Thursday, September 20, 2012

Lies, Lies, and more Lies

America's innumeracy is a tremendous benefit to the various political factions.

Radical Feminist Stephanie Coontz had this to say about marriage/divorce and its effects on poverty.

Another Feminist (this one with the benefit of a brain - and children) Diana Furchtgott-Roth, had this to say.

If you read closely, Furchtgott-Roth Contradicts much of what Dimwit-Coontz had to say on the relationship between family structure and income (the rest of Coontz's socialist/worker's party nonsense  is not even worth considering. That this miscreant gets any access to the media at all is very telling - and distressing). Which article got the most mileage in the media this campaign season?

The never ending manipulation of heterosexual women by the Gay women's political faction in the media never ends. And it never contemplates truth - only what can facts be stretched to support their original contentions.


In addition to his now famous 47% quote, Mitt Romey also had this to say at that same fund raiser:

[The] former head of Goldman Sachs, John Whitehead, was also the former head of the New York Federal Reserve. And I met with him, and he said as soon as the Fed stops buying all the debt that we're issuing—which they've been doing, the Fed's buying like three-quarters of the debt that America issues. He said, once that's over, he said we're going to have a failed Treasury auction, interest rates are going to have to go up. We're living in this borrowed fantasy world, where the government keeps on borrowing money. You know, we borrow this extra trillion a year, we wonder who's loaning us the trillion? The Chinese aren't loaning us anymore. The Russians aren't loaning it to us anymore. So who's giving us the trillion? And the answer is we're just making it up. The Federal Reserve is just taking it and saying, "Here, we're giving it." It's just made up money, and this does not augur well for our economic future. You know, some of these things are complex enough it's not easy for people to understand, but your point of saying, bankruptcy usually concentrates the mind.

I am embarrassed that I had not picked up on the amount of 10 to 30 year maturity paper that the Federal Reserve has been purchasing from the Treasury. If that 91% is accurate, I can tell you that we are in for some type of monetary/financial disaster much sooner than anyone expected. Not days and weeks, but not decades, either.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Failure of Everything III

As anyone that has been reading my blog knows, 46 million + Americans are receiving food assistance from the Federal Government - up from 17.2 million in 2000 and 25.7 million in 2005 - the year that Oil "consumption" (read: availability) peaked in the U.S.

The "average" food stamp (food stamps has been renamed SNAP, but everyone keeps calling it food stamps, so I will, too) receiving household, if there is such a thing, is a 3 person household consisting of a single mother and 2 children under the age of 18. While the maximum benefit for this 3 person family is $526, the average is only $401.

That doesn't seem to be enough to feed a family of 3 to me.

Let's say that its summer time. The kids are not in school so there is no chance that a meal will be provided outside of the home. 3 people eating 3 meals per day (without a snack or a drink in between? In what universe does that happen with kids?) with an average of 30.5 days each month is 275 meals (rounding up). How does that happen with an average benefit of $401? That's $1.46 per meal.

Look, I guess it must be possible because that's what the deal is and I don't read about many malnutrition deaths in the media. I don't see how that these kids (and their mothers) are being fed a nutritious, well balanced diet.

Our family of 4, with 2 adults and two little kids (the big kid is off at college - when he was home for the summer I am sure that he ate as much as the rest of us combined) spends over $400 per month on fresh fruit and veggies alone (mostly fresh fruit; one of the reasons I put in the soft fruit patch. Not that it helped this year. The softs got murdered in the heat wave and we lost our peach crop to a late frost and apples and pears to the drought), and we grow as much food as the season will allow and never have to buy meat, dairy, eggs, and potatoes. I estimate we spend another couple of hundred bucks monthly on stuff we cannot produce on the farm: pasta, sugar, flour, rice, olive oil, tuna, etc... 

So how does the "average" family do it?  (Besides the fact that they don't "do it". Invariable, people in this type of distress will engage in all manner of unsavory activities to put food on the table. It is ever so much easier to be "moral" and "ethical" when in possession of a fat bank account)

They do it with starchy, cheap, processed, and nasty food stuffs. Obviously, Food Stamp beneficiaries are getting enough calories. Are they getting proper nutrition? Not a shot. In fact, I think the government spends more money per meal on prison food.

So... what's the plan?

The plan is to extend these "benefits" to others. In 12 years the U.S. has gone from 17 million to over 46 million individuals receiving food assistance. So what's the exit plan? There isn't one. There is no plan to help these people to become self-sufficient in any way. There is no plan to incentivize them to build and keep strong families and a semblance of some social structure. The plan is to keep doing this while food becomes more and more expensive for a number of reasons beyond our control at a time when everyone agrees that our government's spending is going to blow the system sky high if not reigned in.

And the "middle class" has one foot inside the threshold of needing food assistance... and their other foot is on a banana peel.

Am I missing something?

This is your Federal Government (thru the USDA) and your Supreme Court (one of the many, many unintended consequences of the most bone headed decision in the f***ing history of stupid, bone headed decisions) in action. The USDA has created an environment that protects the oligopoly of the big 4 meat "packers", a FUBAR dairy system, and King Corn. The result? There is simply not enough of the fruits and vegetables that the f***ing USDA recommends every American eat everyday to provide each and every American with 20% of the USDA's recommendation

Why f***ing not??!!

From the above link:

The committee also grappled with one of the third rails of American politics: farm policy. Price-support programs for wheat, cotton and other commodity crops prohibit participating farmers from planting fruits and vegetables on land enrolled in those programs. Partly as a result, U.S. farms do not produce enough fresh produce for all Americans to eat the recommended amounts, and the IOM panel calls for removing that ban.

It is hard to communicate to you just how much of an understatement that quote really is.

Because of their f***ed up farm and food "safety" regulations - the vast majority of which were written by the food industry, for the benefit of the food industry, and with complete disregard for The People.

Just like the regs for housing, mortgages, student loans, credit cards, etc... all of the regs for these industries were written for the industry by the industry.

Everything that our State governments and Federal Government has done since FDR was to increase the tax base. The government wanted you to commute to work so you would buy a house with a mortgage (to support the building and banking industry), wear out your car (to support the Auto, Steel, Glass, and Rubber industries) and buy gas (because a large portion of gasoline is tax, and before 1970, to support the domestic energy industry). Everything was done to increase tax receipts.

The government wanted you to work for a big box store/corporation. Collecting taxes from Walmart, Home Depot, Staples, Loews, et al is ever so much easier to administrate (and collect in full) than from Mom & Pop grocery, hardware, office supply in every village, town, and city in the U.S. Hey, they needed the money, because as we aged and lived longer the AARP set became enormously powerful and the last 2 generations of white head/q-tips (the elderly) have enslaved their children with outrageous payroll taxes to fund 30 years of idleness in retirement - and to maintain the healthcare industry at 18% of GDP.

And now what? The People cannot serve 2 masters. Food and Energy are competing with State and Federal (taxes) and the system is straining like never before. What if last year's drought is the beginning of an extended drought weather pattern? What if Saudi Arabia is the next regime to go down in the Middle East and the new boss is not interested in selling Oil as fast as possible? What if... there are a lot of "what ifs". If a "what if" were to happen now, are we going to have 100 million people on food assistance (that would be 1/3 of The People)? In an environment like that, who would bother paying their mortgage?

Thank G-d, our fearless hero at the Fed is going to buy back all of the mortgage paper because ain't nobody gonna be paying on that paper.

-to be continued...


Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Failure of Everything - Part II

Watching the slow motion train wreck of the post tech bubble/9.11.01 period one might be tempted to place the blame on but a few "evil doers" and move on.

So let me point out some propaganda that somebody continues to promulgate fast and furious.

Please read this absurd piece from David Brooks of the New York Times about "Men Failing".

Then read this absurd piece from Allison Linn of Today as presented on the front page of MSNBC about women not receiving equal pay.

Please note the dates of these nonsensical agitprops! Both articles appeared within a few days of each other. So which is it? Are men failing? Or are men still taking advantage of women in the work place and out earning women for equal work?

While the mathematical fact is that these 2 outcomes are what would be known as "mutually exclusive events" - outcomes that preclude the possibility of the other - the real world fact is that BOTH of these articles are shameless examples of horse sh#! doctrine.

"Men" are not failing. Minority men are failing (and not all minority men, but enough of a concentration of failure to skew the data). Of course, Feminists cannot and must not offend the other members of their victim coalition... so it is "Men" that are failing.

"Women" are not being paid less than "Men" for equal pay. Are Supreme Court Justices paid differently based on gender? How about the janitors mopping the floors at the Supreme Court? Is there any gender compensation difference anywhere in government? Isn't government, all levels, the largest employer in the U.S.?

Of course men make more money than women, and it has far less to do with childrearing than is being promulgated in the propagamedia. College educations are not all created equal. Engineers make more than any other undergrad degree. 5 out of 6 engineers are men. Any questions? Look, we have credentialed all manner of jobs and "careers" that simply do not require 4 years of training. Women earn 5 out of 6 Social worker degrees and 9 out of 10 elementary education degrees. These fields simply do not pay as much as engineering because in the mart of competitive commerce the market has judged them to be worth less. The number of licensed skilled tradesmen has the same unbalanced outcome. The number of small businesses created by men far exceed the number of small business created by women. Should we ignore this data?

But never mind the f*&^ing reality. This ain't about reality. This is about politics. And in politics, women are mopping the floor with men. The Democrats are about to wipe the floor with the Republicans in the upcoming election. What should have been a cake walk for the Republicans is turning into an embarrassment. The Republicans are winning the male vote by an 8% margin. The Democrats are winning the female vote by a 12% margin. Given that registered voters are over 52% female it doesn't take a degree in astro-physics engineering (over 90% male) to see where this is going. The question is how we got here.

The answer is propaganda.

The Left through their owned media has done a number on women. Women actually believe the unequal pay story. They believe it in a religious sense. The data does not support the contention but I have found that it is absolutely impossible to have a rational discussion about this with any true believer (female). Please! Feel free to take me to task. Show me the money/data! I have zero fear, because the data is not there, but I will receive absolutely no takers because the believers, once they have become believers, do not bother with pesky sh#! like actual data. "This is "true", you are a sexist @$$hole, and I am voting Democratic because I hate you and everything you stand for." Welcome to propaganda's effect on Democracy.

The Republicans are not only going to loose the White House, they are not going to take the Senate in an election where of the 33 seats up for election, 22 are Democrat and 11 are Republican, and at a time where real unemployment is 15%+ and incomes are falling.

Propaganda is a hell of a thing.

And it never, ever ends.

Radical Feminism is dominated by folks that have little need for contraception, yet they have, incredibly, convinced women who are eventually going to marry and have a family that they speak for all women. Gay men have little to nothing in common with me, my concerns, or my issues. Why do Gay women presume to speak for straight women, and how is that straight women have aligned themselves politically with this faction?

With more propaganda.

Women are victims. All sex is rape. All men are rapists. 25% of all women have been raped! Radical Feminists/Gay Women came up with this unbelievable propaganda program, all of it lies, and convinced enough people to dominate the political process! What would the American Body Politic look like if a significant percentage of women did not believe these lies?

What's this have to do with the failure of all things financial? Stay tuned. I am getting there.

(When I have time I will dismantle Stephanie Coontz and her silly rant, linked above, in detail.)

Friday, September 14, 2012

THe Failure of Everything (Financial)

What we witnessed yesterday was the capitulation of the establishment and the admission to the failure of Keynesianism in general and the Federal Reserve System/Fractional Reserve Banking in particular.

"Nothing" is working because "nothing" cannot work without increases in Oil supplies.

The Fed's governors are in full and public panic - and panicking won't do a bit of good. The last thing we need right now is further debasement of the currency and furthering coddling of the elite.

Which raises a good question: What should the Fed/Government do?

To which I would respond: What has the Fed/Government done in response to any issue in the past that did any good? There is this sense that "we" need to do "something". Anything. Perhaps, but I don't think so.

Just for the record, I am not completely on board with Ron Paul et al's cry for a return to the gold standard. HOWEVER -

In 1971 the U.S. came off the gold standard and ended the Bretton Woods Agreement - and the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Since the end of that system the American banking system has endeavored to expand the money supply and the use of credit to ensnare every American in a web/cell of debt and wage slavery to their debts. It got off to a slow start... but that was because of the Oil shocks of 1973 and 1979. Once the North Slope and North Sea got to meaningful production it was off to the races. Wall Street and the Banksters "securitized" everything. Do you know what "securitized" means? It means to lend money to someone against some asset the loss of which would motivate the borrower to work and pay back the loan. The "securitize" boyz were in the business of constantly loading the citizen(ry) (a moniker that would be replaced with "consumer") with debt - for larger houses, vacation homes, expensive cars, boats, yachts, private jets (notice: not for piano lessons for the kids)... and with the help of their brethren in the advertising industry there was no limit to what they could conjure into a "need" - well, with the exception of peace of mind.

Now the boyz working at getting people into debt were making an awful lot of money installing that debt and then trading the debt about - moving bites around a screen in a rigged market (not talking about the stock market which is fairly transparent - I am talking about the CDO/MBS/JUNK markets which were about as clear as pea soup and as foul as raw sewage) in the air-conditioned comfort of a palace fit for a Master of the Universe who, in reality, wasn't competent enough to sell copiers door to door and if called onto the carpet couldn't find his @$$ with both hands (equity geeks like me don't think much of bond guys... and why would we? Since 1981 or so, when 30 Year Treasury yields were 15% and mortgages were 21% these guys operated in a shooting-fish-in-a-barrel market. These arrogant  c@#& s%$ers pompously confused brains with the biggest bull market in bonds of all time and forever. Of course, we did, too, until 2000 rolled around).

But that was the system! The U.S. had decided through policy and through circumstance and phenomenon to move away from industry and towards financialization of the economy. And why not? We had the world's largest military to protect the supply lines of imported oil and to enforce U.S. $$ hegemony the world over. So we went into the business of selling our sovereign debt as well as the business of bringing every man, woman, child, and family dog into the orbit of debt slavery.

Look at these plush leather seats! For $1,500 a month lease you too can sit your fat assed/limp schmekel here. BTW!!! Your wife's boobs aren't big enough! And we will be happy to make her feel like sh#! about it. We will lend you the $10k for the breast augmentation and up your health premiums (for Prozak) to help her feel better about herself! But wait! There's more! If you act now we will cut her beak of a nose down to size for only $5k more! And soon as she is shaped perfectly we will help her find a divorce lawyer! Look, I worked in markets for over 20 years and I never saw anything but expensive cars and boob & nose jobs. Wall Street covers a lot of geography now - from Greenwich/Stamford down to Palm Beach/Boca Raton but the manifestations of that "place" were universal. Entitled, dismissive, and uncaring - but at least it was arrogant, self-absorbed, and mean spirited.

And it is this that the Federal Reserve wishes to preserve at ALL COSTS. Why? Forget the absurdity of it all. It is simply impossible to cure too much debt with more debt. America's federal, state, and local governments are simply going to have to get by with a lot less and The People need to live within their means and find joy in their lives outside of the plastic surgeon's office and the Bentley dealership - and not because I want this or I want that. Its just math.

So.... what should the Fed/government do? Beware the man with simple solutions to intractable problems - so let the Market do its thing (and I don't mean the stock market). The Market will force us all to do what is in our best interests. A government can legislate against Tsunamis: Does that stop the Tsunami? Our government encouraged a couple of generations to build their society in a Tsunami zone. Now the waves are coming in, and our government wants to build walls to fight the Tsunami. Leave the government out this, and the The People WILL figure it out.

Take Food Stamps

The government encouraged people through policy, or maybe they did it all on their own, to move from small towns and villages across the nation to the major industrial and financial centers over the coarse of the post WWII period to work in those centers. Now the "work" they moved there for is no longer there and these people are stranded. (And look, this is nobody's fault - sometimes that's just the way it is.) And stranded people need to be fed. That's where Food Stamps come in.

OK. So we are feeding these people. Now what? What kind of life is that? Stranded in some city doing nothing, accomplishing nothing, not even the pride that comes with providing for yourself and your family, while small town America languishes. In what universe does this make sense? Not a one. But that's not the point. The point is that we have built these urban infrastructures - so we gotta use them. Even if that means leaving stranded people to hang on by a thread until even that thread is cut and leaving them with nothing. These people could reoccupy small town America and re-localize the economy - they wouldn't need Food Stamps or Medicaid. They could very well provide for themselves without living under the Sword of Damocles (eventually, the government will default on its debts AND its social programs). But that's doesn't matter, or appeal, to TPTB. What matters is that these people vote.

Unfortunately, Oil votes, too.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Peak Oil "Grind" Continues...

Declining Oil availability in the U.S. continues to do its thing on the U.S.

I spent the weekend in New York at a family gathering - no fewer than 10 people stopped by my table to chat with me about preparing for "Armageddon". Not that anyone actually did anything yet... but at least they are coming around to the new realities of this emerging economic circumstance.

The crazy thing is that the Fed has been able to support financial asset prices with their QE*'s. If they had not succeeded at that Metro New York would have gone feral by now. How much longer can they maintain the illusion? Certainly longer than I would have thought possible. Just goes to show you.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Census Bureau says that 1 in 7 Americans are living in "poverty". Such Bull Sh#!. 75% of Americans cannot say with certainty that they could come up with $2,000 an emergency!  (To be accurate: 25% said they definitely could not; another 25% said they probably could not; yet another 25% said they probably (but not definitely) could.) That's not poverty??!! Of course it is, but they were too busy watching T.V. or doing whatever it is that prevents these people from developing the skills necessary to avoid such a fate.

Read this tear jerking stunning bit of propaganda.

Clearly, neither the writer nor our hero and heroine have been to the countryside of Peru, Columbia, Morocco or any number of American cities for that matter.

Some Left Wing propagandist probably thought that this was the perfect couple to write about. OK. Now let me put my pointy and sharp cornered mind on them.

She is 41. He is 40. Their children are 5 and 8. Ergo, the adult female "educated" herself at great expense in money (she had to go into debt), forgone wages (one doesn't run a successful business or career while attending school full time), and put off child bearing and raising until she was 33 years old! She was lucky to be able to have babies - many women her age are not without great expense. Presumably she put off having children because of all of the wonderful outcomes attendant upon that "education".  The male put off working and childrearing for the same reasons. Now they are in their 40's, supposedly the "prime" earning years. So where is the benefit of forgoing income, going into debt, and putting off children while at the same time increasing the risk that they won't be able to raise their children (the older the parent the higher the probability that the parent will not survive until the child reaches adulthood).

(And what a load of sh#! that is! Statistically, that is true only because of the way that professionals - physicians and lawyers primarily - skew the data. Yea, for surgeons and trial lawyers, the 10 years between early 40's and early 50's are the whole ballgame. This is hardly the case for plumbers, carpenters, mechanics, etc... these folks are heading downhill in earnings after 45 for a number of reasons, i.e.,  they get hurt or sick more - or their spouse does. And sick spouses require care. So if people in their 40's get cancer, have heart attacks, come down with M.S., etc... where do their young children fit in? Look, I am an "older" dad - but that wasn't the plan. The plan was to marry young (check!) and have my children young (ehhh! Wrong! Thanks for playing!). Want to "put off" having kids? If you do you had better have a boat load of money as a result of that decision in order to raise those kids at a time in your life where your health, or lack of time remaining after a market disaster or economic tsunami, strips you of your ability to provide the "middle class life" you envisioned for your family.)

What if something goes wrong with the health of one, or both, of these adults? What then? The loonies on the Left have convinced people that they are better off putting off child rearing and marriage until their health is compromised and their incomes are falling. Did I miss something here? Look at their goal!! To pay down debt and then go to Disney World! Save money? Not on your life.

Worse, not only did the propaganda machine convince these people to put off child rearing until they were old enough to be grand parents, the propaganda machine convinced them to go into debt for a credential that has no associated training or skill. So how's it going for this family? Not so hot. But why? Because neither of these adults received a bit of training or developed a single life skill. He's afraid of his car breaking down? Wah. He had to pay $4000 to get his roof fixed? Really? For several hundred $$ in tools and $30 for books he could handle the car and the roof himself. Come on. He went to "college". Doesn't that mean he can read and then problem solve? Fixing a roof or changing the oil in your car ain't rocket science. He's 40 years old and he makes $27k sorting mail? He'd make more money cutting lawns and fixing roofs. Of course, in order to do those jobs he would actually have to know how to do something - and that is very different from handing your resume to a corporate "human resources" staffer with the credential from his alma mater certifying that he had, indeed, completed their approved reading list and is now therefore competent in the business of life.

What a load of Horse Sh#!.

The fact is this: Americans are poor. Most people don't own a set of tools, and wouldn't know how to use them if they did. Don't own productive land or real estate (worse, they own residential property that is "taxed" in order to payoff political debts to municipal employee unions). Do not own livestock. Have no skills - and have been taught to be helpless. To be in debt. To be insecure. To be DEPENDENT. (But they do own a car!)

Dependent people do not require freedom. They require free lunches.

There is no such thing as a free lunch.