Wednesday, August 27, 2014
The Economy: “The Impending Catastrophe”
“The Impending Catastrophe”
by Karl Denninger
“It's not difficult to see this coming, if you bother to look. There is no rule of law any more if you're a government employee - or one of those protected by same. Let's put together just a partial list:
Health care. Monopoly and/or cartel behavior of any sort is supposed to be illegal under 15 USC (Sherman and Clayton Acts) if market power exists. When you're flat on your ass with a heart attack in process there is no market; ergo, it exists. Ditto when you were just stung by a scorpion, or when the so-called "treating facility" refuses to present you with a price before they have you on the operating table - and they told you that the operation was immediately necessary to save your health and/or life. That's essentially all procedures except for elective, cosmetic ones - where there is actual competition and prices have fallen over time. All of this behavior, from charging $60,000 for two $100 vials of scorpion antivenom, charging someone $9,000 to bandage a finger or billing a routine $10-30 test at $10,000 is part and parcel of this, and in any unprotected line of business everyone involved would do 10 years of prison time and be fined $1 million each.
Government agencies, such as the IRS and NSA. The number of times that have been documented in which perjury has been committed, a crime, (cough-Clapper-cough!) is too long to list. We now find out that in the IRS targeting investigation not only is there a backup of Lerner's computer (as I originally asserted there had to be) but IRS lawyers admitted to the intentional destruction of the data on her BlackBerry after the investigation began. For you or I that would immediately result in an obstruction of justice felony charge leveled against everyone involved - including Lerner herself. Well, where is it?
Education. Cartel behavior at its finest. You can find virtually any sort of knowledge and lectures on any topic you wish online nowadays. Yet without obtaining them at a price infinitely higher than those freely available, the exact same material I might add and often delivered by the exact same professors, your knowledge is deemed immaterial and worthless. This occurs due to cartel behavior between universities and businesses - again, something that should bring immediate prosecution under 15 USC. Well, where is it?
Education again. Not content to try to force you to pay them something they also conspire to force you to pay more. Once you're a captive sucker you get hammered on all sides; you are first told to file a FASFA in which your parents must disclose their assets and income, never mind that you're an adult. Then, if you're not poor, despite this being sold to you as being a means of obtaining "aid", you are offered only loans, which are not aid at all. This particular cartel behavior includes the government as they will attempt to force you to file one even to claim things they say are earned, such as "Bright Futures" scholarships! Once you get to class it's even worse; your son or daughter who paid the full price (and had to borrow the money and thus pay interest too!) is sitting next to a kid who paid little or nothing. How? Your son or daughter was effectively forced to buy his tuition! Communism at its finest, all at gunpoint.
So-called "law enforcement." Point a gun at another person when you are not legally permitted to shoot (e.g. to stop a forcible felony in process) and you are arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon (or aggravated assault in some jurisdictions.) The identical behavior was documented on video and still camera images all over Ferguson by the police; where are the indictments?
Banks. Swindle someone out of $10,000 and it's grand theft, extortion, fraud or any one of a dozen other crimes, all serious felonies. Hell, all you have to do is a pass a bad check in many jurisdictions to wind up on the wrong end of a felony indictment! It has been proved that myriad large banks sold securities to customers representing them as "good investments" when in fact their own internal emails document that their staff called them "vomit" (and other similar names) - that is, they knew they were worthless. Where are the indictments?
The Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve Act specifically charges the FOMC with regulating both money and credit so as to maintain stable prices, moderate long term interest rates and maximum employment. Maximum employment may be a loosely-defined goal as may "moderate" long-term interest rates but stable is not a fuzzy word. The Federal Reserve has willfully and intentionally violated this mandate serially since its inception. You have about 3-4% of your earnings power stolen every single year as a consequence. Where are the indictments?
Ben Bernanke has admitted that (in his view) virtually all systemically important financial firms were on the edge of collapse in 2008. This, he cites, is justification for his extraordinary policy moves. There's a problem - his mandate is to regulate said money and credit systems all the time, not just in a crisis. That filing is an admission that both he and the NY Fed failed to do so; that is, they failed to perform their statutory duty. Why aren't both he and Tim Geithner in prison, seeing as he made this admission before a court in a sworn filing?
Here's the problem with this sort of behavior and the protection of same: Civility in general only exists because you, I, and most of the rest of society willingly conform our behavior to the law. There are not enough cops, no matter what sort of badge and uniform they wear, to enforce the law otherwise. If any material percentage of the population decides to behave as these people in their protected circumstances have and do the entirety of law and order collapses instantly.
Well, why is it that you permit the above to occur? Why did you allow it to develop? Why do you still allow it? And how long will it before all of this theft and fraud renders you unable to keep your head above water?
Let me explain that for you: For most people you're already unable.
Look at the stock market, as one example. There is more margin debt outstanding than cash in accounts as of today, and in fact this margin is worse than ever before in history (yes, even worse than in 2007.) In other words, but for the claimed paper value of said certificates the market is factually bankrupt right now on a gross, "every man" basis!
Almost 20% of the gross domestic product of this nation (that is, everything produced) is siphoned off by the health care "system" with its grift, extortion and abuse. That's nearly one dollar in five! A look at other developed, first-world nations (e.g. Japan) discloses that we should be able to buy our health care for somewhere between 1/10th and 1/5th of what we pay today. Were that to be the case there would be no need for Medicare, Medicaid or health insurance - Obamacare or otherwise! Medicare is a great example; you're responsible for 20% of the cost, by default, and you must pay a premium to the government. But if your care was anywhere from 1/5th to 1/10th of today's price you would actually pay less than the co-pay and deductible you pay today and you wouldn't pay any premium at all! In other words, even for the old guy or gal that currently is "on the dole" and allegedly "getting something" you'd be better off financially without Medicare were all of these acts to be prosecuted instead of protected! Whether you're rich, poor, young or retired, this scam steals from you each and every day without delivering any more value than it would without the theft.
Take the scam out of education and the cost collapses. Now you could flip pizzas to pay for college as you could in the 1970s and early 80s before those schemes were instituted. Prosecute The Federal Reserve Board and Banks and the price of assets, including houses would collapse - probably by 75% or more. Not only does this mean you could buy a house for far less but for those who choose not to or who can't rents would come down by 3/4 as well!
Why do you need Section 8 and other similar programs when your cost of housing is cut to a tiny fraction of what it is today? You don't! If you believe that the cost of food hasn't skyrocketed in the last five years you're not paying attention. It has. Ditto for energy. Oh yes, those are "excluded" from "inflation" numbers, but you have to buy them anyway.
So what happens when you can't make the income balance against the outflow? You borrow money in some form or fashion.Yet that simply puts you further in the hole. And that's what's been going since roughly 1980:
Click image for larger size.
Of course borrowing against nothing, that is, creating credit with nothing behind it, looks good initially because it makes it appear you can keep buying things. Unfortunately that credit comes with both a requirement to repay it and interest; the latter is a huge problem because over time it compounds just as do earnings.
The usual chestnut is that borrowing stimulates production and is of net benefit. But the facts are that when borrowing accumulates faster than output that assertion is proved false; what is really going on is that people are borrowing to either consume or speculate. The former permanently destroys value and the latter leaves you exposed to instant insolvency since the alleged "price" of what you speculate on has been disconnected from its value and is now largely (or even entirely!) predicated only on what someone else will pay.
The majority opinion appears to be that as long as you can get your little piece of the grift, whether it be Medicare, Food Stamps, Section 8 or a rising stock market it's all ok. Ask yourself - is that actually true or are you deluding yourself? Are you falling behind despite getting your little piece of the grift or are you getting ahead? What about your children? Are they able to get ahead? Is the same sort of investment you made 20 or 30 years ago credible as a means for them to obtain results similar or superior to what you obtained, or are they staring down a black hole of indebtedness while pulling coffees at Starbucks? How about that "new car"; nearly $40,000 today as a "median" price and loan terms extending toward eight years - when just a little while ago the normal term was four. How's the job market in your area? More importantly than the number of jobs - how's the pay and how does that compare against the increase in health care, food, fuel and insurance expenses you must pay every day just to remain solvent?
Think about it for a while. Then once again contemplate this: For how long as you going to allow all of the above to continue? Will you allow it to continue right up until civility is lost entirely or will you demand that it stop and that those committing these acts face the same charges and penalties that you or I would for the same offenses?”