Archive for March, 2017

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I couldn’t bring myself to cast my own uninformed vote in the 2016 election (1st time in my adult life) as I was disgusted by protected psychopath, Hillary and knew little about The Donald other than having read three or four of his books.  I now suspect it no longer matters whether we like or dislike Donald Trump as President of our United States.  He won election in spite of impossible odds arranged by Left and Right Establishment insiders, a sycophant Elite/CIA controlled media and the Clinton War Machine.  He now assumes responsibility for our United States executive office, supposedly on the people’s behalf, including our monstrously bloated, unimaginably corrupt, $4 trillion Federal on-book budget…and we don’t know how large an off-book budget.

President Trump is not responsible for the vast array of unresolved issues and corruption facing the United States in 2017;  issues developed since WW II;  issues largely ignored, pandered to, propagandized and profited by a few for the last 70 or so years.  The question I find myself asking now is, “WHAT HAPPENS TO US ON MAIN STREET IF DONALD TRUMP FAILS TO MANAGE A SMOOTH ECONOMIC TRANSITION FROM OUR NEARLY INSOLVENT, NON-PRODUCTIVE ECONOMY TO A HEALTHY, PRODUCTIVE ONE”?  Is it still even possible to rebuild responsible adult government – or have we passed the negligently treasonous, economic point of no return?  Maybe we should at least ponder possible answers to this question before jumping on that Trump hating train; the one that looks headed on a downhill track to economic hell?

We’re told by main stream media (MSM) that the U.S. economy is on the right track, but here in Arizona anyway, there sure are a lot of vacant homes, offices, buildings and folks standing on corners with signs; so I did some checking and found U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data showing a different picture than the Press Corpse postulates.  Here’s a couple of stats to consider regarding that right track.

***Median Household Income for 2015 (last year available per U.S. Census) was $56,516 compared to 2007’s median $57,423; 1.6% lower than 2007.  Not impressive given steady, understated inflation at our grocery stores and shopping centers.
***The 2016 labor participation rate per Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was 63%.  This means 37% of working age  Americans are not working.
***The 2016 U-6 unemployment rate for 2016 per BLS is 9.6%.  If we add the 14% (per BLS) still looking for work after 15 to 26 weeks, we get an unemployment rate of 23.6%.  For millennials, Hispanics, African-Americans and women, it’s nearly double that.  The official U-3 rate of 4.9% is D.C.B.S.
***U.S. home ownership is at the lowest level since 1967.  A few more percentage points and U.S. home ownership sinks to an all-time low since U.S. Census record keeping began in 1965.
***United States GDP for 2016 was a meager 1.6%.  If we subtract out the portion of government spending included, GDP is somewhere in the range of -5%.  (This is my rough estimate – I didn’t spend a lot of time on the math, but the ball park is definitely negative.)

In light of the above, consider the 2016 Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Defense Report exposing $6.5 trillion dollars unaccounted for in 2015; an interesting statistic given the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) total 2015 Federal expenditures were $3.7 trillion against $3.2 trillion in revenues.  I don’t know if this $6.5 trillion is in addition to the 2001 Inspector General Report showing $2.3 trillion unaccounted for in that year’s DOD budget or if $2.3 trillion grew to $6.5 trillion?  In any case, it’s not an undisclosed fact that DOD receives and spends more money OFF-BOOK than it does ON-BOOK.  The question we as citizens might ask, because  our Elected Congressional Members responsible for budget oversight won’t, is; “where does this DOD off-book money come from and where does it go”?  Similarly, how large are other Federal Agency unaccounted for dollar amounts?  Ms. Catherine Austin Fitts of the Solari Report estimates black budget totals to now be more than $40 trillion.

Also in light of the above statistics, consider that the 2011 partial Federal Reserve Audit by the Government Accounting Office (GAO) disclosed more than $16 trillion allocated to banks and corporations, much of that dispensed internationally by the FED.  Specifics regarding these allocations remain thin.  Are American citizens legally responsible for this money?  If so, do we deserve a proper Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) analysis?  It’s my understanding that the Fed has its own accounting standards and is not held to GAAP standards.  I’m not certain of this and perhaps it’s appropriate for central banks, but if correct, isn’t it curious?

As we get into 2017 the global economy is drowning in on-book sovereign debt as is the United States.  Main Street citizens paying the bills are not permitted access to vast off-book (unaccounted for) spending and debt numbers, but we understand from Inspector General Reports on various agencies that the amounts are enormous and completely non-transparent.  Budget accountability does not exist in Washington D.C.  Obviously, raising interest rates on this debt mountain is willful economic suicide, yet historic economic cycles suggest our economy will reset to some standard of real value at some point in time, whether convenient or not.  After nearly ten years of quantitative easing do we even remember what real value is?  The current financial bubbles across multiple markets cannot be sustained.  Market corrections are usually crash and burn scenarios, but some economists suggest that handled properly, there still remains a small probability that Donald Trump, a very smart man, may be able to orchestrate a smooth transition from extreme over-spending and non-productivity to an economy at least marginally better for Main Street.  I don’t believe a smooth transition to be possible anymore, BUT…

…We should, as responsible citizens, ask ourselves anyway – WHAT DOES HAPPEN TO US ON MAIN STREET IF PRESIDENT TRUMP’S ADMINISTRATION FAILS TO FIX HIS INHERITED 70-YEAR MESS?  We should ask so we can understand and prepare our families, friends and neighborhoods either way – as either way, success or failure, we the people of Main Street will live with, and pay for the resulting circumstance.  The FED has been bolstering the stock market and other markets sans meaningful oversight by Congress.  The Elite are and have been financially positioning themselves with hoards of gold, silver, other precious metals and non-digital, real assets.  Understand that if the banking system collapses, and it looks like it will; most if not all digital assets held by Main Street citizens will likely vanish.  The Oligarchs, inside traders like Rockefeller, Soros, Buffet and other pawns of privilege will be just fine in the coming decade.  By virtue of election, Trump is framed to take the blame, while those who orchestrated certain economic tragedy since WW II will skate free to do it again.  Will we be OK?  Will our children?  Take a minute and give this some thought.

We know the Federal Reserve’s interest is keeping the banking system and its controlling ownership liquid.  Talk of Main Street stimulus is nonsense outside minimal trickle-down.  Trump wants to spend $1 trillion or so on infrastructure.  As a retired civil engineer, I assure you $1 trillion toward infrastructure is a good and necessary idea, but serious needed infrastructure work falls more in the realm of $5 trillion.  Is something better than nothing?  Trump wants to reduce bloated, corrupt Federal spending and money laundering, but faces an enormous array of employee’s, vendors, contractors and special interests completely vested in the continued tumefaction of largely unsupervised Federal spending and off-book money laundering.  Our future depends on deciding now, if we are for or against President Trump’s success because regardless our own ideological preferences; his success is our success as his failure will be ours to own and pass on to our children.

Many of us know with certainty and the remainder, should Trump fail, may soon learn American government and its Elite handlers work hard for Oligarchs and themselves; no one else.  We on Main Street are pandered to, used, alone, without representation, without meaningful fiscal transparency, basically at the mercy of those to whom we gave the reins of self-governance since the 19th Century.  Is it in our best interest to defend Trump, whom we’re not sure about;  or should we jump on the fear, hatred and corruption Establishment Train we already know doesn’t give a hoot about Main Street useless eaters, other than to control us and harvest the wealth we create?

For a short while anyway – I’ll ride with Trump and pray he’s real; because support him or not; if Donald Trump fails, if the Establishment wins, Main Street America and the world will reap those storm clouds, now rising black, bold and threatening on our Main Street horizon.

Lying by the numbers!!!  When politicians we elect, and pay a great deal of money to for representing the world’s transnational monopolies in D.C.,  instead of we the people, lie to us about how great our economy is; we should at least have some idea how clever the lies are – because for one thing, there’s a lot of ’em.  For another, if you’re not prepared you could get robbed.  If you’re in the House or Senate your insider trading rights are worth a fortune.  We the people at least in our own minds, deserve a good honest lie from you, put together with reasonable care, little disclosure and some attitude.  After all, we the people are paying for it… and paying dearly.  At least provide us a good show.  P.T. Barnum always provided a good show and your D.C. circus tradition should stand tall and proud on the midway.

OFFICIAL UNEMPLOYMENT STATISTICS?
The U-3.  Good statistic or crappy lie?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracks six different metrics for unemployment.  When looking at unemployment reports the viewer should be aware of the metric or metrics being included for reporting purposes as these so-called official reports are regularly employed (pun intended) for propaganda purposes rather than information dissemination or put another way; obfuscation, not clarification.

The six BLS unemployment metrics are:

 (See https://www.bls.gov/lau/stalt.htm for 2016 Annual Averages.)

*****
U-1 Persons unemployed 15 weeks or longer, as a percent of the civilian labor force.  2016 U-1: 2.0%

U-2 Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs, as a percent of the civilian labor force.  2016 U-2:  2.3%

U-3 Total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force (official unemployment rate).  2016 U-3:  4.9%

U-4 Total unemployed plus discouraged workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus discouraged workers.  2016 U-4:  5.2%

U-5 Total unemployed, plus discouraged workers, plus all other persons marginally attached to the labor force, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force.  2016 U-5:  5.9%

U-6 Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force.  2016 U-6:  9.6%
*****

The vigilant receiver of .gov unemployment statistics will carefully consider the specified parameters (identified on the BLS website) of what is or isn’t included within each of the U-1 through U-6 metrics – particularly the popular U-3.

U-3 is the officially published unemployment percentage regularly given out by the Federal government and echoed across our largely uninformed nation by CIA compromised, fake news bureaus.  U-3 is a real number, but hardly reflects unemployment levels across Main Street America.

To grasp actual Main Street unemployment levels, economist John Williams, of ShadowStats Alternative Unemployment Rate (See http://www.shadowstats.com/) fame suggests the BLS’ highest metric, the U-6 category is still not an accurate indicator of real life unemployment conditions.  U-6 doesn’t consider those individuals unemployed, who have given up looking for work after more than 12 months of searching.  Mr. Williams says to obtain a realistic estimate of Main Street unemployment, add the BLS U-6 figure  (obtain from https://www.bls.gov/lau/stalt.htm) to the long term unemployed (more than one year, (see https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t12.htm) who quit looking for work, but still list themselves as unemployed.

If we take the BLS 2016 Average Annual U-6 rate of 9.6% and add to it the BLS February 2017 percentage of unemployed for 15 weeks to 26 weeks, that is, 14%; we obtain a more realistic Main Street unemployment rate for February 2017 of 23.6%.  This seems about what we see in my Arizona neighborhood.  I hope yours is better.  Note that in the interest of conservatism, I only went so far as 15 to 26 weeks at 14% per BLS.  The over 27 week stat is 23.8%, which corresponds more closely with the 63% labor participation rate published by BLS.

The above 1600 Watch, 23.6% unemployment estimate corresponds fairly well to the February 2017 BLS labor participation rate of 63%, which indicates 37% of American workers are not working.  When more than 90 million working age Americans are not working and the U.S. population is roughly 313 million (not all workers, of course), the unemployment rate is not below 5%.  This official government figure, the current U-3 of 4.9% is pure political obfuscation.

Another doozy is the calculated OFFICIAL RATE OF INFLATION.

OFFICIAL RATE OF INFLATION STATISTICS?
Valid information or just another crappy lie?

A cynical person might suggest our government intentionally MIS-calculates inflation rates as low as possible to avoid adding COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENTS to beneficiaries of programs like Social Security.  How do they do this we may inquire?

Rate of inflation, say over the past year is a simple calculation.  Take last year’s Consumer Price Index (CPI), call it P1; subtract it from this year’s CPI, call it P2; divide the difference by P1 as the basis; and multiply by 100 to obtain a percentage.  It looks like this: ((P2 – P1)/P1) x 100 = Rate of Inflation for the past year.

Example, where: P1 = 104; P2 = 106:  ((106-104)/104) x 100 = 1.92% inflation for the year

Obviously, if we vary the inputs used in each time period, rather than holding them constant as they were originally; the calculated inflation rate for the period in question can easily and predictably be manipulated up or down.  Let politics be the judge.

The CPI is a bit more complicated and that’s where the inflation rate magick happens.  Statistical data are easily altered by varying inputs.  If not careful; garbage in; garbage out as they say.  If interested in an educated tome on this subject of CPI, I suggest perusing the following paper:  http://file.scirp.org/pdf/ME20100200005_38971786.pdf.  Take a look and you’ll quickly  grasp why I’ve not included equations for CPI calc’s.

For the rest of us civilians, let’s just understand that by including or not including certain items or by changing entirely those items included or not included, we can conveniently manipulate the data.  For instance:  using an example recently provided by Mr. Paul Craig Roberts (See http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/), let’s imagine the price variation for an expensive cut of steak to be included in the CPI calculation.  Let’s imagine that price has risen significantly over the past year.  Therefore, including this price change in the data set will contribute to an increase in the calculated CPI.  Ouch!  We don’t want that.  It sounds bad if you’re a politician.  So, let’s revise the way CPI is calculated.  Let’s lie to we the people.  Isn’t that what we politicos and bureaucrats are paid to do by the big important monopolies anyway?  Absolutely, and the voting booth proves it.

Just dump that expensive cut of meat from the index and substitute a less expensive cut having a much less significant price increase – or better, no increase.  Voila!  Problem solved.  Now we’ve taken a time honored, economic benchmark and reduced it to meaningless nonsense.  If I’m not mistaken, this is exactly what BLS has done using what many refer to as Greenspan’s “substitution theory”, now added to by the “Chained CPI” concept – none of which I really care to understand, other than to know we’re being lied to on Main Street.

Magickly, our economy looks great no matter how loud that flushing noise is getting; and we the corrupt thugs can be re-elected by we the people and keep on keepin’ on shillin’ for the world’s greediest transnational monopolies and our lucrative inside trading deals.  Ain’t it great?

Just sayin’.  Citizen beware if you dare!