data, it would be even more,” said Timothy Smeeding, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor who specializes in poverty. “More than other countries, we have a very unequal income distribution where compensation goes to the top in a winner-takes-all economy.”

-- (

How is it possible that during a time when the vast majority of Americans are moving backwards financially, only a small segment actually progressed forward? It would be one thing if the real economy were improving but it is not. What is happening is the bailout funds ( have worked but for a very tiny portion of the population. Most people depend on a job to pay for bills and manage their daily budgets, not stock market wealth ( The bigger problem is you have insufficient risk management systems built into the current financial system. As we saw with the AIG bailout, it was merely a way to rectify the bad bets of Goldman Sachs. How did this improve the real economy? It didn’t. How did handing out money to the investment banks provide added jobs? They have no statistics to show for the trillions of dollars handed out to Wall Street in terms of helping out Main Street ( What we do have is 43 million Americans in poverty and the middle class shrinking.

So what can be done? The answer is obvious but the politics will make this a battle for the middle class in America.

[Continued... (]

Title: The Proof Is In The Numbers: America Is Getting Poorer
Post by: Geolibertarian on September 30, 2010, 02:36:16 pm (

The Proof Is In The Numbers: America Is Getting Poorer

The Economic Collapse (
Sept 30, 2010

How in the world can anyone claim that things are getting better? Sometimes the numbers are so clear that they simply cannot be denied. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income in the United States fell from $51,726 in 2008 to $50,221 in 2009. That was the second yearly decline in median household income in a row. In other words, America is getting poorer. Just let that statistic above sink in for a little bit. In 2009, American families had roughly $1,500 less coming in than the year before. Not that the cost of living has gone down either. Have you been to the supermarket lately? Things are getting ridiculous out there. In fact, middle class American families are being squeezed as never before. More mothers and fathers are scrambling to find second and third jobs just to pay the mortgage and to keep the lights on and to put food on the table. This is not a time of prosperity in America. We are in a state of serious decline and it is time to wake up and admit it.

When you stop and analyze the new Census data, something jumps out at you right away. You quickly realize that these income declines are not limited to just a few regions of the country – they are literally happening from coast to coast.

The U.S. economy is in deep, deep trouble and the proof is in the numbers. The following are 12 statistics that reveal just how far the standard of living in America is declining….

1 – According to the Census Bureau (, median household income dropped in 34 U.S. states in 2009, and the only state where median household income actually increased was in North Dakota.

2 – The Census Bureau data also revealed ( that of the 52 largest metro areas in America, only the city of San Antonio did not see a decline in median household income in 2009.

3 – 35 percent of all U.S. households now live on $35,000 or less (

4 – According to the Census Bureau, the percentage of Americans living below the poverty line is the highest it has been in 15 years (

5 – The number of Americans enrolled in the food stamp program passed the 41 million mark ( for the first time ever in June.

6 – The number of Americans in the food stamp program increased a staggering 55 percent (,0,6342091.story?page=2&utm_medium=feed&track=rss&utm_campaign=Feed%3A%20latimes%2Fbusiness%20%28L.A.%20Times%20-%20Business%29&utm_source=feedburner) from December 2007 to June 2010.

7 – One out of every six Americans ( is now enrolled in at least one anti-poverty program run by the federal government.

8 – Nearly 10 million Americans now receive unemployment insurance, which is almost four times ( as many that were receiving it back in 2007.

9 – In 2009, U.S. consumer spending experienced the biggest decline since 1942 (

10 – As millions of young Americans struggled just to survive, marriages fell to a record low ( in 2009. Today, only 52% of Americans 18 years or older are married.

11 – The only group that saw their household income increase in 2009 was those making $180,000 or more (

12 – According to the Huffington Post, the gap between the richest and poorest Americans grew in 2009 to its largest margin ever (….

The top-earning 20 percent of Americans – those making more than $100,000 each year – received 49.4 percent of all income generated in the U.S., compared with the 3.4 percent made by the bottom 20 percent of earners, those who fell below the poverty line, according to the new figures. That ratio of 14.5-to-1 was an increase from 13.6 in 2008 and nearly double a low of 7.69 in 1968.

Not that it is a bad thing to make money.

Contrary to what our socialist friends may think, it is actually a very good thing to work hard and make money.

The point is that the game is rigged and the bottom 80 percent of us are being left behind.

The middle class is being systematically destroyed. At the rate we are going, we will eventually have a very small group of ultra-wealthy Americans and a gigantic mountain of very poor Americans that are barely able to survive.

[Continued... (]

Title: Re: The Proof Is In The Numbers: America Is Getting Poorer
Post by: Geolibertarian on September 30, 2010, 02:53:19 pm (

Not that it is a bad thing to make money.

Contrary to what our socialist friends may think, it is actually a very good thing to work hard and make money.


However, contrary to what our Austrian School (,395.0.html) friends may think, it is not a good thing to blur the fundamental distinction between (a) earning money through hard work and (b) appropriating ( money through privilege (see this (, this ( and this (


"I do not wish to be misunderstood as falling into the trap of the socialists and communists who condemn all privately owned business, all factories, all machinery and organizations for producing wealth. There is nothing wrong with private corporations owning the means of producing wealth. Georgists ( believe in private enterprise, and in its virtues and incentives to produce at maximum efficiency. It is the insidious linking together of special privilege, the unjust outright private ownership of natural or public resources, monopolies, franchises, that produce unfair domination and autocracy.

"The means of producing wealth differ at the root: some is thieved from the people and some is honestly earned. [Henry] George ( differentiated; [Karl] Marx ( did not. The consequences of our failure to discern lie at the heart of our trouble."

-- Agnes George de Mille, (

"Marx's biggest error was to suppose that society could be improved by grand design: that the solution was to impose a new order, rather than to abolish privileges embedded in the existing order. His scheme actually rescued the aristocracy he had condemned, as it required an aristocracy to run it, and it pitted labor ( against capital (, when, in fact, true capital is nothing more than the fruits of labor, and is a natural ally of labor against privilege....

"The errors of anti-Marxists derive mostly from overreaction -- from denying whatever Marx asserted, replacing Marxist half-truths with equally false anti-Marxist half-truths. Often, in so doing, they fall into the trap of accepting underlying Marxist assumptions....

"While Marx treated land ( as capital to attack it, anti-Marxists treat land as capital to defend it. This not only accepts the Marxist redefinition of capital, but causes anti-Marxists to say absurd things about land that make sense only with regard to true capital.

"Buying into the Marxist equation of wealth and privilege, anti-Marxists defend privilege as if it were wealth. They do this with regard not only to land, but to banking, incorporation, franchises, the overextension of patents, etc. While there are sometimes glimmers of theoretical distinctions, there is a near constant defense of those parties whose wealth comes almost entirely from capitalized privilege, and only minimally from true capital. Such errors defy logic, are inconsistent with classical liberalism, and are intuitively rejected by the unindoctinated."

-- Dan Sullivan, (


Title: 11 Long-Term Trends That Are Absolutely Destroying The U.S. Economy
Post by: Geolibertarian on October 06, 2010, 02:48:00 pm (

11 Long-Term Trends That Are Absolutely Destroying The U.S. Economy

The Economic Collapse (
October 5, 2010

The U.S. economy is being slowly but surely destroyed and many Americans have no idea that it is happening. That is at least partially due to the fact that most financial news is entirely focused on the short-term. Whenever a key economic statistic goes up the financial markets surge and analysts rejoice. Whenever a key economic statistic goes down the financial markets decline and analysts speak of the potential for a "double-dip" recession. You could literally get whiplash as you watch the financial ping pong ball bounce back and forth between good news and bad news. But focusing on short-term statistics is not the correct way to analyze the U.S. economy. It is the long-term trends that reveal the truth. The reality is that there are certain underlying foundational problems that are destroying the U.S. economy a little bit more every single day.

11 of those foundational problems are discussed below. They are undeniable and they are constantly getting worse. If they are not corrected (and there is no indication that they will be) they will destroy not only our economy but also our entire way of life. The sad truth is that it would be hard to understate just how desperate the situation is for the U.S. economy.
[Continued... (]

Title: Food Stamp Recipients at Record 41.8 Million Americans in July, U.S. Says
Post by: Geolibertarian on October 06, 2010, 02:49:20 pm (

Food Stamp Recipients at Record 41.8 Million Americans in July, U.S. Says

Alan Bjerga
Bloomberg News (
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The number of Americans receiving food stamps rose to a record 41.8 million in July as the jobless rate hovered near a 27-year high, the government said.

Recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program subsidies for food purchases jumped 18 percent from a year earlier and increased 1.4 percent from June, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a statement on its website. Participation has set records for 20 straight months.

Unemployment in September may have reached 9.7 percent, according to a Bloomberg News survey of analysts in advance of the release of last month’s rate on Oct. 8. Unemployment was 9.6 percent in July, near levels last seen in 1983.

Full story here. (

Title: Re: Food Stamp Recipients at Record 41.8 Million Americans in July, U.S. Says
Post by: Geolibertarian on October 06, 2010, 02:50:54 pm
Unemployment in September may have reached 9.7 percent, according to a Bloomberg News survey of analysts in advance of the release of last month’s rate on Oct. 8. Unemployment was 9.6 percent in July, near levels last seen in 1983.

The "official" unemployment rate is a glorified public relations scam.

Here's the true state of unemployment:


Title: 27 Signs That Standard of Living for Middle Class Is Dropping Like a Rock
Post by: Geolibertarian on October 07, 2010, 12:49:52 pm (

27 Signs That The Standard Of Living For America’s Middle Class Is Dropping Like A Rock

The Economic Collapse (
Oct 7, 2010

If you still have a job and you can put food on the table and you still have a warm house to come home to, then you should consider yourself to be very fortunate.  The truth is that every single month hundreds of thousands more Americans fall out of the middle class and into poverty.  The statistics that you are about to read are incredibly sobering.  Household incomes are down from coast to coast.  Enrollment in government anti-poverty programs sets new records month after month after month.  Home ownership is down, personal bankruptcies are way up and there are not nearly enough jobs to go around.  Meanwhile, the price of basics such as food and health care continue to skyrocket.  Don’t be fooled by a rising stock market or by record bonuses on Wall Street.  The U.S. economy is not getting better.  After World War II, the great American economic machine built the largest and most vigorous middle class in the history of the world, but now America’s middle class is disintegrating at a blinding pace.

Most of those who write about the plight of the American middle class believe that things can be turned around and that the middle class will eventually be stronger than it ever has been.  But unfortunately, that is just not the case.  As a society, we have lived far, far beyond our means for decades.  Now the bills are coming due and none of our leaders seem to know what to do.

Meanwhile, the U.S. economy is being rapidly assimilated into the emerging one world economy.  Middle class American workers now find themselves in direct competition for jobs with the cheapest labor on the other side of the globe.  Of course many multinational corporations have taken advantage of this by moving factories and jobs to countries like China where blue collar workers make about a dollar an hour.  This has helped raise the standard of living for workers in those nations by a nominal amount, but it has been absolutely devastating for the standard of living of America’s middle class.

So what does all of this mean?

It means that the U.S. economy is headed for collapse and middle class Americans are in for some really, really hard times.

The following are  27 signs that the standard of living for America’s middle class is dropping like a rock….

[Continued... (]

Title: Re: 27 Signs That Standard of Living for Middle Class Is Dropping Like a Rock
Post by: Geolibertarian on October 07, 2010, 03:02:38 pm (

As a society, we have lived far, far beyond our means for decades.  Now the bills are coming due...

Whether the author of the above article realizes it or not, the notion that the current economic collapse is merely the consequence of "bills coming due" for having lived "far beyond our means" is simply a way of shifting blame from where it belongs -- on the financial terrorists ( who engineered this collapse in the first place -- to where it does not belong -- on the lower- and middle-class victims of the collapse.

Contrary to what those who've fallen prey to Malthusian propaganda (,430.0.html) would have everyone believe, the problem is not that "we" have been "living" beyond our means, but that ruling-class oligarchs (,368.msg1064.html#msg1064) have been parasitizing us beyond our means.

Title: 24 Statistics About The U.S. Economy That Are Almost Too Embarrassing To Admit
Post by: Geolibertarian on October 13, 2010, 04:34:53 pm (

Is America In Decline? 24 Statistics About The United States Economy That Are Almost Too Embarrassing To Admit

The Economic Collapse (
Oct 13, 2010

Does anyone really want to hear that America is in decline?  For decades, most of us have been raised to believe that the United States is “number one” and that anyone who doubts that fact is a “gloom and doomer” that should just pack up and move to “Russia” or “Iraq” or some other country where things are not nearly as good.  But does it do us or future generations any good to ignore the very serious signs of trouble that are erupting all around us?  The truth is that it is about time to wake up and admit how much trouble we are actually in.  The U.S. government is absolutely drowning in debt.  The entire society is absolutely drowning in debt.  We are being slaughtered in the arena of world trade, and every single month tens of billions of dollars (along with large numbers of factories and jobs) leave our shores for good.  Our infrastructure is failing, our kids are less educated and our incomes are going down.  We have serious, serious problems.  At one time, the U.S. economy was so dominant that it was not even worth talking about who was in second place.  That is no longer the case in 2010.  Our forefathers handed us the greatest economic machine in history and we have allowed it to fall apart right in front of our eyes.  A national economic crisis of historic proportions is getting worse with each passing month, and yet most of our leaders seem to be asleep at the switch. 

So is American in decline?  Well, read the statistics below and decide for yourself.  The reality is that when you start connecting the dots it gets really hard to deny what is going on.

Urgent action must be taken if things are going to be turned around.  It is time to get our heads out of the sand.  It is not guaranteed that the United States will always be the greatest economy in the world or that we will even continue to be prosperous.

For many Americans, it will be incredibly difficult to admit that our nation has become a debt addict and an economic punching bag for the rest of the world.

But if we are never willing to admit what the problems are, how are we ever going to come up with the solutions?

What you are about to read below is going to absolutely shock many of you.  But hopefully it will shock you enough to get you to take action.  We desperately need to change course as a nation.

The following are 24 statistics about the United States economy that are almost too embarrassing to admit….

[Continued... (]

Title: 30 Reasons Why People Should Be Getting Really Nervous About The U.S. Economy
Post by: Geolibertarian on October 27, 2010, 05:40:36 pm (

30 Reasons Why People Should Be Getting Really Nervous About The State Of The U.S. Economy

The Economic Collapse (
Oct 27, 2010

The mainstream media is full of happy economic news these days.  The S&P 500 has shot up 16 percent since the beginning of July.  Ford Motor Company just reported a profit that jumped nearly 70 percent in the third quarter.  It was Ford’s best third quarter performance ever and it was the 6th quarterly profit in a row for the company.  Other major firms have announced earnings that have far exceeded expectations in recent weeks.  Hooray!  The pundits are proclaiming that the economic collapse is over and that the U.S. economy has won.  It is almost enough to make one tear into a stirring rendition of “Happy Days Are Here Again”.  But perhaps we should take a moment and get a hold of ourselves first.  After all, the underlying economic fundamentals have not changed.  The same long-term trends that were ripping the U.S. financial system apart a month or two ago are still continuing to do so.  Millions upon millions of American families are still deeply suffering.  So exactly what in the world is going on here?  Well, this is what is known as a “sucker’s rally”.  Those on the inside know better than to throw money at this market.  In fact, corporate insiders are now selling off stock so fast you would think it is going out of style.  Meanwhile, hordes of innocent rubes are jumping back into the stock market thinking that it is the perfect time to get in.

The truth is that these “good times” are only temporary.  Don’t get used to them.  The following are 30 reasons why people should be getting really, really nervous about the state of the U.S. economy….

[Continued... (]

Title: "We" aren't "living" beyond our means; we're being PARASITIZED beyond them!
Post by: Geolibertarian on November 10, 2010, 12:28:11 pm
I'm now of the opinion that, if ( isn't a "controlled opposition" site, then it's at least being run by "useful dupes." To understand why, first read the following article:

------------------------------------- (

Living Beyond Our Means: 3 Charts That Prove That We Are In The Biggest Debt Bubble In The History Of The World

The Economic Collapse
Nov 2, 2010

Do you want to see something truly frightening?  Just check out the 3 charts posted further down in this article.  These charts prove that we are now in the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world.  As Americans have enjoyed an incredibly wonderful standard of living over the past three decades, most of them have believed that it was because we are the wealthiest, most prosperous nation on the planet with economic and financial systems that are second to none.  But that is not even close to accurate.  The reason why we have had an almost unbelievably high standard of living over the past three decades is because we have piled up the biggest mountains of debt in the history of the world.  Once upon a time the United States was the wealthiest country on the planet, but all of that prosperity was not good enough for us.  So we started borrowing and borrowing and borrowing and we have now been living beyond our means for so long that we consider it to be completely normal.

We have been robbing future generations blind for so long that it doesn’t even seem to bother most people anymore.  We have become accustomed to living in debt.  We go into massive amounts of debt to get an education, we go into massive amounts of debt to buy a home, we go into massive amounts of debt to buy our cars, and we even pile up debt to buy holiday gifts and to purchase groceries.

Just check out the chart posted below.  It shows the total credit market debt owed in the United States.  In other words, it is a measure of what everyone owes (government, businesses and consumers).

30 years ago, total credit market debt owed was less than 5 trillion dollars. Today, it is over 50 trillion dollars. Total credit market debt is now at a level equivalent to about 360 percent of GDP. This is what has been fueling the great era of ”economic prosperity” that we have been experiencing….


So what is the answer to this problem?

The truth is that there is not an easy answer under our current system. The only way that the U.S. economy continues to “grow” is if the debt bubble continues to “expand”.

If our leaders allowed the debt bubble to “pop” and the U.S. economy went into a deleveraging cycle, it would mean that we would start living far below our means for an extended period of time and it would spawn a deflationary depression that would make the Great Depression look like a Sunday picnic.

Most Americans are in no mood to take that kind of hard medicine.

Do you really think that the American people are going to vote in politicians who tell them that it is time to live below our means and that we are going to have to experience a standard of living far below what our parents experienced in order to pay for all the debt that they racked up?

No, that is clearly a dog that isn’t going to hunt.

The American people want to hear that better times are ahead.

One way to give the American people “better times”, for the short-term at least, is to crank the debt spiral back up.

By introducing another huge flood of paper money into the economy, the Federal Reserve and the U.S. government are hoping that banks will start lending again and that U.S. consumers will start going into more debt again. Already, as you can see from the chart below, U.S. household debt has started to sink just a little bit. But considering the fact that approximately 70 percent ( of our GDP is generated by U.S. consumer spending, that is not good news for “economic growth” statistics.

Three decades of “economic expansion” have been fueled by consumer debt that has spiralled completely out of control. Over the past 30 years, total U.S. household debt has gone from less than 2 trillion dollars to almost 14 trillion dollars….


So where did the housing bubble come from? It came from Americans going into insane amounts of debt that they could not afford. The truth is that only the top 5 percent ( of all U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.

Not only that, but Americans are going into staggering amounts of debt in order to pay for their educations. Total student loan debt in the United States is climbing at a rate of approximately $2,853.88 per second (, and today Americans owe an all-time record of more than $849 billion ( on student loans, which is actually more than the total amount that Americans owe on their credit cards.

The truth is that American families are stretched thinner financially than they ever have been in the post-World War 2 era. According to a poll taken last year (, 61 percent of Americans ”always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck. That was up significantly from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.

Many Americans have come to the absolute breaking point. 1.41 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009 – a 32 percent increase over 2008 (

But remember, approximately 70 percent of our GDP is generated by U.S. consumer spending, so without more consumer spending there won’t be more economic growth.

So, instead of Obama and the Federal Reserve encouraging Americans to get out of debt and to save money, they are trying to get the American people to spend even more money and to go into even more debt because they desperately need positive “economic growth” figures.

The worst offender of all when it comes to debt, of course, is the U.S. federal government. Over the last 30 years, the U.S. national debt ( has gone from about 1 trillion dollars to almost 14 trillion dollars….


This is the largest single debt in the history of the world.

So just how big is one trillion dollars?

If right this moment you went out and started spending one dollar every single second, it would take you more than 31,000 years ( to spend one trillion dollars.

Yet somehow the U.S. government has accumulated a debt that is well over 13 trillion dollars.

Unfortunately, it keeps getting worse month after month after month.

According to the U.S. Treasury Department, the U.S. national debt is rapidly closing in on 14 trillion dollars and and will climb to an estimated $19.6 trillion by 2015 (

Should we all throw a big party when it crosses the 20 trillion dollar mark?

I can just hear the theme song now….

“I’m going to party like I’m 19.99 trillion in debt!”

But the cold, hard reality is that we are in far, far more trouble than what the official government numbers tell us.

In a recent article, Boston University economics professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff analyzed the financial condition of the U.S. government, and he summarized the horror we are facing by making the following statement (….

    “Let’s get real. The U.S. is bankrupt.”

After carefully going over Congressional Budget Office data, Kotlikoff came to the conclusion that the U.S. government is now facing a “fiscal gap” ( of $202 trillion dollars.

Now how in the world did that happen?

Well, it turns out that we have made promises to future generations that we cannot possibly even come close to keeping.

Social Security and Medicare are fiscal nightmares that are far more immense than anything that U.S. government has ever faced before.

According to an official U.S. government report ( [.pdf], rapidly growing interest costs on the U.S. national debt together with spending on major entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare will absorb approximately 92 cents of every dollar of federal revenue by the year 2019. That is before a single penny is spent on anything else.

That is just 9 years away.

When people speak of the financial situation of the U.S. government being “unsustainable”, they aren’t kidding around.

The truth is that the U.S. government has been running gigantic Ponzi schemes which are about to collapse.

Take the Social Security shell game for example. Back in 1950, each retiree’s Social Security benefit was paid for by approximately 16 workers. Today, each retiree’s Social Security benefit is paid for by approximately 3.3 workers. By 2025, it is projected that there will be approximately two workers ( for each retiree.

So exactly how is that supposed to work?

For much more on the coming Social Security nightmare, please see an article that I posted earlier this year: 22 Statistics About America’s Coming Pension Crisis That Will Make You Lose Sleep At Night (

Sadly, Professor Kotlikoff is not exaggerating in the least when he proclaims that the U.S. government is bankrupt.

At our current pace, the Congressional Budget Office is projecting that U.S. government public debt will hit 716 percent of GDP ( by the year 2080.

Public debt at a level of 100 percent of GDP is supposed to be an absolute nightmare scenario.

Needless to say, the whole thing is going to come crashing down long, long before we ever get to 2080.

We have been living far, far beyond our means for decades, and it has been the greatest party in the history of the world.

But it is time to turn out the lights because the party is over.


The veiled message of the above article seems to be that, since "we" -- as in "We the People" -- have been "living far, far beyond our means for decades," we actually deserve the IMF-style austerity measures ( that the criminal bankers who engineered this economic collapse in the first place are about to impose on us!

This is a Malthusian (,430.0.html) talking point that ruling-class oligarchs (,368.msg1064.html#msg1064) want desperately for the masses to blindly accept as divine gospel, lest the latter refuse to blame themselves for the economic crimes of the former, and lest they opt instead for putting these oligarchs behind bars where they belong.

It was not "we" who created the quadrillion-dollar derivatives bubble (; it was the bankers ( who did that.

It was not "we" who, through the use of bought-off politicians, instituted a debt-based money system in which "borrowing" is the only way any money is allowed to come into circulation in the first place, in which money is destroyed whenever the principal of a bank loan is repaid, and in which the money needed to pay the interest ( on all these loans is never created to begin with (thus creating a built-in shortage of money, and hence a dog-eat-dog, musical chairs economy); it was the bankers ( who did that.

And it was not "we" who knowingly failed to provide lawful consideration (,379.msg1155.html#msg1155) for any of the collateral-backed IOUs that were accepted by private banks in exchange for the non-existent "money" they loaned; it was the bankers ( who did that.

So once again the bottom line is: it's not that "we" have been "living" beyond our means, but that elite bankers have been parasitizing us beyond our means.

It is thus not "we" who should be made to experience a standard of living "far below" what we've grown accustomed to, but criminal bankers who should be made to experience a standard of living "far below" what they've grown accustomed to.

As I've explained both here and elsewhere, none of the so-called "money" that these bankers have "loaned" to us ever really existed in the first place. It is therefore the height of absurdity to insist that we should sacrifice our living standards in order to "pay back" all of this fraudulent debt, all so that elite bankers can continue to live in the lap of luxury.

Beware of anyone who attempts to convince you otherwise. And that includes Austrian School (,395.0.html) propagandists, who love to euphemistically characterize the banker-engineered collapse in living standards as a mere case of "market forces" imposing a just and necessary "correction" on the economy (even though in reality it's an obvious case of ruling-class parasites engaging in a patently unjust and totally unnecessary looting of the economy).

Title: Americans On Foodstamps Hits New Record In August
Post by: Geolibertarian on November 10, 2010, 12:33:19 pm (

Americans On Foodstamps Hits New Record In August, Increase By Over Half A Million To 42.4 Million, 17% Increase Year Over Year

Tyler Durden
Zero Hedge (
Friday, November 5, 2010

Another highlight you may not hear in the President’s address from this morning: according to the last Department of Agriculture update (, Americans on foodstamps has increased by over half a million in August, hitting a fresh all time high of 42.4 million people relying on the government for basis sustenance. At least now we know where that labor force is going. The August number is a 17% rise from the same time a year ago. That number is up 58.5% from August 2007, before the recession began.

As the WSJ reports (

    By population, Washington, D.C. had the largest share of residents receiving food stamps: More than a fifth, 21.1%, of its residents collected assistance in August. Washington was followed by Mississippi, where 20.1% of residents received food stamps, and Tennessee, where 20% tapped into the government nutrition program.

    Idaho posted the largest jump in recipients in the past year. The number of people receiving food stamps climbed 38.8% but their rolls are still fairly low. Just 211,883 Idaho residents collected food stamps in August.

    The average benefit size per person nationwide in August was $133.90. Per household it was $287.82.

    Food stamps have become a lifeline for workers who have lost their jobs, particularly among the growing share of unemployed Americans who have also exhausted their unemployment benefits. Lines at grocers at midnight on the first of the month have signaled that, in many cases, those benefits aren’t tiding families over and they run out before their next check kicks in.

    Even during the summer children returned to schools to take advantage of free lunch programs where they were available. Nearly 195 million lunches were dished out in August and 58.9% of them were free. Another 8.4% were available at reduced prices. That number will surge when the fall data are released because children will be back in school. Last September, for example, more than 590 million lunches were served, nearly 64% of which were free or reduced price.

    Children whose families have incomes at or below 130% of the poverty level — $28,665 for a family of four — can access free meals. Those families earning between 130% and 185% of the poverty level — $40,793 for a four-person family — are eligible for reduced-price meals that can’t cost more than 40 cents.

We also fail to see just what Fed-induced wealth effect these 42.4 million Americans will receive courtesy of the Fed’s generosity targetting Wall Street, corporate insiders, and nobody else.


To those reading this, when the newly-elected Republicans talk about imposing a "freeze (" on spending, which do you think they're more likely to exempt from this freeze -- the nearly trillion dollars being wasted each year on our imperialist (, terroristic (, hornets' nest-stirring ( foreign policy, or the comparative chump change ( being spent on food stamps?

Anyone who thinks they'll exempt the latter instead of the former is either blissfully ignorant or in willful denial.

Title: Big Lies, Little Lies
Post by: Geolibertarian on November 10, 2010, 12:34:52 pm (

Big Lies, Little Lies

Paul Craig Roberts
Nov 8, 2010

If we cannot trust what the government tells us about weapons of mass destruction, terrorist events, and the reasons for its wars and bailouts, can we trust the government’s statement ( last Friday that the US economy gained 151,000 payroll jobs ( during October?

Apparently not. After examining the government’s report, statistician John Williams ( ( reported that the jobs were “phantom jobs” created by “concurrent seasonal factor adjustments.” ( In other words, the 151,000 jobs cannot be found in the unadjusted underlying data. The jobs were the product of seasonal adjustments concocted by the BLS.

As usual, the financial press did no investigation and simply reported the number handed to the media by the government.
The relevant information, the information that you need to know, is that the level of payroll employment today is below the level of 10 years ago. A smaller number of Americans are employed right now than were employed a decade ago.

Think about what that means. We have had a decade of work force growth from youngsters reaching working age and from immigration, legal and illegal, but there are fewer jobs available to accommodate a decade of work force entrants than before the decade began.

During two years from December 2007 – December 2009, the US economy lost 8,363,000 jobs, according to the payroll jobs data. As of October 2010, payroll jobs purportedly have increased by 874,000, an insufficient amount to keep up with labor force growth. However, John Williams reports that 874,000 is an overestimate of jobs as a result of the faulty “birth-death model,” which overestimates new business start-ups during recessions and underestimates business failures. Williams says that the next benchmark revision due out next February will show a reduction in current employment by almost 600,000 jobs. This assumes, of course, that the BLS does not gimmick the benchmark revision. If Williams is correct, it is more evidence that the hyped recovery is non-existent.

Discounting the war production ( shutdown at the end of World War II, which was not a recession in the usual sense, Williams reports that “the current annual decline [in employment] remains the worst since the Great Depression, and should deepen further.

In short, there is no employment data, and none in the works, unless gimmicked, that supports the recovery myth. The US rate of unemployment, if measured according to the methodology used in 1980, is 22.5%. Even the government’s broader measure of unemployment stands at 17%. The 9.6% reported rate is a concocted measure that does not include discouraged workers who have been unable to find a job after 6 months and workers who want full time jobs but can only find part-time work.

Another fact that is seldom, if ever, reported, is that the payroll jobs data reports the number of jobs, not the number of people with jobs. Some people hold two jobs (; thus, the payroll report does not give the number of employed people.

The BLS household survey ( measures the number of people with jobs. The same October that reported 151,000 new payroll jobs reported, according to the household survey, a loss of 330,000 jobs.

The American working class has been destroyed. The American middle class is in its final stages of destruction. Soon the bottom rungs of the rich themselves will be destroyed.

The entire way through this process the government will lie and the media will lie.

The United States of America has become the country of the Big Lie. Those who facilitate government and corporate lies are well rewarded, but anyone who tells any truth or expresses an impermissible opinion is excoriated and driven away.

But we “have freedom and democracy.” We are the virtuous, indispensable nation, the salt of the earth, the light unto the world.

Title: Re: Americans On Foodstamps Hits New Record In August
Post by: Jonnie Goodboy on November 12, 2010, 05:10:30 am (

Anyone who thinks they'll exempt the latter instead of the former is either blissfully ignorant or in willful denial.

A BBC report last night on Radio featured an interview with an advisor to welfare under Clinton's presidency, he stated that some, I think it was 4 million, maybe 8 Million Americans currently, and at this time, have their sole source of income from Foodstamps. This Since welfare cuts under Clinton's regimen that sought to force people to take jobs or lose their state benefits.

The Man also had resigned because of disagreements over welfare cuts during his time under that president ...

When the same ex-Clinton administration man was asked about what UK PM Cameron and IDS (Iain Duncan Smith) just did, by suggesting benefit claimaints will lose all their rights to any benefits for 3-whopping years if they refuse to take a job THREE Times (Reminiscent of 3 hits and you're out American penal modality) he replied:

"When we did it during Clinton's Presidency, it worked with ~50% of people finding jobs, because that was in a time of economic boom, but to do the same during a recession is pure idiocy".


Title: Ruling on Behalf of Wall St.'s "Super Rich": The Financial End Time has Arrived
Post by: Geolibertarian on November 16, 2010, 01:35:40 pm (

Ruling on Behalf of Wall Street's "Super Rich": The Financial End Time has Arrived

by Prof. Michael Hudson


Global Research
November 16, 2010

Now that President Obama is almost celebrating his bipartisan willingness to renew the tax cuts for the super-rich enacted under George Bush ten years ago, it is time for Democrats to ask themselves how strongly they are willing to oppose an administration that looks like Bush-Cheney III. Is this what they expected by Mr. Obama’s promise to rise above partisan politics – by ruling on behalf of Wall Street, now that it is the major campaign backer of both parties?

It is a reflection of how one-sided today’s class war has become that Warren Buffet has quipped that “his” side is winning without a real fight being waged. No gauntlet has been thrown down over the trial balloon that the president and his advisor David Axelrod have sent up over the past two weeks to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% for “just” two more years. For all practical purposes the euphemism “two years” means forever – at least, long enough to let the super-rich siphon off enough more money to bankroll enough more Republicans to be elected to make the tax cuts permanent.

Mr. Obama seems to be campaigning for his own defeat! Thanks largely to the $13 trillion Wall Street bailout – while keeping the debt overhead in place for America’s “bottom 98%” – this happy 2% of the population now receives an estimated three quarters (~75%) of the returns to wealth (interest, dividends, rent and capital gains). This is nearly double what it received a generation ago. The rest of the population is being squeezed, and foreclosures are rising.

Charles Baudelaire quipped that the devil wins at the point where he manages to convince the world that he doesn’t exist. Today’s financial elites will win the class war at the point where voters believe it doesn’t exist – and believe that Mr. Obama is trying to help them rather than shepherd them into debt peonage as the economy settles into debt deflation.

We are dealing with shameless demagogy. The financial End Time has arrived, but Mr. Obama’s happy-talk pretends that “two years” will get us through the current debt-induced depression. The Republican plan is to make more Congressional and Senate gains in 2012 as Mr. Obama’s former supporters “vote with their backsides” and stay home, as they did earlier this month. So “two years” means forever in politician-talk. Why vote for a politician who promises “change” but is merely an exclamation mark for the Bush-Cheney policies from Afghanistan and Iraq to Wall Street’s Democratic Leadership Council on the party’s right wing? One of its leaders, after all, was Mr. Obama’s Senate mentor, Joe Lieberman.

The second pretense is that cutting taxes for the super-rich is necessary to win Republican support for including the middle class in the tax cuts. It is as if the Democrats never won a plurality in Congress. (One remembers George W. Bush with his mere 50+%, pushing forward his extremist policies on the logic that: “I’ve got capital, and I’m using it.” What he had, of course, was Democratic Leadership Committee support.) The pretense is “to create jobs,” evidently to be headed by employment of shipyard workers to build yachts for the nouveau riches and sheriff’s deputies to foreclose on the ten million Americans whose mortgage payments have fallen into arrears. It sounds Keynesian, but is more reminiscent of Thomas Robert Malthus’s lugubrious claim (speaking for Britain’s landed aristocracy) that landlords would keep the economy going by using their rental income (to be protected by high agricultural tariffs) to hire footmen and butlers, tailors and carriage-makers.

It gets worse. Mr. Obama’s “Bush” tax cut is only Part I of a one-two punch to shift taxes onto wage earners. Congressional economists estimate that extending the tax cuts to the top 2% will cost $700 to $750 billion over the next decade or so. “How are we going to go out and borrow $700 billion?” Mr. Obama asked Steve Croft on his Sixty Minutes interview on CBS last week.

It was a rhetorical question. The President has appointed a bipartisan commission (right-wingers on both sides of the aisle) to “cure” the federal budget deficit by cutting back social spending – to pay yet more bailouts to the economy’s financial wreckers. The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform might better be called the New Class War Commission to Scale Back Social Security and Medicare Payments to Labor in Order to Leave more Tax Revenue Available to Give Away to the Super-Rich. A longer title than the Deficit-Reduction Commission used by media friendlies, but sometimes it takes more words to get to the heart of matters.

The political axiom at work is “Big fish eat little fish.” There’s not enough tax money to continue swelling the fortunes of the super-rich pretending to save enough to pay the pensions and related social support that North American and European employees have been promised. Something must give – and the rich have shown themselves sufficiently foresighted to seize the initiative. For a preview of what’s in line for the United States, watch neoliberal Europe’s fight against the middle and working class in Greece, Ireland and Latvia; or better yet, Pinochet’s Chile, whose privatized Social Security accounts were quickly wiped out in the late 1970s by the kleptocracy advised by the Chicago Boys, to whose monetarist double-think Mr. Obama’s appointee Ben Bernanke has just re-pledged his loyalty.

What is needed to put Mr. Obama’s sell-out in perspective is the pro-Wall Street advisors he has chosen – not only Larry Summers, Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke (who last week reaffirmed his loyalty to Milton Friedman’s Chicago School monetarism), but by stacking his Deficit Reduction Commission with outspoken advocates of cutting back Social Security, Medicare and other social spending. Their ploy is to frighten the public with a nightmare of $1 trillion deficit to pay retirement income over the next half century – as if the Treasury and Fed have not just given Wall Street $13 trillion in bailouts without blinking an eye. President Obama’s $750 billion tax giveaway to the wealthiest 2% is mere icing on the cake that the rich will be eating when the bread lines get too long.

[Continued... (]

Title: Hunger in America
Post by: Geolibertarian on November 17, 2010, 01:40:32 pm (

Hunger in America

by Patrick Martin


Global Research
November 17, 2010

Some 15 percent of US households, 17.4 million families or about 50 million people, were too poor to buy adequate food last year, according to a new report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). More than a third of these households, with as many as one million children, were missing meals on a regular basis, the study found.

The number of families classified as “food insecure” according to the USDA, which administers the food stamp program, has more than tripled since 2006, before the current economic slump which has brought near double-digit unemployment. Because most people are reluctant to admit they have a problem putting food on the table, particularly when they have children, “food insecurity” was calculated from survey questions about skipping meals or running out of food stamps, combined with comparisons of income and food prices.

Virtually the sole cause of food insecurity in America—the largest producer of agricultural and food products on the planet—is lack of money. The poverty rate has risen sharply over the past three years, with an estimated 50 million people living below the official poverty line, which grossly underestimates the income needed for basic necessities.

Highlighting the significant inequalities in food resource availability across US households, the USDA report noted that the typical food-secure household spent a whopping 33 percent more on food than the typical food-insecure household of the same size and household composition.

In keeping with the Obama administration’s policy of minimizing the depth of the social crisis, the USDA official who released the report, Under Secretary Kevin Concannon, said the latest hunger survey showed a “stabilization” of the problem compared to the year before. In other words, just as many people were hungry in 2009 as in 2008, as though that represented “progress” rather than making permanent a level of social misery not seen in America for 40 years.

Concannon said the report was a hopeful one, since the number of hungry people did not increase even though the number of unemployed Americans rose sharply from 9 million in 2008 to 14 million in 2009. He credited food stamps and other federal programs for staving off any further increase in hunger. “This report highlights just how critical federal nutrition assistance programs are for American families,” he said.

The number of Americans receiving food stamps under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) rose to 42.4 million. Another one million children received free or subsidized school lunches daily, while some 400,000 pregnant women and nursing mothers received milk, butter, eggs and other food under the WIC program. All told, one quarter of US households have at least one person receiving food stamps or other food aid. However, 43 percent of food-insecure households were not participating in any of these three programs.

Despite the complacency voiced by the Obama administration official, there is ample reason to believe that the present nutrition programs, already inadequate to meet the social need, will be further slashed by Congress. The Child Nutrition Act must be reauthorized this year, and the Senate version of the bill cuts more than $2 billion from food stamps in order to pay for the increasing cost of school lunches—essentially robbing children at home in order to feed them in school. Earlier this year, an extension of unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless was funded in part by cuts in the food stamp program.

In a society which took seriously the value of human life and the future of its children, the spectacle of 50 million people at risk of hunger, including 17 million children, would be a social emergency. Given that the United States once boasted of its ability to feed the planet, the indifference to the growth of hunger at home is a national scandal.

But in the America of 2010, the news about hunger was relegated to small items on the inside pages of newspapers (A21 in the Washington Post, nothing in the New York Times), and failed to make a splash on the evening news broadcasts, more concerned with the engagement of Britain’s Prince William.

The hunger report provides another dimension for measuring the social irresponsibility, greed and outright cruelty of the US financial aristocracy, which is far more concerned with fattening its own outrageous bank accounts and assets than with alleviating mass suffering in the richest country in the world.

The US Congress began its “lame duck” session Monday, to be followed by a bipartisan summit Thursday between President Obama and congressional Democratic and Republican leaders. The food crisis will not be on the agenda in these discussions. The only hunger being discussed is the truly insatiable craving of the rich for even more wealth.

The Obama administration and the Republicans are currently negotiating the terms for the Democratic Party’s surrender to right-wing demands for an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. This will cost $700 billion over the next decade, or $70 billion a year, more than the cost of all federal nutrition programs combined.

Meanwhile, Obama has praised the proposal from the chairmen of his deficit reduction commission to impose drastic cuts in social programs for the elderly and the poor along with lower taxes for the rich and for corporations and higher taxes for the working class. The mantra of the White House, the political establishment and the media is that the American people have been living beyond their means and must accept a reduction in their consumption.

[Continued... (]

Title: Cutting the Deficit: Sacrificing Workers to Save the Rich
Post by: Geolibertarian on November 29, 2010, 09:45:57 am (

Cutting the Deficit: Sacrificing Workers to Save the Rich

by Prof James Petras


Global Research
November 28, 2010

“There’s class warfare, all right, but its my class, the rich class that’s making war and we’re winning” -- Warren Buffet

The most important and popular social and tax programs in the United States are threatened by a self-styled “Bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform”. Appointed by President Obama on February 18, 2010, co-chaired by two longstanding champions of Wall Street: ex Senator Simpson (R, WY) and former Clintonite White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles. The Commission Report issued November 10 proposes to slash social security payments, reducing recipients to poverty, raise the retirement age to 69 ensuring that millions of workers will die before they can retire, or enter retirement in ill health; reduce or freeze cost of living increases through inflation indexes which understate by half the rises in food, gas, hospital and education. The Commission proposes deep cuts in Medicare, increased Medicaid co-pays and slashing $54 billion from graduate medical education. The Commission proposes to eliminate tax breaks including deductions for home mortgage interest payments while taxing employer provided medical insurance.

The same Commission Report proposes to reduce capital gains ( and income taxes for the rich by up to 24%.

President Obama and the Republican leadership praised the Commission and wants “to give them space to work on it”.
The so-called crisis of Social Security is a result of the Republican and Democratic governments siphoning off payments into the general fund. The forthcoming shortfall (2030) can be easily remedied by lifting the payroll tax ceiling, for the rich, taxing all earned income.

Medical costs can be reduced by 50% by replacing the for profit corporate health insurance and pharmaceutical corporations with a non-profit national health system (,399.msg1237.html#msg1237), similar to successful programs in Europe and Canada.

Both Medical plans and Social Security can be easily funded by imposing a 1% sales tax on the sale of stocks and bonds (

The deficit proposals put forth by Obama’s Bipartisan Commission threaten to push the one-third of retirees who depend mainly on their social security payments into the food kitchens or destitution. The added cost and reductions in health care will increase the mortality rate among working families. The increase in retirement age will result in “work until you die”, with no time for leisure, travel or grandchildren.

[Continued... (]

Title: 20 Statistics That Prove That Global Wealth Is Being LOOTED By The "Elite"
Post by: Geolibertarian on January 25, 2011, 01:17:55 pm (

20 Statistics That Prove That Global Wealth Is Being Funneled Into The Hands Of The Elite – Leaving Most Of The Rest Of The World Wretchedly Poor

The Economic Collapse (
Nov 30, 2010

Today global wealth is more highly concentrated in the hands of the elite than it ever has been at any other point in modern history.  Once upon a time, the vast majority of the people in the world knew how to grow their own food, raise their own animals and take care of themselves.  There weren’t many that were fabulously wealthy, but there was a quiet dignity in having land you could call your own or in having a skill that you could turn into a business.  Sadly, over the past several decades an increasingly growing percentage of agricultural land has been gobbled up by big corporations and by corrupt governments.  Hundreds of millions of people have been pushed off their land and into highly concentrated urban areas.  Meanwhile, it has become increasingly difficult to start a business of your own as monolithic global corporations have come to dominate nearly every sector of the world economy.  So more people than ever around the world are forced to work for “the system” just to make a living.  At the same time, those at the very top of the food chain (the elite) have spent decades rigging the system to ensure that increasing amounts of wealth will continue to flow into their pockets.  So now in 2010 we have a global system where a few elitists at the top are insanely wealthy while about half the people living on earth are wretchedly poor.

There are very few nations around the world that have not been almost entirely plundered by the global elite.  When the elite speak of “investing” in poor countries, what they really mean is taking control of the land, water, oil and other natural resources.  In dozens of nations around the world today, big global corporations are stripping fabulous amounts of wealth out of the ground even as the vast majority of the citizens of those nations continue to live in abject poverty.  Meanwhile, the top politicians in those nations are given huge bribes to go along with the plundering.

So what we have in 2010 is a world that is dominated by a very small handful of ultra-wealthy elitists that own an almost unbelievable amount of real assets, a larger group of “middle managers” that run the system for the global elite (and are rewarded very handsomely for doing so), hundreds of millions of people who actually do the work required by the system, and several billion “useless eaters” that the global elite don’t really need and that they don’t really have much use for.

The system was not ever designed to lift up the poor.  Nor was it ever designed to promote “free enterprise” and “competition”.  Rather, the elite intend to funnel all wealth to themselves and to have the rest of us enslaved either to debt or to poverty.

The following are 20 statistics that prove that the wealth of the world is increasingly being funneled into the hands of the global elite, leaving most of the rest of the world wretchedly poor and miserable….

#1 According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development, the number of “least developed countries” has doubled over the past 40 years.

#2 “Least developed countries” spent 9 billion dollars on food imports in 2002.  By 2008, that number had risen to 23 billion dollars.

#3 Average income per person in the poorest countries on the continent of Africa has fallen by one-fourth over the past twenty years.

#4 Bill Gates has a net worth of somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 billion dollars.  That means that there are approximately 140 different nations that have a yearly GDP which is smaller than the amount of money Bill Gates has.

#5 A study by the World Institute for Development Economics Research discovered that the bottom half of the world population owns approximately 1 percent of all global wealth.

#6 Approximately 1 billion people throughout the world go to bed hungry each night.

#7 The wealthiest 2 percent own more than half of all global household assets.

#8 It is estimated that over 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where the income gap between the rich and the poor is widening.

#9 Every 3.6 seconds someone starves to death and three-quarters of them are children under the age of 5.

#10 According to Gallup, 33 percent of the people on the globe say that they do not have enough money for food.

#11 As you read this, there are 2.6 billion people around the world that lack basic sanitation.

#12 According to the most recent “Global Wealth Report” by Credit Suisse, the wealthiest 0.5% control over 35% of the wealth of the world.

#13 More than 3 billion people, close to half the world’s population, live on less than 2 dollar a day.

#14 CNN founder Ted Turner is the largest private landowner in the United States.  Today, Turner owns approximately two million acres.  That is an amount greater than the land masses of the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined.  Turner also advocates restricting U.S. couples to 2 or fewer children to control population growth.

#15 There are 400 million children in the world today that have no access to safe water.

#16 Approximately 28 percent of all children in developing countries are considered to be underweight or have had their growth stunted as a result of malnutrition.

#17 It is estimated that the United States owns approximately 25 percent of the total wealth of the world.

#18 It is estimated that the entire continent of Africa owns approximately 1 percent of the total wealth of the world.

#19 In 2008, approximately 9 million children died before they reached their fifth birthdays.  Approximately a third of all of these deaths was due either directly or indirectly to lack of food.

#20 The most famous banking family in the world, the Rothschilds, has accumulated mountains of wealth while much of the rest of the world has been trapped in poverty.  The following is what Wikipedia has to say about Rothschild family wealth….

    ”It has been argued that during the 19th century, the family possessed by far the largest private fortune in the world, and by far the largest fortune in modern history.”

Nobody seems to know exactly how much the Rothschilds are worth today.  They dominate the banking establishments of England, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and many other nations.  It was estimated that they were worth billions back in the mid-1800s.  What the total wealth of the family is today is surely an amount that is almost unimaginable, but nobody knows for sure.

Meanwhile, billions of people around the globe are wondering where their next meal is going to come from.

At this point, many readers will want to start arguing about how horrible capitalism is and about how wonderful socialism and communism are.

But capitalism is not the problem and as we have seen countless times over the past several decades, government ownership of business is not the solution to anything.

What we have in the world today is not capitalism.  Rather, it more closely resembles “feudalism” than anything else.  The elite are “monopoly men” who use their unbelievable wealth and power to dominate the rest of us.  In fact, it was John D. Rockefeller who once said that “competition is sin.”

It would be great if we lived in a world where those living in poverty were encouraged to start owning land, to create businesses and to build better lives for themselves.

But instead, things are going the other way.  Wealth is becoming more concentrated in the hands of the elite, and the middle class is starting to be wiped out even in prosperous nations such as the United States.

It turns out that the global elite have decided that they don’t really need so many expensive American “worker bees” after all and they have been moving thousands of factories and millions of jobs overseas.  Meanwhile the American people are so distracted watching Dancing with the Stars, Lady Gaga and their favorite sports teams that they don’t even realize what is going on.

[Continued... (]

Title: Re: 20 Statistics That Prove That Global Wealth Is Being LOOTED By The "Elite"
Post by: Geolibertarian on January 25, 2011, 01:20:17 pm (

It would be great if we lived in a world where those living in poverty were encouraged to start owning land, to create businesses and to build better lives for themselves.

The author of the above article seems to think that the primary reason why those living in poverty don’t “own” land already is not that they were forcibly dispossessed of all land by the overextension of law-made property (, but the mere fact that no one ever “encouraged” them to purchase any.

That, of course, is no less ridiculous -- and no less arrogant -- than suggesting that the primary reason why so many Third World peasants fall prey to starvation is that no one ever “encouraged” them to purchase food when they’re hungry.  ::)

Thus, as far as I'm concerned, this is merely another subtle, condescending way of blaming the victims of ruling-class parasitism instead of the parasites themselves.

The fact is, it is precisely this institutionalized, aristocratic ( notion that a mere subset of the population can rightfully assert exclusive, unconditional “ownership” of the land on which all must live yet which none produced (, that ultimately made so many people “poor” in the first place.

As Henry George put it:


"Place one hundred men on an island from which there is no escape, and whether you make one of these men the absolute owner of the other ninety-nine, or the absolute owner of the soil of the island, will make no difference either to him or to them.

"In the one case, as the other, the one will be the absolute master of the ninety-nine--his power extending even to life and death, for simply to refuse them permission to live upon the island would be to force them into the sea.

"Upon a larger scale, and through more complex relations, the same cause must operate in the same way and to the same end--the ultimate result, the enslavement of laborers, becoming apparent just as the pressure increases which compels them to live on and from land which is treated as the exclusive property of others. Take a country in which the soil is divided among a number of proprietors, instead of being in the hands of one, and in which, as in modern production, the capitalist has been specialized from the laborer, and manufacturers and exchange, in all their many branches, have been separated from agriculture. Though less direct and obvious, the relations between the owners of the soil and the laborers will, with the increase of population and the improvement of the arts, tend to the same absolute master on the one hand and the same abject helplessness on the other, as in the case of the island we have supposed. Rent will advance, while wages will fall."

-- Progress and Poverty (, pp. 347-8


And as Albert Jay Nock put it:


"This imperfect policy of non-intervention, or laissez-faire, led straight to a most hideous and dreadful economic exploitation; starvation wages, slum dwelling, killing hours, pauperism, coffin-ships, child-labour -- nothing like it had ever been seen in modern times....People began to say, perhaps naturally, if this is what State absentation comes to, let us have some State intervention.

"But the State had intervened; that was the whole trouble. The State had established one monopoly, -- the landlord's monopoly of economic rent (, -- thereby shutting off great hordes of people from free access to the only source of human subsistence, and driving them into the factories to work for whatever Mr. Gradgrind and Mr. Bottles chose to give them. The land of England, while by no means nearly all actually occupied, was all legally occupied; and this State-created monopoly enabled landlords to satisfy their needs and desires with little exertion or none, but it also removed the land from competition with industry in the labour market, thus creating a huge, constant and exigent labour-surplus." [Emphasis original]

-- Free Speech and Plain Language, pp. 320-1


Yet rather than acknowledge this cause-and-effect relationship, apologists for so-called “capitalism” (read: landlordism ( prefer to turn reality on its head by suggesting or implying that world poverty persists in large part because the economic rent of land ( isn’t more privatized than it already is.

Bottom line: most of those living in acute poverty couldn’t become “owners” of land even if they wanted to, because the very fact that they’re poor means they lack the money with which to buy land. And why do they lack such money? For the most part, because of the parasitic rack-renting ( that those who already “own” all the land are allowed to engage in at the crippling expense of the landless.

The solution?

According to Austrian School “capitalists,” the only solution is to further entrench the very privilege ( land tenure system ( that gave rise to poverty-creating rack-renting in the first place.

According to Marxist “socialists,” the solution is first to agree with Austrian School “capitalists” that there’s no fundamental difference between the private ownership of capital goods (“capital (” for short) and the private ownership of land, then to err in the opposite direction by insisting that both land and capital alike should be treated as “collective (” property, and accordingly subjected to both heavy taxation and strict regulation.

At odds with both sides of this controlled-opposition debate are Georgists (, who hold that the respective values of labor and capital should be treated as private property -- and accordingly exempted from taxation -- and that the value of land should be treated as common property ( -- and accordingly subjected to Henry George’s Single Tax (

Yet both “capitalists” and “socialists” alike -- despite being supposed “opposites” -- seem equally determined to keep the masses blissfully ignorant of the Georgist “Middle Way (” approach to economic reform.

Hence the point I keep making that Democrat-vs.-Republican is not the only false paradigm ( within which countless people have allowed their minds and intellects to be literally enslaved via elite-funded propaganda campaigns.

Title: Rising Inequality in America
Post by: Geolibertarian on January 25, 2011, 01:21:47 pm (

Rising Inequality in America: Go, Wall Street, Go! Never mind the rise in unemployment and foreclosures...

by Danny Schechter


Global Research
December 9, 2010

Go, Wall Street, Go!

Never mind the rise in unemployment and foreclosures. Never mind the folks waiting to know if they will get the benefits they need before they are cut off. Never mind the growing gap between rich and poor, and the continuing spread of poverty.

(Did you know that inequality in the US is at the highest level of any industrialized country?)

Does any of this matter?

The idea of equality as a social goal is apparently passé.

Christmas has a special meaning on Wall Street:

It’s bonus time. This brings to mind Peter Wolf singing with the J Geils Band, “First I look at the Purse.”

The context was different but the meaning is the same.

Just five too big to fail bankster companies have stashed $90 billion for payouts to prized employees. They know that the beat on The Street is fading, so it seems to be take the money and run time.

Incidentally, that “bonus pool” will rise with end of the year earnings.

Right now, the greedsters have a PR problem—how to transfer all this wealth from the banks to themselves with the lowest possible tax rate and the lowest degree of bad publicity.

They also will try to focus the media on supporting their right to such over the top rewards and “incentives” in the name, of course, of fostering an economic recovery.

Yes, it is a cynical exercise but no more blatant that the successful campaign to extend the Bush tax cuts for millionaires.

The mantra is simple: to those who have, more should be given.

So sayeth the faux populists of the Tea Party and their Republican benefactors. So sayeth the Democrats in the interest of compromise and getting some unemployment benefits to workers even at an unacceptable cost.

Who will remind the American people that many of these banks are only here to pay because the government—our government—bailed them out and, then, the Federal Reserve Bank pumped trillions in no interest loans into their coffers?

Can we count on the media to point this out, to make the connection clear about the many government subsidies behind the gigantic payouts that are on the way to companies lobbying against government programs?

Don’t count on it.

Last Sunday. 60 Minutes sat down with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. They asked him about the bonuses. The Fed head had nothing to say about that. He just wanted to praise his own efforts to save the financial system.

If you watched his body language you could see that his stab at optimism was forced. He admitted it will be at least 5 years—if that—before more jobs come back.

He seemed depressed perhaps because he didn’t want to tell us we are in a depression. His past track record as a forecaster has been flawed to a fault. That was not noted.

As is common these days on the networks, no criticisms or contrary concerns intergrated into this world-shaking interview. There was no comment from Bernie Sanders who challenged the Fed’s admission of a “jaw-dropping” injection of trillions into banks here and abroad. There wasn’t even a response from libertarians like Ron Paul who was also horrified.

So much for reporting.

David Degraw of Amped Status says, the recent Fed disclosures were shocking.

“Just when I thought the banksters couldn’t possibly shock me anymore… they did. We were finally granted the honor and privilege of finding out the specifics, a limited one-time Federal Reserve view, of a secret taxpayer funded “backdoor bailout” by a small group of unelected bankers. This data release reveals “emergency lending programs” that doled out $12.3 TRILLION in taxpayer money - $3.3 trillion in liquidity, $9 trillion in “other financial arrangements. Wait, what? Did you say $12.3 TRILLION tax dollars were thrown around in secrecy by unelected bankers… and Congress didn’t know any of the details?”

Of course not!

The myth that the media continues to truck in is that somehow the Congress and the President are in charge of the economy,

They aren’t.

Wall Street and the corporate world are clearly running the show, with little restraint so far, effective oversight or regulation.

Back to Degraw: “The Federal Reserve was secretly throwing around our money in unprecedented fashion, and it wasn’t just to the usual suspects like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citigroup, Bank of America, etc.; it was to the entire Global Banking Cartel. To central banks throughout the world: Australia, Denmark, Japan, Mexico, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, England… To the Fed’s foreign primary dealers like Credit Suisse (Switzerland), Deutsche Bank (Germany), Royal Bank of Scotland (U.K.), Barclays (U.K.), BNP Paribas (France)… All their Ponzi players were “gifted.” All the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations got their cut.

“If you still had any question as to whether or not the United States is now the world’s preeminent banana republic, the final verdict was just delivered and the decision was unanimous. The ayes have it…. I’ve been arguing for years that the market is rigged and that the major Wall Street firms are elaborate Ponzi schemes, as have many other people who built their beliefs on rational thought, reasoned logic and evidence. We already came to this conclusion by doing the research and connecting the dots.”

Where does this leave us? Is there any hope?

The critics of the Fed see little:

There are some related developments underway that could shake things up.

The Bernie Madoff ponzi probers are targeting banks including HSBC that went along with his $65 billion dollar fraud. A Swiss bank has already admitted it was complicit. The FDIC is investigating officials from banks that failed. Bank Of America just coughed up millions for financingan illicit bond scheme.

At the same time, the “Justice Department” (sic) has mounted an investigation into insider trading. They say there are 343 criminal investigations underway but none against big players. (The NY Times says they are “chasing small timers.)

ProRublica wites: “Everyone is wondering: Where are the investigations related to the financial crisis? John Hueston, a former lead Enron prosecutor, wonders: “Have they committed the resources in the right place? … Nobody from Lehman, Merrill Lynch or Citigroup has been charged criminally with anything.”

At the same time, Wikileaks is promising new revelations about financial chicanery at a major US bank that many suspect is Bank of America. On the housing front, many class action suits and investigations by state officials are challenging major fraudclosures.

The crimes of Wall Street may yet do the bonus babies in.

There is still a slim chance that, as the economy gets worse, the people of this country will finally get to see through the haze and the BS and act (

Neither the Democrats nor the Repugnicans seem to have any fresh ideas.

It’s up to us to break through our own illusions to fight the plunder of our country and world. We need to call for a jailout, not a bailout, of financial criminals –a full investigation followed by the prosecution of wrong doers. We need a campaign for economic justice.

If you are as disgusted by all this, as I am, it’s time to act ( Will we? Will you?

[Continued... (]

Title: The number of job-seekers continues to far outnumber available job openings
Post by: Geolibertarian on January 25, 2011, 01:22:52 pm (

Desperation Sets In: More Than 100,000 People Apply For Low Paying Flight Attendant Positions With Delta Air Lines

The American Dream (
Dec 16, 2010

All across America, job seekers are becoming increasingly desperate. Today, unemployed Americans often find themselves competing against hundreds or even thousands of other job applicants for the same position. An absolutely stunning example of this happened recently when more than 100,000 people ( applied for just 1,000 open flight attendant positions with Delta Air Lines. The starting salary for these positions is only “in the upper $20,000s”, and serving peanuts and sodas to cranky passengers can get really old really fast. But this just shows how desperate people are becoming. For many unemployed Americans, any job is a good job at this point. Right now there are approximately 5 unemployed Americans for every single job opening, and 6 million Americans ( have been out of work for 6 months or longer. When you get that many unemployed people fighting over so few positions the desperation in the air becomes almost palpable.

For most Americans, all they have to offer in the marketplace is their labor. But today there is a tremendous shortage of jobs. Even job openings that were once considered to be “undesirable” are now being flooded with applicants.

The following are some more examples of the desperation that is starting to set in around the nation….

*More than a thousand desperate job seekers recently lined up to apply for temporary positions paying between $8.25 to $9.75 per hour picking, packing and shipping orders for

*One 54-year-old woman in California recently went to apply for one of four county clerk positions and discovered that she was competing against over 2000 other applicants ( for those four spots.

*Recently more than 500 desperate applicants ( submitted applications for just 120 positions at a new IHOP restaurant in the Washington, D.C. area. The new positions pay just $3.32 an hour plus tips.

*Several months ago, thousands upon thousands of people lined up at the crack of dawn for a chance to get an application for one of the 400 openings at Ford’s plant in Chicago’s Hegewisch neighborhood.

The positions only pay 15 dollars an hour plus benefits, but that was enough to draw massive crowds of job applicants. In fact, the crowds were so immense that many applicants were turned away without receiving an application even after waiting for many hours.

For example, 32-year-old Larry Smizer was sent home at 11 AM without an application ( even though he had been waiting in line since 7 AM. It turns out that there were so many thousands of people that had gotten there before him that there were no applications remaining when his turn finally came….

“I’ve been out of work since April, but there were a lot of people in line with me who were out longer than that.”

The truth is that the vast majority of Americans want to work. There are millions of hard working men and women across the United States sitting home tonight desperately hoping that someone will give them a chance.

But unfortunately, our economy is actually bleeding good jobs. Since the year 2000, we have lost 10% ( of our middle class jobs. In the year 2000 there were approximately 72 million middle class jobs in the United States but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs.

So what is going to happen if the U.S. keeps losing large numbers of good jobs?

Many hard working Americans are now completely broke and have been pushed to the edge of desperation because of the lack of jobs. Just consider the following testimony from (….

[Continued... (]

Title: Re: The number of job-seekers continues to far outnumber available job openings
Post by: Geolibertarian on January 25, 2011, 01:28:55 pm (

Right now there are approximately 5 unemployed Americans for every single job opening, and 6 million Americans ( have been out of work for 6 months or longer. When you get that many unemployed people fighting over so few positions the desperation in the air becomes almost palpable.

One of the key reasons why ruling-class parasites are having such a ridiculously easy time economically ass-raping the masses is that We the People have yet to unite politically (,368.0.html) against them.

And one of the key reasons a critical mass of us have yet to unite is that far too many of our fellow citizens are too busy looking down their snooty little noses at whoever happens to be further down the economic ladder than they are at the moment.

For instance, how many times have you heard some blame-the-victim-firster wax self-righteous about what "lazy deadbeats" welfare (,374.0.html) recipients are -- as if to say that, contrary to reality, there are not far fewer job openings than there are people in need of employment?

Until enough of us stop looking for excuses to blame the victims of economic terrorism (,368.msg1066.html#msg1066) instead of the terrorists themselves, it will be business as usual for the parasitic (,430.0.html) ruling elite, and will consequently be just a matter of time before practically all of us are in a bitter, demoralizing struggle for mere survival, not just the bottom 40% (


“That’s the way the ruling class operates in any society: they try to divide the rest of the people. They keep the lower and the middle classes fighting with each other, so that they, the rich, can run off with all the f**king money.

"Fairly simple thing; happens to work.

"You know, anything different, that’s what they’re gonna talk about: race, religion, ethic and national backgrounds, jobs, income, education, social status, sexuality -- anything they can do [to] keep us fighting with each other, so that they can keep going to the bank." (


Title: Everything Is Falling Apart: America’s Decaying Infrastructure
Post by: Geolibertarian on January 25, 2011, 01:32:26 pm (

Everything Is Falling Apart: America’s Decaying Infrastructure

The Economic Collapse (
Jan 5, 2011

If you haven’t noticed lately, America is literally falling apart all around us. Decaying infrastructure is everywhere. Our roads and bridges are crumbling and are full of holes. Our rail system is ancient. Our airports and runways have definitely seen their better days. Aging sewer systems all over the country are leaking raw sewage all over the place. The power grid is straining to keep up with the ever-increasing thirst of the American people for electricity. Dams are failing at an unprecedented rate. Virtually all of our ports are handling far more traffic than they were ever intended to handle. Meanwhile, our national spending on infrastructure is way down. Back during the 1950s and 1960s we were spending between 3 and 4 percent of our national GDP on infrastructure, but today we are spending less than 2.5 percent of our national GDP on it. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, we need to spend approximately $2.2 trillion ( on infrastructure repairs and upgrades just to bring our existing infrastructure up to “good condition”.

Does anyone have an extra $2.2 trillion to spare?

If you get the feeling that America is decaying as you drive around this great country of ours, it is not just your imagination. It is literally happening.

You should not read the list of facts below if you want to keep feeling good about the condition of America’s infrastructure. There really is no way to sugar-coat what is happening. Previous generations handed us the greatest national infrastructure that anyone in the world has ever seen and we have neglected it and have allowed it to badly deteriorate.

This first set of facts about America’s decaying infrastructure was compiled from a fact sheet entitled “The Case For U.S. Infrastructure Investment (” [.pdf] by an organization called Building America’s Future….

[Continued... (]

Title: Re: Everything Is Falling Apart: America’s Decaying Infrastructure
Post by: Geolibertarian on January 25, 2011, 01:36:48 pm (

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, we need to spend approximately $2.2 trillion ( on infrastructure repairs and upgrades just to bring our existing infrastructure up to “good condition”.

If we had taken the advice of monetary reformer, Byron Dale (, we could have hit two birds with one stone a long time ago:

------------------------------- (

If the American Transportation Act were passed you would no longer pay tax on gasoline, diesel or other fuels. You would pay no tax on oil products, no tollway fees, no axle taxes, license fees, or other taxes normally collected to pay for roads and bridges.


Taxes to build and maintain roads and bridges would no longer be collected. No more bonding would be necessary for road & bridge construction and maintenance....All new money would now be created and exchanged into circulation as a Wealth (debt-free) payment for the labor and raw resources used in combination to build and maintain our roads and bridges. These are a Wealth produced that benefit ALL citizens equally. This was the principle behind the 'monetizing' of gold and silver bullion Free as a Wealth to the people who produced it and a debt-free medium of exchange to ALL. The government would hold the roads and bridges in "trust" for the people who would thereafter use them free-of-charge with no taxation or fees of any kind. The new money would represent the Wealth of our Nation (peoples' labor and raw sources) just like gold certificates once represented the Wealth metal money produced by the people and deposited with the Treasury. The certificate represented the production and was as good as the Wealth (gold or silver) it represented.

An immediate multiple benefit would result in the forms of: Tax relief, increased consumer spendable income, a stimulated demand for production and employment, lower freight charges, lower retail prices. Freight charges would be lower to retailers, retail prices would be lower to consumers. Prices would start coming down at the same time more money was becoming available for purchasing. The debt would start coming out of the system as we slowly stopped the creation of all money as interest-bearing debts and simultaneously put all new money into circulation as debt-free Wealth based upon work completed that benefitted everyone equally.

Taxes on loans normally used to build roads and bridges would be replaced with brand new money created and available only for payment in exchange for road and bridge work completed to bid specifications.

This new Debt-Free money created as payment for roads and bridges necessary to move our production and our people would provide the medium of exchange necessary to pay our otherwise "unpayable (" bank-credit debts and pay the debt out of the system.

[Continued... (]


Unfortunately, when it comes to public policy reform, most people are still in the fatal habit of sheepishly letting one or the other of the two banker-owned ( major parties dictate to them what their options are.

Isn't that right, "lesser evil voters (,331.msg962.html#msg962)"?  (

Title: The Class War Launched by America's Wealthiest
Post by: Geolibertarian on February 12, 2011, 10:11:43 am (

The Class War Launched by America's Wealthiest

by Larry Beinhart
Global Research, January 14, 2011
AlterNet ( 

We’re in a class war.

It’s the corporations and the very wealthiest against all the rest of us. We’re losing.

In 1962 the wealthiest 1 percent of American households had 125 times the wealth of the median household. Now it’s 190 times as much. Is that a case of a rising tide lifting all boats, just a few of them a little bit higher? No.

From 1950 to 1965, median family income rose from $24,000 a year to $38,000 a year. That’s close to 4 percent a year, close to 60 percent over 15 years. That’s a rising tide.

In 1964 there was a big tax cut. That’s when things started to slow down for average people. By the mid-'70s the rise of the middle class stalled. From 1975 to 2010 median family income rose $42,936 to $49,777. That’s not quite 16 percent over 25 years, less than six-tenths of 1 percent per year.

Briefly, when taxes went up under Clinton, median income rose, peaked at $52,587 in 1999, and then, after Bush cut taxes, declined. Keep in mind that this is median family income. In the '50s and '60s, family income was usually earned by a single person. Today, family income normally comes from at least two people.

At the same time, income for the richest soared. In 1979 the richest 1 percent of Americans earned 9 percent of all U.S. income. Now they earn 24 percent of all U.S. income. One percent of Americans earn nearly one-fourth of all the income in the country.

Then came the crashes of 2001 and 2008 and the recessions that followed.

The crash hasn’t changed anything. Things have become worse.

From 1990 to 2005, adjusted for inflation -- the minimum wage is down 9 percent, production workers’ pay is up only over 15 years 4.3 percent.

At the same time, the rich get richer:

Corporate profits are up 106.7 percent. The S&P 500 is still up 141.4 percent since 1990. CEO compensation is up 282 percent. Call it transfer of wealth. Or call it class warfare.

What’s wrong with the rich getting richer?

Slate's Timothy Noah, in "The United States of Inequality (," wrote, “Income distribution in the United States [has become] more unequal than in Guyana, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, and roughly on par with Uruguay, Argentina, and Ecuador.”

Take a look at that list.

Countries with wide income inequality don’t lead the world in research, technology, industry, and innovation. They’re unstable. They have large underclasses. They have high rates of crime. They have little opportunity.

In such countries the rich have disproportionate power. They take control of all aspects of society, especially government, the police, and the judiciary. They become self perpetuating.

[Continued... (]

Title: After 2 years of Obama, Wall Street enjoys record profits. So much for "change!"
Post by: Geolibertarian on February 12, 2011, 10:13:13 am (

Wall Street Celebrates Record Profits

by Tom Eley


Global Research
January 18, 2011

JPMorgan Chase’s profit report for 2010, released Friday, has become the occasion for a celebration by the American plutocracy of the return of the good old days before the Wall Street crash of 2008. Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan’s CEO, summed up the general mood of the financial elite when he declared the bank’s record profits to be evidence of a “broad-based economic recovery,” adding, “I think the future is extremely bright.”

The very fact that Dimon can speak this way in the midst of the worst social crisis since the Great Depression without any repercussions from the government or the media is an expression of the immensity of the chasm separating the modern-day aristocrats from the people.

Such remarks—under conditions where the official unemployment rate is hovering around 10 percent, hunger and poverty are soaring, record numbers of homes are being seized by the banks, household wealth is being devastated by the collapse in home values, wages are declining, and school closures and cuts in social services are spreading across the country—could come only from someone secure in knowledge that the Obama administration, both political parties, Congress and all of the other official institutions are securely in his pocket.

JPMorgan’s announcement kicked off a week of earnings reports that is expected to show that 2010 was a record-setting year for America’s banks and corporations.

The banking giant reported a 48 percent increase in profits over 2009 and a 47 percent increase for the fourth quarter of 2010 over the same period the previous year. JPMorgan netted a profit for the year of $17.4 billion, a figure equivalent to the gross domestic product of Bolivia. Its fourth quarter performance lifted the stocks of the other major banks, including Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo, which are slated to release their 2010 results this week.

The New York Times reported, “Across the company, bankers expect to reap the benefits” of “the most profitable year in the history of JPMorgan.” Out of more than $102 billion in revenue, some $28.1 billion has been set aside to compensate employees, “much of which will be paid out as bonuses.” Employees in JPMorgan’s investment banking wing are taking home an average of nearly $370,000 for 2010, while top executives “can still expect to collect multi-million-dollar bonus checks.”

The profit windfall in the financial sector is part of a broader surge in US corporate profits, which analysts estimate rose 27.1 percent in the fourth quarter, nearly triple the median profit growth since 1988. This comes on the heels of record-setting year-over-year profit increases (37 percent, 51 percent and 92 percent) reported for the first three quarters of 2010.

For the broad mass of the population, there are records of a different sort. The official unemployment rate has been higher than 9 percent for 20 straight months, the longest such span since the Great Depression. Home prices have fallen by 26 percent since June of 2006, breaking the record 25.9 percent decline that took place in the Depression between 1928 and 1933. Household wealth has fallen precipitously and the official poverty rate is as high as it was in the mid-1960s.

From day one, the policy of the Obama administration has been to utilize the economic crisis to effect a vast restructuring of class relations in favor of the financial elite. While ruling out any serious measures to put the unemployed to work, Obama has overseen the funneling of trillions of dollars to the banks, intervened to block legislation limiting bonuses at banks bailed out with taxpayer funds, and given the signal for a campaign of wage cutting across the country by imposing a 50 percent wage reduction on newly hired auto workers as part of the government bailout of General Motors and Chrysler.

The administration has refused to provide significant aid to states and localities facing gaping budget deficits as a result of the recession, tacitly supporting cuts in jobs, wages and pensions for teachers and other public employees and crippling cuts in social services.

[Continued... (]

Title: Record Pay for Wall Street Executives in 2010
Post by: Geolibertarian on February 12, 2011, 10:14:56 am (

Record Pay for Wall Street Executives in 2010

by Tom Eley
Global Research
February 4, 2011

While the great majority of the American population is suffering from the consequences of mass unemployment, pay-cutting, record foreclosures, and ruthless cuts to all forms of social spending, America’s corporate elite are flush with record pay and profits.

According to a new study by the Wall Street Journal, total compensation handed out to employees at publicly traded Wall Street banks hit a record $135 billion in 2010, an increase of 5.7 percent over the combined payout in 2009.

The $135 billion in “compensation” given to the lords and ladies of Wall Street is $10 billion more than the combined budget deficit of $125 billion facing 44 states and the District of Columbia for fiscal year 2012—budget deficits that will be used to cut funding for schools, food stamps for the hungry, health care for the poor and working class, and unemployment compensation for the jobless.

One firm, Bank of America, paid out $35.1 billion in compensation alone. The figure is equivalent to the combined budget deficits of California and Illinois, which are together home to 50 million people.

In compiling the data, the Wall Street Journal analyzed 2010 financial reports from 25 Wall Street banks with stock-market evaluation of at least $1 billion. The 25 have a combined value of $750 billion, or 85 percent of the banking industry’s stock market value.

The payout to executives was about one third of the total $417 billion in Wall Street bank revenue in 2010, another record. This figure, the financial haul of America’s 25 biggest banks, is about twice the size of the 2010 GDP of Egypt, with a population of 80 million.

For top bankers, eight-figure payouts are once again the norm. Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, took home about $14.6 million in 2010, $12.6 million of it in the form of a corporate shares-based bonus. His pay package is about 340 times the median US income of $43,000.

The incomprehensible wealth making its way into the pockets of executives at publicly traded firms pales in comparison to the payouts given to the managers of hedge funds, investment groups generally only open to top investors who are even less subject to regulation than the finance industry as a whole.

One hedge fund manager, John Paulson, netted nearly $5 billion in personal profit in 2010. By way of comparison, with symphonies, museums, and parks being shut down across the country, Paulson’s income was about 31 times the $161 million Obama has proposed for 2011 funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, a $6 million cut from last year.

Several other hedge fund managers also received personal compensation in the billions, according to the Wall Street Journal. David Trapper of Appaloosa Management, Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates, and James Simons of Renaissance Technologies each made between $2 billion and $3 billion, it reports.

And how do these hedge fund managers “earn” this money? Paulson’s eponymous Paulson & Paulson Co. and other hedge funds “made winning bets on commodities,” including gold, according to the Journal. In other words, profiting from the “quantitative easing” bond buy-back program from the Federal Reserve Board, the hedge funds speculated in US Treasuries on one side, and foodstuffs and other commodities, on the other. This has resulted in a catastrophe for people the world over who can no longer afford the goods that sustain their lives.

For Paulson and his ilk, money is to be made on the way up and on the way down, by betting “short” on certain kinds of investments—and thus helping to precipitate crashes—and by going “long” on others. As the Journal notes, though a record, his “performance last year... paled in comparison to his 2007 returns, when Mr. Paulson made a huge wager against subprime mortgages and his funds scored gains of as much as 590 percent.”

Nonetheless, last year found the hedge-fund industry “back on its feet after a rough stretch,” the leading US business newspaper explains. “Assets managed by hedge funds have grown to a near-record $1.92 trillion, up 20 percent over the past year. Assets jumped almost $150 billion in the fourth quarter alone, the largest quarterly growth on record, according to Hedge Fund Research, Inc.”

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the most prominent measure of US securities, crossed 12,000 points for the first time since June of 2008, largely based on a steady stream of record corporate profit reports in recent weeks. Share values are up an astonishing 84 percent since their post-financial crisis nadir of March 2009.

The “turnaround” since March 2009, which has been solely to the benefit of the financial elite, is not due to the mysterious workings of the market but to the conscious intervention of the Obama administration.

[Continued... (]

Title: A Heartbreaking Example Of How The Economic Collapse Is Destroying Lives
Post by: Geolibertarian on February 12, 2011, 10:16:16 am (

Ashley’s Tragic Story: A Heartbreaking Example Of How The Economic Collapse Of America Is Destroying Lives

The Economic Collapse (
Feb 7, 2011

What you are about to read is perhaps the most heartbreaking story that I have ever come across. It is so tragic that I am not even quite sure how to introduce it. Some time ago, a reader named Ashley sent me an email that described the nightmare that she has been living through over the past year. Ashley’s email was very different from the vast majority of emails I usually receive, and I wrote her back right away and asked her some questions. One of the most important questions I asked was whether or not she really wanted me to share her story with the public. Privacy is such a precious thing, and I wanted her to understand that if I shared her story that thousands upon thousands of people would end up seeing it. After considering what I had to say, Ashley said that she was 100% sure that I should share her story because she felt that it could really help some people.

Sometimes it can be really easy to get lost in the economic numbers and to forget that this economy is really and truly destroying lives. The truth is that there are millions of Americans out there today that are hurting just like Ashley is. Her story is more dramatic than most, but that doesn’t mean that we all don’t know someone that could use our help. We have lost our sense of community in America, and thousands upon thousands of people like Ashley are falling through the cracks.

I cannot even imagine going through the things that Ashley has had to go through over the past year.  If you think about it, please say a prayer for her.  Also, let this story be an inspiration to all of us to stop being so cold-hearted and to help out those in need that are all around us.

The following is Ashley’s story as told in her own words….


Dear Michael,

My name is Ashley. I live in Upstate New York I have been reading your Economic Collapse blog for the past year. Everything that you have said is true. Our economy is dying, and the economic collapse has destroyed the lives of many, many people. I should know. I am one of them. I lost my house, my car, my feet and my father, all in just seven months.

My father and I had a great life together. He raised me as a single parent. My mother died while giving birth to me. So it was just him and me as I was growing up, and things were wonderful for us, but then everything changed.

In September of 2009, my father was laid off from his job after 26 years. He tried so hard to find another job, but he just couldn’t get one. The economy was too horrible. As a result of the loss of income, he was unable to continue making the mortgage and car payments. Our car was repossessed, and not long after that, the bank foreclosed on us and we lost our house.

We moved into a low rent, hole in the wall apartment and lived off of his savings and his unemployment benefits for the next few months. Finally, in December of 2009, I was lucky enough to get a part time job at a pizza place. It was a really long walk from our apartment, but we needed the money badly. So I took the job.

By mid winter, my old snow boots, which had successfully lasted me through several terrible winters, were beginning to rapidly deteriorate. They had holes all over them and they were splitting at the seams. My feet were soaked and freezing all day long. At that point, we were lucky to have food on the table. We had to watch every penny. We couldn’t afford to get me new boots. So I had to make do with the ones I had. My father worked feverishly to try and repair them. He spent hours supergluing them duct taping them. In addition to that, I doubled up on socks and wore plastic bags inside my boots, but nothing did any good. My feet still got drenched.

One morning, in mid February of 2010, I took the last walk I would ever take on my own two feet. There was a huge blizzard raging outside, but we couldn’t afford to lose a day’s worth of pay. So I ventured out into the blizzard and made the long trudge to work anyway. As usual, my feet were drenched and freezing within minutes of leaving my apartment, but there was no choice but to just stick it out. So I kept going. I finally arrived at work to find the place closed. Nobody had called to tell me. There was nothing to do but turn around and make the long trudge back home. By the time I got home, I knew that something was seriously wrong with my feet. They felt horrible. My father helped me out of my drenched boots and socks and we discovered that my feet were all purple and swollen. They were severely frostbitten.

My father was terrified to take me to the emergency room because that would have bankrupted us. So he did everything he could to try and rewarm my feet at home. He spent the next several days giving me hot chocolate, bundling my feet up in blankets, putting my feet on his stomach, etc. But nothing did any good. My feet didn’t get any better. They just kept getting worse. They eventually turned black and began to ooze. At that point, my father broke down and called a car service to take us to the hospital. The doctors told us that, given the extent of the damage, they would not able to save my feet. The frostbite had progressed too far. I ended up having both of my feet amputated.

For the next whole month, my father didn’t do anything but sob. He sobbed himself to sleep every night. He blamed himself for me losing my feet. I rolled myself into his room on my wheelchair every night and wrapped my arms around him as tight as I could. I told him that it wasn’t his fault and that I didn’t blame him for anything. I told him he was the best father any girl could ever have and that I wouldn’t trade him for anything. I think it helped a little in the moment, but as time went on, he just fell further and further into depression.

On the morning of March 15th, 2010, I was awakened by a knock on the door from a police officer. He told me that my father was dead. I told the officer that was ridiculous and that there had been a mistake, but he insisted that my father was dead and that I should come with him. I went racing into my father’s room as fast as my wheelchair could carry me, but he was gone. There was a note on his bed that he had left for me. In the note, he told me that he loved me dearly. He loved me more than anything, but that he had failed me. He told me that I would be better off without him. At that moment, my heart stopped as I began to realize what must have happened. Horrified, I made my way back to the police officer, and he told me that my father had jumped out the window of our apartment in the middle of the night. I went into shock and begged the police officer to let me see him, but he insisted that I wouldn’t want to see him that way. I started sobbing so hard that the police ended up having to take me to the hospital.

I’ve cried myself to sleep every night since. I’ll never understand how my father could have thought that I’d be better off without him. If only he had known how much I needed him. If it wasn’t for my extremely kind hearted and caring neighbor, I don’t know where I would be right now. She’s such a sweet lady. After I lost my father, she took me in and took care of me as though I were her own family. She has gradually helped nurse me back to health, both physically and mentally.

This is probably going to sound really crazy, but throughout this past year, you have been one of my heroes, Michael. As devastating as the truth of your words may be, it is refreshing that somebody has the good sense and the good judgement to come forward and say them. All the government and the media do is lie to us, every single day. I only wish more people would listen to you and heed your warnings. Feel free to post my story on your blog if you would like. You have my permission to do so. I just ask that you not reveal my full name and my email address. Just use my first name. Perhaps my story will serve some purpose in the way of helping to wake some of these idiots up and getting them to realize that this nightmare is real.

Best Regards,


Title: 10 Reasons Why The Latest Unemployment Numbers Are No Reason To Cheer
Post by: Geolibertarian on February 12, 2011, 10:17:03 am (

10 Reasons Why The Latest Unemployment Numbers Are No Reason To Cheer

Economic Collapse (
Feburary 7, 2011

The U.S. government is telling us that the unemployment rate fell all the way down to 9.0% in January.  Should we all cheer?  Is it now going to be a lot easier to find a job?  Has the economy finally turned around?  Are happy days here again?  Well, it is a good thing to have a positive attitude, but the truth is that there is just not much to cheer about when you take a closer look at the recent unemployment numbers.  First of all, the U.S. economy only added 36,000 jobs in January.  Economists had been expecting an increase of about 145,000 jobs, and an increase of 150,000 jobs per month is necessary just to keep up with population growth.  So why did the unemployment rate go down?  Well, the government says that over half a million Americans suddenly dropped out of the labor force in January.  That doesn’t make a lot of sense, but this is how the government calculates their numbers.  So what happened to those 500,000 Americans?  Did they all win the lottery?  Have they all become independently wealthy?  Did they all die?  No, the vast majority of them are still around and the vast majority of them still desperately need jobs.  It is just that the government does not count them as “looking for work” anymore.

It would be great if the employment situation in America actually was getting better.  All the time people send me absolutely heartbreaking stories about what they have had to endure in this economy.  Soon I hope to share some of those stories with you all.  It is hard to try to describe the absolute horror that many Americans are going through right now.

People would like to believe that things are going to get better, but unfortunately that is just not going to be the case (  The government can try to massage the numbers to make them look better, but the truth is that the tens of millions of American families that are deeply suffering right now are not fooled.

The following are 10 statistics that reveal that the latest unemployment numbers from the government are no reason to cheer….

[Continued... (]

Title: Social Inequality Causes Economic Crashes
Post by: Geolibertarian on March 19, 2011, 09:23:50 am (

Social Inequality Causes Economic Crashes

by Washington’s Blog (
Global Research
February 14, 2011

John Kenneth Galbraith and Marriner Eccles Explained 50 Years Ago that Inequality Causes Crashes
In his definitive study of the Great Depression, The Great Crash, 1929, John Kenneth Galbraith wrote (,+but+five+weaknesses+seem+to+have+had+an+especially+intimate+bearing+on+the+ensuing+disaster.+they+are:%22+%22the+bad+distribution+of+income%22.&source=bl&ots=70n1eivwj4&sig=oG1swOspedGS6mImEXY_-c7tYj0&hl=en&ei=-dlYTcaeAoSisAPeoOSbDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false):

    There seems little question that in 1929, modifying a famous cliche, the economy was fundamentally unsound. This is a circumstance of first-rate importance. Many things were wrong, but five weaknesses seem to have had an especially intimate bearing on the ensuing disaster. They are:

    (1) The bad distribution of income. In 1929 the rich were indubitable rich. The figures are not entirely satisfactory, but it seems certain that the five per cent of the population with the highest incomes in that year received approximately one-third of all income. The proportion of personal income received in the form of interest, dividends, and rent – the income, broadly speaking, of the well-to-do – was about twice as great as in the years following the Second World War.

    This highly unequal income distribution meant that the economy was dependent on a high level of investment or a high level of luxury consumer spending or both. The rich cannot buy great quantities of bread. If they are to dispose of what they receive it must be on luxuries or by way of investment in new plants and new projects. Both investment and luxury spending are subject, inevitably, to more erratic influences and to wider fluctuations than the bread and rent outlays of the $25-week workman. This high bracket spending and investment was especially susceptible, one may assume, to the crushing news from the stock market in October 1929.

Galbraith wrote that in 1954.

Marriner S. Eccles - Federal Reserve chairman from 1934 to 1948 - made ( a similar point in his 1951 book Beckoning Frontiers:

    As mass production has to be accompanied by mass consumption, mass consumption, in turn, implies a distribution of wealth -- not of existing wealth, but of wealth as it is currently produced -- to provide men with buying power equal to the amount of goods and services offered by the nation's economic machinery. Instead of achieving that kind of distribution, a giant suction pump had by 1929-30 drawn into a few hands an increasing portion of currently produced wealth. This served them as capital accumulations. But by taking purchasing power out of the hands of mass consumers, the savers denied to themselves the kind of effective demand for their products that would justify a reinvestment of their capital accumulations in new plants. In consequence, as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When their credit ran out, the game stopped.

Numerous prominent economists in government and academia have since agreed that large inequalities can cause - or at least contribute to - financial crises, including:

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Title: The Ultra-Wealthy Live The High Life While The Economy Crashes and Burns
Post by: Geolibertarian on March 19, 2011, 09:25:13 am (

As The Obamas And The Ultra-Wealthy Live The High Life Most Americans Are Going Through Economic Hell

The Economic Collapse (
Feb 22, 2011

Barack Obama recently made the following statement to American families that are struggling to survive in this economy: “If you’re a family trying to cut back, you might skip going out to dinner, or you might put off a vacation.” A few days after making that statement Obama sent his wife and children off on yet another vacation, this time to a luxury ski hotel in Vail, Colorado ( But the Obamas are not the only ones enjoying the high life. Wealthy corporate executives and greedy Wall Street fatcats insist that profit margins are too tight to hire more American workers, and yet sales of luxury cars, private jets and vacation homes are soaring ( Meanwhile, most American families are going through economic hell right now. In 2010, more Americans than ever before were living below the poverty line. Over 4 million Americans have been unemployed for more than a year, and over 5 million Americans are at least two months behind on their mortgage payments. As the Obamas and wealthy corporate executives jet off to fancy ski resorts, half of all American workers are earning $505 or less ( per week and 55 percent ( of American families are living paycheck to paycheck. Something is very wrong with this picture.

So is there anything wrong with working hard and enjoying the fruits of success? Of course not, as long as it was done honestly and not on the backs of the American taxpayers. But the truth is that many of the corporate executives that are enjoying luxury vacations right now would not even have companies to run if the American taxpayers had not stepped in and bailed them out during the financial crisis. Thanks to the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve, Wall Street bankers and top corporate executives are once again enjoying bonuses that most of us would consider obscene.

Meanwhile, most of the rest of the country is suffering very deeply.

Over the past several decades, the biggest financial institutions and the biggest corporations have worked really hard to “fix” the rules of the game in their favor. The truth is that our economy is no longer a “free market” capitalist system. Rather, what we have now is more accurately described as “corporatism” or “neo-feudalism”. The big corporations dominate almost everything, and whatever they don’t dominate the government does.

One of the key features of a “corporatist” system is that it tends to funnel all the wealth to the very top.

Back in 1976, the top 1 percent of earners in the United States took in 8.9 percent of all income. By 2007, that number had risen to 23.5 percent (


There are two different Americas today. There is the America of the gated communities, the private planes and the good life, and there is the America of declining wages, thrift stores and rising desperation.

What is saddest of all is that the most vulnerable people in society often suffer the most from all of this.

According to one recent study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States were living below the poverty line ( in 2010.

Do you think that the Obamas are thinking about any of this while they are enjoying their stay at a luxury ski hotel in Vail, Colorado?

The truth is that leadership is not just about words. Leadership is about setting an example.

Back in August, Michelle Obama took her daughter Sasha and 40 of her friends for a vacation in Spain.

So what was the bill to the taxpayers for that little jaunt across the pond?

It is estimated that vacation alone cost U.S. taxpayers $375,000 (

Hey, Barack Obama won the most votes in 2008 and so if he wants his family to get as much enjoyment out of these four years as they can that is his prerogative.

However, if he wants to tell American families that they “might put off a vacation” after all the vacations that the Obamas have taken over the past two years then he is just being a massive hypocrite.

According to the New York Post (, Barack Obama enjoyed a total of 10 separate vacations that stretched over a total of 90 vacation days during the years of 2009 and 2010.

During his first two years in office, he also managed to play 29 rounds of golf.

Oh, but it is the rest of us that have to cut back on our vacations.

But it is not just the Obamas that are enjoying the high life right now.

The wealthy have recovered nicely from the “recession” and now they are spending money by the gobs once again.

According to Moody’s Analytics, the wealthiest 5% of households in the United States account for approximately 37% ( of all consumer spending.

Life is very good in America if you have got enough money.

A recent article ( in USA Today detailed some of the things that wealthy corporate executives are spending money on in 2011….

[Continued... (]

Title: Separate but unequal: Charts show growing rich-poor gap
Post by: Geolibertarian on March 19, 2011, 09:26:17 am (

Separate but unequal: Charts show growing rich-poor gap

By Zachary Roth
Yahoo! News
Feb. 23, 2011

The Great Recession and the slump that followed have triggered a jobs crisis that's been making headlines (* since before President Obama was in office, and that will likely be with us for years. But the American economy is also plagued by a less-noted, but just as serious, problem: Simply put, over the last 30 years, the gap between rich and poor has widened into a chasm.

Gradual developments like this don't typically lend themselves to news coverage. But Mother Jones magazine has crunched the data on inequality, and put together a group of stunning new charts (* Taken together, they offer a dramatic visual illustration of who's doing well and who's doing badly in modern America.

Here are three samples:

This chart shows that the poorest 90 percent of Americans make an average of $31,244 a year, while the top 1 percent make over $1.1 million:


[Continued... (]

Title: The scandal no one talks about: Income inequality
Post by: Geolibertarian on March 19, 2011, 09:27:34 am (

The scandal no one talks about: Income inequality

And a novel solution from Stephen Colbert: "Let the rich start their own country"

By Peter Finocchiaro
March 2, 2011

                                            Comedy Central

The March/April issue of Mother Jones magazine has a fascinating account ( of the growing income gap and staggering economic inequality in America. Bolstered by a selection of illuminating infographics (, MJ writer Kevin Drum paints a bleak picture of opportunity in the U.S.:

[Continued... (]

Title: 21 Signs Of Impending Doom For The 2011 Economy
Post by: Geolibertarian on March 19, 2011, 09:28:40 am (

21 Signs Of Impending Doom For The 2011 Economy

The American Dream (
Wednesday, March 9, 2011

If you are not aware of how rapidly the global economic situation is unraveling you need to snap out of it and start paying attention.  The world economy was relatively stable in 2010, but here in 2011 things are deteriorating very quickly.  Right now there is major civil unrest in at least a dozen different nations in Africa and the Middle East.  The civil war going on in Libya has sent the price of oil skyrocketing and the protests that are scheduled to begin in Saudi Arabia later this month could send oil prices even higher.  Meanwhile, the sovereign debt crisis in Europe just seems to get worse by the day.  Several nations in Europe are suddenly finding that it has become extremely expensive to finance more debt.  It appears that it will only be a matter of time before more bailouts are needed.  Meanwhile, the United States is also covered in a sea of red ink and the economic situation in the largest economy on earth continues to deteriorate rapidly.  It is as if the entire world financial system has caught a virus that it just can’t shake, and now it looks like another massive wave of financial disaster could be about to strike.  Does the global economy have enough strength to weather a major oil crisis in 2011?  How much debt can the largest nations in North America and Europe take on before the entire system collapses under the weight?  Will 2011 be a repeat of 2008 or are we going to be able to get through the rest of the year okay?  Only time will tell.

But it is quickly becoming clear that we are reaching a tipping point.  If the price of oil keeps going up, all hopes for any kind of an “economic recovery” will be completely wiped out.  But if the globe does experience another economic slowdown, it could potentially turn the simmering sovereign debt crisis into an absolute nightmare.  The U.S. and most nations in Europe are having a very difficult time servicing their debts and they desperately need tax revenues to increase.  If another major economic downturn causes tax revenues to go down again it could unleash absolute chaos on world financial markets.

The global economy is more interconnected than ever, and so a major crisis in one area of the world can have a cascading effect on the rest of the globe.  Just as we saw back in 2008, if financial disaster strikes nobody is going to escape completely unscathed.

So what should we expect for the rest of 2011?  Well, the truth is that it doesn’t look good.  The following are 21 signs of impending doom for the 2011 economy….

[Continued... (]

Title: Good Economic Numbers? Don’t Be Fooled By The Financial Sugar High
Post by: Geolibertarian on April 13, 2011, 04:21:28 pm (

Good Economic Numbers? Don’t Be Fooled By The Financial Sugar High

The Economic Collapse (
April 2, 2011

The U.S. financial system is like a junkie that needs continually increasing amounts of “junk” to get the same “buzz”.  So what is the U.S. financial system addicted to?  It is addicted to money and debt.  For many years, whenever the Federal Reserve would lower interest rates or the U.S government would borrow and spend more money, the U.S. economy would respond positively.  But just like with any other kind of artificial stimulation, over time it has taken greater and greater amounts of debt and cheap money to get a response from our economic system.  So yes, the fact that the official unemployment rate went down 0.1%  last month is good news, but considering the massive amount of spending that the U.S. government is doing and considering the gigantic quantity of money that the Federal Reserve is injecting into the financial system, the truth is that the unemployment rate should be falling much faster than that.  So don’t be fooled by the good economic numbers and don’t be fooled by the financial “sugar rush”.  The U.S. government and the Federal Reserve have been pulling out all the stops to stimulate the economy, and the fact that all of their efforts are barely moving the unemployment rate at all is an indication of just how far our economic situation has degenerated.

Many in the mainstream media were extremely excited when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the U.S. unemployment rate declined to 8.8% in March.  U.S. stocks soared as investors enthusiastically welcomed the news.  But should we all really be jumping up and down over this?

The truth is that some other measures show that the unemployment situation in the United States is becoming worse.

According to Gallup (, the number of Americans that are either unemployed or working part-time but desiring full-time work actually rose from 19.8 percent in February to 20.3 percent in March.

So let us not get too excited about the employment situation. Yes, unemployment is not spinning wildly out of control at the moment and that is good news.

However, when you look at the larger picture things look rather grim.

What the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve have been doing is that they have been mortgaging our future big time for short-term economic gain.

This year alone, the U.S. government is going to run an all-time record budget deficit of approximately 1.6 trillion dollars ( By borrowing 1.6 trillion dollars that we do not have and spending it into the system, it does stimulate the economy.

There are some members of Congress that would like to implement substantial budget cuts, but most members of Congress fear doing too much budget cutting right now because it would “harm the economy”.

And you know what? They are right – budget cuts would harm our economy in the short-term.

But continuing to pile up all of this debt is setting the stage for an absolute economic nightmare in the mid to long term.

We have lived far, far beyond our means for decades, and most of our politicians are acting like this can go forever.

But tell me, does anyone out there actually believe that we can keep expanding the national debt like this indefinitely?….


[Continued... (]

Title: Re: Good Economic Numbers? Don’t Be Fooled By The Financial Sugar High
Post by: Geolibertarian on April 13, 2011, 04:27:16 pm (

We have lived far, far beyond our means for decades, and most of our politicians are acting like this can go forever.

As I explained on page 1 of this thread when the author of the above blog parroted this same talking point in a previous article, the problem is not that "we" have been "living" beyond our means, but that ruling-class oligarchs (,368.msg1064.html#msg1064) have been parasitizing us beyond our means.

Whether they realize it or not, those who blindly insist otherwise are merely shifting blame from where it belongs -- on the financial terrorists ( who engineered this economic collapse in the first place -- to where it does not belong -- on the lower- and middle-class victims of the collapse.


"Have you ever wondered how everyone -- governments, corporations, small businesses, families -- can all be in debt at the same time and for such astronomical amounts? Have you questioned how there can be that much money out there to lend? Now you know: there isn't. Banks do not lend money; they simply create it from debt....Isn't it astounding that, despite the incredible wealth of resources, innovation and productivity that surrounds us, almost all of us -- from governments to companies to individuals -- are heavily in debt to bankers? If only people would stop and think: 'How can that be? How can it be that the people who actually produce all the real wealth in the world are in debt to those who merely lend out the money that represents the wealth?' Even more amazing is that once we realize that money really is debt, we realize that if there's no debt, there'd be no money. If this is news to you, you are not alone. Most people imagine that if all debts were paid off, the state of the economy would improve. It's certainly true on an individual level. Just as we have more money to spend when our loan payments are finished, we think that if everyone were out of debt, there would be more money to spend in general. But the truth is the exact opposite: there would be no money at all. There it is: we are totally depenedent on continually renewed bank credit for there to be any money in existence. No loans, no money."

-- Money As Debt (,379.msg1156.html#msg1156)


Was it "we" who created the quadrillion-dollar derivatives bubble ( No, it was the bankers ( who did that.

Was it "we" who, through the use of bought-off politicians, instituted a debt-based money system in which "borrowing" is the only way any money is allowed to come into circulation in the first place, in which money is destroyed whenever the principal of a bank loan is repaid, and in which the money needed to pay the interest ( on all these loans is never created to begin with (thus creating a built-in shortage of money, and hence a dog-eat-dog, musical chairs economy)? No, it was the bankers ( who did that.

And was it "we" who knowingly failed to provide lawful consideration ( for any of the collateral-backed IOUs that were accepted by private banks in exchange for the non-existent "money" they loaned? No, it was the bankers ( who did that.

So the wealth-producing ( lower and middle classes must not let themselves be bullsh*ted either by the global warming cult ( or by the let-the-banker-engineered-depression-"run-its-course (,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=a9acdcd2312857c2)" Austrian School cult into falsely believing that they must pay the price for the economic crimes of the non-producing, parasitic banking class.

It's the Rockefellers and Rothschilds (,368.msg1064.html#msg1064) of the world who should be forced into bankruptcy and foreclosed on, not us!

Or, to put it another way, it is not "we" who should be made to experience a standard of living far below what we've grown accustomed to, but parasitic robber barons who should be made to experience a standard of living far below what they've grown accustomed to!

( (

Title: Fight Economic Oppression, Target the Top One Percent
Post by: Geolibertarian on April 20, 2011, 03:31:40 pm
“There’s class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

-- Warren Buffet, New York Times, November 26, 2006

-------------------------------- (

Fight Economic Oppression, Target the Top One Percent

by Joel S. Hirschhorn


Global Research
April 11, 2011

Massive economic inequality is killing America and we the people. It has already killed American democracy. The rich have captured the political system so they could manipulate the economy and benefit unfairly. Economic freedom and opportunity are gone. Greed among the top one percent has succeeded so well that a true uprising and revolt by Americans, like that seen in Egypt, may be needed to restore America.

US society is riddled through and through with constant lies and political propaganda to keep Americans stupid and distracted. The truth is here, hidden from easy view for most citizens by an epidemic of dishonesty and irresponsibility among elected officials, corporate leaders, cowardly, corporate controlled mass media, and especially right-wing pundits, many of whom are in the top one percent. The truth, of course, is often revealed, but only in venues that relatively few people with sufficient intelligence and critical thinking skills access. Two recent articles should be required reading in every classroom and home.

First, some key numbers tell the true story about the decline of America in recent decades as revealed by acclaimed economist Joseph E. Stiglitz ( in Vanity Fair. Upper one percent Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s annual income and own 40 percent of the nation’s wealth. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. The top one percent’s incomes rose 18 percent over the past decade as those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. As the recession still hurts most Americans, especially the unemployed, hungry and foreclosed, the top one percent, many of whom created the economic meltdown, keeps their tax cuts and riches.

Most citizens are doing worse year after year,” correctly observes Stiglitz.

Also, in our delusional democracy run by a bipartisan corporate dictatorship: “Virtually all U.S. senators, and most of the representatives in the House, are members of the top 1 percent when they arrive, are kept in office by money from the top 1 percent, and know that if they serve the top 1 percent well they will be rewarded by the top 1 percent when they leave office. By and large, the key executive-branch policymakers on trade and economic policy also come from the top 1 percent.” No surprise that those who poisoned the economy have not been prosecuted.

You cannot vote away this insanity by electing Republicans or Democrats, even those claiming Tea Party status, who mostly want to protect rich and corporate elites as evidenced by their disinterest in removing corporate subsidies and welfare, nor raising taxes on the rich. This behavior is brainless for non-wealthy Americans.

Stiglitz says: “The top 1 percent may complain about the kind of government we have in America, but in truth they like it just fine: too gridlocked to re-distribute, too divided to do anything but lower taxes.” In truth, they own our government.

The second article in The Nation by Robert Scheer ( smartly noted: “The delusion of a classless America in which opportunity is equally distributed is the most effective deception perpetrated by the moneyed elite that controls all the key levers of power in what passes for our democracy.” Mostly ignored, “the corporate rich reward themselves in direct proportion to the amount of suffering they have caused.”

Scheer referenced this: During Clinton’s presidency the income of the top one percent increased by 10.1 percent per year, while that of the other 99 percent of Americans increased by only 2.4 percent a year. From 2002 to 2006, a period in which the top one percent increased its income 11 percent annually the rest of Americans had a truly paltry gain of 1 percent per year.

What kind of population would endure all this? Submissive, stupid and sidetracked Americans refusing to see the economic oppression strangling the nation.

To be in the top one percent you need an adjusted gross income of about $400,000, most not coming from salaries or wages. And those households with less than 5 million people total have a net worth of at least $8 million each. Do you make the cut? If not, then wake up to reality. You are a victim!

The top one percent people are the enemy. THEY have stolen your financial security and opportunity. THEY have sold us out to China and other nations. YOU have been sacrificed to satisfy their greed. You have a better chance of winning a huge lottery than becoming one of them.

Abusive inequality is no accident of history. It has occurred by design. Forget morality and fairness. The wealthiest of the wealthy have ingeniously engineered the political and economic systems to get exactly what they want and screw the rest of society. They do not fear outright revolution, peaceful or violent class war.

Pause for a moment. Think in terms of an invisible corporate dictatorship run in a bipartisan way by people who know how to use their money to retain a thoroughly corrupt political system. That is the tool used to protect themselves from the wrath of a few hundred million victims of their villainy. The economic oppression by the richest one percent is far greater than that of the British which spurred the American Revolution. We desperately need a second revolution against domestic tyranny.

In addition to the two excellent recent articles, you would benefit from examining the Who Rules America? website ( If you appreciate data also peruse this excellent Mother Jones article (, which points out most Americans perceive wealth distribution more fairly distributed than it really is, delusional thinking.

[Continued... (]


Title: Privilege-induced rack-renting continues to create poverty amidst plenty
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 22, 2011, 11:16:31 am
With particular regard to said tax system, whenever this system is in place, there is always -- in the words of economist Fred Foldvary -- a "constanct race (” between (a) the process by which labor-saving technology increases wages and (b) the process by which increasing numbers of people with increasing incomes all competing for access to the same amount of land enables titleholders to absorb much of these wage gains through higher rent demands while providing no service ( in return -- a parasitic process commonly referred to as rack-renting ( (

Soaring Costs Force Some Renters To Choose Between Shelter And Food

Yepoka Yeebo
Huffington Post (
April 27, 2011

NEW YORK — Around 10 million American households — or one in every four families that rent their homes — could have to choose between paying rent, buying groceries or keeping current with bills, according to a report released Tuesday.

The number of households spending more than 50 percent ( [.pdf] of their income on rent and bills jumped by 2.6 million over the last decade, according to a Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies report ( Economists generally consider “affordable” rent to cost about 30 percent of a tenant’s income.

When housing costs hit certain levels, many Americans are forced to choose between rent and food. “In real terms, it means more people have less money to spend on household necessities such as food, health care, or savings,” Eric Belsky, director of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, said in the report. Households which spend 50 percent or more of their income on rent also spend almost 40 percent less on food and over 50 percent less on health care than households with more affordable rent.

“In the last decade, rental housing affordability problems went through the roof,” Belsky said in the report. “And these affordability problems are marching up the income scale,” he added.

Already, rising rents ( mean the household budgets of working-class and middle-class families are under strain. Growing numbers of middle-income, and lower-middle-income renters are spending between 30 percent and 50 percent of their incomes on rent. And the report found that rents could start to soar as the recovery takes hold.

Full article here (

Title: Study: Most Americans Want Wealth Distribution Similar to Sweden
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 22, 2011, 11:19:35 am (

Study: Most Americans Want Wealth Distribution Similar to Sweden

By Daniel Tencer
April 24, 2011

Americans generally underestimate the degree of income inequality in the United States, and if given a choice, would distribute wealth in a similar way to the social democracies of Scandinavia, a new study finds.

For decades, polls have shown ( that a plurality of Americans -- around 40 percent -- consider themselves conservative, while only around 20 percent self-identify as liberals. But a new study from two noted economists casts doubt on what values lie beneath those political labels.

According to research ( (PDF) carried out by Michael I. Norton ( of Harvard Business School and Dan Ariely ( of Duke University, and flagged by Paul Kedrosky ( at the Infectious Greed blog, 92 percent of Americans would choose to live in a society with far less income disparity than the US, choosing Sweden's model over that of the US.

What's more, the study's authors say that this applies to people of all income levels and all political leanings: The poor and the rich, Democrats and Republicans are all equally likely to choose the Swedish model.

[Continued... (]

Title: Is THIS the only reason millions of Americans haven't already starved to death?
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 22, 2011, 11:21:25 am (

About 1 in 7 in U.S. Receive Food Stamps

Sara Murray
Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Growth in the food stamp program appeared to reach a plateau in February — with 14.3% of the population relying on the safety net program.

The number of food stamp recipients was essentially flat in February, the most recent month available, with 44.2 million Americans receiving benefits, according a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (See a sortable breakdown of the data here (

The food stamp program ballooned during the recession as workers lost their jobs or saw their hours and income reduced. The rise in recipients has begun to flatten in recent months, which may mean that as the economy is improving fewer Americans are seeking to join the program. Enrollment in the program is still high though, with 11.6% more people tapping benefits in February than the same month a year earlier.

Food stamp numbers aren’t seasonally adjusted though, meaning a variety of factors could influence the monthly tallies and the program could grow again in coming months.

Full story here. (


Something to keep in mind as you read the following:

-- "The budget [by Senator Rand Paul] provides two years of war funding, at the President’s requested levels."

-- "The food stamp program and the child nutrition program" (cut)

-- "The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program" (eliminate)

-- "Affordable Housing Program" (eliminate)

Source: (

Title: The corporatocracy continues to wage class warfare
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 22, 2011, 11:23:01 am (

“CEOs at the Nation’s Largest Companies Were Paid Better Last Year Than They Were In 2007, When … Unemployment Was Roughly Half What It Is Today”

Washington’s Blog
May 7, 2011

CNN Money points out:

    Just 22% believe the country is on the right track, Rasmussen tells us. According to a new Gallup poll, more than half of us say the economy is in recession or depression, despite the fact that output has been expanding since the summer of 2009. In fact, more of us (29%) say the country is in a depression than say the economy is growing (27%).

    There’s a good reason for this: As inflation surges at the store and the gas pump, the economy is stalling. And the heart of the problem could very well be the Federal Reserve’s $600 billion “QE2″ money-printing initiative, which was implemented last November to great fanfare on Wall Street and is set to end in June.


    Yes, the stock market has posted impressive gains since the idea of QE2 surfaced….

    But stock ownership is concentrated among the wealthy: On average, just 12% of households worth $100,000 or less own stocks and mutual fund shares outside their retirement plans — a group that comprises 74% of the total population. While many more own shares through 401ks and IRAs, they’re not in a position to easily tap that wealth for current spending.

    At the same time, QE2 has pushed up borrowing costs, pressing down the prices of homes — a much more widely held asset. The Case-Shiller Home Price Index started falling last summer as the idea of QE2 was floated, and it hasn’t stopped since. The broad 20-city index now sits below 2009 levels.

    This is a continuation of trends that have been in place since the recession ended in 2009. According to Credit Suisse equity strategist Douglas Cliggott, it suggests the improvement in net worth during the past two and half years “has been heavily skewed towards that relatively small part of the U.S. population that has significant equity holdings.”

    While the program has helped push up the cost of living for all of us — sending inflation into the red zone and damaging consumer confidence — evidence suggests its benefits have accrued only to the top tier of the net-worth ladder.

    In other words, the Fed’s “stimulus” has made the rich richer, with limited impact in terms of new spending. It’s made the vast majority of people poorer, and less able to spend. It’s this tradeoff that threatens to snuff out the feeble, three-year-old economic recovery.

And salaries have only gone up for the very top. AP notes:

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Title: 20 Facts About Child Hunger And Child Poverty That Will Break Your Heart
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 22, 2011, 11:25:40 am (

20 Facts About Child Hunger And Child Poverty That Will Break Your Heart

The Economic Collapse
May 12, 2011

Did you know that nearly half of the 44 million Americans that are on food stamps today are children?  Did you know that more than a fifth of all U.S. children are living in poverty and that a fourth of all U.S. children are enrolled in the food stamp program?  Did you know that most of the people that starve to death around the globe are children?  In 2011, child hunger and child poverty are major problems in the United States and they are at epidemic levels in many areas of the world.  The facts that are you are about to read are tough to stomach and they are meant to break your heart.  Most of us need to be touched on an emotional level before we will take action.  As I have written about previously, the world is on the verge of a horrific global food crisis (  Unless a miracle happens, there is not going to be nearly enough food for everyone in the world in the future.  We all need to prepare so that we will be able to feed our own families when that time comes and so that we will be able to be generous and share with others in need.
The food stamp program is the modern equivalent of the old-fashioned bread lines.  Today, the number of Americans on food stamps is absolutely exploding.  Despite claims that the economy is “recovering”, the number of Americans relying on food assistance just continues to increase.
Many food retailers have seen food stamp usage soar to unprecedented levels.  Just check out the following quote from a recent article posted on the website of a local Pennsylvania news station (….

    “The trend started about three years ago and it has increased significantly we have some stores up 40% from last year,” said Scott Karns owner of seven Karns Supermarkets in central PA.

Sadly, a disproportionate number of those on food stamps are children.  Even as you read this article, there are millions of children in the United States that are wondering where their next meal is going to come from.
The following are 20 facts about child hunger and child poverty that will break your heart….

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Title: One percent holds 39 percent of global wealth
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 22, 2011, 11:27:56 am (

One percent holds 39 percent of global wealth

June 1, 2011

WASHINGTON — Around one percent of households have 39 percent of the globe’s wealth according to a study published Tuesday, pointing to increased inequalities in the wake of the global downturn.

The number of millionaire households across the globe increased 12 percent in 2010, according to The Boston Consulting Group report, increasing millionaires’ share of wealth from 37 percent in 2009.

Despite being at the epicenter of the global financial meltdown, the United States had by far the most millionaires last year, with 5,220 millionaire households, and increase of 1.3 percent from the previous year.

Japan was second with 1,530 and China third with 1,110.

Full article here (

Title: 20 Facts About US Inequality That Everyone Should Know
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 22, 2011, 11:29:51 am (

20 Facts About US Inequality That Everyone Should Know (With An Update On The Uber-Wealthy And Global Wealth Inequality)

Tyler Durden
Zero Hedge
June 5, 2011

Courtesy of the Stanford Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality (, we bring you the “20 facts about US Inequality that Everyone Should Know”. For everything one has always wanted to know about wage inequality, CEO pay, homelessness, education wage premium, gender pay gaps, occupational sex segregation, racial gaps in education, racial discrimination, child poverty, residential segregation, health insurance, inter and intragenerational income mobility, bad jobs, discouraged workers, wealth inequality, labor market deregulation, job losses, immigrants and inequality and productivity and real income, this is the definitive resource.

1. Wage Inequality

Over the last 30 years, wage inequality in the United States has increased substantially, with the overall level of inequality now approaching the extreme level that prevailed prior to the Great Depression. This general characterization of the inequality trend oversimplifies, though, the actual pattern of change: The chart below shows that the trend at the top of the income distribution (the “upper tail”) is not exactly the same as the trend at the bottom of the distribution (the “lower tail”). “Lower-tail” inequality is measured here by taking the ratio of wages at the middle of the income distribution (i.e., the 50th percentile) to those near the bottom of the distribution (i.e., the 10th percentile); “upper-tail” inequality is measured by taking the ratio of wages near the top of the distribution (i.e., the 90th percentile) to those at the middle of the distribution (i.e., the 50th percentile of workers). We find that lower-tail inequality rose sharply in the 1980s and contracted somewhat thereafter, while upper-tail inequality has increased steadily since 1980.

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Title: 29 Stats About Extreme Income Inequality In America That Will Blow Your Mind
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 22, 2011, 11:31:34 am (

Will The Banksters And The Corpocracy Eventually Own It All? 29 Statistics About Extreme Income Inequality In America That Will Blow Your Mind

The Economic Collapse
June 6, 2011

Today, average Americans have less power relative to the monolithic corporate and governmental institutions that dominate our society than at any other point in U.S. history.  Sadly, this is not what our founding fathers ever envisioned.  Our founding fathers established a government “of the people, by the people, for the people”, but what we have today is very far from that ideal.  In America today, wealth and power are very highly concentrated, and if you have neither wealth nor power than most of our politicians really do not have any interest in you.  Over the past several decades, those with huge amounts of money and power have been busy rigging the game so that the rest of the money and power slowly but surely funnels into their hands.  If current trends continue, the banksters and the corpocracy will eventually own it all.  Below you will find 29 statistics about extreme income inequality in America.  Sadly, most of these statistics will be out of date in a year or two because wealth and power will be much more concentrated by that time.

If you are a “Kool-Aid drinking Democrat” you are going to be really upset by this article.  If you are a “Kool-Aid drinking Republican” you are going to be really upset by this article.

Most Republicans have been brainwashed into believing that “capitalism” means cheerleading while the big corporations hoover up money and power.

Most Democrats have no trouble with big corporations either because most establishment Democrats have been brainwashed into believing that large concentrations of power (whether governmental or corporate) are generally good.  Most Democrats just wish that big corporations were a little less greedy and were a little more “socially responsible”.

Today, the big banks, the big corporations and the federal government are all in bed with one another and it is average Americans that always lose out.

Our founding fathers tried to warn us about large concentrations of power.  They attempted to establish a very limited central government, they wanted to keep us free from the tyranny of the big banks and they were very suspicious of large corporations.

In a 2010 article (, Rick Ungar noted that corporations were very seriously restricted in the early days of America….

    After the nation’s founding, corporations were, as they are today, the result of charters granted by the state. However, unlike today, they were limited in how long they were permitted to exist (typically 20 or 30 years), only permitted to deal in one commodity, they could not own shares in other corporations, and their property holdings were expressly limited to what they needed to accomplish their corporate business goals.

My how things have changed.

“Capitalism” is supposed to be about the empowerment of individuals and families and small businesses.

Instead, today “capitalism” has come to mean something completely different. Today, the biggest, meanest concentrations of wealth devour everyone else with a big assist from the government.

At this point, average Americans mean next to nothing in the political process. This point was eloquently made in a recent column by Robert Reich (….

    The unemployed are politically invisible. They don’t make major campaign donations. They don’t lobby Congress. There’s no National Association of Unemployed People.

    Their ranks are filled with women who had been public employees, single mothers, minorities, young people trying to enter the labor force, and middle-aged men who have been out of work for longer than six months. You couldn’t find a collection of people with less political clout.

I would not normally quote Robert Reich, but he made a good point. If you don’t have an army of lobbyists or any money to give to them then most of our politicians don’t really care what you think or how much you are hurting.

Just think about the amount of power and money that Exxon Mobil or Wal-Mart has compared to the amount of power and money that an average American has.

Our society has veered very far from the egalitarian ideal that our founding fathers once hoped for.

The corporate giants are so powerful that it is next to impossible for small businesses to directly compete with them.

Just try it some time.

Many banks and corporations have become so big that the world literally cannot afford for them to fail.

For example, three U.S. corporations ( control approximately 90% of the world’s grain trade.

So what happens if those three corporations collapse?

That is something to think about.

But of course average Americans are never “too big to fail”. The big banks begged and begged for bailouts, but if you are late on your debt payments they will chuck you into prison.

Also, when wealth and power are so highly concentrated, economic rewards flow only to a few. Corporatism (as opposed to true capitalism) produces a handful of winners and a whole lot of losers.

As I have written about previously, the middle class is being destroyed ( If current trends are allowed to continue long enough we eventually won’t have much of a middle class left at all.

The following are 29 statistics about extreme income inequality in America that will blow your mind….

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Title: The Rich Are Destroying the Economy
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 22, 2011, 11:33:42 am (

The Rich Are Destroying the Economy

by Shamus Cooke


Global Research
June 12, 2011

Ever since the Great Recession shook the foundations of the U.S. economy, President Obama has been promising recovery. Evidence of this recovery, we were told, was manifested in the massive post-bailout profits corporations made. Soon enough, the President assured us, these corporations would tire of hoarding mountains of cash and start a hiring bonanza, followed by raising wages and benefits. It was either wishful thinking or conscious deception. The recent stock market meltdown has squashed any hope of a corporate-led recovery.

The Democrats fought the recession by the same methods the Republicans used to create it: allowing the super rich to recklessly dominate the economy while giving them massive handouts. This strategy, commonly referred to as Reaganomics or Trickle Down Economics, is now religion to both Democrats and Republicans; never mind the staged in-fighting for the gullible or complicit media.

When it becomes obvious to even the President that the economic recovery never existed beyond the bank accounts of the rich, questions will have to be answered. Why, for example, did nobody in either political party foresee the disastrous consequences of the bailouts? Not only did the U.S. deficit drastically increase but the same U.S. corporations that caused the recession were given reinforcement for their destructive actions, ensuring that it would continue unabated.

In his book, Crisis Economics, Nouriel Roubini outlines the insane response to the recession by Republicans and Democrats. Because both parties simply threw money at the banks and hedge funds instead of punishing them, a condition of "moral hazard" was created, meaning, that banks would assume another bailout would come their way if they destroyed the economy again -- too big too fail, remember? Roubini explains how the Democrats allowed the "too big" banks to get even bigger; how Wall Street salaries based on short-term profits went unregulated; how the regulations that were put into place were inadequate and filled with loopholes; how nothing of any significance changed.

Roubini has also written extensively about how the post-bailout Federal Reserve policies were fueling a commodity bubble that may be in the midst of bursting, possibly triggering a double dip recession. Essentially the big banks and rich investors were borrowing cheap dollars from the Fed and investing abroad in commodities with the hopes of higher returns. Roubini states:

“The risk is that we are planting the seeds of the next financial crisis...this asset bubble is totally inconsistent with a weaker recovery of economic and financial fundamentals." (October 27, 2009).

This investor-created commodity bubble pushed up prices in oil, food, and other basic products, causing further pain for working families and the economy as a whole. This speculative bubble was easily predictable but ignored by both political parties, since they claimed the bubble was a sign of recovery.

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Title: Unemployment: No Extended Benefits For People Laid Off From Now On
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 22, 2011, 11:36:01 am (

Unemployment: No Extended Benefits For People Laid Off From Now On

Arthur Delaney
The Huffington Post (
June 30, 2011

After this week, workers laid off through no fault of their own will not be eligible for any of the generous extended unemployment benefits layoff victims have received from the federal government since 2008.

States typically provide the first 26 weeks of unemployment insurance and Congress has provided extensions during every recession since the 1950s. But the current extensions, which give the unemployed an unprecedented 73 additional weeks of aid in some states, are set to expire at the beginning of January.

“There’s a real potential cliff coming for unemployed people,” emailed Judy Conti, a lobbyist for the National Employment Law Project, a worker advocacy group. “The federal unemployment programs all expire at the end of this year. This means that anyone who is laid off on July 1st or later, will ONLY receive state benefits unless Congress acts to keep these needed programs up and running.”

Read more (


Note: Even more disturbing than the termination of unemployment benefits both in the midst of a banker-engineered depression and in the context of trillions of tax dollars being wasted on banker bailouts and terroristic wars of aggression is the fact that an alarming number of privilege (, austerity ( right-wingers become giddy with delight upon hearing the news of such termination, because they actually perceive it as an advancement of "liberty."  (

Title: The Economy Cannot Recover As Long As Inequality Continues to Skyrocket
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 22, 2011, 11:39:54 am (

The Economy Cannot Recover As Long As Inequality Continues to Skyrocket ... But Government Policy Is INCREASING Inequality

by Washington's Blog
Global Research
July 6, 2011

The Economist noted ( in January:

    Hu Jintao, David Cameron, Warren Buffett and Dominique Strauss-Kahn ... have all worried, loudly and publicly, about the dangers of a rising gap between the rich and the rest.


    A new survey by the World Economic Forum, whose annual gathering of bigwigs in Davos begins on January 26th, says its members see widening economic disparities as one of the two main global risks over the next decade (alongside failings in global governance).

Numerous prominent economists in government and academia have all said that large inequalities can cause - or at least contribute to - financial crises, including:

       *  Robert Shiller (

       *  Joseph Stiglitz (

       *  John Kenneth Galbraith (

       *  Raghuram Rajan (

       *  Robert Reich (

       *  Mark Thoma (

       *  Emmanuel Saez (

       *  Thomas Piketty (

       *  David Moss (

       *  Kemal Dervi (

       *  Michael Kumhof (

       *  Romain Rancière (
       *  Robert Wade (

       *  David Ruccio (

       *  Marriner S. Eccles ( (Federal Reserve chairman from 1934 to 1948)

Add Alan Greenspan to the list, who says (

    Our problem basically is that we have a very distorted economy, in the sense that there has been a significant recovery in our limited area of the economy amongst high-income individuals...

    Large banks, who are doing much better and large corporations, whom you point out and everyone is pointing out, are in excellent shape. The rest of the economy, small business, small banks, and a very significant amount of the labour force, which is in tragic unemployment, long-term unemployment - that is pulling the economy apart. The average of those two is what we are looking at - that they are fundamentally two separate types of economies.

And IMF economists. As Bnet wrote ( in May:

    New research (shows) that high income inequality may actually hurt long-term economic growth. Two economists at the International Monetary Fund, Andrew G. Berg and Jonathan D. Ostry, released a paper in April that concludes that countries with high inequality are more likely to have shorter spells of positive growth compared to countries with less inequality. That’s another way of saying that high inequality hurts the economy.

    Instead of looking purely at the relationship between inequality and growth, Berg and Ostry examined the relationship between inequality and the duration of periods of positive growth. They measure a growth spell as a period of sustained growth and estimate the effect of inequality and other factors on how long growth spells last.

    Their model included a variety of factors that economics have previously found to affect economic growth, such as external shocks, the initial income of the country (ie., did it start out very poor or wealthy?), the institutional make-up of the country, its openness to trade, and its macroeconomic stability.

    The finding: Only income inequality stood out “as a key driver of the duration of growth spells.”

    The economics concluded with the following:

    “The main results in this note are that (i) increasing the length of growth spells, rather than just getting growth going, is critical to achieving income gains over the long term; and (ii) countries with more equal income distributions tend to have significantly longer growth spells. …. growth and inequality-reducing policies are likely to reinforce one another and help to establish the foundations for a sustainable expansion.”

Economics professors Saez (UC Berkeley) and Piketty (Paris School of Economics) show that the percentage of wealth held by the richest 1% of Americans peaked ( [.pdf] in 1928 and 2007 - right before each crash:


The Washington Post's Ezra Klein wrote ( in June:



    Krugman says that he used to dismiss talk that inequality contributed to crises, but then we reached Great Depression-era levels of inequality in 2007 and promptly had a crisis, so now he takes it a bit more seriously.

    The problem, he says, is finding a mechanism. Krugman brings up underconsumption (wherein the working class borrows a lot of money because all the money is going to the rich) and overconsumption (in which the rich spend and that makes the next-most rich spend and so on, until everyone is spending too much to keep up with rich people whose incomes are growing much faster than everyone else's).

(The graphics above are slightly misleading, as Saez notes that inequality is actually worse now than it's been since 1917 ( [.pdf].)

Robert Reich has theorized ( [.pdf] for some time that there are 3 causal connections between inequality and crashes:

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Title: Rampant Unemployment = The Death Of The Middle Class
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 22, 2011, 11:41:33 am (

Rampant Unemployment = The Death Of The Middle Class

40 Facts That Prove The Working Class Is Being Systematically Wiped Out

The Economic Collapse (
July 9, 2011


Without an abundance of good jobs, the middle class in the United States is going to shrivel up and die.  Right now, rampant unemployment is absolutely killing communities all over America.  Hopelessness and poverty are exploding and many are now wondering if we are actually witnessing the slow death of the middle class.  There simply are not nearly enough “good jobs” to go around anymore, and even many in the mainstream media are referring to this as a “long-term structural problem” with the economy.  The only thing that most working class Americans have to offer in the marketplace is their labor.  If nobody will hire them they do not have any other ways to provide for their families.  Well, there is a problem.  Today wealth has become incredibly centralized.  The big corporations and the big banks dominate everything.  Thanks to incredible advances in technology and thanks to the globalization of our economic system, the people with all the money don’t have to hire as many ordinary Americans anymore.  They can hire all the labor they want on the other side of the globe for a fraction of the cost.  So the rich don’t really have that much use for the working class in America anymore.  The only thing of value that the working class had to offer has now been tremendously devalued.  The wealthy don’t have to pay a lot for physical labor anymore.  Thousands of our factories and millions of our jobs have been shipped overseas and they aren’t coming back.  The big corporations are thriving while tens of millions of ordinary Americans are deeply suffering.  Almost all of the wealth being produced by our economy is going to a very centralized group of people at the very top of the food chain.  The rich are getting richer and the working class is being systematically wiped out.

So the fact that we are facing rampant unemployment that never seems to go away should not be a surprise to anyone.  Today, the “official” unemployment rate went up to 9.2 percent even though a whopping 272,000 Americans ( “dropped out of the labor force” in June.  The government unemployment figure that includes “discouraged workers” went up from 15.8% to 16.2% (  The mainstream media is proclaiming that this was “a horrific report (” because most economists were expecting much better news.

Well, guess what?

Things are going to get a whole lot worse.

More job cuts are coming.  One recently released report found that the number of job cuts being planned by U.S. employers increased by 11.6% in June (

It is also being projected that state and local governments across the U.S. will slash nearly half a million more jobs by the end of next year.

Needless to say, things don’t look good.

Most people that still have jobs are desperately trying to hold on to them.

Employers know that most workers are easily replaceable these days, so wages are not moving up even though the cost of living is.

We are right in the middle of the worst employment downturn since World War 2.  Jay-Z recently summed up the situation ( this way….

    “Numbers don’t lie. Unemployment is pretty high.”

Jay-Z certainly has a way with words, eh?

If something is not done about the rampant unemployment in this nation, the death of the middle class will accelerate.

Most Americans just assume that the United States will always have a large middle class, but there is no guarantee that is going to happen.  In fact, there is a whole lot of evidence that the middle class in America is rapidly shrinking.

Take a few moments to read over the facts compiled below.  Taken together, they provide compelling evidence that the working class is being systematically wiped out….

[Continued... (]

Title: Class War Without Mercy
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 22, 2011, 11:44:57 am
“There’s class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

-- Warren Buffet, New York Times, November 26, 2006

------------------------------- (

Class War Without Mercy
Vast wealth for those at the top, unemployment and poverty for the rest of society

by Gregory Elich


Global Research
July 23, 2011

One can never have too much money. In the U.S., the top one percent of the population rakes in almost a quarter of the national income and enjoys 40 percent of the wealth. That class sees this as a problem. It is not enough.

For ordinary workers, the recession brought only economic hardship. But for corporate America, it meant one thing: opportunity. This is the chance to permanently mold the economy into something approximating the Third World model: vast wealth and privilege for those at the top, and unemployment, falling wages, and inadequate or nonexistent social services for the rest of society.

The recession ended two years ago, yet more than nine percent of the population remains without work. If one takes into account discouraged workers and part-time workers wanting a full-time position, nearly one sixth of the workforce is underutilized. For people of African descent, the situation is even more dire, with unemployment approaching a rate twice as high. Yet, a jobs program has never been on lawmakers' agenda.

Instead, the trend has been to slash benefits at a time of heightened need, while simultaneously calling for more tax cuts for the wealthy. Deficits run up by the George W. Bush Administration and President Barack Obama have handed the right wing a cudgel to impose their will and discipline workers. President Obama needed no votes from Congress had he been willing to simply let the Bush tax cuts expire. By insisting on an unwinnable partial continuation of the tax cuts, Obama ensured that the entire package would remain in effect. At a time when the recession has caused a plunge in tax revenue, starving the government of funds when they are most needed is exacting a toll on the well being of the population, and opening the door for slashing benefits. According to the Congressional Budget Office, continuation of the Bush tax cuts through the year 2020 will contribute $3.3 trillion toward the national debt. This is money that would be better utilized in providing much needed social services and launching a real jobs program, assuming of course, the political will to do so - which has been noticeably lacking.

Add in the fact that the Bush Administration's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were mostly run on borrowed funds to the tune of $1.2 trillion. Take into consideration associated costs, and the total price tag on the Iraq and Afghan wars rises to at least $3.2 trillion, according to the Costs of War project. Those wars are still underway, chewing up resources, and for good measure President Obama has added a third war, in Libya. There is no end in sight for military adventurism, and the defense budget remains sacrosanct. For all the talk of budget cuts, this department remains immune. Indeed, the House of Representatives recently voted to boost the already bloated defense budget by an additional $17 billion.

What we get instead of a responsible and progressive tax policy or trimming of the defense budget is the steady drumbeat of debt panic, with loud demands to cut social services, shrink pensions and pay, and, oddly enough, provide additional tax reductions for the well-to-do. This debt panic has become the driving argument for a ferocious assault on workers. Class war is being waged, and sensing victory, the owning class is taking no prisoners.

[Continued... (]


Title: What privilege-worshipping right-wingers DON'T want you to know about tax cuts!
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 22, 2011, 11:46:50 am (

-------------------------------------- (

Tax Cuts for the Middle Class and Poor STIMULATE The Economy, But Tax Cuts for the Wealthy HURT The Economy

by Washington's Blog
Global Research
July 28, 2011

Extreme conservatives push for tax cuts ... but just for the wealthy.

Extreme liberals are against all tax cuts, believing that we need higher taxes to pay for government programs ... and that taxes somehow won't create any drag on the economy.

Both extremes are wrong.

In fact, tax cuts for the middle class and poor stimulate the economy, but tax cuts for the wealthy hurt the economy.

This is actually a very simple concept, although some politicians and economists unintentionally or intentionally muddy the waters.

As Ed Harrison notes ( today:


Bruce Bartlett, a Republican political appointee and domestic policy advisor to Ronald Reagan, points out that:

    Taxes were cut in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006.

    It would have been one thing if the Bush tax cuts had at least bought the country a higher rate of economic growth, even temporarily. They did not. Real G.D.P. growth peaked at just 3.6 percent in 2004 before fading rapidly. Even before the crisis hit, real G.D.P. was growing less than 2 percent a year...

    According to a recent C.B.O. report, they reduced revenue by at least $2.9 trillion below what it otherwise would have been between 2001 and 2011. Slower-than-expected growth reduced revenue by another $3.5 trillion.

    Spending was $5.6 trillion higher than the C.B.O. anticipated for a total fiscal turnaround of $12 trillion. That is how a $6 trillion projected surplus turned into a cumulative deficit of $6 trillion.

Bartlett offers this killer chart as a summary of the numbers:


If you recall, it was George W. Bush’s father, GWH Bush, who, when campaigning against Reagan, called supply side economics’ claims that tax cuts pay for themselves Voodoo Economics. And Bush was proved right when deficits spiralled out of control and both Reagan and Bush were forced to raise taxes.


The Bush tax cuts accrued disproportionately to the wealthy. The Tax Policy Center shows that 65 percent of the dollar value of the Bush tax cuts accrued to the top quintile, while 20 percent went to the top 0.1 percent of income earners.

If you want to talk about redistribution, there it is.


The New York Times reported ( in 2007:

    Families earning more than $1 million a year saw their federal tax rates drop more sharply than any group in the country as a result of President Bush’s tax cuts, according to a new Congressional study.

    The study, by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, also shows that tax rates for middle-income earners edged up in 2004, the most recent year for which data was available, while rates for people at the very top continued to decline.

    Based on an exhaustive analysis of tax records and census data, the study reinforced the sense that while Mr. Bush’s tax cuts reduced rates for people at every income level, they offered the biggest benefits by far to people at the very top — especially the top 1 percent of income earners.

The Economic Policy Institute reported ( in June:

    The Bush-era tax changes conferred disproportionate benefits to those at the top of the earnings distribution, exacerbating a trend of widening income inequality at a time of already poor wage growth.


    The top 1% of earners (making over $620,442) received 38% of the tax cuts. The lower 60% of filers (making less than $67,715) received less than 20% of the total benefit of Bush’s tax policies.


    The Bush-era tax cuts were designed to reduce taxes for the wealthy, and the benefits of faster growth were then supposed to trickle down to the middle class. But the economic impact of cutting capital gains rates and lowering the top marginal tax rates never materialized for working families. Inflation-adjusted median weekly earnings fell by 2.3% during the 2002-07 economic expansion, which holds the distinction for being the worst economic expansion since World War II.

This isn't complicated. Rampant inequality largely caused ( the Great Depression and the current economic crisis (and see this ( Cutting taxes on the middle and lower classes reduces inequality and stimulates the consumer economy. But cutting taxes for the wealthy reduces aggregate consumer demand (

As economics professor Robert Reich notes ( [.pdf]:

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Title: Neoliberalism's Newest Product: The Modern Slave Trade
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 22, 2011, 11:50:25 am
"Are there no prisons...or workhouses...or treadmills?" -- Ebenezer Scrooge

---------------------------- (

Neoliberalism's Newest Product: The Modern Slave Trade

by Ignacio Ramonet
Global Research
August 3, 2011

PARIS, Jul (IPS) Two centuries after the abolition of slavery we are seeing the reintroduction of an abominable practice: human trafficking. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that 12.3 million people each year are taken captive by networks tied to international crime and used as forced labour in inhuman conditions.

In the case of women, the victims are subjected mostly to sexual exploitation while others are exploited as domestic servants. There is also the case of youths who are taken captive through various scams so their body parts can be sold in the international human organ trade.

These practices are expanding more and more to satisfy the demand for cheap labour in sectors like the hotel and restaurant industries, agriculture, and construction.

The OSCE dedicated two days of its last international conference in Vienna in late June to this subject. Though the phenomenon is international, various specialists asserted that the plague of slave labour is growing rapidly in the EU. Unions and labour groups estimate that in Europe there are hundreds of thousands of workers subjected to the blight of slavery.

In Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, the UK, and other countries of the EU, foreign migrant workers attracted by the mirage of Europe find themselves trapped in the networks of various mafias and working in conditions like slaves of past ages. An ILO report reveals that south of Naples, for example, 1200 homeless farm labourers work twelve hours per day in greenhouses without contracts and for miserable pay, guarded by private militias and living in what resemble concentration camps.

This "work camp" is not the only one in Europe; thousands and thousands of undocumented immigrants have met similar fates, victims of a modern slave trade flourishing in any number of European countries. According to various unions, this form of forced labour accounts for almost 20 percent of agricultural production.

Responsibility for this expansion of human trafficking lies largely with the current dominant economic model. In effect, the form of neoliberal globalisation than has been imposed over the last three decades through economic shock therapy has devastated the most fragile levels of society and imposed extremely high social costs. It has created a fierce competition between labour and capital. In the name of free trade, the major multinationals manufacture and sell their goods around the world, producing where labour is cheapest and selling where the cost of living is highest. The new capitalism has made competitiveness its primary engine and brought about a commodification of labour and labourers.

Globalisation, which offers remarkable opportunities to a lucky few, imposes on the rest, in Europe, a ruthless and unmediated competition between EU salary workers, small businesses, and small farmers and their badly-paid, exploited counterparts on the other side of the world. The result we now see clearly before us: social dumping on a planetary scale.

For employment the result is disastrous. For example, in France in the last twenty years this phenomenon has caused the elimination of more than two million jobs in the industrial sector alone.

Certain sectors in Europe where there is a chronic shortage of labour tend to use undocumented workers, which in turn fuels the trafficking of more workers by clandestine networks that in many cases force them into slave labour. Numerous reports clearly evidence the "sale" migrant farm workers.

Despite the many tools of international law available to combat these crimes, and despite the proliferation of public statements by government officials condemning them, the public will to put an end to the practice is weak. In reality, the management of industry and construction and major agricultural exporters exert constant pressure on governments to turn a blind eye to the trafficking of undocumented workers.

Industry management has always supported mass immigration because it depresses the price of labour. Reports by the European Commission and BUSINESSEUROPE (an association of European industries and businesses) have called for more immigration for decades.

But today's human traffickers are not the only ones exploiting slave labour: now a form of "legal servitude" is being developed. For example, last February in Italy Fiat served its workers with the following extortionate ultimatum: either agree to work more, for less money, in worse conditions, or the company will shift operations to Eastern Europe. Faced with the prospect of being fired and terrorised by the conditions in Eastern Europe, with its rock bottom wages and no weekends off, 63 percent of the Fiat workers voted for their own exploitation.

In Europe many employers, taking advantage of the crisis and brutal fiscal adjustment policies being imposed, are trying to establish similar forms of "legal servitude".

[Continued... (]


I'm reminded of the following:

---------------------------- (


By Arthur J. Ogilvy


Suppose I own a sugar estate and 100 slaves, all the land about being held in the same way by people of the same class as myself.

It is a profitable business, but there are many expenses and annoyances attached to it.

I must keep up my supply of slaves either by buying or breeding them.

I must pay an overseer to keep them continually to their work with a lash. I must keep them in a state of brutish ignorance (to the detriment of their efficiency), for fear they should learn their rights and their power, and become dangerous.

I must tend them in sickness and when past work.

And the slaves have all the vices and defects that slavery engenders; they have no self-respect or moral sense; they lie, they steal, they are lazy, shirking work whenever they dare; they do not care what mischief their carelessness occasions me so long as it is not found out; their labor is obtained by force, and given grudgingly; they have no heart in it.

All these things worry me.

FLASH! ....

Suddenly a brilliant idea strikes me. I reflect that there is no unoccupied land in the neighbourhood, so that if my laborers were free they would still have to look to me for work somehow.

So one day I announce to them that they are all free, intimating at the same time I will be ready to employ as many as I may require on such terms as we may mutually and independently agree.

What could be fairer? They are overjoyed, and falling on their knees, bless me as their benefactor. Then they go away and have a jollification, and next day come back to me to arrange the new terms.


Most of them think they would like to have a piece of land and work it for themselves, and be their own masters. All they want is a few tools they have been accustomed to use, and some seed, and these they are ready to buy from me, undertaking to pay me with reasonable interest when the first crop comes in, offering the crop as security. As for their keep, they can easily earn that by working a few weeks on and off on any of the plantations, or by taking a job clearing or fencing, or such like. This will keep them going for the first year, and after that they will be better able to take care of themselves.


"But," softly I observe, "you are going too fast. Your proposals about the tools and seed and your maintenance are all right enough, but the land, you remember, belongs to me. You cannot expect me to give you your liberty and my own land for nothing. That would not be reasonable, would it?" They agree it would not, and begin to propose terms.

A fancies this bit of land, and B that. But it soon appears that I want this bit of land for my next year's clearing, and that for my cows, and another is too close to my house and would interfere with my privacy, and another is thick forest or swamps, and would require too long and costly preparation for me who must have quick returns in order to live, and in short that there is no land suitable that I care to part with.


Still I am ready to do what I promised — "to employ as many as I may require, on such terms as we may mutually and independently agree." But as I have now got to pay them wages instead of getting their work for nothing. I cannot of course employ all of them. I can find work for ninety of them, however, and with these I am prepared to discuss terms.

At once a number volunteered their services at such wages as their imagination had been picturing to them. I tell the ninety whose demands are most reasonable to stand on one side. The remaining ten look blank, and seeing that since I won't let them have any of the land, it is a question of hired employment or starvation, they offer to come for a little less than the others. I tell these now to stand aside, and ten others to stand out instead. These look blank now, and offer to work for less still, and so the "mutual and voluntary" settlement of terms proceeds.

But, meanwhile, I have been making a little calculation in my head, and have reckoned up what the cost of keeping a slave, with his food and clothes, and a trifle over to keep him contented, would come to, and I offer that.

They won't hear of it, but as I know they can't help themselves, I say nothing, and presently first one and then another gives in, till I have got my ninety, and still there are ten left out, and very blank indeed they look. Whereupon, the terms being settled, I graciously announce that though I don't really want any more men, still I am willing, in my benevolence, to take the ten, too, on the same terms, which they promptly accept, and again hail me as their benefactor, only not quite so rapturously as before.


So they all set to at the old work at the old place, and on the old terms, only a little differently administered; that is, that whereas I formerly supplied them with food, clothes, etc., direct from my stores, I now give them a weekly wage representing the value of those articles, which they will henceforth have to buy for themselves.

There is a difference, too, in some other respects, indicating a moral improvement in our relations. I can no longer curse and flog them. But then I don't want to; it's no longer necessary; the threat of dismissal is quite as effective, even more so; and much pleasanter for me.

I can no longer separate husband from wife, parent from child. But then again, I don't want to. There would be no profit in it; leaving them their wives and children has the double advantage of making them more contented with their lot, and giving me greater power over them, for they have now got to keep these wives and children out of their own earnings.

My men are now as eager as ever to come to me to work as they formerly were to run away from work. I have neither to buy or breed them; and if any suddenly leave me, instead of letting loose the bloodhounds, I have merely to hold up a finger or advertise, and I have plenty of others offering to take their place. I am saved the expense and worry of incessant watching and driving. I have no sick to attend, or worn-out pensioners to maintain. If a man falls ill there is nothing but my good nature to prevent my turning him off at once; the whole affair is a purely commercial transaction — so much wages for so much work. The patriarchal relation of slave-owner and slave is gone, and no other has taken its place. When the man is worn out with long service I can turn him out with a clear business conscience, knowing that the State will see that he does not starve.

Instead of being forced to keep my men in brutish ignorance, I find public schools established at other people's expense to stimulate their intelligence and improve their minds, to my great advantage, and their children compelled to attend these schools. The service I get, too, being now voluntarily rendered (or apparently so) is much improved in quality. In short, the arrangement pays me better in many ways.


But I gain in other ways besides pecuniary benefit. I have lost the stigma of being a slave driver, and have, acquired instead the character of a man of energy and enterprise, of justice and benevolence. I am a "large employer of labour," to whom the whole country, and the labourer especially, is greatly indebted, and people say, "See the power of capital! These poor labourers, having no capital, could not use the land if they had it, so this great and far-seeing man wisely refuses to let them have it, and keeps it all for himself, but by providing them with employment his capital saves them from pauperism, and enables him to build up the wealth of the country, and his own fortune together."

Whereas it is not my capital that does any of these things. lt is not my capital but the labourer's toil that builds up my fortune and the wealth of the country.

It is not my employment that keeps him from pauperism, but my monopoly of the land forcing him into my employment that keeps him on the brink of it. It is not want of capital that keeps the labourer from using the land, but my refusing him the use of the land that prevents him from acquiring capital. All the capital he wants to begin with is an axe and a spade, which a week's earnings would buy him, and for his maintenance during the first year, and at any subsequent time, he could work for me or for others, turnabout, with his work on his own land. Henceforth with every year his capital would grow of itself, and his independence with it, and that this is no fancy sketch, anyone can see for himself by taking a trip into the country, where he will find well-to-do farmers who began with nothing but a spade and an axe (so to speak) and worked their way up in the manner described.


But now another thought strikes me. Instead of paying an overseer to work these men for me, I will make him pay me for the privilege of doing it. I will let the land as it stands to him or to another — to whomsoever will give the most for the billet. He shall be called my tenant instead of my overseer, but the things he shall do for me are essentially the same, only done by contract instead of for yearly pay. He, not I, shall find all the capital, take all the risk, and engage and supervise the men, paying me a lump sum, called rent, out of the proceeds of their toil, and make what he can for himself out of the surplus.

The competition is as keen in its way for the land, among people of his class, as it is among the labourers for employment, only that as they are all possessed of some little means (else they could not compete) they are in no danger of immediate want, and can stand out for rather better terms than the labourers, who are forced by necessity to take what terms they can get.

The minimum in each case amounts practically to a "mere living", but the mere living they insist on is one of a rather higher standard than the labourers'; it means a rather more abundant supply and better quality of those little comforts which are next door to necessaries. It means, in short, a living of a kind to which people of that class are accustomed.

For a moderate reduction in my profits, then — a reduction equal to the tenant's narrow margin of profit — I have all the toil and worry of management taken off my hands, and the risk too, for be the season good or bad, the rent is bound to be forthcoming, and I can sell him up to the last rag if he fails of the full amount, no matter for what reason; and my rent takes precedence of all other debts.

All my capital is set free for investment elsewhere, and I am freed from the odium of a slave owner, notwithstanding that the men still toil for my enrichment as when they were slaves, and that I get more out of them than ever.

If I wax rich while they toil from hand to mouth, and in depressed seasons find it hard to get work at all; it is not, to all appearances, my doing, but merely the force of circumstances, the law of nature, the state of the labour market — fine sounding names that hide the ugly reality.

If wages are forced down it is not I that do it; it is that greedy and merciless man the employer (my tenant) who does it. I am a lofty and superior being, dwelling apart and above such sordid considerations. I would never dream of grinding these poor labourers, not I! I have nothing to do with them at all; I only want my rent -- and get it. Like the lilies of the field, I toil not, neither do I spin, and yet (so kind is Providence!) my daily bread (well buttered) comes to me of itself. Nay, people bid against each other for the privilege of finding it for me; and no one seems to realise that the comfortable income that falls to me like the refreshing dew is dew indeed; but it is the dew of sweat wrung from the labourers' toil. It is the fruit of their labour which they ought to have; which they would have if I did not take it from them.

This sketch illustrates the fact that chattel slavery is not the only nor even the worst form of bondage. When the use of the earth — the sole source of our daily bread — is denied unless one pays a fellow creature for permission to use it, people are bereft of economic freedom. The only way to regain that freedom is to collect the rent of land ( instead of taxes for the public domain.

Once upon a time, labour leaders in the USA, the UK and Australia understood these facts. The labour movements of those countries were filled with people who fought for the principles of 'the single tax (' on land at the turn of the twentieth century. But since then, it has been ridiculed, and they have gradually yielded to the forces of privilege and power — captives of the current hegemony — daring no longer to come to grips with this fundamental question, lest they, too, become ridiculed.

And so the world continues to wallow in this particular ignorance — and in its ensuing poverty and debt.


Title: S&P's: Just More Corrupt Wall Street Insiders Waging Class War on America
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 22, 2011, 11:52:45 am
“There’s class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

-- Warren Buffet, New York Times, November 26, 2006

--------------------------- (

Standard and Poor's: Just More Corrupt Wall Street Insiders Waging Class War on America

By Joshua Holland
August 7, 2011

Standard and Poor's decision to downgrade our public debt (;+filename=US_Downgraded_AA+.pdf&blobheadername2=Content-Disposition&blobheadervalue1=application/pdf&blobkey=id&blobheadername1=content-type&blobwhere=1243942957443&blobheadervalue3=UTF-8) [.pdf] tells us absolutely nothing about the probability of the federal government meeting its future obligations. The move really only offers us some compelling evidence of the corruption eating away at the foundations of yet another key Wall Street institution.

I should say that it offers us additional evidence. According to a Senate investigation concluded earlier this year — a probe that was greeted with a collective "ho-hum" by the corporate media — S&P and Moody's, another leading agency, “issued the AAA ratings that made ... mortgage backed securities ... seem like safe investments, helped build an active market for those securities, and then, beginning in July 2007, downgraded the vast majority of those AAA ratings to junk status.” And when they did, it “precipitated the collapse of the [mortgage-backed securities] markets and, perhaps more than any other single event, triggered the financial crisis. (PDF (”

According to the Senate investigation, in the years leading up to crash, “warnings about the massive problems in the mortgage industry” — including internal warnings from their own analysts — had been ignored because of the “the inherent conflict of interest arising from the system used to pay for credit ratings” — the big “rating agencies were paid by the Wall Street firms” that were making a fortune selling that glossed-up garbage to credulous investors.

The almost surreal irony here is that it was the economic crisis that the ratings agencies facilitated which led to a massive drop in tax revenues, and it was that, more than any other single factor, which caused the large deficits the federal government has been running in recent years. In other words, the agencies themselves played a pivotal role in driving up the national debt. Yet, rather than doing the honorable thing and throwing themselves out of their high-rise windows in the wake of the crash, S&P's management had the nerve to start playing politics with that very same debt.

At the height of the debate over raising the debt ceiling, the elite ratings agency issued a remarkable warning: The firm said that it would downgrade U.S. treasuries even if the limit were raised. The only way the government could avoid such a move, the agency warned, was for Congress to rubber-stamp the ostensibly “balanced,” $4 trillion debt-reduction package — one that included largely unspecified “entitlement reforms” — that Barack Obama had offered the GOP (S&P insisted that it didn't favor any specific policy approach, but it did specify a “balanced approach” worth $4 trillion shortly after Obama floated the proposal).

Congress eventually raised the limit in exchange for a lesser figure of up to $2.7 trillion worth of deficit reduction, and late Friday, after the markets were safely closed and the world's traders had headed home for the weekend, S&P shot its hostage.

[Continued... (]


Title: The World's Money Is Draining Away ... Where's It Going?
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 22, 2011, 11:54:37 am (

The World's Money Is Draining Away ... Where's It Going?

by Washington's Blog


Global Research
August 12, 2011


Spiegel asks (

    "Is The World Going Bankrupt?"

That is an odd question.

If some people are losing money, others must be gaining money, right?

But where is all the money going?


Bloomberg's Jonathan Weil hints ( at the answer in a post entitled "Is There Enough Money on Earth to Save the Banks?"

    Two years ago the central planners convinced investors that the biggest surviving financial institutions would be able to earn their way back to health, in part through low interest rates and taxpayer support. The pressing question soon may be whether there is enough money on the planet to save the system as we know it, and if so, how much longer it will be before a crisis comes along that finally swamps the ability of governments to contain it.

    One-hit wonders such as Fed-induced stock-market rallies can induce euphoria momentarily. They don’t fix the big problem.


As I've previously noted (, the giant banks are drawing the American and world economy down into a black hole. If we don't break up the giant banks now, they'll be bailed out again and again, and virtually all independent economists and financial experts say that will drag the world economy down with them.

Indeed, many economists and financial experts say that we'll have a never-ending depression ( or perpetual zombification unless the banks and bondholders are forced to write down their debt.

But the question remains: if all of the world's money (of the Western world, anyway) is draining out, where's it going to?


Economists note (

    A substantial portion of the profits of the largest banks is essentially a redistribution from taxpayers to the banks, rather than the outcome of market transactions.

Indeed, all of the monetary and economic policy of the last 3 years has helped the wealthiest and penalized everyone else. See this (, this ( and this (

A "jobless recovery" is basically a redistribution of wealth from the little guy to the big boys (

The Bush tax cuts and failure to enforce corporate taxes also redistribute wealth to the top 1%. See this ( and this (

Economist Steve Keen says (

    "This is the biggest transfer of wealth in history", as the giant banks have handed their toxic debts from fraudulent activities to the countries and their people.

Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz said ( in 2009 that Geithner's toxic asset plan "amounts to robbery of the American people".

And economist Dean Baker said ( in 2009 that the true purpose of the bank rescue plans is "a massive redistribution of wealth to the bank shareholders and their top executives".

The money of individuals, businesses, cities, states and entire nations are disappearing into the abyss ...


... and ending up in the pockets of the top .1% richest people (

Title: Thousands Camp Out for Job Fair as Jobless Rate Rises
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 22, 2011, 12:07:36 pm
One of the key reasons why ruling-class parasites are having such a ridiculously easy time economically ass-raping the masses is that We the People have yet to unite politically (,368.0.html) against them.

And one of the key reasons a critical mass of us have yet to unite is that far too many of our fellow citizens are too busy looking down their snooty little noses at whoever happens to be further down the economic ladder than they are at the moment.

For instance, how many times have you heard some blame-the-victim-firster wax self-righteous about what "lazy deadbeats" welfare (,374.0.html) recipients are -- as if to say that, contrary to reality, there are not far fewer job openings than there are people in need of employment?

Until enough of us stop looking for excuses to blame the victims of economic terrorism (,368.msg1066.html#msg1066) instead of the terrorists themselves, it will be business as usual for the parasitic (,430.0.html) ruling elite, and will consequently be just a matter of time before practically all of us are in a bitter, demoralizing struggle for mere survival, not just the bottom 40% ( (

Thousands Camp Out for Job Fair as Jobless Rate Rises

ABC News
August 19, 2011

Thousands of unemployed waited overnight, camping out in their business suits and office heels and braving the tormenting heat in Atlanta to stand in line for a job fair Thursday. Authorities treated 20 people for heat exhaustion as they struggled to keep the line moving and get people moved inside.

The incredible turnout at the job fair comes on the heels of the state labor commissioner’s announcement that Georgia’s jobless rate rose.

The state unemployment rate increased to 10.1 percent in July from the 9.9 percent in June. The unemployment rate for African-Americans stands at 15.9 percent, far above the national rate of 9.1 percent.

July marks the 48th consecutive month that Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate.

Full story here (

Title: New Reality For Many Baby Boomers Will Be To Work As Wage Slaves Until They Die
Post by: Geolibertarian on August 22, 2011, 12:09:19 pm (

New Reality For Many Baby Boomers Will Be To Work As Wage Slaves Until They Drop Dead

The Economic Collapse
Aug 22, 2011


All over America tonight, millions of elderly Americans are wondering if their money is going to run out before it is time for them to die.  Those that are now past retirement age are not going to be rioting in the streets, but that doesn’t mean that large numbers of them are not deeply suffering.  There are millions of elderly Americans that are leading lives of “quiet desperation” as they try to get by on meager fixed incomes.  Many are surviving on Ramen noodles, oatmeal, peanut butter or whatever other cheap food they can find in the stores.  There are some that are so short on cash that they will not turn on the heat in their homes until things get really desperate.  As health care costs soar, millions of elderly Americans find themselves deep in debt and facing huge medical bills that they cannot possibly pay.  A lot of older Americans would go back to work if they could, but jobs are scarce and very few companies seem to even want to consider hiring them.  Right now caring for all of the Americans that have already retired is turning out to be an overwhelming challenge, and things are about to get a whole lot worse.  On January 1st, 2011 the very first Baby Boomers turned 65.  A massive tsunami of retirees is coming, and America is not ready for it.

Sadly, most retirees have not adequately prepared for retirement.  For many, the recent economic downturn absolutely devastated their retirement plans.  Many were counting on the equity in their homes, but the recent housing crash ( crushed those dreams.  Others had their 401ks shredded by the stock market.

Meanwhile, corporate pension plans all across America are vastly underfunded.  Many state and local government pension programs are absolute disasters.  The federal government has already begun to pay out significantly more in Social Security benefits than they are taking in, and the years ahead are projected to be downright apocalyptic for the Social Security program.

So needless to say, things do not look good for the Baby Boomers that are now approaching retirement age.

The following are 21 signs that the new reality for many Baby Boomers will be to work as wage slaves ( until they drop dead….

[Continued... (]

Title: Re: How do we eliminate the paradox of poverty & privation amid plenty & abundance?
Post by: Rebelitarian on August 24, 2011, 07:38:12 pm
Yeah but did any of these @$$-clowns think to vote for Chuck Baldwin in 2008 ?   >:(

Probably not,   >:(

Now they've forgotten hope and are just looking for change.    ;D