Category Archives: Finance

On the Money; Foie Gras


On The Money;

Economics For the 99%

Foie Gras



Despite their fat books, and complex economic models, economists fail to comprehend the nature of economic activity. They don’t realize that the economy is an organic part of a greater organism known as society, and an even greater organism known as the environment. In other words, the economy is not a thing in itself. Instead, it is a part of our lives, and our lives are part of life on Earth. Ideally, the economy should be a much smaller part of our lives, and much less of a burden to life on Earth.


economists do lunch


To illustrate this relationship, you could think of the economy as the liver of a goose. The liver of a healthy goose is about the size of a human thumb, and at that size it serves the goose very well. In a healthy goose, this small organ helps the goose digest and process all of the seeds, plant material, bugs and small fish that a healthy goose eats, and turns that food into strong goose muscles, shiny warm goose feathers, healthy goose eggs, and gives the goose all of the energy that it needs to fly thousands of miles each year as part of its annual migration. That’s what a goose’s liver is supposed to do.


healthy geese


However, some people who raise captive geese, don’t care about the health of their geese. They don’t want their geese to fly, or lay eggs, and they don’t care if the goose is strong or if it has shiny warm feathers. Instead, they want their geese to grow the biggest liver possible, in order that they might dine upon a French delicacy known as Foie Gras.


goose liver


They’ve learned that if they nail the goose’s feet to the floor, so that it can’t get any exercise, and they put a tube down the goose’s throat, so that they can force feed it huge quantities of leftover pasta, bacon grease, and lots of other fatty, high carbohydrate food, they can make the goose’s liver grow until it is larger than a human fist. So, this is what they do to their geese.


foie gras(2)


As you can imagine, this doesn’t make the goose very happy at all. The goose shows many signs of distress, but the people who raise geese this way, simply ignore those signs. The goose then becomes very ill, but the people who raise geese this way ignore that too. Instead of the liver serving the needs of a healthy goose, the people who raise geese for foie gras, sacrifice the goose in order to produce the largest liver possible.




Before long, the goose is near death, and the goose’s liver, by this time about eight times as large as a healthy liver, has become so distended and diseased that it barely functions at all. At this point, the people who raise geese for foie gras, kill the goose, and remove the huge diseased organ, for which they have sacrificed what was once a beautiful, healthy bird. This is the ugly truth behind that popular French delicacy.




Unfortunately, this is also the ugly truth behind economics. For far too long, a small number of people who enjoy “the finer things in life”, have eagerly sacrificed the health of society and the environment in order to force economic expansion. For them, the quality of our lives, our health, our strength, and our culture only exist to deliver to them, the largest possible economy, so that they might enjoy the largest quantity of the richest possible delicacy.


force feeding


Do not be fooled by fat books, sharp suits or white lab coats. Economists, businessmen and scientists generally do not have your best interest at heart. Instead, they seek to preserve, and improve their positions of authority and privilege, while they serve the interests of the 1%. Unless we overthrow the tyranny of objective science, escape the clutches of the 1%, and remember how to live our own lives, despite our fallibility, our goose is cooked. There’s an economic analogy that’s On The Money.


how much cruelty


How to Tell if This New Drug is Right for You

How to Tell if This New Drug is Right for You

pharma amazing

With the huge, and growing, variety of new drugs available today, you can’t possibly try them all. Information about drugs, always impenetrably technical, and mostly written in impossibly small type, dissuade most drug users from even trying to learn anything about the drugs they take, beyond the street name. So, how can you tell if a new drug is right for you?


Nearly everyone takes drugs of some kind, at least at times, and for many, drugs form a regular part of our daily routine. This is nothing new. You could argue, as I have in the past, that civilization itself, began as a dysfunctional adjustment to support an alcoholic lifestyle, that took hold some 10,000 years ago. Indigenous hunter/gatherer cultures have used hallucinogenic plants and other plant medicines ceremonially for hundreds of thousands, if not millions of years. Even animals, from songbirds to elephants imbibe from time to time, and some, like the koala, have cultivated their addictions for so long that evolution has shaped their bodies to accommodate their habits.

 stoned koala

Economically, in the US alone, the pharmaceutical drug industry accounts for trillions of dollars in business activity annually, and forms a large portion of US GDP. Despite generally terrific profit margins, the pharmaceutical industry enjoys huge government subsidies as well. Yet, despite downturns in the rest of the economy, and growing government debt, drug use, drug profits, and drug subsidies continue to grow at an alarming rate.

 drug money

Paradoxically, we, as people, continue to get sicker and poorer. We cannot lay this epidemic of disease completely at the feet of the pharmaceutical industry. Other factors, like an environment increasingly polluted with persistent toxins, poor diet, dangerous food additives, and long hours at stressful, yet sedentary, jobs all contribute to our general poor health. However, the drug industry itself contributes greatly to the proliferation of disease in our modern society.


A single drug can have many dangerous side effects, which often trigger new and serious health conditions. The explosion of new drugs has created an exponential growth in side effects, and with them a host of new conditions, which in turn, require more medication. Toxic pollution, generated in the production of drugs, cause disease in humans as well as in the animal kingdom. Disposal of drugs, usually in the urine of drug users, take their toll on human health and aquatic wildlife as they inevitably find their way into our nations waterways and water supplies. Addiction and overdose only add to legacy of disease that we can attribute to our remarkably vibrant Health-Care industrial complex.


No amount of spending, public or otherwise, no amount of new drugs, and no number of new doctors will solve this looming crisis. You might find this fact very depressing, and it might make you anxious about the future. If so, the drug industry has many drugs specifically formulated to treat those conditions. Still, how do you know if a new drug is right for you?

 don't feel myself

Here, I offer few general guidelines that I, a layperson, use to determine if a new drug is right for me:


  1. If I see a commercial on TV that includes the words, “Ask your Doctor if…is right for you.”, I assume that drug sucks. I assume that if a company has to advertize their drug on TV, it must be a waste of money, like everything else I see advertized on TV.

  2. On the other hand, if I read a headline like: “Nude Man Who Hijacked City Bus and Crashed Into Downtown Restaurant, Claims He Was Under the Influence of New Drug” I will probably try that drug.

  3. If I see the name of a drug on anything in a doctors office, like the pen he writes with, the pad of paper he writes on, the lanyard around his neck holding his ID, anatomical models, lamps, tissue boxes, drapes, posters, etc., I will definitely not ask for any of those drugs. If a doctor does recommend a drug, any drug, I always ask if he has any free samples on hand, and if he can recommend a generic alternative.

  4. But, if I see someone babbling incoherently, while writhing in a puddle of their own vomit, I will definitely ask around to find out what drug they took, and probably try some myself.

  5. Finally, if a beautiful young woman asks me if I have a particular drug, I will do everything I can to find that drug immediately.


Of course, these are only general guidelines that reflect my own personal predilections, but they are informed by this statistical fact: You are significantly more likely to die of an overdose from a prescription drug your doctor recommended, than you are from a recreational drug you bought from a street dealer.

Oxycontin Took My Life

On The Money; The Economics of Drug Prohibition

On The Money;

Economics for the 99%

The Economics of Drug Prohibition


I’m sure that it comes as no surprise to you that dealers of illegal drugs enjoy large profit margins on the drugs they sell. American taxpayers insure these large profit margins through a massive government subsidy known as “The War on Drugs” which costs tens of billions of tax dollars annually. Prohibition is the generic term for the policy of using laws, and law enforcement, to keep certain drugs out of the open legal market. Despite over 70 years of drug prohibition, use of illegal drugs remains resilient, and demand remains, no pun intended, high.


The lion’s share of this massive subsidy, gets spent in efforts aimed at the nation’s most popular illegal drug, marijuana, and the plant it comes from, Cannabis Sativa. Government expenditures for the prohibition of marijuana alone include the cost of arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating over one-million Americans every year, far more than the total number of people arrested for all other illegal drugs combined. It also includes eradication efforts aimed at killing cannabis plants wherever they grow, often with chemical herbicides. Economically, this huge outlay of taxpayer dollars functions to artificially inflate the price of marijuana, or cannabis, a hardy weed that would otherwise grow wild in every state in the union.

 cannabis plant

Because of prohibition, this prolific annual weed has become tremendously expensive for marijuana users and taxpayers, as well as hugely profitable for black-market dealers. Despite the high prices and risk of arrest, an estimated 10-20% of all Americans use marijuana regularly, creating a tremendous demand for it. This demand, in turn, fuels a multi-billion dollar black-market industry that operates in every state, county and locality in the US, insuring that every state, county and locality spends even more taxpayer money to battle this black-market activity.


Thanks to grassroots organizing by marijuana consumers and advocates, several states have passed laws legalizing the use and distribution of marijuana, mostly for medical use. As more states pass these laws, both the price of marijuana, and the subsidies, at least in the states that have passed these laws, decline as well. Since the passage of California’s landmark medical marijuana law in 1996, the first of these laws, the price of marijuana has declined by more than half, nationwide. As more states pass these anti-prohibition laws, we can expect the price of marijuana to drop still further.


As police make fewer marijuana arrests, courts try fewer marijuana cases, and prisons hold fewer marijuana prisoners, taxpayers pay less for marijuana subsidies. While the Federal government has not budged on marijuana prohibition, and still spends billions on cannabis prohibition annually, many cash strapped states, counties and localities, even those that have not passed legalization laws, have de-prioritized marijuana prohibition to save money.

 state marijuana laws

As these marijuana price-support subsidies decline, marijuana prices continue to slump. This comes as welcome relief to the millions of Americans who use marijuana regularly, and to taxpayers who have grown tired of subsidizing untaxed black-market profits. Still, thanks to vigorous Federal enforcement, and backlash from law enforcement, who stand to lose a tremendous amount of funding, marijuana prices, taxpayer subsidies and black-market profits remain high.

 drug slavery

Although those who argue for marijuana prohibition argue that marijuana is a dangerous drug that no one should ever touch, very little evidence supports these claims. On the contrary, tens of millions of Americans use marijuana regularly, and like it. Not one person, in the history of humanity, has suffered a fatal overdose of it, nor has much evidence been found that marijuana causes long term health problems. Marijuana does not produce physical addiction symptoms, unlike alcohol, nicotine, opiates, many prescription drugs or even caffeine which all produce strong physical addictions that can be very difficult to quit. Even long-term chronic marijuana users can kick the habit without much difficulty, if they genuinely want to. This, I tell you from personal experience.

 negative effects of marijuana

Clearly, the reasons for continuing marijuana prohibition are completely economic. Without the massive taxpayer subsidies involved in prohibition, the marijuana black-market would collapse, eliminating a multi-billion dollar industry. Governments would reallocate tax revenue away from law enforcement, and prisons, eliminating thousands of high-paying jobs in those fields. While, no one really likes black-market drug dealers or narco-cops, or would miss them if they learned to do something productive with their lives, they form a significant part of our national economy.


The pharmaceutical industry would soon feel the pinch as well. 100 years ago, half of all medicines sold in the US contained marijuana. Plenty of evidence shows that cannabis, or marijuana still works better than many prescription and over-the-counter medications for a host of conditions ranging from glaucoma and chronic pain, to epilepsy, asthma and nausea, especially nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy. Some estimate that legal cannabis, or marijuana, could immediately replace 20-40% of all prescription drugs, working as effectively, with fewer side-effects, than the drugs it would replace.


Since marijuana, or cannabis, is a natural plant, it cannot be patented. Because cannabis cannot be patented, patients who need it, would get it from farmers, not pharmaceutical companies. This would cut deeply into the profits of pharmaceutical companies, but drastically reduce health-care costs for patients. Farmers wouldn’t complain either.


Further, recent medical research suggests that humans have had a very long, and symbiotic relationship with the cannabis plant. The presence of “cannabinoid receptors” in the human nervous system seem to indicate that the cannabis plant played a role in human evolution, and that our ancestors have ingested cannabis for millions of years.


While it remains unclear exactly how these cannabinoid receptors contribute to human health, they clearly play an important role. Many, now common, ailments may stem from a lack of cannabis in our modern diet. Currently, doctors prescribe prescription drugs to treat these maladies, but the addition of a few green cannabis leaves into the diet, as other doctors recommend, might eliminate these diseases completely.


Beyond that, hemp, a high-fiber, non psychoactive, but also prohibited, species of cannabis, has a whole range of industrial uses from textiles and cordage to paper, plastics and building materials. Hemp, an agricultural commodity widely grown in the US before prohibition, could spawn a whole new hemp products industry. This new hemp industry might generate tens of thousands of new jobs in the long run.

 hemp for victory

New industrial hemp products would replace or reduce the need for synthetic fiber and forest products, thus eliminating the toxic pollution from manufacturing synthetics, and the habitat destruction that results from deforestation. While this potential new industry could create thousands of new jobs and spur growth in the economy, it also threatens the profits of some well established, and very influential corporations.

 cops banks dealers for prohibition

You can see that marijuana prohibition has much more to do with controlling “the economy”, than it does with dissuading people from smoking pot. If we could end marijuana prohibition today, black-market drug dealers, narco-cops, prison guards, pharmaceutical companies, chemical companies and forest products companies would all lose revenue. However, the rest of us would enjoy less expensive marijuana, better medicine, lower health-care costs, nicer clothes, cheaper paper and lower taxes, with less pollution or habitat loss. In other words, it would dramatically improve our quality of life. As Freewheelin’ Franklin of Gilbert Shelton’s Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers famously said, “Dope  will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope.”

freak bros

On The Money; The Economics of Addiction

On The Money;

Economics for the 99%

The Economics of Addiction

economics of addiction

Intro:  Since Joe brought up the subject of addiction in his comment to last weeks post, I thought I’d share my economic perspective on the subject.  I’ve been very busy finishing up the book, On the Money; Economics for the99% which I hope to complete very soon.  this is an excerpt.

Alcoholism has touched everyone’s life in one way or another. If it hasn’t happened to you, someone you love, or at least someone you know, has suffered tremendously, or perhaps even died from their inability to control their alcohol addiction, so I don’t need to tell you how awful it is.


Narcotics, like heroin, morphine, and other opiates, as well as most prescription pain medications quickly become habit forming, and produce strong physical addictions.


Nicotine, the active ingredient in tobacco products produces an even stronger physical addiction that alcohol or narcotics.


Cocaine, methamphetamine and other stimulants, through a completely different mechanism, have strong addictive potential because of how they alter brain chemistry.

meth changes your brain

Even caffeine, the active ingredient in coffee and soft-drinks, produces physical withdrawal symptoms, including headache, nausea and irritability, but not as severely as the previously mentioned drugs.

 coffee addict

Taken together, business in these addictive drugs forms a central pillar, if not the central pillar, of our modern economy, with the alcohol and tobacco industries forming the fattest slices of the addiction pie. Marketing addictive drugs makes excellent business sense because of the repeat business they generate. Few businesses enjoy the kind of reliable customer loyalty as do the purveyors of addictive drugs, and although highly profitable, these drugs produce almost unimaginable suffering for their users, their loved ones, and society as a whole.

 drug money

The powerful physical addictions these drugs produce, can easily enslave users to the degree that they will often sacrifice everything, including their health, dignity, family relationships, home, and environment to feed the physical cravings these drugs create in the people who use them habitually. Most drug addicts however, function very effectively within society and the economy, and suffer no such indignity Everyone knows a few cigarette smokers, habitual heavy drinkers, and people who do both. While these behaviors are quite common, and socially acceptable, many more imbibe secretly, or at least with some degree of discretion, so their addictions remain mostly unnoticed by the people around them.


Most addicts treat their addictions as part of their basic living expenses, like food or housing. They simply budget for the additional expense associated with their addiction, by working more than they would otherwise need to. Few earn so much that they don’t notice the cost of their addiction. Most, on the other hand, require significant extra resources to satisfy their craving. Contrary to the popular myth that drugs make people lazy, drug addiction is, in fact, the true source of our modern “work ethic”, and all of this extra work, does take its toll.


People living in tribal hunter/gatherer cultures generally work very little, by modern civilized standards, to meet their physical needs. At times, however, hardship may demand considerably more from them, and evolution has provided for that. Humans have evolved considerable reserve capacity to cope with these occasional hardships, and in good times hunter/gatherer tribes expend considerable energy socializing, dancing and in other activities that they enjoy, and that promote group cohesion.


Drug addiction adds significantly to a human being’s perceived daily physical needs, so addicted people use more of this reserve capacity, usually considerably more, just to cope with the added cost of the drug. As a result, addicted people work harder, feel more tired, and have less energy for the kind of social activities that build group and family cohesion. On the environmental side of this equation, trees, plants, and animals don’t grow any faster, or reproduce any more prolifically, just because humans have adopted a drug addicted lifestyle, so this additional human neediness leads to additional stress on the natural environment.

 Nike Stand Up Speak UP Imagery

So, addicted people put in more hours at work. At first, this meant clearing land for drug crops, as the ancient Sumerians did in Mesopotamia, to grow barley and wheat for their beer. This gave rise to farm life, a lifestyle defined by endless toil. As tribal people fall under the influence of addictive drugs, they hunt more than they need, and trade the surplus for drugs.

ur arial shot

Ancient City of Ur. Used to be a cedar forest, cleared to grow barley and wheat for beer

As game becomes more scarce, addicted people make more clothes, baskets, drums, arrows, or any other craft items they previously made only for themselves, in order to trade them for drugs. All of this extra work further depletes the natural environment, so addicted people then go further afield to find the resources they need to feed themselves, and their addictions, which brings them into conflict with tribes who inhabit those areas.

 tribal conflict

In this way, drug addiction produces physical, social and environmental stress, that eventually leads to physical, social and environmental collapse. There in a nutshell, you have the economic history of civilization. It’s not pretty, (or funny I’m afraid) but its On The Money.


On The Money; A New Game Piece in Monopoly

On The Money;

Economics for the 99%

A New Game Piece in Monopoly


I heard recently that Milton-Bradley Corporation, makers of the ubiquitous board game Monopoly, has retired the iron. If you haven’t played Monopoly for a while, I’ll remind you that to start the game, each player chooses, from among a handful of miniature metal objects, one of them to represent them on the game-board.

monopoly game pieces

The iron, never popular as a game piece, has finally retired. My mother retired her iron in the ’70s. I’ve certainly never owned one, and I’d have no idea how to use it if I did.. I’ll bet a lot of young people today wouldn’t even recognize an iron, or have any idea what it was used for.


In its place, M-B has introduced a new game piece, the cat, a brilliant move if you ask me. I love cats. I would much rather be a cat, than an iron, any day of the week. The cat might get chased around a bit by the Scotty dog, or get run over by the race car, but I think the cat will do well in the game of Monopoly, maybe a little too well.


The cat just might undermine the the entire premise of the game of Monopoly, and none too soon, frankly. Think about it. Can you imagine a cat ever paying rent? I can’t. If you’ve ever been to the real Atlantic City, you can’t help but notice that the closer you get to the Boardwalk, the more cats you see. I’ll bet not one of them pays rent.

boardwalk cats

Even though you’ll find hotels galore on the real Boardwalk, you’ll also notice dozens of cats, strutting up and down and under the Boardwalk, like they own the place, without a care in the world. I think they have the right attitude, and as newcomers to the game of Monopoly, that attitude just might save the cat, and us.

boardwalk cats support

The game of Monopoly is an exercise in what economists call, “rent-seeking behavior”. In the game, you “buy” a “property”, say “Baltic Ave.” for instance. Then, when other players land on a “property” you “own”, they pay you “rent”. When you “own” all of the “properties” in a particular area, you can charge the unfortunate players that land there, higher “rent”. If you spend some more money on those “properties”, buying “houses” and “hotels” you raise the “rent” still further. You win the game, when other players no longer have enough “money” to pay the “rent” they owe.

monopoly money

In real life, rent-seeking behavior has become epidemic, and it represents a major shift in our economy. You can expect to see more rent-seeking-behavior as the economy shifts away from manufacturing and resource extraction, towards this more coercive and direct form of blood-sucking.


For generations in the past, capitalism must have seemed rather magical. Markets brimmed with consumer goods that seemed to appear out of nowhere. Fish from distant ocean fisheries, cheap redwood patio furniture, harvested from remote forest habitat, radios, toys, clothes and other products manufactured in distant lands, from materials mined in far-flung corners of the Earth, surely amazed the American consumer, eager to have them all. Most consumers didn’t see the devastation that capitalism left in it’s wake. They just saw a seemingly endless supply of shiny new things to buy.


In the future, our economy will look very different. Instead of a magical place where shiny new things appear out of nowhere, the economy will look like your landlord, and the sheriff’s deputy who comes to evict you. The economy will be breathing down your neck constantly, not letting you get too comfortable anywhere. Instead of extracting resources from distant lands, the economy will extract them from you. Even now, the economy looks, and feels more like the game of Monopoly, than it did to your parents generation, but the Baby Boomers really enjoy playing Monopoly, especially since they got a head start.


Because of their large numbers, the Baby Boomers already occupy a large portion of the available housing. Because they grew up at the very pinnacle of American consumerism, they have wildly unrealistic expectations for their lifestyle, and because they got into the housing market well before the housing bubble, they were well positioned to acquire “investment properties”, and hold on to them even as younger families lost their overpriced homes in the foreclosure crisis.


Since the Federal Government taxes the money they make from renting those investment properties, at the low “capital gains” rate, rather than as “earned income”, tax policy strongly encourages this kind of “rent-seeking behavior”. Think about this when you hear politicians talk about the “capital gains tax”. They’ll say that keeping the “capital gains tax” low, creates jobs. In reality, the low capital gains tax rate screws young working people out of their chance to own a home and drives rent prices up.


Isn’t it ironic that the Baby Boomers, who introduced terms like “crash-pad”, “hippie commune”, and “intentional community” into the general lexicon, have turned into some of the greediest landlords in the history of humanity. The Boomers like playing “Monopoly” with these “investment properties”, and they’ve read dozens of books about how to “win” at it. Even as wages stagnated through most of their working careers, many of them have done quite well for themselves by engaging in this kind of “rent seeking behavior”.


While they never stop congratulating themselves for the Civil-Rights Movement, the Boomers now harbor as much prejudice and hostility, based on income, as their bigoted, racist parents did, based on skin color. The Boomers especially despise the homeless, who conspicuously avoid paying rent. I’ve heard the same kind of derogatory slurs, and vile comments hurled at the poor and homeless from former hippies, as I heard from the bigoted, racist drunks my Grandparents hung with, about Blacks and Hispanics, 40 years ago.


Today’s large poor and homeless population remind them of just how badly they’ve failed as a generation, something they remain in deep denial about. They don’t want to face the fact that the problems in our society run far deeper than the superficial changes they’ve made to the status quo, and that many of those changes only exacerbated the real problems we face as a culture.

satus quo

The Boomers also expect to finish their lives, enjoying the same kind of excessive consumption that characterized their youth and middle age, but having lived at the very pinnacle of American consumerism, they long ago outstripped the carrying capacity of the planet, and have been consuming your future ever since.

Boomers go for bust

They really don’t want to face this fact. They can’t face this fact, and they can’t face life without their lattes, luxury cars and lots and lots of things to buy. So, they blame the poor and the young, victimizing them with their hostility, defensiveness and denial, as well as their excess.

boomer 2

The Boomers don’t understand, or care, why you don’t have the money, or why you don’t want to pay it to them. They know that the law, and market forces are on their side, and they intend to press their advantage. They won’t face the reality of their unsustainable lifestyle, so long as they can extract more from you. They intend to win this game of Monopoly, and they don’t care what’s left for you when they’re done.


In the future, rental properties will fall increasingly into the hands of the 1%, who will form large faceless property management companies to run them. They will hire thugs and creeps to manage these properties who will bully tenants, steal their belongings and skimp on needed repairs even more than the Boomers who own them now.


While the constitution guarantees privacy rights to home owners, tenants increasingly sign these rights away when they sign a rental agreement. As home ownership becomes less affordable, the terms of rental agreements will favor landlords even more. Rentals will become less secure, less private, and more expensive, as the 1% uses them to squeeze even more blood out of their tenants.


Enter, the cat. Cats play by their own rules. Cats hunt ferociously. Cats scavenge effectively. Cats beg endearingly. Cats hide invisibly and cats howl incessantly. Cats are inscrutable. Cats are unpredictable, and cats are the most effective killing machines nature ever unleashed on planet Earth.

ferocious cat

Cats know how to get their way, but cats never pay rent. As a newcomer to this game, you don’t stand a chance if you play by their rules, but as a cat, you can strut up and down boardwalk like you own the place without a care in the world. Take what you need and stay out from under foot. There’s some Monopoly advice that’s On the Money.

boardwalk cats under

On The Money; “Quantitative Easing”

On The Money

Economics for the 99%

How “Quantitative Easing” Makes Life More Difficult

porky and bust

Over the last few years, the Federal Reserve has pumped trillions of dollars into the economy in an effort to spur growth, through a program they call “Quantitative Easing”. Many feared that this would lead to spiraling inflation, but outside of food and energy, prices have not risen much in the last few years. How was the Fed able to pump so much liquidity into the economy without triggering Zimbabwe-like hyper-inflation, or even Carter era-like double-digit inflation?


Usually, when a country pumps a lot of liquidity into the economy, they put that money into the hands of the people, through government jobs programs, relief aid, etc. Poor and working people spend that money almost immediately. When you suddenly have more money trying to buy the same amount of available stuff, prices rise, fueling inflation, but that’s not what happened here.


While the Federal government did spend some tax dollars on stimulus projects, while extending unemployment benefits and expanding Food Stamps, that only amounted to a drop in the bucket compared to the liquidity the Fed has injected through quantitative easing. Instead of hiring tens of thousands of people for public works projects, tens of thousands of State and Federal workers lost their good paying government jobs in this recession. Benefits for the elderly and disabled shrank rather than grew, and schools felt the pinch as well.

 death of social safety net

Money earmarked for the housing crisis mostly went to the banks who made the bad loans, not the poor people who lost their homes. While the Fed continued to print money like Safeway circulars, the vast majority of us haven’t seen any of it. Since we still don’t have any money, we can’t go out and buy stuff. Since we can’t buy stuff, stuff sits on shelves. When stuff sits on shelves, retailers can’t raise prices, and inflation remains low, but where did all the money go?


According to Harper’s Index, about 90% of all new income generated since the recession started, went to the wealthiest 10% of the population. Among them, the top one-tenth of 1% took the lion’s share. The Fed carefully funneled all of this new liquidity into the pockets of the super-rich. That money went to bank reserves, bank executives, bank shareholders, financial executives and the like. Those people already have lots of money and extravagant lifestyles, so the rest of the economy hardly noticed the trillions of dollars the Fed handed them, because mostly, it got squirreled away in oversea tax havens.


Now, however, we begin to see that money coming back into the market, to buy up foreclosed and distressed homes. Home prices, you’ll doubtless recall, surged to astronomical heights riding a nationwide housing bubble, fueled by lender’s eagerness to loan extraordinary amounts of money against extremely ordinary homes. Somehow, this hyper-inflation in the housing market seemed like a good thing at the time.


Eventually, however, ordinary people failed to earn the extraordinary amounts of income that the lenders assured them they would, leading to the complete collapse of the housing market, bank failures, and a massive taxpayer bailout…of the banks, while millions of families lost their homes through foreclosure.

 perfect storm

For the last few years, a huge glut of overpriced homes, that rich people wouldn’t be caught dead in, but working people cannot afford, has depressed the real-estate market. The invisible hand of the free market should cause the hyper-inflated prices of these ugly suburban homes to drop until ugly suburban families can afford to buy them, but thanks to the Fed, and their “quantitative easing”, the rich now have enough money to buy all of these homes, even though they still sell for twice their pre-bubble price. The rich can then rent these ugly suburban homes to ugly suburban families by the month or year, making them a sound investment once again


Do you see how that worked? First the banks created hyper-inflation in the housing market. When that went bust, the banks held a gun to the government’s head and demanded a taxpayer bailout, and we all lost our homes and our jobs, which sent the economy into a tailspin. Then the Fed printed a lot of cash and gave it to the rich, so that they could afford to buy up all of our homes and rent them back to us. That way, instead of creating new hyper-inflation with all of that new liquidity, the Fed just preserved the leftover hyper-inflation from the housing bubble, thus relieving us, as working people, from the burden of home ownership, and the accumulation of all of that pesky equity. Wasn’t that clever?

 Being evil-500x500

Lo and behold, now it looks like the economy is recovering. Isn’t that great? Most of us are still worse off than we were 10 years ago, but for the 1%, The Great Recession represents a major victory in their efforts to enslave the American people. Why do you think they call it “The Great Recession”, while the rest of us call it “The New Normal”? You can bet that as soon as you get used to “The New Normal”, the economy will tank again, and they’ll expect you to make even more sacrifices to prop it up. There’s a look at “Quantitative Easing” that’s On The Money.

bernanke explains qe

On The Money; A Suit, a Cell Phone and a TV

On The Money;

Economics for the 99%

A Suit, A Cell Phone and a TV

suit cell and tv

According to the UN, in order to participate fully in American society, you need to have three things:


1, a suit, 2, a cell phone and 3, a TV set, which begs the question: Why would anyone in their right mind want to participate fully in American society? I own none of these things. I don’t miss them one bit, and I pity the poor people who have them. Think about it.


If you need a TV, I presume that you are expected to watch it too. That can’t be good for you. Don’t you have something better to do with your time in American society?


Then again, what can you do while wearing a suit?

dorcus sweat

You can pose for pictures. You can work at a desk. You can chat with other people wearing suits. You can walk a short distance, a couple of blocks or so, if it is paved, mowed, tiled or carpeted the whole way. You can watch TV, I suppose, and you can drink. If someone serves you, and you are very careful, you can eat, but that’s about it.


What can’t you do in a suit? Fix a car, build a house, paint, weld, cook, fish, hunt, climb a tree, hike the Appalachian Trail, have sex, mow the lawn, clean the bathroom, or pretty much anything else that you really need to do to survive, or would actually enjoy doing, you probably don’t want to do it in a suit.

Man in Suit Hiking

You cannot launder a suit. You must have it dry-cleaned. This costs money, and has the bonus of impregnating your clothes with toxic chemical residue, which you then breathe in, and absorb through your skin. Perchlorethylene, or “Perc” a ubiquitously used dry-cleaning solvent, causes cancer and acts as a powerful neurotoxin, so it makes you dumber before it kills you.

dry cleaning toxic

I imagine someone participating fully in American society, sitting there in front of the TV in their suit, poisoning body and mind, and then they pick up their cell phone.


I guess they use it to order food and have it delivered, or call their mechanic, or any of the other contractors who actually live their lives for them. Funny that the UN did not list “money” as one of the things that you needed to participate fully in American society.


Really, if you have money, you don’t need a suit, you don’t need a TV and you don’t even need a cell phone. If you have enough money, you can afford to pay people to wear suits for you, make your phone calls for you and you can pay attractive and interesting people to sit on your own sofa and make idle chit-chat, so I really think the UN missed the boat on this one.


This is like saying that to participate fully in heroin addiction, you need a syringe, a spoon and a candle. No, if you are a heroin addict, you have a syringe, a spoon and a candle, but you need heroin. The syringe, spoon and candle are not going to help you get heroin. It’s only your sheer desperation and willingness to do anything for your fix, that gets you the heroin. That’s how you participate fully in heroin addiction.


So it goes with American society. It’s only your willingness to do anything for money that makes you put on that toxic suit, and answer that blasted cell phone. The hypnotic glow of television is always there to absorb what little attention you have left at the end of the day, and insure that you never even imagine any other way to live. That’s what I’d call full participation in American society, and I pity anyone who does it.



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