“Wealth Effect” = Widening Wealth Inequality

Note that widening wealth and income inequality is a non-partisan trend. One of the core goals of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policies of the past 9 years is to generate the “wealth effect”: by pushing the valuations of stocks and bonds higher, American households will feel wealthier, and hence be more willing to borrow and spend, even if they didn’t actually reap any gains by selling stocks and bonds that gained value. In other words, the mere perception of rising wealth is supposed to trigger a wave of renewed borrowing and spending. This perception management only worked on the few households which owned enough of these assets to feel wealthier–the top 5%, the top 6 million out of 120 million households. This chart shows what happened as the Fed ceaselessly goosed financial assets higher over the past 9 years: the gains, real and perceived, only flowed to the top 5% of households earning in excess of $200,000 annually. Spending by the bottom 95% has at best returned to the levels reached a decade ago in 2007.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on TUESDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2017.

Two Paths Diverge: Which One Will the President Take?

At the beginning of the year as the President was assuming office, I penned a piece that focused upon the need for the President to ‘clean house’ regarding the Administration, and putting Congress in its place. I also stressed the need for him to run a ‘tight ship,’ as the midterm elections of Congress in 2018 are going to determine the success of his term. As it stands, things do not look very promising. RINO (Republicans in Name Only) members of Congress have derailed his efforts on everything from Obamacare to Border Control. Every effort the President has initiated has met with dogged resistance.
Who are these resistors? To be sure, many of them can be found ensconced within levels of government or government-influenced positions where said position is not necessarily determined or changed by an incoming administration. An example of how this happens is Ben Bernanke, appointed to head the Federal Reserve under George W. Bush, and kept in place by Obama until 2014 when Yellen stepped into the spot.
The prime example of an infestation are the holdovers from the Obama administration in the State Department…the same department boasting such ‘winners’ as Victoria Nuland and Hillary Clinton. The State Department that almost singlehandedly (with the help of Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain) toppled the government of Ukraine via coup d’tat, as well as enabling the ‘Arab Spring’ to unfold.

This post was published at shtfplan on November 24th, 2017.


While claiming to fight ‘The Deep State’ and drain the swamp, Donald Trump fights to save a controversial law which serves as a powerful tool for The Deep State.
The first year of Donald Trump’s presidency is coming to a conclusion and all but his most blind supporters can now see that he is more of the same – a continuation of the puppet in chief bowing to the interests of the military-industrial complex and the banking/financial elite. The collective interests of these groups (and their front organizations) – as well as their connection to corporate and state power, academia, and media – are what have come to be known as the New World Order, the Shadow Government, or more recently, The Deep State.
Since coming into office, Donald Trump has continued the Deep State plan of military expansion into the Middle East and Africa. This expansion has led to an increase in airstrikes, drone attacks, and the deaths of innocent people. He has also continued to place banking executives from Goldman Sachs in powerful positions and just today called Janet Yellen, the current head of the Federal Reserve, ‘excellent.’ I won’t hold my breath for him to audit, let alone end the debt enslavement created via the Federal Reserve system. He even appointed a former Bilderberg attendee.
Trump has also played the role of great deceiver by promising to fix America’s illegal immigration problem while actually promoting the building of a border wall complete with drone surveillance, automatic license plate readers, biometric scanning via the face and retina, and DNA collection for VISA applicants. Under the guise of ‘border security,’ Americans are being duped into caging themselves in an increasingly totalitarian police and surveillance state.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on NOVEMBER 2, 2017.

The Downright Sinister Rearrangement of Riches

Simple Classifications
Let’s begin with facts. Cold hard unadorned facts. Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit at standard atmospheric pressure. Squaring the circle using a compass and straightedge is impossible. The sun is a star.
Facts, of course, must not be confused with opinions, which are based upon observations. Barack Obama throws like a girl. The Federal Register is for idiots. Two slices of chocolate cake are one too many. Are these opinions right or wrong?
The answer depends on who you ask. What’s certain about opinions, however, is that like bellybuttons, everybody has one. Moreover, unlike free drugs from the government, everyone is in fact entitled to their own opinion.
Moving on from facts and opinions, the next classification we encounter is the wholly asinine. This broadly contains the absurd and ridiculous. Take most university teachers, barring natural science professors, for instance. They’re wholly asinine. The wholly asinine also extends to editors at the New York Times, Washington Post, circus hunchbacks, and the like.
Lastly, we want to mention the downright sinister. This includes sociopaths like Hillary Rodham Clinton, John McCain, nearly all of Congress, the Federal Reserve, fractional reserve banking, Washington lobbyists, a good part of Wall Street, and much, much more. Clearly, such people and professions don’t represent honest work. Rather, they epitomize less than honest work that’s performed by less than honest people.

This post was published at Acting-Man on October 27, 2017.

An Outraged George W. Bush Lashes Out At Trump: “Bigotry Seems Emboldened”

Former President George W. Bush came out swinging against the current administration on Thursday, and while he did not name President Castro, Dubya blasted that “bigotry seems emboldened” in the U. S., while urging the country to accept “globalization” – the same globalization which both the IMF, the BIS and even the Federal Reserve now agree and warn has led to record wealth inequality in the US – while rejecting “white supremacy.”
“Bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed,” Bush said.
Former Pres. George W Bush: "Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication." pic.twitter.com/KyQK5vul3j
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) October 19, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 19, 2017.

Were Americans ever fit for stateless government?

Jacob Hornberger recently posted an article discussing his reasons why he considers the advent of the US national security state to be the worst thing the government has ever done. Bad as they are, the income tax, the federal reserve act, and government schooling don’t come close. His reason: The US national security state has ‘the power to kill Americans (and others) without risk of any criminal or civil liability. . . . All that US officials have to do is relate the killing to ‘national security’ and that’s the end of the matter.’
He’s correct. According to a Department of Justice white paper, any ‘informed, high government official,’ not necessarily the president, can kill anyone, without any due process. As Glenn Greenwald wrote in 2013, during the Obama administration,
The president’s underlings compile their proposed lists of who should be executed, and the president – at a charming weekly event dubbed by White House aides as “Terror Tuesday” – then chooses from “baseball cards” and decrees in total secrecy who should die. The power of accuser, prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner are all consolidated in this one man, and those powers are exercised in the dark.
According to the New York Times the government asserts that the ‘Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process [is] satisfied by internal deliberations in the executive branch.’
Do you suppose that’s a little-known footnote in the Constitution? Possibly it’s an outgrowth of the unratified Living Constitution, possessing ‘properties of an animate being in the sense that it changes.’ Somehow it always changes in favor of the state.

This post was published at GoldSeek on Wednesday, 4 October 2017.

“When They Promise To Bring Back Manufacturing Jobs, They’re Promising Stagnation”

The British fought three wars in Afghanistan over an 80-year period. They finally left this ‘graveyard for empires’ in 1919, only to eventually be replaced by the Soviet Union in the late 70s, and the U. S. in the aftermath of 9/11.
Very interesting about Afghanistan is its evolution, or lack thereof. In a recent snapshot of the dysfunctional country, New York Times reporter Rod Nordland noted that ‘It is striking how little the rural Afghan landscape has changed between the early 19th and 21st centuries. The mud-walled fortifications of those days can still be seen throughout the country, and some of them are still in use as military facilities today.’
The picture painted by Nordland brings to mind the roughly 30-year gap in visits to the former Soviet Union by former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. In his 2006 autobiography, The Age of Turbulence, Greenspan recalled how the equipment used by laborers in the country hadn’t changed a bit in the decades in between. Greenspan’s point was that a lack of change in how we do work, and the kind of work we do, is a sign of economic decline.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 18, 2017.

Here’s How Much Your Credit Score Is About To Crash If You’re In Hurricane Irma’s Path

If you count yourself among the unlucky residents of Southern Florida where Hurricane Irma looks likely to make her continental U. S. landfall, you may want to take notice of a new study just published by Kelly Edmiston of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City which details the devastating toll that hurricanes can take on your hard-earned credit score.
Edmiston’s study, entitled “Financial Vulnerability and Personal Finance Outcomes of Natural Disasters,” limited its analysis to the effects of category-1 storms but still found that credit scores are typically crushed by 50 points for the average household and even more for families that are already on weaker financial footing before storms roll through.
In general, the results suggest that those who are financially better prepared for a natural disaster tend to have better financial outcomes. The cumulative effect of the interaction variables is significant, even for relatively mild storms Tracts with low share of the population with unpaid bills (arbitrarily set at 1 percent), the aggregate effect of a category 1 hurricane on credit score was a reduction of 16.2 percent. For a tract with an especially high rate of unpaid bills (arbitrarily set a 5 percent), the effect is strikingly larger in magnitude at -81.2 points. The median (3.09 percent) yields an average reduction in credit score of 46.4 points. Thus, half of tracts affected by category 1 hurricanes saw an average reduction in credit score of more than 46.4 points. This result would drop an average credit score of 700 to just over 650, which would likely significantly affect credit terms on a new loan. These cumulative effects were significantly higher than expected ex-ante. Results from Specification 2 show a very similar pattern, with credit score reductions ranging from 17.9 percent with a 10 percent credit card utilization rate to a staggering 71.2 percent for those with a 40 percent utilization rate.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 6, 2017.

Week in Review: August 26, 2017

On Monday, President Donald Trump decided to go against his own “instincts” and committed to a renewed military surge in Afghanistan. Already Congress commits to spending more in year 16 of the conflict than any European nation spends on their entire military, aided by a Federal Reserve prepared to monetize ever growing debt. Of course, Trump’s shift isn’t surprising. As Ryan McMaken noted this week, it makes political sense for an increasingly isolated president to try to consolidate support behind military action. Unfortunately, it’s still bad economics.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on August 26, 2017.


With all the turmoil in the last few weeks over websites, censorship, free speech, and leftist tech corporations banning sites they don’t like, I thought it would be a good time to clarify my vision and purpose for The Burning Platform. First, TBP is not an alt-right, white supremacist or pro-nazi website. I also don’t consider it a pro-Republican website. It’s been built by being anti lots of stuff. I don’t want to be part of any group that would have me as a member.
My philosophy is practical libertarian. I want to be left alone to live my life as I choose. I don’t care how others live their lives. The less government, the better. The purpose of our military is to protect our country from invasion, not policing the world. The Austrian School of economics makes the most sense to me. Keynesian economists are either liars or brain damaged. I’m a strict Constitutionalist. I despise Wall Street bankers, the Federal Reserve, liberal politicians, GOP establishment politicians, neo-cons, fake news corporate media, the military industrial complex, government apparatchiks, the surveillance state, and the Deep State oligarchs.

This post was published at The Burning Platform on August 24, 2017.

Ever more official lies from the US government

The false reality constructed for Americans parallels perfectly the false reality constructed by Big Brother in George Orwells’ dystopian novel 1984.
Consider the constant morphing of ‘the Muslim threat’ from al-Qaeda to the Taliban, to al-Nusra, to ISIS to ISIL, to Daesh with a jump to Russia. All of a sudden 16 years of Middle East wars against ‘terrorists’ and ‘dictators’ have become a matter of standing up to Russia, the country most threatened by Muslim terrorism, and the country most capable of wiping the United States and its vassal empire off of the face of the earth.
Domestically, Americans are assured that, thanks to the Federal Reserve’s policy of quantitative easing, that is, flooding the financial markets with newly printed money that has driven up the prices of stocks and bonds, America has enjoyed an economic recovery since June of 2009, which must be one of the longest recoveries in history despite the absence of growth in median real family incomes, despite the growth in real retail sales, despite the falling labor force participation rate, despite the lack of high value-added, high productivity, high wage jobs.

This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on July 10, 2017.

Cash Is Falling Out of Fashion – Will It Disappear Forever?

Bhaskar Chakravorti, Tufts University
On June 27, the ATM turns 50. Former US Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker once described it as the ‘only useful innovation in banking.’ But today, the cash that ATMs dispense may be on the endangered list.
Cash is being displaced in so many ways that it’s hard to keep track. There are credit cards and electronic payments; apps such as Venmo, PayPal and Square Cash; mobile payments services; cryptocurrencies that operate outside the purview of central banks; and localized offerings such as Kenya’s mPesa, India’s Paytm and Bangladesh’s bKash. These innovations are encouraging cashlessness across communities worldwide.
Listen to India and the Cashless Society
It’s reasonable to expect cash to follow the path of other goods that have been replaced by digital alternatives, such as photos, music, and movies. Will cash – and the ATMs that dispense it – experience a ‘Blockbuster’ moment and disappear from our neighborhoods?
Not so fast. Cash will likely become less popular, thanks to the high cost of using cash and the growing array of alternatives. But I expect it will remain with us forever. The future will be ‘less cash,’ rather than cashless.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 06/26/2017.

Meet Pharmacy Benefit Managers – ‘The Most Profitable Corporations You’ve Never Heard Of’

When I first started becoming aware of how sleazy, parasitic and corrupt the U. S. economy was, I only had expertise in one industry, financial services. Coming to grips with the blatant criminality of the TBTF Wall Street banks and their enablers at the Federal Reserve and throughout the federal government, I thought this was the main issue that needed to be confronted. What I’ve learned in the years since is pretty much every industry in America is corrupt to the core, more focused on sucking money away from helpless citizens via rent-seeking schemes versus actually producing a product and adding value. Unfortunately, the healthcare industry is no exception.
Today’s post zeros in on a particular slice of that industry. A group of companies known as Pharmacy Benefit Managers, or PBMs. Companies that seem to extract far more from the public than they give back. It’s a convoluted sector that is difficult to get your head around, which is why we should be thankful that David Dayen wrote an excellent piece on the topic recently. What follows are merely excerpts from his lengthy and highly informative piece, The Hidden Monopolies That Raise Drug Prices. I strongly suggest you read the entire thing.

This post was published at Liberty Blitzkrieg on Wednesday Mar 29, 2017.

New Bill Seeks to Create Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Inspector General

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was the brainchild of Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). It was designed to be an autonomous bureau, outside the gazing eyes of Congress in terms of oversight. The Bureau is currently run by former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray. The Bureau is an independent bureau within the Federal Reserve System and was created under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act).
(Phil Hall) The latest piece of congressional legislation seeking to reconfigure the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was introduced by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), who is seeking to create a new dedicated, Senate-confirmed Inspector General (IG) to monitor the agency.
In its current set-up, the CFPB shares an IG with the Federal Reserve. However, the Fed’s IG is hired by the central bank’s chairman and is not appointed by the president or confirmed by the Senate. Sen. Portman, who introduced similar legislation in the last Congress, stated this new IG would enable greater accountability and transparency at the CFPB.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on March 17, 2017.

Has The Deep State Begun Its Revenge On Trump?

Authored by Nick Giambruno via InternationalMan.com,
The Deep State is set to prick the largest bubble in human history today…
The Deep State is the permanently entrenched ‘national security’ bureaucracy – the top tier of the military, the CIA, FBI, NSA, etc. It also includes the Federal Reserve, the quintessential Establishment institution.
They all hate President Trump. They did everything possible to stop him from taking office. None of it worked. They fired all of their bullets, but he still wouldn’t go down.
Of course, the Deep State could still try to assassinate Trump. It’s obvious the possibility has crossed his mind. He’s taken the unusual step of supplementing his Secret Service protection with loyal private security.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 16, 2017.

Why Did SEC Acting Chair Take an Ax to Enforcement Unit’s Subpoena Power?

The Trump administration assault on investor protections put in place following the 2007-08 financial crisis continues apace. The war on investors takes place in arenas both large and small.
The large issues get the attention, of course. These include repeal of much of the Dodd-Frank law and regulations of the biggest Wall Street banks, limiting or eliminating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which actually helps individual customers abused by giant financial institutions, and preventing adoption of fiduciary standards for financial professionals recommending securities that line their pockets but are risky to customers.
But Washington is not merely a swamp of self-interest with large, highly visible alligators munching on small fish to satisfy their insatiable greed. Another apt metaphor is a field of giant weeds – weeds of rules, processes and procedures that can be manipulated for the interests of the Fat Cats.
These weeds are everywhere in Washington. Whether your particular self-interest lies in financial dealings regulated by the Federal Reserve and the Securities and Exchange Commission, looser regulations at the Environmental Protection Agency, exercising greater control of your employees by removing Labor Department regulations, or a host of other rules, processes and procedures, powerful interests with highly paid lawyers can push back easily against the much-maligned bureaucracy every day.
This is especially the case when there is one-party government and the president appoints those at the center of the oligarchy to head government agencies, as is true today.
What goes on hidden by these weeds is not usually paid attention to by either the press or the public.
Case in point: Although the SEC currently has three vacancies on its five-person commission, the designated temporary chairman, Republican Michael S. Piwowar, has quietly restricted the authority of the SEC’s civil servants in the Enforcement Division to issue subpoenas for witnesses and documents when investigating whether securities laws have been violated. A small number of news articles suggest this unwarranted reversal of an eight-year-old policy delegating authority to the supervisors in the Enforcement Division may remove Division discretion in its use of civil investigative powers completely.

This post was published at Wall Street On Parade By James A. Kidn.

Law Partners of Trump’s SEC Nominee Gave Huge Sums to Elect Hillary – Not

The rationale for Donald Trump’s selection of Jay Clayton, a law partner at Sullivan & Cromwell which has represented Goldman Sachs since the late 1800s, to be the next SEC Chairman grew exponentially fuzzier after Wall Street On Parade reviewed political donation records at the Federal Election Commission. FEC records show that 59 of Clayton’s fellow lawyers at the firm made over $900,000 in donations to the Hillary Victory Fund while one lone lawyer, Donald Korb, made two $2700 donations to Trump’s primary and general election campaign. Donations from three other lawyers at the firm, Justin Decamp ($2700), Robert Giuffra ($25,000), and Diane McGimsey ($5,000) to the Trump Victory committee came after Trump was already elected President, according to images of receipts filed with the FEC.
In addition to the more than $900,000 that went to the Hillary Victory Fund, tens of thousands of dollars more were donated by Sullivan & Cromwell lawyers to Hillary Clinton’s main campaign committee, Hillary for America.
Donors to the Hillary Victory Fund included Sullivan & Cromwell Senior Chairman, H. Rodgin (Rodge) Cohen, who donated $250,000 on May 12, 2016 and another $35,000 the following month. During the Wall Street panic and crash in 2008 and 2009, Cohen darted from representation of one failing institution to another. The Wall Street Journal dryly noted in the midst of the crisis that Cohen was ‘in demand because he helped mold the financial system that is now under assault. He helped draft the rules that led to the emergence of powerful national banks, waged the first hostile bank takeover in the U. S. and lobbied, in the early 1990s, to expand the Federal Reserve’s power to provide the emergency loans now being employed by the government.’

This post was published at Wall Street On Parade on January 5, 2017.

Cyclone! The Fed/Obama Labor Recovery In 5 Charts (And They Are Ugly!)

Both outgoing President Obama and lingering Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen are making claims about the number of jobs added under their leadership.
Yellen: ‘Job market strong, signs of wage growth.’ And the ‘strongest job market in nearly a decade.’
Obama (during his farewell press conference last Friday): ‘Since I signed Obamacare into law, our businesses have added more than 15 million new jobs,’
Sounds impressive, unless you look closely at the numbers.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on December 26, 2016.

Banning Cash & THE GREAT CRASH OF 2017

The following video was published by SGTreport.com on Dec 22, 2016
It’s becoming increasingly clear that the move to ban cash is going global. What started with Modi in India is now moving to Australia and Spain, and if people don’t revolt en masse and soon, the passivity of these populations with embolden the Federal Reserve and bankers to ban cash in the United States. And while the tyranny against cash only grows, the global bond bubble is beginning to pop – with many experts predicting total systemic collapse in 2017, and possibly as soon as January.