Guest Post: 2014 Will Bring More Social Collapse

Submitted by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts via Alt-Market blog,

2014 is upon us. For a person who graduated from Georgia Tech in 1961, a year in which the class ring showed the same date right side up or upside down, the 21st century was a science fiction concept associated with Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film, "2001: A Space Odyssey." To us George Orwell's 1984 seemed so far in the future we would never get there. Now it is 30 years in the past.

Did we get there in Orwell's sense? In terms of surveillance technology, we are far beyond Orwell's imagination. In terms of the unaccountability of government, we exceptional and indispensable people now live a 1984 existence. In his alternative to the Queen's Christmas speech, Edward Snowden made the point that a person born in the 21st century will never experience privacy. For new generations the word privacy will refer to something mythical, like a unicorn.

Many Americans might never notice or care. I remember when telephone calls were considered to be private. In the 1940s and 1950s the telephone company could not always provide private lines. There were "party lines" in which two or more customers shared the same telephone line. It was considered extremely rude and inappropriate to listen in on someone's calls and to monopolize the line with long duration conversations.

The privacy of telephone conversations was also epitomized by telephone booths, which stood on street corners, in a variety of public places, and in "filling stations" where an attendant would pump gasoline into your car's fuel tank, check the water in the radiator, the oil in the engine, the air in the tires, and clean the windshield. A dollar's worth would purchase 3 gallons, and $5 would fill the tank.

Even in the 1980s and for part of the 1990s there were lines of telephones on airport waiting room walls, each separated from the other by sound absorbing panels. Whether the panels absorbed the sounds of the conversation or not, they conveyed the idea that calls were private.

The notion that telephone calls are private left Americans' consciousness prior to the NSA listening in. If memory serves, it was sometime in the 1990s when I entered the men's room of an airport and observed a row of men speaking on their cell phones in the midst of the tinkling sound of urine hitting water and noises of flushing toilets. The thought hit hard that privacy had lost its value.

I remember when I arrived at Merton College, Oxford, for the first term of 1964. I was advised never to telephone anyone whom I had not met, as it would be an affront to invade the privacy of a person to whom I was unknown. The telephone was reserved for friends and acquaintances, a civility that contrasts with American telemarketing.

The efficiency of the Royal Mail service protected the privacy of the telephone. What one did in those days in England was to write a letter requesting a meeting or an appointment. It was possible to send a letter via the Royal Mail to London in the morning and to receive a reply in the afternoon. Previously it had been possible to send a letter in the morning and to receive a morning reply, and to send another in the afternoon and receive an afternoon reply.

When one flies today, unless one stops up one's ears with something, one hears one's seat mate's conversations prior to takeoff and immediately upon landing. Literally, everyone is talking nonstop. One wonders how the economy functioned at such a high level of incomes and success prior to cell phones. I can remember being able to travel both domestically and internationally on important business without having to telephone anyone. What has happened to America that no one can any longer go anywhere without constant talking?

If you sit at an airport gate awaiting a flight, you might think you are listening to a porn film. The overhead visuals are usually Fox "News" going on about the need for a new war, but the cell phone audio might be young women describing their latest sexual affair.

Americans, or many of them, are such exhibitionists that they do not mind being spied upon or recorded. It gives them importance. According to Wikipedia, Paris Hilton, a multimillionaire heiress, posted her sexual escapades online, and Facebook had to block users from posting nude photos of themselves. Sometime between my time and now people ceased to read 1984. They have no conception that a loss of privacy is a loss of self. They don't understand that a loss of privacy means that they can be intimidated, blackmailed, framed, and viewed in the buff. Little wonder they submitted to porno-scanners.

The loss of privacy is a serious matter. The privacy of the family used to be paramount. Today it is routinely invaded by neighbors, police, Child Protective Services (sic), school administrators, and just about anyone else.

Consider this: A mother of six and nine year old kids sat in a lawn chair next to her house watching her kids ride scooters in the driveway and cul-de-sac on which they live.

Normally, this would be an idyllic picture. But not in America. A neighbor, who apparently did not see the watching mother, called the police to report that two young children were outside playing without adult supervision. Note that the next door neighbor, a woman, did not bother to go next door to speak with the mother of the children and express her concern that they children were not being monitored while they played. The neighbor called the police. http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/mom-sues-polices-she-arrested-letting-her-kids-134628018.html

"We're here for you," the cops told the mother, who was carried off in handcuffs and spent the next 18 hours in a cell in prison clothes.

The news report doesn't say what happened to the children, whether the father appeared and insisted on custody of his offspring or whether the cops turned the kids over to Child Protective Services.

This shows you what Americans are really like. Neither the neighbor nor the police had a lick of sense. The only idea that they had was to punish someone. This is why America has the highest incarceration rate and the highest total number of prison inmates in the entire world. Washington can go on and on about "authoritarian" regimes in Russia and China, but both countries have far lower prison populations than "freedom and democracy" America.

I was unaware that laws now exist requiring the supervision of children at play. Children vary in their need for supervision. In my day supervision was up to the mother's judgment. Older children were often tasked with supervising the younger. It was one way that children were taught responsibility and developed their own judgment.

When I was five years old, I walked to the neighborhood school by myself. Today my mother would be arrested for child endangerment.

In America punishment falls more heavily on the innocent, the young, and the poor than it does on the banksters who are living on the Federal Reserve's subsidy known as Quantitative Easing and who have escaped criminal liability for the fraudulent financial instruments that they sold to the world. Single mothers, depressed by the lack of commitment of the fathers of their children, are locked away for using drugs to block out their depression. Their children are seized by a Gestapo institution, Child Protective Services, and end up in foster care where many are abused.

According to numerous press reports, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 year-old children who play cowboys and indians or cops and robbers during recess and raise a pointed finger while saying "bang-bang" are arrested and carried off to jail in handcuffs as threats to their classmates. In my day every male child and the females who were "Tom boys" would have been taken to jail. Playground fights were normal, but no police were ever called. Handcuffing a child would not have been tolerated.

From the earliest age, boys were taught never to hit a girl. In those days there were no reports of police beating up teenage girls and women or body slamming the elderly. To comprehend the degeneration of the American police into psychopaths and sociopaths, go online and observe the video of Lee Oswald in police custody in 1963.

Oswald was believed to have assassinated President John F. Kennedy and murdered a Dallas police officer only a few hours previously to the film. Yet he had not been beaten, his nose wasn't broken, and his lips were not a bloody mess. Now go online and pick from the vast number of police brutality videos from our present time and observe the swollen and bleeding faces of teenage girls accused of sassing overbearing police officers.

In America today people with power are no longer accountable. This means citizens have become subjects, an indication of social collapse.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/nz-6kxyn26Q/story01.htm Tyler Durden

USDJPY Slumps Most In 4 Months As Nikkei Futures Tumble 450 Points

While the taper is apparently priced in, someone forgot to tell Emerging Market FX markets again as from India to Indonesia and from Thailand to the Philippines, currencies are tumbling against the USD. While most of Asian FX is weakening, the JPY is surging – its biggest gain in 4 months. Of course, with Japanese cash markets still closed, futures are bearing the brunt as Nikkei 225 futures are down 450 points from New Year’s Eve’s high close, filling the Christmas Eve gap perfectly.

 

Nikkei 225 Futures have fille dthe Christmas Eve gap higher…

 

as USDJPY tumbles… (JPY strength)

Even as most of Asia is seeing its FX dump against the USD…

 

For now, S&P 500 futures are holding in despite the JPY carry slump…

 

But Asian equities are tumbling (most notably Korea and Thailand)…

 

Time to get back to work Mr. Kuroda…


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/PPEY9HTNFAo/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Government Set To End Data Lockups; Removes "Unintentional & Unfair Advantage"

All it took was a year or two of extremely obvious “catches” of leaked data for the government to begin to decide that perhaps, just perhaps, it is time to end the press lockup for each week’s initial jobless claims data. As the WSJ reports, the original idea behind lockups was to give reporters time to digest complicated economic reports to produce accurate reports for the public. In the past decade, news organizations have also built expensive networks to send government data to high-speed investors who can make trades on the data before members of the public can react. Now, however, the BLS believes, “government data is for the public good and it is paid for by taxpayer dollars. There must be a commitment to a level playing field.”

 

Via WSJ,

A Labor Department panel has called for abandoning media lockups for a key weekly measure of U.S. employment.

 

The recommendation is the first formal call by a government entity to end media lockups and could hasten a move away from the government’s decades-old practice of releasing sensitive economic data through the media.

 

A lockup is the term used for the traditional way in which government agencies release market-moving data to the public. In a lockup, reporters are given embargoed copies of the reports and are “locked” in media rooms, without the ability to send their stories to the public until the embargo is lifted.

 

Following the release of the Inspector General’s report examining problems with the release, however…

the Labor Department said in a statement: “We agree with the [Inspector General] that it is appropriate to consider ending the [unemployment insurance] weekly claims press lockup.”

 

It continued: “In fact, well before the release of the [Inspector General’s] report, the department began exploring the value of the press lockup…and intends to continue its consideration of how best to disseminate the report to the public and to news organizations.”

 

Of course, even if the end-users hadn;t been so obvious, you would have changed the plan? Hmm…

The new report could provide new momentum to that effort, though political pressure and technological barriers remain. Any move to end lockups will face lobbying pressure from news organizations that benefit from the current system because they control the dissemination of the government’s economic data.

 

 

Nonetheless, the recommendation from the Labor Department’s Office of inspector General represents the most significant step to date toward scrapping the current system of media lockups.

 

Keith Hall, a former commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, said “government data is for the public good and it is paid for by taxpayer dollars. There must be a commitment to a level playing field.”

 

The Inspector General made six recommendations to improve the release of the weekly report to eliminate the “competitive advantages provided to news organizations inside the lockup,” according to the report.

 

“Absent a viable solution,” the report suggested that the department “consider discontinuing the use of the press lockup.”

Ya think!?


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/_qExxCIOFMA/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Government Set To End Data Lockups; Removes “Unintentional & Unfair Advantage”

All it took was a year or two of extremely obvious “catches” of leaked data for the government to begin to decide that perhaps, just perhaps, it is time to end the press lockup for each week’s initial jobless claims data. As the WSJ reports, the original idea behind lockups was to give reporters time to digest complicated economic reports to produce accurate reports for the public. In the past decade, news organizations have also built expensive networks to send government data to high-speed investors who can make trades on the data before members of the public can react. Now, however, the BLS believes, “government data is for the public good and it is paid for by taxpayer dollars. There must be a commitment to a level playing field.”

 

Via WSJ,

A Labor Department panel has called for abandoning media lockups for a key weekly measure of U.S. employment.

 

The recommendation is the first formal call by a government entity to end media lockups and could hasten a move away from the government’s decades-old practice of releasing sensitive economic data through the media.

 

A lockup is the term used for the traditional way in which government agencies release market-moving data to the public. In a lockup, reporters are given embargoed copies of the reports and are “locked” in media rooms, without the ability to send their stories to the public until the embargo is lifted.

 

Following the release of the Inspector General’s report examining problems with the release, however…

the Labor Department said in a statement: “We agree with the [Inspector General] that it is appropriate to consider ending the [unemployment insurance] weekly claims press lockup.”

 

It continued: “In fact, well before the release of the [Inspector General’s] report, the department began exploring the value of the press lockup…and intends to continue its consideration of how best to disseminate the report to the public and to news organizations.”

 

Of course, even if the end-users hadn;t been so obvious, you would have changed the plan? Hmm…

The new report could provide new momentum to that effort, though political pressure and technological barriers remain. Any move to end lockups will face lobbying pressure from news organizations that benefit from the current system because they control the dissemination of the government’s economic data.

 

 

Nonetheless, the recommendation from the Labor Department’s Office of inspector General represents the most significant step to date toward scrapping the current system of media lockups.

 

Keith Hall, a former commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, said “government data is for the public good and it is paid for by taxpayer dollars. There must be a commitment to a level playing field.”

 

The Inspector General made six recommendations to improve the release of the weekly report to eliminate the “competitive advantages provided to news organizations inside the lockup,” according to the report.

 

“Absent a viable solution,” the report suggested that the department “consider discontinuing the use of the press lockup.”

Ya think!?


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/_qExxCIOFMA/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Soaring Caracas Stock Exchange Undergoes 1000 For 1 "Stock Split"

For generating the greatest “wealth effect” and highest return of any global stock market in the world in 2013, the Caracas stock exchange, which closed the year at the ripe level of 2.7 million, is getting surprisingly little attention or love (maybe because unlike other countries, here unpleasant inflation from currency debasement is a coincident indicator resulting in such things as a shortage of toilet paper). Because after all isn’t it an economist and monetarist’s dream to achieve a 480% return in one year based on simply printing money?

Supposedly, the answer is no.

But for whatever reason, since nobody talks about the massively successful Venezuelan stock market, which in the modern era is second only to the even more “successful” Zimbabwe stock market, it bears noting that earlier today, quietly, the Caracas stock market announced it would proceed with a 1000 for 1 stock, er, index split.

We assume this happened because according to the “specialized technical report prepared by experts in the area of market organization”, an index trading at 2,737 appears more attractive to a toilet-paper deprived population than its identical version which however has risen to 2,737,000.

Of course, we give the post-split index a few months before it hits its previous absolute record level. At which point it will be rinse repeat. However, at least the local
“experts” will constantly keep removing zeroes from the benchmark number thereby giving the impression that all is well.

Come to think of it, both Japan and the US could be next when the glorious socialist policies of Venezuela trickle out from the oil-rich Latin American country…

From the Caracas Stock Exchange, google translated. Be careful the Bolsa website may have a virus in it:

A new formula for calculating the Caracas Stock Exchange and the Financial and Industrial indices is effective from today

 

The Caracas Stock Exchange , based on a specialized technical report prepared by experts in the area of market organization , announced to brokers, investors and the general public a modification of the indicators of the stock market , which comes into effect from today January 2, 2014 , as follows :

 

Previous Formula :

 

Index = ( Capitalization Companies / Cap Base) x 1,000

 

The modification was performed on the multiplier factor ” 1.000″ , in order to reduce proportionally reflected in indicators of six ( 6) whole numbers to at least three ( 3) whole numbers with two ( 2) decimal values.

 

New Formula:

 

The formula to be used from January 2, 2014 is the multiplier factor “1”, and is as follows:

 

Index = ( Capitalization Companies / Cap Base) x 1

 

The formula has the following parameters :

 

a. Daily compounding of each of the shares comprising the index basket .

 

b . Capital base, calculated and corrected based on the capitalization of the index basket 1997 , known as the base year .

 

c . A constant number used to identify the units or points indicator (Value Today 1 before 1000 )

 

The Caracas Stock Exchange ( IBC ) is the arithmetic average of the capitalization of each of the securities that make up , these being the largest capitalization and liquidity traded in the stock market of the Caracas Stock Exchange , while the Financial Indices Industrial and have different baskets.

 

The changes are effective as of January 2, 2014 . However, they were announced to the general public daily from 20 December 2013 until its entry into force on the first day of the new year.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/tgd56eSCx80/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Soaring Caracas Stock Exchange Undergoes 1000 For 1 “Stock Split”

For generating the greatest “wealth effect” and highest return of any global stock market in the world in 2013, the Caracas stock exchange, which closed the year at the ripe level of 2.7 million, is getting surprisingly little attention or love (maybe because unlike other countries, here unpleasant inflation from currency debasement is a coincident indicator resulting in such things as a shortage of toilet paper). Because after all isn’t it an economist and monetarist’s dream to achieve a 480% return in one year based on simply printing money?

Supposedly, the answer is no.

But for whatever reason, since nobody talks about the massively successful Venezuelan stock market, which in the modern era is second only to the even more “successful” Zimbabwe stock market, it bears noting that earlier today, quietly, the Caracas stock market announced it would proceed with a 1000 for 1 stock, er, index split.

We assume this happened because according to the “specialized technical report prepared by experts in the area of market organization”, an index trading at 2,737 appears more attractive to a toilet-paper deprived population than its identical version which however has risen to 2,737,000.

Of course, we give the post-split index a few months before it hits its previous absolute record level. At which point it will be rinse repeat. However, at least the local
“experts” will constantly keep removing zeroes from the benchmark number thereby giving the impression that all is well.

Come to think of it, both Japan and the US could be next when the glorious socialist policies of Venezuela trickle out from the oil-rich Latin American country…

From the Caracas Stock Exchange, google translated. Be careful the Bolsa website may have a virus in it:

A new formula for calculating the Caracas Stock Exchange and the Financial and Industrial indices is effective from today

 

The Caracas Stock Exchange , based on a specialized technical report prepared by experts in the area of market organization , announced to brokers, investors and the general public a modification of the indicators of the stock market , which comes into effect from today January 2, 2014 , as follows :

 

Previous Formula :

 

Index = ( Capitalization Companies / Cap Base) x 1,000

 

The modification was performed on the multiplier factor ” 1.000″ , in order to reduce proportionally reflected in indicators of six ( 6) whole numbers to at least three ( 3) whole numbers with two ( 2) decimal values.

 

New Formula:

 

The formula to be used from January 2, 2014 is the multiplier factor “1”, and is as follows:

 

Index = ( Capitalization Companies / Cap Base) x 1

 

The formula has the following parameters :

 

a. Daily compounding of each of the shares comprising the index basket .

 

b . Capital base, calculated and corrected based on the capitalization of the index basket 1997 , known as the base year .

 

c . A constant number used to identify the units or points indicator (Value Today 1 before 1000 )

 

The Caracas Stock Exchange ( IBC ) is the arithmetic average of the capitalization of each of the securities that make up , these being the largest capitalization and liquidity traded in the stock market of the Caracas Stock Exchange , while the Financial Indices Industrial and have different baskets.

 

The changes are effective as of January 2, 2014 . However, they were announced to the general public daily from 20 December 2013 until its entry into force on the first day of the new year.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/tgd56eSCx80/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Goldman Leading Indicator Confirms 2013 Ended With Global Economy In 'Slowdown' Phase

After multiple months of positive acceleration, Goldman expect the Global Leading Indicator to continue to stabilize around current levels in the coming months. The infamous Swirlogram shows that the last 3 months have seen the indicator in “slowdown” mode – which Goldman optimistically notes is on the border of ‘expansion’ also…and while they see no clear evidence of further acceleration, they see overall level of growth at solid levels.

 

 

Five of the ten underlying components improved in December. On the positive side, Global New Orders less Inventories (NOIN) continued to improve, again making a new post-2011 high. The S&P GSCI Industrial Metals Index® recovered last month’s losses and the Japanese Inventory/Sales ratio also improved again. The Baltic Dry Index jumped higher and the Consumer Confidence aggregate reversed course after two months of declines.

 

On the negative side, the AUD & CAD weakened on the month. The Global PMI aggregate was softer while Korean exports continued to fall, and the Belgian and Netherlands Manufacturing Survey was lower from last month but remains close to its two-year high. Finally, US Initial Jobless Claims rose again from last month’s drop, likely also impacted by heightened volatility around the holiday season.

 

Source: Goldman Sachs


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/nK9xz66Jv80/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Goldman Leading Indicator Confirms 2013 Ended With Global Economy In ‘Slowdown’ Phase

After multiple months of positive acceleration, Goldman expect the Global Leading Indicator to continue to stabilize around current levels in the coming months. The infamous Swirlogram shows that the last 3 months have seen the indicator in “slowdown” mode – which Goldman optimistically notes is on the border of ‘expansion’ also…and while they see no clear evidence of further acceleration, they see overall level of growth at solid levels.

 

 

Five of the ten underlying components improved in December. On the positive side, Global New Orders less Inventories (NOIN) continued to improve, again making a new post-2011 high. The S&P GSCI Industrial Metals Index® recovered last month’s losses and the Japanese Inventory/Sales ratio also improved again. The Baltic Dry Index jumped higher and the Consumer Confidence aggregate reversed course after two months of declines.

 

On the negative side, the AUD & CAD weakened on the month. The Global PMI aggregate was softer while Korean exports continued to fall, and the Belgian and Netherlands Manufacturing Survey was lower from last month but remains close to its two-year high. Finally, US Initial Jobless Claims rose again from last month’s drop, likely also impacted by heightened volatility around the holiday season.

 

Source: Goldman Sachs


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/nK9xz66Jv80/story01.htm Tyler Durden

"The Biggest Redistribution Of Wealth From The Middle Class And Poor To The Rich Ever" Explained…

While the growth of inequality in America has been heavily discussed here, it was Stan Druckenmiller's outbursts (and warnings that "from beginning to end – once markets adjust from these subsidized prices – that the wealth effect of QE will have been negative not positive") that brought it more broadly into the average American's mind. QE, taxes, income disparity, and entitlements are four major means by which wealth is transferred from the poor and the middle class to the rich. The following simple chart explains it all…

 

Via Shane Obata-Marusic ( @sobata416)

 

A – “the rich hold assets, the poor have debt” is how Citi’s Matt King described the distribution of wealth in the US.

B – QE has resulted in a loss of purchasing power for the US dollar. Faced with this problem, consumers in the middle class are taking on more non-housing debt in order to maintain the same standard of living. In addition, the US government – which continues to run a deficit year after year – continues to accumulate debt. Due to these facts, total debt outstanding – aka credit market instruments for all sectors – is at all time highs. More debt means more interest payments and lower savings rates. These trends do not bode well for the middle class consumer.

C – On the other hand, QE has been great for the rich. QE has inflated the prices of assets such as property, bonds, stocks, and non-home real estate:

Home prices in Detroit are going up despite the fact that the city is bankrupt. The “housing occupancy” table is meant to show what appears to be a higher than average amount of speculative demand i.e. lower than average owner occupancy rates.

The rich have most of the assets which is why the average family income of the top 0.01% increased by 76.2% from 2002 to 2012. In contrast, the average family income of the bottom 90% decreased by 10.7% over that same period.

D – Taxes as a percentage of real disposable income have more than doubled since 1980. This trend has not been kind to the bottom 90%.

Conversely, favourable tax rates on dividends and capital gains have allowed the rich to become wealthier over time.

E – Median household income has been in a downtrend since the late 90s.

In opposition, corporate profits are at all-time highs.

F – The entitlement problem is only going to get worse as more baby boomers leave the work force. Future generations will have to pay for the debt that the old and rich continue to take on.

Growing benefits and sympathetic tax rates on investments enabled the old to increase consumption by 164% from 1960-1991 .

G – In conclusion, QE, taxes, income disparity, and entitlements are contributing to “the biggest redistribution of wealth from the middle class and the poor to the rich ever” If things continue the way they are going, then millennials and future generations will pay the price:

Despite the fact that inequality in the US is nothing new:

Today, it might be worse than it ever has been:

Unless the distribution of wealth in America begins to change for the better, assets will continue to benefit the rich and debt will continue to burden the middle class and the poor.

For an economy that’s largely based on consumption, excess debt only serves to reduce expenditures and to slow economic growth over time.

Quality of life for the median American household is only going to get better if the issues associated monetary policy, entitlements, taxes, and income are addressed and dealt with.

For now, the best thing that you can do is to discuss these issues with your friends, family and colleagues and try to come up with solutions.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/XE8NTXbQ6YY/story01.htm Tyler Durden

“The Biggest Redistribution Of Wealth From The Middle Class And Poor To The Rich Ever” Explained…

While the growth of inequality in America has been heavily discussed here, it was Stan Druckenmiller's outbursts (and warnings that "from beginning to end – once markets adjust from these subsidized prices – that the wealth effect of QE will have been negative not positive") that brought it more broadly into the average American's mind. QE, taxes, income disparity, and entitlements are four major means by which wealth is transferred from the poor and the middle class to the rich. The following simple chart explains it all…

 

Via Shane Obata-Marusic ( @sobata416)

 

A – “the rich hold assets, the poor have debt” is how Citi’s Matt King described the distribution of wealth in the US.

B – QE has resulted in a loss of purchasing power for the US dollar. Faced with this problem, consumers in the middle class are taking on more non-housing debt in order to maintain the same standard of living. In addition, the US government – which continues to run a deficit year after year – continues to accumulate debt. Due to these facts, total debt outstanding – aka credit market instruments for all sectors – is at all time highs. More debt means more interest payments and lower savings rates. These trends do not bode well for the middle class consumer.

C – On the other hand, QE has been great for the rich. QE has inflated the prices of assets such as property, bonds, stocks, and non-home real estate:

Home prices in Detroit are going up despite the fact that the city is bankrupt. The “housing occupancy” table is meant to show what appears to be a higher than average amount of speculative demand i.e. lower than average owner occupancy rates.

The rich have most of the assets which is why the average family income of the top 0.01% increased by 76.2% from 2002 to 2012. In contrast, the average family income of the bottom 90% decreased by 10.7% over that same period.

D – Taxes as a percentage of real disposable income have more than doubled since 1980. This trend has not been kind to the bottom 90%.

Conversely, favourable tax rates on dividends and capital gains have allowed the rich to become wealthier over time.

E – Median household income has been in a downtrend since the late 90s.

In opposition, corporate profits are at all-time highs.

F – The entitlement problem is only going to get worse as more baby boomers leave the work force. Future generations will have to pay for the debt that the old and rich continue to take on.

Growing benefits and sympathetic tax rates on investments enabled the old to increase consumption by 164% from 1960-1991 .

G – In conclusion, QE, taxes, income disparity, and entitlements are contributing to “the biggest redistribution of wealth from the middle class and the poor to the rich ever” If things continue the way they are going, then millennials and future generations will pay the price:

Despite the fact that inequality in the US is nothing new:

Today, it might be worse than it ever has been:

Unless the distribution of wealth in America begins to change for the better, assets will continue to benefit the rich and debt will continue to burden the middle class and the poor.

For an economy that’s largely based on consumption, excess debt only serves to reduce expenditures and to slow economic growth over time.

Quality of life for the median American household is only going to get better if the issues associated monetary policy, entitlements, taxes, and income are addressed and dealt with.

For now, the best thing that you can do is to discuss these issues with your friends, family and colleagues and try to come up with solutions.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/XE8NTXbQ6YY/story01.htm Tyler Durden