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Monday, April 7, 2014

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- April 6, 2014

9 Of The Top 10 Occupations In America Pay An Average Wage Of Less Than $35,000 A Year - The Economic Collapse Blog - Michael Snyder - April 2nd, 2014 - According to stunning new numbers just released by the federal government, nine of the top ten most commonly held jobs in the United States pay an average wage of less than $35,000 a year.  When you break that down, that means that most of these workers are making less than $3,000 a month before taxes.  And once you consider how we are being taxed into oblivion, things become even more frightening.  Can you pay a mortgage and support a family on just a couple grand a month?  Of course not.  In the old days, a single income would enable a family to live a very comfortable middle class lifestyle in most cases.  But now those days are long gone.  In 2014, both parents are expected to work, and in many cases both of them have to get multiple jobs just in order to break even at the end of the month.  The decline in the quality of our jobs is a huge reason for the implosion of the middle class in this country.  You can't have a middle class without middle class jobs, and we have witnessed a multi-decade decline in middle class jobs in the United States.  As long as this trend continues, the middle class is going to continue to shrink.                        The following is a list of the most commonly held jobs in America according to the federal government.  As you can see, 9 of the top 10 most commonly held occupations pay an average wage of less than $35,000 a year...                        
Overall, an astounding 59 percent of all American workers bring home less than $35,000 a year in wages.                             So if you are going to make more than $35,000 this year, you are solidly in the upper half.                          But that doesn't mean that you will always be there.                                   More Americans are falling out of the middle class with each passing day.

Government Confiscation And Lifting The Veil On "The 401(k) Scheme" - Zero Hedge - Tyler Durden - April 6, 2014 - From Presidential edicts of 'MyRA' being for your own good and "will never go down in value" to Poland's 'precedent-setting' confiscation of public pensions funds for the good of the nation's debt load; and from the IMF's "one-off" wealth tax 'idea' to Europe's recent consideration of 'wholesale savings confiscations and enforced redistribution', it appears Marc Faber's warning that "from now onwards, the bailouts will also be at the expense of the asset holders, the well-to-do people. So if you have money I am sure the governments will one day take away 20-30% of my wealth," is becoming more likely every day. As the following mini-documentary explains, confirming Ron Paul's warning that "there is more chaos to come," Jim Rogers' fear that "they won’t take our bank accounts...they will take our retirement accounts," is coming true.

All The Presidents' Bankers: The Hidden Alliances That Drive American Power
- Zero Hedge - Tyler Durden - April 5, 2014
- Wall Street’s War - While the protests against the Vietnam War intensified in the first years of the Nixon administration, the financial elite was fighting its own war—over the future of banking and against Glass-Steagall regulations. National City Bank chairman Walter Wriston was a steadfast warrior in related battles, as he fought with Chase chairman David Rockefeller for supremacy over the US banker community and for dominance over global finance.
Rockefeller’s sights were set on a grander prize, one with worldwide implications: ending the financial cold war. He made his mark in that regard by opening the first US bank in Moscow since the 1920s, and the first in Beijing since the 1949 revolution.                     Augmenting their domestic and international expansion plans, both men and their banks prospered from the emerging and extremely lucrative business of recycling petrodollars from the Middle East into third world countries. By acting as the middlemen—capturing oil revenues and transforming them into high-interest-rate loans, to Latin America in particular—bankers accentuated disparities in global wealth. They dumped loans into developing countries and made huge amounts of money in the process. By funneling profits into debts, they caused extreme pain in the debtor nations, especially when the oil-producing nations began to raise their prices. This raised the cost of energy and provoked a wave of inflation that further oppressed these third world nations, the US population, and other economies throughout the world.

192,000 Jobs Added in March but Wages Fall - Breitbart - Peter Morici - April 4, 2014 - The economy created 192,000 jobs in March, down from 197,000 in February and still well below the pace needed to lower underemployment to respectable levels. Those mediocre results are consistent with a broadly underperforming economy.                          Manufacturing employment lost 1,000 jobs and government stalled. Other than construction, which gained 19,000 employees, most new positions were in lower paying activities like leisure and hospitality, support activities in health care, retail, and temporary business services.                      Hourly earnings fell, indicating good jobs continue to be scarce.                       In 2013, GDP growth was only 1.9 percent, thanks to the $200 billion January tax increase and federal spending cuts, but after a slow first quarter, most economists expect the pace to accelerate to 3 percent by the second half of this year.                    Improved prospects are raising home values, and President Obama is not likely to get from Congress the higher taxes in his budget proposal. Jobs creation is likely to be in the range of 200,000 per month; however, should the president get the higher taxes he wants, the situation would worsen.                    Global growth is rebalancing from Asia to the Atlantic community, as Europe shakes off the worst of its sovereign and bank debt problems. This will reduce vulnerabilities to dodgy financial practices and economic nationalism in places like China, Japan, and Latin America.                         Though the shenanigans on Wall Street—ranging from high-speed traders stealing from ordinary investors to the endless imagination of the casino gamblers at the big banks—continue to threaten financial stability, the Federal Reserve and other U.S. regulatory agencies are proving more diligent than during the Bush years.                         This spring, more robust household formation should push housing starts above 1 million this year for the first time since 2007. The burdens of student debt require that many new dwellings be apartments, but surging residential construction will boost sales of pickup trucks so ubiquitous on construction sites, and employment in industries supporting housing and motor vehicles.                          In February, unemployment was steady at 6.7 percent, and the percentage of adults employed or seeking a job—the so-called participation rate—rose slightly but remains well below pre-recession levels.

And the Next Big Thing Is … Degrowth? - Washington's Blog -  Charles Hugh Smith - This is not doom-and-gloom for society–it is only doom-and-gloom for the current unsustainable arrangement (Plan A). - The Grand Narrative of the past few centuries goes something like this: from religious authority to secular authority, from agriculture to industrial, from rural to urban, from local to global, from periphery to center, from decentralized to centralized, from low-density energy to high-density energy (from wood to coal to oil/natural gas), from industrial to communication technology, from gold to fiat currencies, from linear to non-linear (complex/fractal), from local scarcity and high cost to global abundance, from islands of prosperity to continents of prosperity, from cash to credit, from collateral to leverage,from productive to consumerist and from sustainable to unsustainable.                        Many of these linear trends are running out of oxygen or reversing. Rigid hierarchies are being disrupted by self-organizing systems, centralization is being disrupted by decentralization, lower density alternative energy is distributed rather than concentrated, commodity costs are rising globally due to demand outstripping supply and leveraged credit is destabilizing financial systems across the globe.                     In the past few decades, the growth narrative has depended on “the Next Big Thing” –the new disruptive technology that drives wealth and job creation.                         In the early 20th century, the next big things were plentiful, and they clustered around transport and communication: autos, highways, aircraft, radio, telephony and most recently the Internet.                     The progress of technologies tends to track an S-Curve, with a slow gestation (experimentation that drives rapid evolution of innovations), a period of widespread adoption and technological leaps, and then a maturation phase in which advancements are refinements rather than leaps...

What Happens After the Low-Hanging Fruit Has Been Picked? (April 2, 2014)
No More Industrial Revolutions, No More Growth? (December 27, 2012)

TEDx Tokyo: The “De” Generation (8 minutes) (de-ownership, de-materialism, de-corporatism)
Degrowth, Anti-Consumerism and Peak Consumption (May 9, 2013)
The American Model of “Growth”: Overbuilding and Poaching November 19, 2013
When Conventional Success Is No Longer Possible, Degrowth and the Black Market Beckon(February 7, 2014)

Russ in Redding: The Human Face of The End of Work (September 2, 2011)
America’s Social Recession: Five Years and Counting (August 28, 2013)
The Ten Best Employers To Work For (Peak Employment) (March 28, 2013)
The Python That Ate Your Job (December 11, 2013)

Why the Status Quo Is Doomed (June 27, 2013)

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