Recovering America: Earning Less, Spending More, $6.7 Trillion Poorer

Since Ben Bernanke the hero saved the global economy, things have been coming up roses for, well, nobody. 

The Department of Commerce reports that Americans are spending far more than they are making. That’s good news, according to CNN

[PNC economist Stuart] Hoffman said he was encouraged by the fact that Friday's report showed a 1.6% increase in spending on durable goods, which are typically big-ticket items. That was driven by strong auto sales during the month, as automakers reported the best new-car sales in four years.

Spending on nondurable goods, such as food and gasoline, rose 0.9%. with virtually all of that increase due to the higher prices.

But spending on services, such as airfare and cable TV, grew only 0.4%, which kept the overall spending increase to 0.8%.

February's income gain was less than the 0.3% rise forecast by economists surveyed by Briefing.com, while spending was more than forecasts of a 0.6% rise.

But the willingness of consumers to spend is a good sign for economic growth, since consumer spending represents more than two-thirds of the nation's economic activity.

I remember hearing somewhere that there’s this thing you need to do before you spend money, it’s called, like, churning it or spurning or yearning it or something like that. Anyway, USA Today has more details

Still, the job gains are not resulting in bigger paychecks for most Americans. Income grew just 0.2% last month, matching January's weak increase. And when taking inflation into account, income after taxes fell for a second straight month.

Most consumers spent more of what they earned and saved less. The saving rate dropped to 3.7% of after-tax income in February. That was the lowest level since August 2009. It had averaged 4.7% for all of last year.

Americans are also taking on more debt. Consumer borrowing increased from November through January by the most in a decade for a three-month stretch. Yet the increases were driven almost entirely by auto and student loans. Credit card debt decreased in January and remains well below pre-recession levels.

And to revisit some of my favorite back-of-the-envelope factoids: 

* The BEA’s measure of personal savings [pdf] stopped going up a while back, and now it has dropped through the floor. In February it came in at 3.7 percent – a rate close to what was considered negative savings back before Barack Obama’s sparkling intelligence saved us from the misrule of President Chimpy McHitler. 

* According to the Federal Reserve’s Flow of Funds report [pdf] for the fourth quarter of 2011, household net worth is also in the toilet. We are now collectively worth $58.5 trillion. In 2007 we were worth $65.2 trillion. I know I feel $6.7 trillion poorer; how about you? Those are inflation-adjusted figures, but how’s this for adding insult to injury: I still have a copy of the Q3 2007 Flow of Funds report, and even the household net worth figure at the time (i.e., not adjusted for the last five years of inflation) was still higher than today’s, at $58.6 trillion. That means that not only is our money worth 10 percent less than it was in 2007 (literally decimated!), but we have $100 billion less of it. 

* Finally, the one healthy trend I have been following – a very tiny, fractions-of-a-percent increase in the equity portion of real estate – has started going back down again. In the third quarter of 2011, the equity portion (that is, total real estate owned less mortgage debt) came in at just under $8 trillion, comprising 43.5 percent of real estate owned in the United States. In the fourth quarter, the equity portion dropped to $7.7 trillion, while mortgage debt dropped barely at all, leaving the current equity portion at 43 percent even. It’s a small decline, but remember: The increase in the equity portion, even if it was driven mostly by brute-force deleveraging, had been the only evidence that Americans were getting their atrocious balance sheets under control. 

These trends could shift, but they have long-term implications that are more serious than anything having to do with current unemployment or real estate prices. The one good thing about recessions is that they serve as reminders that betting on the come is not sound personal finance, that at some point you actually do have to sock away some money, earn more than you spend, accumulate wealth and create value. 

Now even that small step in the right direction has been retracted, and it's another reason that Keynesian success feels like failure. This rotten fiscal behavior on the part of Americans is dangerous and inadvisable, but it’s a completely rational response to the macro signals Bernanke and his wise men are sending. This is the result you get when you treat deflation as a dirty word and devalue the dollar so ruthlessly that saving money becomes a ticket to the poorhouse. And the most maddening part is that Bernanke won't get the blame: When the stagnation sets in again, it will be the fault of private people who didn’t spend enough and clearly lack the wisdom to run their own economic affairs. All that for a stimulus that increased unemployment and a recovery that exists only in Jay Carney’s imagination

In other currency devaluation news, Canada is retiring its penny. That’s a symbolic (and according to some evidence, practical) surrender to inflation that I’ll fight like James K. Polk to keep from happening on this side of the border. 

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  • Hugh Akston||

    So people are spending more than they make and taking on debts that they can't afford. What's more important, the happiness and stability of individual people, or numbers increasing in the Economy?

    We must all remember that the Economy is a vengeful and demanding being. If a few people must be sacrificed to feed its bottomless Aggregate Demand, so be it.

  • shrike||

    Don't worry, you guys. Obama's got this!

  • shrike||

    Better war than Pact (with Nazis)

  • John||

    Mary broke my brain.

    Anyway.

  • Joe||

    Lucille has messed my mind up, but I still love her.

  • Buster||

    Tell me about it.
    Hahah!

  • heller, schmeller||

    I outed rather/rectal/mary!

    I am famous!

    Really!

  • AB||

    Hello there

  • Alice Bowie||

    Hey there

  • ||

    SPEND! SPEND! SPEND!

    Your nation is counting on you.

  • Tercio||

    The final issue of my Atlantic subscription is the one pictured above. Any thought I had as to renewing evaporated the moment I saw the cover.

  • Cytotoxic||

    my Atlantic subscription

    Just...why?

  • juris imprudent||

    His bird prefers a glossy cage-liner?

  • Tercio||

    Megan McCardle?

  • Russ 2000||

    It was a good magazine about 6-7 years ago. Their long-form articles were usually great and stuck out like a sore thumb because almost every other magazine, including Scientific American, stopped printing 12+ page articles long before. And an Atlantic subscription could be had (and still can be) for $10 a year. Nowadays it's overpriced at $10/year but less than a decade ago it was a bargain.

    The magazine turned to shit when it was sold to someone in DC.

  • ||

    at some point you actually do have to sock away some money

    Why bother?

  • Romulus Augustus||

    Some folks I know saved $1mm for retirement. They hoped to generate $40-50K year in money markets. They earn bupkus so didn't retire and leave job openings for younger people. But at least they have the $1mm.

  • johnl||

    WTH did they put money in money markets instead of long term bonds? Those people are the victims of bad advice.

  • ||

    Indeed. In the long run, we're all dead.

  • Mike M.||

    What a bunch of total B.S. about the economy recovering. If that were true, federal revenue would be noticeably increasing. Instead, it's virtually identical to the depressed amount of revenue from the previous fiscal year.

  • The Bernank||

    When it stops twitching I just club it harder with my QE stim-baton.

  • juris imprudent||

    You're also supposed to shout "stop resisting".

  • Cytotoxic||

    Oh my sides!

  • LTC John||

    Hey, how did you get a copy of the Chicago PD training manual?!

  • ||

    They hoped to generate $40-50K year in money markets.

    I remember the days when somebody would actually say, "Well, if I had a million bucks, I could just put it in the bank and live off the interest."

    Now, you can do better as a shopping cart wrangler at Walmart.

  • The Rich||

    That's the spirit!
    Give up, loser libertarians. America needs call center agents.

  • Ryan||

    Or they could invest it intelligently and earn much more than shitty interest rates would allow.

  • Cytotoxic||

    That's very difficult and dangerous in these times.

  • Ryan||

    The main difficulty and danger with it is in predicting the actions of Gov't, but there are ways to mitigate those risks significantly.

  • ^Poor libertarian bullshitter^||

    just send him your money to invest

  • ||

  • Cytotoxic||

    Thank you +1

  • Killazontherun||

    Note this irony rich sentence Current TV released a statement saying it was parting ways with the outspoken liberal news pundit, citing a difference in values.

    Though a smarmy jackass, Olbermann is less representative of their values than the sleazy former pol and alleged choke fetishist with whom they are replacing him?

  • db||

    "difference in values" = conflict over salary.

  • Nope||

    "difference in values" = conflict over salary.

    Hug Olby's nuts much?

    He was fired cause he didn't show up. I suppose that could make you technically correct, in that ""difference in values" = conflict over salary you're being paid to show up while blowing us off".

  • ||

    Hug Olby's nuts much?

    lol wut?

  • Smartest thing you ever said||

  • ||

    Troll harder, bro.

  • db||

    By definition, a salary is the value an employer places on an employee's work product.

  • Nope||

    "By definition, a salary is the value an employer places on an employee's work product."

    No, by definition a salary is what the employee is is PAID for their work product. It MAY or MAY NOT be related to the employee's perceived value.

    None of which has to do with the fact that he was fired for violating the terms of his contract.

  • db||

    Your failure to understand the concept of the value of labor as determined by negotiated contracts is not my problem.

    Your failure to understand a simple play on words and follow up by getting huffy about it is fairly amusing, however.

  • Nope||

    "Your failure to understand the concept of the value of labor as determined by negotiated contracts is not my problem."

    It's not a problem at all, since my issue is with your inability to properly use words, and understand their definition.

    "Your failure to understand a simple play on words and follow up by getting huffy"

    Says the guy who got upset and responded snidely to being corrected.

    Do you really want to go down the "define salary" route?

    I have plenty of time to continue making you look like you have no idea what you're talking about.

  • db||

    Sure, knock yourself out.

  • Nope||

    Ok let's start with the your error regarding salary.

    You've made your claim that it is "the value an employer places on an employee's work product."

    I showed it wasn't.

    So, you were wrong about that and had to reply with the vague, useless attempt at condescension that was "Your failure to understand the concept of the value of labor as determined by negotiated contracts".

    You had no answer, no support, and no links.

    You went straight to the classic troll "well if you don't understand ______" that all trolls resort to when they get something wrong and don't want to admit it.

    You got MAD because you were wrong, and instead of posting evidence, you trolled.

    So post evidence. Or cry more, either is fine with me.

  • db||

  • db||

  • db||

  • db||

    Or, if you want to just do it from a pun perspective (as was my original post), "values" -> "value" -> "salary". If you're too dense to understand that pun and too proud to admit you're wrong, I can't and don't wish to help you.

  • Nope||

    An employee paid minimum wage isn't paid "the value an employer places on an employee's work product" they are paid what the state has required the employer to pay, which if clearly and fundamentally different.

    How can you not know this, lol.

  • Grey Ghost||

    This, pretty much.

    The idea that salary = value is a bit simplistic, especially with regards to certain types of market distortion, of which minimum wage is one.

  • db||

    To what distortions are you referring? I don't typically think in terms of minimum wage as a reference point for my labor.

  • Grey Ghost||

    To what distortions are you referring?

    The one I specifically referenced in the post you just responded to.

    I don't typically think in terms of minimum wage as a reference point for my labor.

    Then you're an underling who doesn't hire.

    In all seriousness, if you can't even be arsed to read what you're replying to, and assume that you are the only reference in the entire job market, then why are you wasting our time pretending you're informed?

  • db||

    @GG, You mentioned "certain types of market distortion, of which minimum wage is one."

    So what others are there? Is minimum wage the only one?

  • Grey Ghost||

    You know what, forget it, if you can't even read the sentence you're replying to, then you're wasting my time.

    Have a nice day. I mean that.

  • db||

    The sentence to which I was replying was:

    The idea that salary = value is a bit simplistic, especially with regards to certain types of market distortion, of which minimum wage is one.

    I asked what types of distortions you were referring to other than the imposition of a minimum wage by the State. You responded with an insult. Then you tried to be my friend. I'm flummoxed.

  • db||

    Then you're an underling who doesn't hire.

    Well, you're wrong about that. I've never hired a minimum wage worker, but I have hired at professional levels. Maybe this is thr source of our disagreement? My reference point is different than yours? Honestly, I'm trying to understand why we're even disagreeing here.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Registration can't come soon enough.

    Jesus, Mary (or Dan, or Cesar or whomever), get another hobby already.

  • ||

    If the employer is only paying their employees minimum wage, I guess he doesn't value the work product too much. Places like Container Store DO value their employees work product and pay above minimum wage for a reason.

  • Grey Ghost||

    If the employer is only paying their employees minimum wage, I guess he doesn't value the work product too much.

    Doesn't follow, for some employees and some types of work, minimum wage is more than it's worth.

    More to the point, it's irrelevant to the discussion.

  • Fluffy||

    Frankly, your pun wasn't very good or obvious, and really can't be called a pun at all. Basically, you were just wrong and it looks like you're trying to pretend you were being funny.

  • Fluffy||

    Add to that the fact that you attempted to seriously defend your argument, and one is forced to conclude you really are just trying to find a way to avoid admitting you were wrong.

  • db||

    Are you kidding? I don't quite get why it's so controversial that a salary paid to an employee represents a "value."

    Honestly, as an employee, I place a value on my time. My employer places a value on my work product. If there is a significant mismatch between those two, we can renegotiate the salary, or I can leave, or they can fire me. Can you please explain, in specific, logical, terms (and I mean this honestly) what is wrong with my characterization of salary as a valuation of labor?

  • Grey Ghost||

    I don't quite get why it's so controversial that a salary paid to an employee represents a "value."

    I don't see anyone saying it is.

    What I see though is a difference between "a 'value'" and your original claim that "By definition, a salary is the value".

    If you can point to anyone claiming that it is not "a" value, then I'll admit I was mistaken, but what i see in all the counter arguments are claims that it is part of the value.

    But I see pretty much everyone agreeing that it is at least part of the value. I wonder now though, why you'd intentionally change the article like that.

    No, actually, I don't.

  • db||

    OK, assume I wrote "the value." Clearly, salary is not adjusted continuously to compensate for my output as an employee. Therefore, in renegotiating my salary, I would tend to seek a somewhat higher salary than the exact level of my output, in order to make up for my perception of undercompensation for work already performed. Likewise, my employer would seek to minimize the upward adjustment in a renegotiation for similar reasons. What I'm not getting is why I'm being accused of arguing in bad faith (implicit in your "No, actually, I don't.") I'm trying to have an honest discussion here and all I seem to get is assertions that I have been refuted.

  • Grey Ghost||

    OK, assume I wrote "the value."

    I don't have to assume. You did.

    I'm trying to have an honest discussion

    I don't believe you.

    Have a nice day, we're done.

  • VG Zaystev||

    Honestly, as an employee, I place a value on my time. My employer places a value on my work product. ... we can renegotiate the salary, or I can leave, or they can fire me. Can you please explain, in specific, logical, terms (and I mean this honestly) what is wrong with my characterization of salary as a valuation of labor?

    The salary or wages paid are the employers cost of labor. Which is determined by a variety of factors, but that cost is not directly related to what your employer can sell your labor for(either directly or imputed in his product or service).

    If there was a surge in demand for your employers products or services he would be able to increase his price and pocket the increased profit. The value of your labor to him, will have increased, but he will not increase your salary unless he fears that you will leave and go to work elsewhere.

  • VG Zaystev||

    cont'd

    Likewise, if demand for his product declines, he may cut his prices and profit. The value of your labor to him will have decreased, but your salary will not have. He may try to cut it but you are free to find another employer so he may not.

    Obviously, if your employer is consistently losing money on your labor you or he will be terminated ending your employment. But there is no direct correlation between the cost of labor and the value that your employer gets from it.

    >>>>Fuck you squirrels and your 900 character limit

  • db||

    In another response I attempted to address what I think is your concern regarding the non-continuous nature of adjustment of compensation. My employer should always fear that I will leave and go work elsewhere for more money, or more satisfaction, or whatever. I have done so several times, to my benefit, and my employers' (at least temporary) detriment.

  • db||

    Can we at least agree that "Nope"'s response to my initial post (which I thought was a pretty obvious, if bad, pun) was a bit defensive?

  • Fluffy||

    Sorry, no we can't.

  • db||

    OK, so are you just trying to get under my skin?

  • Fluffy||

    No. You asked a question, it's not on me if you're unhappy with the answer.

  • db||

    OK so we can't agree on that. I'll have another beer in your honor.

  • Nope||

    So you admit I'm right.

    "salary: fixed compensation paid
    regularly for services"

    I said "by definition a salary is what the employee is is PAID for their work product. "

    I'm right. I win.

  • Nope||

    But I love that you think playing 4 degrees of definitions matters.

  • db||

    Your story has become tiresome.

    But thanks for playing.

  • Nope||

    "Your story has become tiresome."

    Of course it has. You've been utterly refuted, saying something like that is all you have left.

    You made an unqualified claim, were corrected, and are crying about it.

    I suspect that is tiresome.

  • Nope||

    And you'll notice, the specific refutation of his idiotic point he totally failed to respond to while trolling me.

  • db||

    All right, I'll assume you are communicating in good faith. I wrote:

    By definition, a salary is the value an employer places on an employee's work product.

    You responded (in the pertinent part):

    No, by definition a salary is what the employee is is PAID for their work product. It MAY or MAY NOT be related to the employee's perceived value.

    What you wrote is technically correct, per the definition I posted. However, I feel you cannot ignore the further definitions of the terms "compensation," which is contained in the definition of "salary," and "equivalent," which is contained in the definition of "compensation," and in turn is defined with the use of the word "value."

    Writing what you wrote and calling it a day is like saying that rain is caused by water falling from the sky, ignoring the concepts of evaporation and condensation.

  • db||

    YAY!!!! "Nope" WINS!!!! Give him a medal! Seriously, you are making me laugh so fucking hard right now at what a moron you are. You can't even come close to an honest response. The HONESTY! It burns us, Precious!

  • Nope||

    "you are making me laugh so fucking hard right now"

    Yes, this is another in the classic "troll who was wrong can't take it" responses.

    It's never true, and isn't now.

  • ||

    I have plenty of time to continue making you look like you have no idea what you're talking about.

    LOL. I'm sure you do.

  • Nope||

    Sick burn, free time on a Saturday, from a guy chasing me down and posting after me.

    lol @ u

  • ||

    don't cry, bro.

  • ||

    You're the one who got mad enough to start trolling about free time on a Saturday.

    Why are you so mad guy?

  • ||

    last word, bro?

  • ||

    "last word, bro?"

    Thanks for asking for my permission, sure you can have it, you're obviously mad, maybe it'll help.

  • ||

    cool story, bro.

  • Congrats||

    We are all a little dumber for this exchange.

  • ||

    switch identities much, bro?

  • Congrats||

    And one of them continues to dig.

  • ||

    fuck you I know it's you.

  • Congrats||

    And it gets pissed off and continues to dig, thinking anyone cares what it knows.

  • ||

    Cool, I get to join the spoofed club.

    talk to yourself much, bro?

  • ||

    You better hope your employer values your work at more than your pay, or you are first in line for the next RIF.

  • sounds real good||

    Good fucking God, how long can this go on?

  • ||

    "difference in values" = conflict over salary.

    Also this. They were going to pay that oleaginous cretin FIFTY FUCKING MILLION DOLLARS? What the fuck were they thinking?

  • ||

    They're just replacing one douche with another. Spitzer is shit and nobody can possibly take him seriously. Their stupid little network will tank and nobody will remember or care what it was, anyway.

  • Looks Like Barney Frank||

    With each passing day, Keith looks more and more like Barney Frank. Old liberals aging into a single collective mass!

  • Anacreon||

    I never really understand why there are continued attempts to create a "progressive" channel and then shock at the minuscule ratings. The Left can already rely on the major broadcast networks to give them their side, disguised as "impartial". On the radio, they have NPR (which my liberal colleagues always boast/namedrop as some sort of evidence how politically correct and intelligent they are -- "I heard ... on NPR this morning." -- instead of the unattributed "didya hear about?" that everyone else uses.

  • Anacreon||

    The reason that Fox and Right-wing talk radio do so well is there are not other alternatives for the huge swath of those on the right who are actually interested in politics and current events. Further, I suspect that most voters for Team Blue aren't that interested in politics, unlike their small subset of academics, etc -- they vote that way because of identity. I would bet the average conservative voter can actually tell you why (misinformed or not) they vote as they do, while most Dems vote knowing little about the issues, except that minorities/gov't employees/active union members/low-income are supposed to vote that way.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    I get a warm, pleasant feeling for every rotation Keith Olbermann's career makes around the toilet bowl.

    It would be like Christmas if I actually celebrated the holiday.

  • Little John Shrike||

    Still, the job gains are not resulting in bigger paychecks for most Americans. Income grew just 0.2% last month, matching January's weak increase. And when taking inflation into account, income after taxes fell for a second straight month.

    WHAT?!?!

    And when taking inflation into account, income after taxes fell for a second straight month.

    WHAT!?!?!

    Keynesian quantitative easing is making us poorer, you fucking dumb ass.

    OKAY!

  • juris imprudent||

    It is nice to see a thread not smothered in excrement. Hope it continues.

  • Not John, Maybe||

    a thread not smothered in excrement

    You meant to say, "Not bullied," right?

    Take it away, "Mary"!

  • The Audience||

    "It is nice to see a thread not smothered in excrement. "

    You've noticed John's absence then.

  • John, aka Patient #4||

    Still here!

    Uh oh!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I remember hearing somewhere that there’s this thing you need to do before you spend money, it’s called, like, churning it spurning or yearning it or something like that.

    EARNING it, you moron. You have it right there in the title of your own article. God!

    Anyway, deficit spending is as patriotic as paying your taxes without having taken deductions, which is very.

  • Biden||

    I may not want you as my team's quarterback but with fine patriotic sentiments like those you can sure as hell have my daughter's hand in marriage.

  • Ted S.||

    I remember hearing somewhere that there’s this thing you need to do before you spend money, it’s called, like, churning it spurning or yearning it or something like that.

    Let's lend it, spend it, send it rolling along

  • Steve||

    My wife and I are young, and almost all of our assets are actual goods or property.

    I am honestly not sure why I should personally save when inflation would seemingly eat up what we put away

  • ||

    I think a lot of people are in for a rude awakening. Something about like this.

  • Killazontherun||

    Exploding another myth concerning Keynes perpetuated to this very day by none other than the WSJ.

    http://www.economicpolicyjourn.....stock.html

  • Joe M||

    Spending on nondurable goods, such as food and gasoline, rose 0.9%. with virtually all of that increase due to the higher prices.

    Wheeeee!! Less for more!

  • np||

    BRICS: Dollar No Longer Reserve Currency?
    - first, RT eye candy
    - speculation about BRICS (Brazil Russia India China South Africa) establishing their own intra-trading system. Hmm.. India took delivery of batch of gold to pay for Iranian oil.

  • Jeffersonian||

    With the Fed turning the dollar into Monopoly money, can you blame them?

  • ||

    Every day, more arrangements are made for settling international trade in something other than the dollar. The dollar is losing its reserve currency status.

  • shrike||

    shit

  • shrike||

    shit

  • shrike||

    shit

  • shrike||

    shit

  • shrike||

    shit

  • shrike||

    shit

  • Alice Bowie||

    HEY REASON, Why am I blocked for SPAM?

    I never SPAMMED. I may have opinions others don't like...but I never SPAMMED.

  • The Audience||

    Agreed, calling your posts SPAM is an insult to disgusting, pressed meat product.

  • The Audience||

    Agreed, calling your posts SPAM is an insult to disgusting, pressed meat product.

  • ||

    It does that from time to time. It's not you.

  • The Audience||

    Agreed, calling your posts SPAM is an insult to disgusting, pressed meat product.

  • Killazontherun||

    It has done it to me on occasion, and I once stopped a Bengal tiger from eating the Jacket.

  • db||

  • ||

    FUCKING. AWESOME.

    the final shot with the narrator blowing on the cartridge...just perfect.

  • db||

    There actually is a "quest mode" in google maps now, too.

  • HeroicMulatto||

    They used the actual music from Dragon Warrior.

    Impressive.

  • A Serious Man||

    The Greatest Living Novelist can only be Cormac McCarthy, who given the nature of his work, is no doubt prepared for post-economic armageddon America.

  • Killazontherun||

    is no doubt prepared for post-economic armageddon America.

    Like the Chinese call Chinese food food, we Post Apocalyptic Americans just call it America.

  • Killazontherun||

    The latest from our genius of a president:

    We also have always understood that we wouldn't win the race for new jobs and businesses, and middle class security if we were just applying some 'you're on your own economics'.It's been tried in our history and it hasn't worked," Obama said. "It didn't work when we tried it in the decade before the Great Depression. It didn't work when we tried it in the last decade. We just tried this. What they're peddling has been tried -- it did not work.

    Wonder what color he wrote that speech in. Cyan? Magenta? Or, something more recent from Crayola like teal blue?

  • ||

    It's been tried

    Liar.

  • A Serious Man||

    You mean the 1920s that saw rising incomes and standard of living for all Americans? Is this man criminally stupid or just that arrogant? I suppose he's just playing to his base of followers who believe that shit, like Hoover caused the Great Depression and the New Deal ended it.

  • Killazontherun||

    We are talking about an Ivory league educated man who a few weeks ago spouted the commonly known as nonsense 'fact' that Spain's early Renaissance elite believed the earth to be flat. No. They had a remarkably accurate idea of the circumference of the Earth which is why they thought the trip to be a bad investment -- It was THE LONG WAY to the Indies!

  • juris imprudent||

    Ivory league

    There is no challenging his cleanliness! RCz law rules!

  • Jeffersonian||

    I think he means it's 99 and 44/100ths percent pure bullshit.

  • Killazontherun||

    I saw that before submitting and didn't bother. That is how little I think of them. It doesn't matter, it really doesn't.

  • Not John, Maybe||

    This thread sucks.
    I'm going back to the bullying thread which is like the most ironic thread ever.

  • ||

    Recovery Summer III, One Year We'll Be Right.

  • ||

    More proof Hollywood is out of original ideas. We've seen this plot before.

  • Nando||

    How will you be celebrating earth hour?

  • ||

    No one here is observing it since going without a few appliances equals getting thrown back into the neolithic era.

  • Killazontherun||

    Not being religious, I have no reason to observe this strange ceremony. Will there be human sacrifices?

  • ||

    Will there be human sacrifices?

    Does lowering the standard of living to the point where millions of people starve or die from exposure count as "human sacrifice"?

  • Nando||

    How many millions will die in one hour without their precious iPads, Gamestations, and Plasma Boob-tubes?

  • ||

    Obviously, the glorious return to our natural gamboling state will take longer than an hour.

  • Killazontherun||

    You know what i want to see? Some tap dancing Druids recreate the Inquisition song from Mel Brook's History of the World, but from an Earth Hour perspective.

  • juris imprudent||

    Depends on how heavily armed the tech-deprived are I would think.

  • Sevo||

    Nando|3.31.12 @ 4:29PM|#
    "How many millions will die in one hour without their precious iPads, Gamestations, and Plasma Boob-tubes?"

    Interesting question. How many died of starvation prior to working in those places making the items you mention?
    So you're happy that an hour wasted in your silly ceremony won't kill as many as before?
    What a wonderful idea! Hey, this won't kill many to make me fell like some righteous twit!

  • Killazontherun||

    I was thinking it would be boring like when you put a wafer under the tongue and just to keep you from nodding off, pretending you are a cannibal devouring a god made flesh, but if there is rampant chaos, death and destruction, Earth Hour sounds much more fun.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I'll get a haircut and play videogames.

  • Got candles?||

    North Korea has earth hour every night.

  • Killazontherun||

    Communism is a progress, after all.

  • Killazontherun||

    ion away from the ways of bourgeoisie social norms to a much more sustainable and equitable society got cut.

  • Jeffersonian||

    I'm even using electricity on my lump charcoal-burning BBQ pit tonight.

  • FYP||

    "No one here is observing it since it is a moronic waste of time for idiotic envirowhackos"

    FYP.

  • Alice Bowie||

    ok

  • Xenocles||

    Bernanke's not the hero we need, he's the hero we deserve. And we deserve to get heroed good and hard.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Can you at least apply lube to your hero?

  • ||

    This dude is not my hero. My hero would whoever hunts down those little minds that have fucked up my blog and give him late stage anal cancer. I want to see this guy's asshole kill him.

  • Joe M||

    That means that not only is our money worth 10 percent less than it was in 2007 (literally decimated!)

    Awesome turn of phrase there. It's almost impossible to use that word correctly these days.

  • ||

    When I saw that Atlantic cover image of The Ben Bernank (sic), I looked to verify the April date. Are you all sure that isn't an April Fool's Joke?

  • ||

    About the penny: I'm with you, Tim. Think of human scale. It makes sense to me for most everyday purchases to occur within the range of a dollar, divided into 100 cents for convenience, such that a cent can still purchase something useful and significantly more valuable than the metal in the associated coin or the cost to print the associated note.

    (continued in reply post)

  • ||

    (continued from prior post)

    Significant purchases we might make every week or two reasonably fall in the $1-10 range. Things we might purchase every month or two might fall in the $10-100 range. Things we might purchase every year or two might fall in the $100-1000 range. Major purchases we might make once or twice a decade might cost between $1000-10000. Anything more expensive than that would be the kind of purchase one might make only once or twice in a lifetime.

    (continued in reply post)

  • ||

    (continued from prior post)

    My proposal is to revalue the dollar to attain this basic correspondence of scale, and then strip government of its power to inflate the currency with one stroke. The revaluation will be disruptive, temporarily, but we'll end up with pennies (and dollars!) that are worth something, and in exchange for society's troubles during the adjustment period, we will help ensure that government shenanigans don't bring us to a similar bad place in the foreseeable future.

  • ||

    Remember, for Keynesians, eliminating saving and driving up debt is a feature, not a bug. Supposedly, the less money people save, the richer we'll all be.

  • ||

    Fortunately the economy is not in your hands.

  • Office Space Global||

    We simply cannot borrow our way out of recession like this administration and many others around the world. We have to repay the debt and not through punitive taxes that will kill off growth but through lower spending. the Public sector does not generate wealth. The private sector does. We need to stimulate growth by encouraging job creation and reduce spending. We cannot continue to spend more than we earn. It not fair on our children.

  • han||

    You didn't hate the state, per se, but believed a mostly free market provided the best chance

  • han||

    You didn't hate the state, per se, but believed a mostly free market provided the best chance

  • Office Space Global||

    When you spend more than you earn, life is good until the credit drys up. For some reason I cannot fathom, governments around the world do not seem to understand this or are simply putting their collective heads in the sand and hoping for some growth miracle to save the day. Some are naive enough to think that borrowing more and splashing it about will get them re-elected.
    We need consumers to spend to keep the economy moving but they need to spend money they have earned, not borrowed.
    The problem is quite clearly illustrated in this article. Wealth creation has been in terminal decline for the past 5 years. Until the government acts to change this by stimulating real growth without borrowing more money to do it, this trend will continue.

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