We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
ZeroHedge posted an article that lists 50 crazy facts about the US Economy. It is pretty impressive how this economy has been 'recovering' for so long, and yet these facts exist. Did I say impressive? My bad.
One of the 50:
A staggering 48.5% of all Americans live in a household that receives some form of government benefits. Back in 1983, that number was below 30 percent
Actually, aside from the comments, and a few of the regular contributors, which are heavily tainted with conspiracy, ZeroHedge is one of the very best pro-market and informational sites on Wall Street.
The editors, like Maggie's, allow varying points of view to be aired. There is, however, a preponderance of pro-market viewpoints posted.
The 50 points were apropos of nothing, just indicative of how an economy has become completely dislocated and confusing. I don't think the author was trying to say anything except that, if you seek regular and easily definable data that makes sense then you will be disappointed.
One of ZeroHedge's main points is that technical data is useful, but misleading in this market. Example: the S&P goes up 15 points, but volume is down or flat. Usually a healthy rising market will have heavy volume.
Another is that bond auctions have been coming up short, only to be 'saved' at the last second by some kind of heavy purchasing, which we will presume is the Fed stepping in by providing funds to bank acting as a beard. This auction may be followed on by stock market activity which makes no sense given the state of investment in bonds.
As a result, we are left with a government and media seeking anything to hang a hat on. Yesterday, core inflation exceeded expectations (.2% growth or 2.5% annualized). Normally, this is what the government and media focus on to justify their heavy monetary stimulus, because energy and food would be rising too quickly while core inflation was weak). As a result, what does the government and media do? They point out that energy and food was DOWN last month - justifying their monetary stimulus. Basically, it doesn't matter what the information is, as long as they can pick a portion which suits their needs. Nevermind that overall inflation (year over year) is at 6% and rising.
This kind of data dislocation and misinformation is making further decision-making and directional analysis difficult for many who believe the government can 'guide' the economy.
The government can't 'guide' the economy, and this is frustrating for them. And it is this very point which ZeroHedge revels in.
(open quote, using only a small part of his bolding)
Note that this does not mean you can't argue for justice. Justice occurs when you borrow money and can't pay -- you go bankrupt and lose your "stuff" and your credit rating. But it also means that the person who loaned the money loses his or her investment at the same time. That is justice -- not getting a "free house" or "free education" because you "deserve" it.
It is the latter half of the check and balance found in justice that hasn't happened. It is the frauds involved in making bogus loans, securitizing bogus loans and lying about them, then knowingly selling crap labeled as "Grade A Chocolate", cost-shifting in the medical system and exempting student loans from bankruptcy that has led to these problems. Private banks put all this crap together and lobbied for it, getting the ability to steal from the common man in the process because people demanded "free stuff" and to get it government had to deficit spend. That in turn resulted in the ability to cover up the economic rot caused by offshoring your jobs and destroying our economy -- for a while.
The limits of that cycle have been reached. It thus now will end, not because someone wants it to or doesn't, but because the math mandates that it cannot continue.
If you continue to press for this destructive cycle to continue the damage that will be done our nation, to you, to your children and grandchildren will go up exponentially. That damage may reach the level of government and civil society collapse, and if it does odds are that what comes out the other side is much worse than what we have now in terms of corruption and loss of freedom.
In short, we have to be adults and cut that crap out -- right now.
So read the question above, debate it and then answer it. Do so in your General Assemblies, on your mailing lists, in your public pronouncements.
A few points may mean less than they seem to mean.
48% of Americans have a low income -- by a definition that is distinctly arbitrary. A family at the lower end of the third quintile can get along pretty comfortably. I have an income smack in the middle and I've had a little good fortune to help -- I have a largish home, run three older cars, have two younglings in college, and still save a little.
48% of households receive at least some benefits: this may reflect the aging of the population more than any other single element. We have fewer new families and more older families who receive Medicare and Social Security. Not saying it's sustainable -- as it stands, it isn't -- but it's being driven largely by demographics that changed rapidly and can't change back as rapidly.
And some of the other stats have comparable possibilities.