The True State of the U.S. Economy: Caviar Facials and Despe

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The True State of the U.S. Economy: Caviar Facials and Despe

Postby admin » Mon Apr 11, 2016 3:35 am

The True State of the U.S. Economy: Caviar Facials and Desperate Fire Sales on Craigslist
by Michael Krieger
Mar 10, 2014

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By now, it must be completely obvious to anyone paying even the slightest bit of attention that the so-called “recovery” we have supposedly been witnessing for the past several years is nothing more than a wealth transfer to a handful of oligarchs and their political minions. While I am intimately familiar with the process in the U.S., it appears to be a global phenomenon as well.

Domestically, this process has been driven by the complete corruption and insanity of those calling the public policy shots in Washington D.C. At the heart of that process, resides a group of unelected economic Central Planners known as the Federal Reserve, or the lender of last resort for oligarchs and cronies who make bad business decisions.

Before I get to the title of this post, I want to highlight a very important article published last week that demonstrates how college graduates are forcing their lesser educated peers out of the workforce by taking jobs that do not require secondary education. If you read this and still can’t be honest that this economy is a total distorted shitshow, I don’t know what to tell you.

From Bloomberg:

Recent college graduates are ending up in more low-wage and part-time positions as it’s become harder to find education-level appropriate jobs, according to a January study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The share of Americans ages 22 to 27 with at least a bachelor’s degree in jobs that don’t require that level of education was 44 percent in 2012, up from 34 percent in 2001, the study found.

The New York Fed researchers said it isn’t clear whether two decades of increasing underemployment for recent graduates “represent a structural change in the labor market, or if they are a consequence of the two recessions and jobless recoveries in the first decade of the 2000s.”


Two “jobless recoveries.” I’m still trying to figure our how you can have a “jobless recovery.” Perhaps they aren’t recoveries in the first place. Bear in mind that these are the unelected people running the economy.

The share of young adults 20 to 24 years old neither in school nor working climbed to 19.4 percent in 2010 from 17.2 percent in 2006. For those ages 25 to 29, it rose to 21.3 percent from 20 percent in that period, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of Boston report in December.


Thanks for the study Federal Reserve, now get back to funneling interest free loans to financial oligarchs.

A year-long survey ending in July 2012 of 500,000 Americans ages 19 to 29 showed that 63 percent of those fully employed had a bachelor’s degree, and their most common jobs were merchandise displayers, clothing-store and cellular phone sales representatives, according to Seattle-based PayScale Inc., which provides compensation information.

The share of recent college graduates in “good non-college jobs,” those with higher wage-growth potential, such as dental hygienists, has declined since 2000, according to the New York Fed study. Meanwhile, the portion has grown for those in low-wage jobs paying an average wage of below $25,000, including food servers and bartenders.

“We would rather have somebody who is passionate, knowledgeable about their craft and really hospitable than somebody who walks in and says ’hey I have a master’s degree,’” Galban said. “But the funny thing is, the majority of our servers, bartenders and people who work in the corporate office do carry either a master’s or Ph.D.”


Recall my article from back on 2012 titled: Number Of PhD Recipients Using Food Stamps Soars.

Twenty-two percent of those ages 25 to 32 with only a high school diploma live in poverty, compared with 6 percent of today’s college-educated young adults, according to the Pew study. Only 7 percent of those in that age group with just a high school diploma lived in poverty in 1979, compared with 3 percent of college graduates.


22% today versus 7% in 1979. Wow…

Now read the following heartbreaking article from the Wall Street Journal titled: Unemployed Workers Stage Craigslist Fire Sale.

With all that in mind, make sure to watch the disturbing video below about a California woman who specializes in providing caviar to the super rich. She boasts about how many of them don’t even eat the caviar, but rather just spread it all over their faces for “caviar facials.” As my friend calls it, “billionaire porn.”
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Re: The True State of the U.S. Economy: Caviar Facials and D

Postby admin » Mon Apr 11, 2016 3:42 am

An Open Letter to Sam Zell: Why Your Statements are Delusional and Dangerous
by Michael Krieger
Feb 6, 2014

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The 1 percent are being pummeled because it’s politically convenient to do so. The problem is that the world and this country should not talk about envy of the 1 percent. It should talk about emulating the 1 percent. The 1 percent work harder. The 1 percent are much bigger factors in all forms of our society.

– Sam Zell yesterday on Bloomberg Television


Mr. Zell,

I’ve seen clips of you on television several times in the past. I can’t say those appearances elicited strong reactions from me. I can recall being offended at things you have said, and I can remember agreeing with you on other occasions. However, yesterday I found your statements on “class warfare,” “envy” and the “1%” delusional and dangerous. I will address these two points separately.

Why Your Statements Are Delusional

Individuals, social classes, even cultures and nation-states develop storylines and so-called “myths” about themselves and how they fit into the bigger picture of current events and human history. We all see ourselves and whatever group(s) with which we identify within a particular social, political and economic context. This is obvious, yet it is much more difficult to look at your owns myths and question them. It is far easier to look at other groups’ myths and heap criticism on them. That is basically all you do.

For the purpose of this letter, I will focus on socio-economic groups that people are now using in these contemporary United States. Ever since Occupy Wall Street popularized the terms, many people have divided themselves into two overly-simplistic groups, the so-called 99% and the 1%. However, this isn’t the real struggle. I was always against the 1% label, because the true cancer, the true problem comes from a much smaller slice of the population. It comes from what I call the “oligarchs,” the 0.01%, and the politicians that do their bidding. This is your class Mr. Zell, so let’s get that straight right off the bat. That doesn’t mean everyone in the 0.01% should be vilified. I am certain there are many well meaning, decent and honestly good people in that bucket. Nevertheless, what the past five years have proven without a shadow of a doubt is that this class collectively represents the most destructive, delusional and counter-productive members of our society.

Your statements on Bloomberg yesterday prove my point exactly. Let’s start with the most offensive and asinine statement. You said:

The problem is that the world and this country should not talk about envy of the 1 percent. It should talk about emulating the 1 percent. The 1 percent work harder.


First of all you talk of envy. Now without a doubt, there is a significant portion of the so-called 99% that would want nothing more than to have the riches and the power of the 1%, but certainly not all of them, or even necessarily the majority. In my life I have had various experiences and met a lot of people. I lived most of my life in Manhattan and the last three years in Boulder, Colorado. What defines Manhattan more than anything else is that it is a money-chasing place. People who live there are generally obsessed with money as well as materialism, and want as much as they can get in the shortest period of time. People in Colorado are not this way. When I lived in NYC, almost every conversation I overheard would consist of how to make more money or get a bigger bonus. In three years in Colorado, I cannot recall ever hearing a similar conversation. Of course this is an over-generalization, but there is certainly truth to it.

It’s fine to want to make money, and it’s also fine to just want to be comfortable, content and fulfilled in what you do. I’m not making a judgement call here. What I am saying is that people like you, who are constantly surrounded by people that think just like you, people who obsess 24/7 about how to make more money on money, you think that everyone thinks just like you. Sorry to break it to you, they don’t.

So this is where your delusion begins. You think everyone that has issues with you oligarchs and how the 0.01% is destroying our economy and society is simply envious because you assume they think like you do. Certainly, if you were poor you would be envious of the the rich. You’ve made that clear. However, that is not the primary motivation of the anger and resentment swelling up from the underclasses.

I will use myself as an example. I worked on Wall Street from the moment I graduated Duke University. By the time I was in my mid-20s my career was taking off. I was well into the “1%” by my late-20s and if I had continued along that path, who knows maybe one day I could’ve been an oligarch like you. If you were me, you would have continued to pound the pavement of the world’s financial centers to one day become a “master of the universe.” But I don’t want to be you Sam Zell. I voluntarily took myself off that career path, at the very top of my game because I became so disillusioned by the monetary and financial system after the crisis and the bailout of the crooks (your socio-economic class) that caused it. I’m not trying to portray myself as special or some sort of a hero. I am just making the point that from your point of view my choice was completely irrational, and probably one you could never comprehend. Yet there are plenty of people like me out there and you don’t seem to understand this because your entire worldview revolves around wealth.

Your misdiagnosis of the root cause of the current dissent in America is a result of your obliviousness to the actual concerns of the 99%. A group about which you speak with such certainty, yet certainly know almost nothing about. In fact, my website is dedicated to highlighting all of the destructive trends happening in this nation today. From record high food stamp participation, to declining real wages and the reality that young people need to take on so much debt they become indentured serfs from the moment they enter the workforce. From a loss of 4th Amendment rights due to illegal NSA spying, to the militarization of the police force. From oligarch immunity from serious financial crimes that average citizens would be thrown in jail for life for, to trillion dollar bailouts with zero strings attached for the financial community. From the over-prosecution of some of our bravest citizens such as Aaron Swartz, Barrett Brown and Private Manning to a fraudulent two-party sham political system entirely controlled by your socio-economic class.

While I agree that President Obama talks in simplistic, imbecilic “class warfare” terms, what does he do in reality? He is the most oligarch-coddling President this nation has ever seen. Talk is cheap Zell. I only listed a few of the root problems causing dissent in the country. They are very real, they are not going away and as long as oligarchs like you pretend they don’t exist and this is all the result of “envy” nothing will get better. In fact, it will get much, much worse. I see very little envy. I see a populace waking up to a gigantic fucking fraud, full of below average cronies thieving and people getting pissed about it. I see a 0.01% class of oligarchs to which the free market and the rule of law do not apply. So I’m not sure what exactly the 99% is supposed to be emulating. Your unaccountable criminality?

Of course I couldn’t end this section without calling you out on the most absurd thing you said: “The 1 percent work harder.”

Where to begin…First of all, I’d like some hard data to back up this statement. You complain about class warfare and then hypocritically say something like that? How is that not class warfare. You, a billionaire, come on television and tell 320 million people that the reason they feel disillusioned and agitated is because they are lazy. If that’s not class warfare I don’t know what is.

But let’s take this a step further. Let’s assume that the average person in the 1% works harder than the average person in the 99%. This reality still means that there are likely millions, if not tens of millions of above average workers within the 99% that work considerably harder than the average 1% person. Even if you don’t accept my numbers, you can’t deny there would still be hundreds of thousands that fall into that bucket. So what do you have to say to them? Furthermore, where does your expertise on the work ethic of the 99% come from? I highly doubt you spend much time hanging around them.

Why Your Statements Are Destructive

There is genuine dissent in America and it would behoove you to actually try to understand it, rather than assuming it is represented by inane political rhetoric from Barrack Obama. In case you hadn’t noticed, Obama isn’t popular. Neither are Democrats and Republicans. In fact, a recent Gallup Poll showed that 42% of Americans identify as Independent, versus 31% as Democrats and 25% as Republicans. This is the highest “Independent” identification on record. People know something is very wrong, they know the system is broken.

Generally speaking, the dissent from both the “progressive” side and the “libertarian” side overlaps on many issues. Issues that you seem to be oblivious to. These are:

1) Opposition to Wall Street bailouts, the concept of TBTF and the growth of crony capitalism generally.

2) The fact that the “rule of law” is not applied to oligarchs, politicians and government officials.

3) The destruction of civil liberties through the nation and the militarization of police.

4) Endless and pointless wars abroad, as well as the destructive war on drugs at home.

As you yourself admit: “the 1 percent are much bigger factors in all forms of our society.” This is true, and since the 0.01% wields even greater power, you must accept responsibility for these issues. Instead, you just come on television and call everyone envious.

The fact that there is such tremendous overlap on such major issues from activists on the so-called “left” and the “right” is extraordinarily important. These are real grievances that are not going away. Angst on these issues must be dealt with, and no amount of superficial, ignorant statements will change that reality. The only thing that the arrogant oligarch attitude will do is cause more people to despise you. Is that what you want?

I don’t think you’re a bad guy with evil intent. I think you are a money obsessed financier who hasn’t taken the time to actually understand what is really going on within your own country because you have your head so far up your own ass. It’s hard for anyone to actually look at themselves in the mirror and be honest about themselves and the myths they create. However, history shows us that when decadent plutocrats are unable to do so, we end up with disastrous situations. Situations which are often times violent and result in despotism. A situation I desperately hope to avoid, and I truly hope you and others like you recognize your error before it is too late.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger
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Re: The True State of the U.S. Economy: Caviar Facials and D

Postby admin » Mon Apr 11, 2016 3:47 am

Number Of PhD Recipients Using Food Stamps Surged During Recession: Report
by Bonnie Kavoussi
05/07/2012

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In this economy, even having multiple degrees isn’t a guarantee against poverty.

The number of PhD recipients on food stamps and other forms of welfare more than tripled between 2007 and 2010 to 33,655, according to an Urban Institute analysis cited by the Chronicle of Higher Education. The number of master’s degree holders on food stamps and other forms of welfare nearly tripled during that same time period to 293,029, according to the same analysis.

The boost in PhD recipients receiving food stamps is just the latest indication of how Americans are struggling in a down economy. Overall, the number of Americans on food stamps rose 43 percent over the past three years to 46.3 million Americans as of February 2012, according to the Department of Agriculture.

In addition, even graduate degrees that many used to consider a guarantee to a life of wealth and success are going down in value. The sluggish economy has pushed graduates with law degrees to look for jobs outside of the legal profession, according to U.S. News and World Report.

The situation is particularly dire for faculty working outside the tenure track as cuts to funding for public colleges have squeezed their salaries. Many adjunct faculty members are likely to be on welfare, since they live on “poverty wages,” the Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

Meanwhile, secure tenure-track jobs are disappearing as adjunct faculty positions become more the norm, according to several news sources. While more than half of all university faculty members were tenured or on the tenure track in 1975, that percentage has plunged to less than a third of all faculty members as of 2007, according to Department of Education data cited by the Chronicle of Higher Education in a separate report.

All of these factors, plus a less-than-stellar job market, have forced many PhDs to work in menial jobs. There are 5,057 janitors with PhDs, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data cited by the Houston Chronicle.

In another sign that a graduate degree is no guarantee of a secure job, some students that are just graduating from graduate school are having trouble getting job interviews, according to the Hartford Courant.

Here are the states that use the most food stamps:

10. South Carolina: Percentage of Population on Food Stamps: 18.2 percent Annual Change in Food Stamps from 2010: 7.1 percent 2010 Total State Population: 4,625,364

9. Maine: Percentage of Population on Food Stamps: 18.6 percent Annual Change in Food Stamps from 2010: 8 percent 2010 Total State Population: 1,328,361

8. West Virginia: Percentage of Population on Food Stamps: 18.7 percent Annual Change in Food Stamps from 2010: 2.4 percent 2010 Total State Population: 1,852,994

7. Kentucky: Percentage of Population on Food Stamps: 18.8 percent Annual Change in Food Stamps from 2010: 5.9 percent 2010 Total State Population: 4,339,367

6. Louisiana: Percentage of Population on Food Stamps: 19.2 percent Annual Change in Food Stamps from 2010: 7.5 percent 2010 Total State Population: 4,533,372

5. Michigan: Percentage of Population on Food Stamps: 19.7 percent Annual Change in Food Stamps from 2010: 11.4 percent 2010 Total State Population: 9,883,640

4. New Mexico: Percentage of Population on Food Stamps: 19.8 percent Annual Change in Food Stamps from 2010: 17.9 percent 2010 Total State Population: 2,059,179

3. Tennessee: Percentage of Population on Food Stamps: 19.8 percent Annual Change in Food Stamps from 2010: 17.9 percent 2010 Total State Population: 6.2 million Correction: A previous version of this slide misstated the state's population.

2. Oregon: Percentage of Population on Food Stamps: 20.1 percent Annual Change in Food Stamps from 2010: 9.6 percent 2010 Total State Population: 3,831,074

1. Mississippi: Percentage of Population on Food Stamps: 20.7 percent Annual Change in Food Stamps from 2010: 8.4 percent 2010 Total State Population: 2,967,297
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Re: The True State of the U.S. Economy: Caviar Facials and D

Postby admin » Mon Apr 11, 2016 3:53 am

Unemployed Workers Stage Craigslist Fire Sale
by Damiam Paletta
@damianpaletta
Damian.Paletta@wsj.com
Mar 3, 2014

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Craigslist.org has always represented something of a virtual yard sale, but for many unemployed Americans it’s become something of a fire sale.

You name it, they are selling it. Someone in Springfield, Ore., is selling a men’s watch for $100. “Unemployment is running out need money will sell for $100.00. Call before 8pm and after 8am please be respectful. We can meet anywhere in public.”

And they are asking for it. Another worker in Kissimmee, Fla., whose post says lost benefits when Congress didn’t extend jobless payments Dec. 28, is asking for dog and cat food. “My dogs & cats are not picky,” the person wrote.

Washington is wrangling with whether to extend long-term unemployment benefits, which ran out in North Carolina in July and in the other 49 states in late December as discussed in Monday’s Outlook column. But the financial pressures facing many Americans are much more complex than the Washington debate. The Wall Street Journal contacted a number of unemployed workers who are trying to sell things on Craigslist. Here are some of their stories.

The Rings

Image
Rings for sale on Craigslist CRAIGSLIST

The diamonds were her great-grandmother’s and in 1976, Cheryl Jones –- barely 20 –- had them set into rings for her wedding the next year.

She and her husband lived in Texas, and she worked as a midwelder for an auto-parts company. In 2011, her husband died of cancer, and eight months later she lost her job.

With virtually no savings to fall back on, she sold her house and most of her belongings and moved to Florida looking for work. With no luck there, she moved to North Carolina. She’s been collecting unemployment benefits since August 2012, but they ran out at the end of December.

She still owes $6,800 on her car, and with no income, she decided to try to sell the only thing of value she says she has left. So in late January she posted “RARE!!! 3.69ctw Miners Cut Diamond Wedding Set Value $30,000–$6000.” On the listing is a picture of her wearing both rings on her hand.

“$30,000” is what she says they are worth, but $6,000 is what she says she’ll take. The listing says all the right things. “One of a kind” and “A RARE FIND TODAY.”

But she didn’t mince words. “I lost my Emergency Unemployment on Dec. 28, 2013 and I must sell my wedding set to survive!!!”

As it turns out, especially with jewelry sold online, it’s a buyers market, if there’s a market at all.

She said she’s had just a few people interested in her husband’s ring and nobody seems to want hers. Her husband’s ring is worth around $10,000, she says, but people are only willing to pay around $300. Even that little amount, she says, was enough to get her to consider the sale.

“A lot of people don’t have money right now and they are hanging onto what they have,” she said.

The Camper

Image
The camper listed on Craigslist CRAIGSLIST

Steiner Andersen managed information technology for a company in northwest Illinois, working close to 70 hours a week. His life changed, a few years ago, when his wife was diagnosed with bladder cancer. He worked by her side until she had the tumor removed “and then to our amazement she woke up and her organs went back to normal.”

Mr. Andersen, an immigrant from Norway who became a citizen in 1983 while in the Marine Corps, lost his job shortly thereafter during a reorganization. There weren’t a lot of IT jobs in his part of the state, and they lived off of the $430 a week he received in unemployment benefits. He wanted to move to the South, where he thought there were more jobs, but he and his wife were trapped in their house. They bought it for $220,000 and carried a mortgage of $215,000. The house is probably only worth $130,000 or so, he said.

He bought his wife health insurance but -– to save money -– didn’t buy any for himself. He sold his Corvette on eBay for $4,000 and bought a recreational vehicle in May 2013. It has a refrigerator, microwave, and a television, and it was meant to give him a place to stay during his wife’s extended visits to the hospital at the Cancer Treatment Center of America in Zion, Ill.

“Unfortunately, my unemployment ended on 12/28….. and we still have to pay for her Cobra premiums plus for her continued cancer treatments…. so we must sell our RV as soon as possible to raise enough money to live on through June of 2014,” he wrote on Craigslist.

Mr. Andersen said a few people have expressed interest but they’ve been unable to see the RV because of all the snow.
“It’s buried and nobody can get out to see it,” he said.

“I have depleted absolutely everything,” he said. “Because I’m Norwegian, I’m a first-generation person here, so none of my family lives here. I have no family resources to draw on.

The Dishes

Image
Part of the set listed on Craigslist CRAIGSLIST

For Maryanne Lockman, the tumble into financial ruin has been swift.

She earned $16 an hour managing a restaurant in Marietta, Ga., but lost her job in April and the unemployment benefits ran out six months later. She couldn’t find another job, and -– panicking -– decided to walk away from her rental home before being evicted. That ruined her credit, she said, and has made it virtually impossible for her to find another job.

“A lot of jobs tell me I’m not worth training because they’d be downsizing my pay and they know I’m not going to stay,” she said. “I’m like -– ‘Look, I have no job.’”

She’s filled out job applications to be a window washer and “cleaning lady,” she said. “I’ve even applied to be a tree climber for people cutting down trees,” she said.

She had enough money to cover her expenses for about three months, but after that, her financial situation worsened. She began unloading her life by selling things on the Internet. She says she sold a chandelier for $6,500, but didn’t realize how the process worked and had to spend almost that much to ship it. She’s selling rugs, her dining room table, bedroom furniture, her grandson’s clothes. “You name it, I have it on Craigslist,” she said.

On Feb. 9, she tried to sell her family’s set of dishes for $1,100, “or best offer.” “This was the first set of dishes I every [sic] had since my children were small I bought it in 97,” she wrote. “I lost my home and my job and my health care so I really need the money.”

She’s thought about moving to California, where she has heard there are more jobs, but the cost of living is so high there that she thinks it would be a mistake. She was close to moving into a women’s shelter in Atlanta, where she said they will help train her and help give her job skills “but then my sister told me to come live with her.”

She estimates she’s applied for 500 jobs in the last 10 months, and said she still might go to the women’s shelter if she thinks it might help her eventually get some work.

“For the first time in my life, at 52, I’m actually getting food stamps,” she said. “I’ve never in my life had to do that.”
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