Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Peak Middle Class

Before I get into my "Peak Middle Class" diatribe...

The markets have been doing their best to make me look dumb.  Happens all the time.  

I cannot imagine how the Fed's admission that they cannot raise rates has caused the recent rally in the U.S. $ and the massive decline in commodity prices of late.  No clue.  I know the market is always right, so when it stops making sense, you have got to just get out of the way.  Energy equities have cratered while banks have surged.  In this regard, I take my hat off to the Fed.  I thought they were powerless and clearly I was wrong.  The old saying "don't fight the Fed" is ringing in my ears at the moment.  Some of the energy equities might deserve their new valuation.  The Big Oil Co's, the ones that can't seem to say the words "Peak Oil" but keep missing their production numbers - they don't look like great long term investments at the moment.  Not that they might not have "trading buy" stamped all over them...

Usually things that don't make sense don't last very long in the markets.  Investors, by and large, are for the most part pretty sharp.  But things don't change over night, either.  Also, Oil seems to move EVERYTHING in the commodity complex.  

Speaking of Oil... why would Oil for delivery in 2016 be $4 lower than Oil for delivery next month?  If you believe in "Peak Oil" opportunities abound.


In doing my usual reading it occurred to me that the "Peak" is probably in for the Middle Class ("MC").  Pretty simple really.  In the U.S. the population of people unemployed, seeking government assistance, losing their homes, (the SOL) etc... is increasing and their numbers are coming out of another demographic - the MC.  In an environment of declining Oil imports into the OECD countries, and the U.S. in particular, will this population ever be able to reverse that trend?  NAFC.  

There are not enough "Rich" falling into the MC to make up for the MC's that fall into the SOL.  
The political implications could not be more stark.

Folks in the SOL are going to demand services.  Extended unemployment, Medicaid, Food Assistance, etc... from state governments that have over promised retirement pension and healthcare benefits to current and retired state employees.  These 2 groups are populated with "Believers" that the State can and will provide.  

Taxes to fund this mess come from the MC.  Didn't we just agree that they their numbers are shrinking?  So now we have an EXPANDING group of VOTERS that fully EXPECT that their new Lord will provide, and a decreasing group of VOTERS that are expected to work harder to pay their "fair share", even though they cannot make ends meet.  

This is going to be interesting.  


I live in Florida, and we have a law here called the "Stand your ground" law.  Simply stated the law says that individuals do not have a duty to retreat when threatened or confronted.  And that if they feel threatened they can use force to neutralize the threat - including deadly force.  Forget for a moment whether you agree or not... that is the LAW OF THE LAND.

Stay with me, I am going somewhere with this...

OK so far? Stay with me...

So far no witnesses have come forward. We have no idea what might have happened in this incident.  I already mentioned that Florida has a "Stand your ground" law.  Now, I do not wish to speak ill of the dead, and I have NO IDEA what transpired, but isn't it possible that the Customs Agent bullied or threatened the other man?  Are Law Enforcement personnel perfect?Come on, they suffer from alcoholism, divorce, depression, etc... to greater degree than the general population.  Are they above the law?  (Well, yes, but that's not the point...)

Stay with me...

If you or I had been shot in this incident, would the government mobilize a 200 HUNDRED MAN DRAGNET and 2 Black Hawk helicopters?  Not a F%$##!!! chance.  Is this Customs Agent more important than you or me?  Does have special rights?  You bet he does.  He is the GOVERNMENT.  He has STATUS.  He was not killed in the line of duty.  He was shot in an argument at the post office... Maybe he had a little anger problem, who knows?  

So here is my point.

Our Federal, State, and local governments are bleeding from every orifice in the body politic. Do you have any idea how much this 200 man mobilization cost the tax payers?  If it was, in fact, a crime by all means law enforcement should attempt to apprehend the perpetrator.  And if these 200 members of Law Enforcement wish to volunteer their time to get the bad guy that killed their friend, by all means, I would applaud their effort.  IF, IN FACT he is a "bad guy", and was not simply defending himself from a bigger, more aggressive threat in the parking lot at the post office.  Either way, I wouldn't give 50/50 odds he gets taken alive...

I would be very willing to wager a significant amount of money that if this was an unpaid venture, their would be a handful of volunteers, not 200.

Government has an open purse of tax payer money and no one is managing the cost/benefit analysis.  New roads are going in, even though total vehicle miles are down. Money is being thrown at Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, GM, Ford, this, that and the other thing.

And not ONE of these powers that be gives a rat's ass about you.  Go ahead, get shot at the post office.  We will SEE how many government employees are out looking for the "bad guy".

Yours for a better (where Federal Agents are no more important than you and me) world,

Mentatt (at) yahoo (d0t) com


Anonymous said...

Can you say "Police State"?

The point of such an overkill response (200 man dragnet) is to impress upon the public who has the power. (Do as you are told or spend a night in the box...)
Anyone who is even thinking about resisting the Fascist State will be surrounded by SWAT teams and shot full of holes.
Wait till some hapless NRA champion gets crosswise with our new and improved "Law Enforcement Community" - is it too late to invest in bullet maker's stock?

Anonymous said...

The Local Cops,County,state and any Federal Agent of any agency are all part of the same Facist new government that the Riechstag in the district of corruption has printed up money to pay for. The FEDs are the new SS and KGB. Wonder where all those nazi's went? Right here baby...READ Martin Borman and the Fourth Reich.

Anonymous said...

As a (non-regulating, bureaucratic) Federal employee, I think there are laws on the books that make it a "special" crime to kill certain Feds, including such mission-critical jobs as chicken inspectors (.... Hahahaha!! I'm sorry, I had to stop for a minute ....), and you bet that as long as we can still sign checks, we are going to throw everything we can into finding any Federal employee killer (and putting down any insurrection) whereever it exists, whether it is on our soil or not. $10-15 trillion in national debt? A mere bag of shells. Hell, we'll spend whatever it takes to keep government intact and funtioning. So, all you top 10% of income earners (paying 67% of Federal income tax): just shut up, give us your credit card, and walk away. (I can't wait till guns become legal in Chicago again!!) :)

Anonymous said...

I give You mr 826 your typical federal nazi, Any Insurrection... like the Declaration of Indepenance and Revolutional War. Typical Federalie, Nazi SS thinking. WE own your ass and you are our slave

Anonymous said...

(Ahem, on another topic from this post),

At the Federal level, the individual income taxes are heavily skewed. The top 1% of income earners pay 50% of the Federal income taxes. The top 10% pay 67% of the income taxes, or something like that. That may also be the case for the state income taxes. So, as long as there are rich people, the ones who pay all the taxes, all the benefits that Americans demand will be fully funded, by "taxing the rich" or by borrowing from feeble-minded foreigners. Your benefits, the ones that that you demand from your government, benefits that Mr. Jeffers is so afraid of disappearing, will continue to come. No worries.

Anonymous said...

Florida is home to the US Customs entrapment program, where they lure the unsuspecting buyers of restricted items to a false export front. I know - I was asked to be a part of this, risking my life in the process. I turned these motherfuckers down flat and they got even by trying to fuck me over.

That does not necessarily mean that the killed agent was up to no good -- however, from what I learned from US Customs, these bastards are all dirty, all evil and all trying to screw somebody over. They believe they are little gods with big dicks and pistols -- well fuck them, fuck all of them. I'm so angry I could spit nails to this day.

In this experience, which was pure hell on earth, I have no sympathy at all for any US Customs agent. Asking for my sympathy after the shit they've pulled is not going to happen.

There was a recent story where they got someone killed, but I don't have a link for it.

Anonymous said...

Pardon me .... I was mistaken

The top 1% of income earners in the U.S. pay 25% (not 50%) of the Federal income taxes. The top 20% of income earners (not 10%) pay 67% of the Federal income taxes.


Anonymous said...

Warren Buffet reports to paying lower taxes than his hired help, while corporations pay almost nothing.
How does that square with your cockamamie "the rich pay the taxes" theory?

Anonymous said...

The rich, all together, when they aren't busy hiding their wealth off-shore or in some kind of dodgy tax shelter, do indeed pay a LOT of Federal income tax. This isn't hard to confirm. The overwhelming majority of households in America are retired, poor, families with (tax-deductible) children, people with disabilities, homeowners (another tax-deduction) and various other groups that pay little income tax (you've seen the articles about families that pay more in social security tax than income tax). If the Federal government collects a trillion dollars in individual tax revenue a year (of about $2.5 trillion total), who do you think pays it all in? The Israelis? No, the rich people do, including overpaid bureaucrats like me (I send in $9,000 myself). You wouldn't believe what I do for my $90,000 a year. :) And the rich will be around forever, so government benefits will be around forever. I can find better numbers if you like.

Anonymous said...

I've also noticed the tendency for courts to pass tougher sentences on "cop killers" which suggests that a cop's life is more valuable than my own.