- Total Savings – FRED
- Average interest rates on savings deposits – FRED (M2OWN)
- Interest Income – IRS tax stats, NIPA tables
- Effective Federal Funds Rate (FRED)
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The Problems with Background Investigations
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Congress ranks last on list of 16 institutions; military earns top spot again
China's Great Humiliation
Writing in 'Wall Street Journal' and saying China needs “a new national story”, Orville Schlee and John Delury basically claim China has for too long been hobbled and fettered, ideologically, by its modern history of humiliation. This was due to the so-called unequal treaties it was forced to sign with what for Chinese, were the Western Barbarians. These unequal treaties started with the British in 1842.
“Every July, amid festivities and fireworks, the U.S. and France mark their birth as nations”. They claim that in both cases this started with triumph: “Accustomed as we are in the West to histories that begin with triumph—the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the storming of the Bastille—it may seem strange that China, the fast-rising dynamo of the East, marks the beginning of its journey to modern nationhood in a very different way: with the shock of unexpected defeat and the loss of national greatness”.
When or if China experiences a massive financial and economic crisis comparable to that of 2008 in the US, France, other European countries, Japan, and other developed countries this may be as humilating for China as its 1842 defeat by the British in the First Opium War. It will be humiliating in the same way, but possibly not as intensely, as the deep humiliation suffered by the populations of the PIIGS countries, doomed to years (even a decade) of austerity, their youth forced to emigrate.
For Chinese, national mythology makes The Temple of the Tranquil Seas, in Nanjing, the place where Chinese forces signed a humiliating surrender deal with British forces, a “curious porthole into the bitter past of foreign incursion and exploitation”. Today, countries like Cyprus must sign with the Troika, for last-minute bailouts under humiliating conditions. Across the OECD countries and with very few exceptions, the tens of millions of additional unemployeds since 2008 must accept the humiliation of long-term joblessness.
As it is, this July 14, many French towns and smaller cities have quietly shelved their traditional fireworks shows. Even when produced and sold by China, as most are, they are too expensive.
The 9 Plagues
1. The average producer is being stripped bare. In the US, for example, the total take of taxes has not risen dramatically, but fewer and fewer people actually pay them. There was a big uproar during the last election cycle over the fact that 47% of working-aged Americans paid no income tax. That means that the half who do work (read suckers) are paying the whole. And more than that, they are also paying for the many millions who are on food stamps and disability. Producers are being punished and abused, made into chumps.2. Thrift is essentially impossible. I’ve explained this in detail previously, but a hundred years ago, it was possible for an average person to accumulate money. Mechanics, carpenters, and shop owners slowly filled their bank accounts with gold and silver. It was common for them to make business loans and to retire comfortably. But now, all of our surplus is drained away to capital cities, where it is poured down the drains of welfare, warfare, and political lunacy. Money has been removed from the hands that made it, and moved into the hands of non-producers, liars, and destroyers.3. In 2008, US federal government regulations cost an estimated $1.75 trillion, an amount equal to 14 percent of US national income. Let me restate: Simply complying with regulations costs American businesses more than $1,750,000,000,000 (that’s $1.75 Trillion) every year. This, again, is money taken out of production and wasted on political lunacy.4. Small businesses are being squeezed out. Take a look at the two graphs below, and understand that as small businesses are squeezed out, only the large corporations remain. These days, only the largest and best-connected entities are able to get their concerns dealt with (by the politicians they fund). Small operations are cut off from the redress of their grievances and are crushed by taxes and regulation. And don’t forget the comments of Mussolini:Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.While there may be no dictator, state/corporate partnerships are taking over commerce in the West.5. The military industrial complex is out of control. Their lobbying, fear-mongering, and spending can only be characterized as obscene. Dwight Eisenhower was right when he warned us about this in 1960. It is sad beyond measure that so few Americans took him seriously. Trillions of dollars and millions of productive lives are being spent on the war machines of the West. Never forget that wars destroy massively and produce nothing.6. All the Western nations now feature large enforcer classes, composed of bureaucrats, law enforcement units, inspectors, and so on. In the US alone this amounts to several million people – none of whom produce anything, and all of whom restrain producers from producing. Millions of people are paid to restrain commerce.7. We now have a very large financial class in which blindly aggressive people make millions of dollars. The problem is that finance is not productive. It may allocate money in beneficial ways (though it often allocates mainly to itself), but it doesn’t actually produce anything. At present, the allocators get the big bucks, and the producers get scraps.8. The modern business ethic has become about acquisition only. In more enlightened times, it was also about creating benefit in the world, or at least creating newer and better things. Mere grasping is an insufficient philosophy for capitalism; it leads to dark places.9. Every nation on the planet is using play money and forcing their inhabitants to use their play money. Moreover, they have super-empowered a small class of Central Banking Elites, who make fortunes on their currency monopolies, and who are entirely unknown to the producers who unwillingly (and unknowingly) purchase jets and yachts for them. Our money systems have brought back aristocracies; a class that is both hidden and immensely powerful.
So What’s Next?
The producers are convinced that their role in life is only to struggle and obey.
It is right for important people to order me around.