The young man stands on the edge of his porch
The days were short and the father was gone
There was no one in the town and no one in the field
This dusty barren land had given all it could yield

I’ve been kicked off my land at the age of sixteen
And I have no idea where else my heart could have been
I placed all my trust at the foot of this hill
And now I am sure my heart can never be still
So collect your courage and collect your horse
And pray you never feel this same kind of remorse

Dust Bowl Dance – Mumford & Sons

langesquatter.jpg (31737 bytes) 

The song from Mumford & Sons called Dust Bowl Dance is as pertinent to today as it was in describing the Great Depression.   I was taken by the lyrics and the rage in the song. The setting for the song is the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s in the US Midwest. Picture the Joads in Grapes of Wrath. As I listened to the song again this morning I was struck by the similarities between the time period described in the song and our present situation.

The lyrics by Marcus Mumford tell the story of a young man who’s lost everything. His family is either dead or forced off their land. My interpretation of the lyrics is that the bank has foreclosed on his farm after their crops failed during the dust bowl. I picture a Mr. Potter like character who held the mortgages on all the farms and houses in a small community. The evil banker didn’t care that families had lived on this land for decades, raising their families along with the crops. These hard working farmers had done nothing wrong. They were victims of circumstances. But bankers didn’t care about ruining lives. The family farmers didn’t participate in the Roaring 20’s, borrow on margin to invest in stocks, or reap ungodly profits. The farmers were victims of land speculators and bad weather. The only son in the song took the law into his own hand and shot the evil banker. He was ready to do his time, because his act was righteous payback.

Eighty years ago the last Fourth Turning was also in its infancy. They generally last 15 to 20 years. The catalyst for the last Fourth Turning was the great stock market crash of 1929.   The 1920s “boom” enriched only a fraction of the American people. Earnings for farmers and industrial workers stagnated or fell. Farmers were barely getting by during the roaring 20s. Only the Wall Street crowd was getting rich.  The economic growth of the 1920s did not reach most Americans: 60% of American families earned less than the amount necessary to support their basic needs ($2,500 was considered enough to support a family’s basic needs). The agricultural sector was similarly stagnant: farm prices dropped after World War I when Europe again began to feed itself and new grain exports from South American further depressed prices. The lack of purchasing power of rural people and farmers resulted in declines in consumer purchasing in those areas, as well as increased defaults on debt. Rural, urban, and suburban consumers began to increase their personal debts through mortgages, car loans, and installment plans to buy consumer goods, such as radios.

The ever-growing price for stocks was, in part, the result of greater wealth concentration within the investor class. Eventually the Wall Street stock exchange began to take on a dangerous aura of invincibility, leading investors to ignore less optimistic indicators in the economy.  Over-investment and speculating (gambling) in stocks further inflated their prices, contributing to the illusion of a robust economy.

The crucial point came in the 1920s when banks began to loan money to stock-buyers since stocks were the hottest commodity in the marketplace. Wall Street banks encouraged Wall Street investors to use the stocks themselves as collateral. When stocks dropped in value, and investors could not repay the banks, the banks were left holding near-worthless collateral. Banks went broke, pulling productive businesses down with them as they called in loans and foreclosed mortgages in a desperate attempt to stay afloat. The Federal Reserve was responsible for regulating the banks. They were responsible for the easy money policies during the 1920s. The biggest financial institutions in the country included: Citibank, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan & Co., Chase National Bank, and Wells Fargo. Sound familiar? 

The Great Depression was caused by the Federal Reserve and their owners, the biggest Wall Street banks, aiding and abetting reckless speculation, greed and extreme risk taking with mountains of debt. The rich got richer and the poor got poorer. The income inequality in the U.S. reached an all-time peak in 1928. It stayed at a high level until World War II. The glory years of the American Empire were from 1941 through 1979, when the middle class was growing, and the income distribution in the country was fair and equitable, as our manufacturing based economy raised all boats.

The income inequality in the country reached the same extreme level in 2007, just prior to the Wall Street created financial implosion. It has not improved in the last four years. In the early 1930s there was the feeling of revolution in the air. With unemployment at 25% and people in desperate straits, the government feared communists or fascists gaining power. The New Deal was really a way to keep the citizens occupied so that a revolution would not take hold. There was much anger towards the bankers and aristocracy who caused the Great Depression. The anger is reflected in the Mumford & Sons lyrics:

Your oppression reeks of your greed and disgrace
So one man has and another has not
How can you love what it is you have got
When you took it all from the weak hands of the poor?
Liars and thieves you know not what is in store

Dust Bowl Dance – Mumford & Sons

The 2008 financial crash was caused by loose Federal Reserve monetary policies, lack of Federal Reserve regulation over criminally reckless Wall Street banks, and incredible levels of bad debt rampant throughout our economic system. The true unemployment rate today is 23%. Another parallel between the early 1930s and today can be seen in the chart below. Almost 11,000 banks, or 40% of all the banks in the U.S., went out of business. Predictably, these were all small banks. None of the connected Wall Street banks went out of business. They benefitted, as 40% of their competition disappeared. Too Big to Fail existed 80 years ago. You may also note that savers were punished, as interest paid on savings plunged from 5% to below 1% and the earnings of middle class workers collapsed.

  1929 1933
Banks in operation 25,568 14,771 
Prime interest rate 5.03% 0.63%
Volume of stocks sold (NYSE) 1.1 B 0.65 B
Privately earned income $45.5B $23.9B
Personal and corporate savings $15.3B $2.3B

Historical Statistics of the United States, pp. 235, 263, 1001, and 1007.


During the early years of the current depression more than 400 banks have gone insolvent and another 800 banks are on the FDIC endangered species list. Therefore, approximately 15% of all the banks in the U.S. will no longer compete with the Wall Street banks that caused the financial crisis. Since 2008, the top five biggest banks in the U.S. have dramatically increased their market share and power. They are: Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and Goldman Sachs. Amazing how the exact same banks that caused the 1929 and the 2008 market crashes came out unscathed and more powerful after each crisis.

  FDIC Bank Failures

The mainstream media tries to convince the American public that the stock market going up means the economy is improving and they are doing better. The chart below shows that the stock market bottomed in 1932 and proceeded to go up almost 500% by 1937. It’s too bad only the bankers and richest people in society could afford to own stocks. While the stock market soared, the average person struggled to survive. Only the privileged stock owners prospered. The common man suffered.

The unemployment rate remained at elevated levels until World War II. The New Deal policies of Franklin Roosevelt did not end the Great Depression. The common man had trouble putting bread on their table during the entire decade of the 1930’s. The storyline about FDR’s Keynesian spending ending the Depression is false.

The 1930s were filled with seething anger. The Liberty League and Father Charles Coughlin, the Rush Limbaugh of his time, used anti-communist and socialist rhetoric to convince millions of Americans that the model used in Nazi Germany was better than FDR’s New Deal policies. This pushed Roosevelt further to the left against big business and toward more socialist programs to insure getting the votes of the poor. These were bleak days in our country’s history. General Smedley Butler revealed a plot to overthrow the Roosevelt administration and replace it with a fascist dictatorship. The country roiled with furious rage.

In 1932, approximately 80 years ago, 43,000 marchers (17,000 veterans) descended upon Washington D.C.  The Bonus Expeditionary Force, also known as the “Bonus Army”, marched on Washington to advocate the passage of the “soldier’s bonus” for service during World War I.  They set up a camp with tents to bring attention to their cause. After Congress adjourned, bonus marchers remained in the city and became unruly. On July 28, 1932, two bonus marchers were shot by police, causing the entire mob to become hostile and riotous. The government turned the U.S. military upon its citizens. Army cavalry units led by General Douglas MacArthur dispersed the Bonus Army by riding through it and using gas. Fifty five veterans were injured and 135 were arrested. Critics of the marchers described them as communists, troublemakers, and criminals.

Fast forward 80 years and we have protestors setting up camp in a public square, not far from where the same exact banks that caused the Great Depression have created the Greater Depression. The biggest Wall Street banks have gotten bigger. The Federal Reserve, in collusion with the Wall Street banks, has engineered a two year stock market rally, while the average American has seen their wages decline, food and energy prices soar, home prices fall, and banks paying them .1% on their savings. Anger and disillusionment continue to build in this country like a volcano preparing to blow. Some people are angry at Washington politicians. Some are angry at Wall Street. Others aren’t sure who to be angry at. The evil oligarchy of bankers, corporate titans, and bought off Washington politicians that control the agenda and mainstream media, continue to scorn, ridicule and denigrate the middle class of America. Their financial engineering is failing. They’ve gone too far. The debt accumulation is unsustainable. The mood of the country has darkened and talk of revolution and the shadow of impending violence is growing.

The Great Depression was not an event, it was an era. It was an era of discontent, pain, suffering, and ultimately war and death. The people who lived through this era have mostly died off. We have entered a new similar era. The average citizen sees the American Dream of a better life slipping away due to the corruption, greed, and immorality of our political and financial systems. The Federal Reserve’s current chosen mandate is to make the stock market go up, while impoverishing the middle class. The 1% better hope the police and military continue to obey their orders, because the 99% are angry and heavily armed. This Fourth Turning has ten to fifteen years to go. Every previous Fourth Turning has included violence, war and death on an epic scale. Winter has arrived and it will be a long arduous journey until we reach Spring. The choices we make in the next few years will decide the fate of our country. I hope we choose wisely.  


“Thus did a handful of rapacious citizens come to control all that was worth controlling in America. Thus was the savage and stupid and entirely inappropriate and unnecessary and humorless American class system created. Honest, industrious, peaceful citizens were classed as bloodsuckers, if they asked to be paid a living wage. And they saw that praise was reserved henceforth for those who devised means of getting paid enormously for committing crimes against which no laws had been passed. Thus the American dream turned belly up, turned green, bobbed to the scummy surface of cupidity unlimited, filled with gas, went bang in the noonday sun.”

Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

There will come a time I will look in your eye
You will pray to the God that you always denied
The I’ll go out back and I’ll get my gun
I’ll say, “You haven’t met me, I am the only son”

Dust Bowl Dance – Mumford & Sons


  1. Great work, admin. As usual.

    The damnable FRS. Having been born in the Great Depression, I had a personal interesting in figuring out WTF happened. So much reading over the years; gathering a piece here and a clue there. Writers like H.L. Mencken, Federick Lewis Allen and more than I can remember. Newspaper articles, and magazines, diaries and personal accounts, and stories from my elders.

    Yes, easy money from the Fed — but not only to the stock jockeys. Indeed, anecdotal evidence that in NYC just about anyone with a pulse was caught up in irrational exuberance — busboys, messengers, shoeshine boys, waiters. They kept their ears open, and made their bets.

    So, too, the easy money enticed some farmers into the credit poisoned pill, yay, a tractor or another 40 acres for a Ford flivver. And when the bust came, so were they.

    And rising above the land, the Money Power monster rubbed its many greedy hands in glee.

    Now, history rhymes. The game is afoot yet again but this Fourth Turning may have a different outcome. The Janus-faced One-Party system may find a 2012 shock and awe.

    I just read that a professor’s survey of the OWS movement reveals that 70.3% of participants are political independents. And also, on the site, the stealth co-opters are busy:

    Posted Oct. 21, 2011, 3:01 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

    A group claiming to be affiliated with the General Assembly of Liberty Square and #ows has been speaking to the media on behalf of our movement.

    This group is not empowered by the NYC General Assembly.

    This group is not open-source and does not act by consensus.

    This group only represents themselves.

    While we encourage the participation of autonomous working groups, no single person or group has the authority to make demands on behalf of general assemblies around the world.

    The MSM will take advantage of the confusion — if they didn’t arrange it themselves.


    By Maurice Ogden

    Into our town the hangman came,
    smelling of gold and blood and flame.
    He paced our bricks with a different air,
    and built his frame on the courthouse square.
    The scaffold stood by the courthouse side,
    only as wide as the door was wide
    with a frame as tall, or a little more,
    than the capping sill of the courthouse door.

    And we wondered whenever we had the time,
    Who the criminal? What the crime?
    The hangman judged with the yellow twist
    of knotted hemp in his busy fist.

    And innocent though we were with dread,
    we passed those eyes of buckshot lead.
    Till one cried, “Hangman, who is he,
    for whom you raised the gallows-tree?”

    Then a twinkle grew in his buckshot eye
    and he gave a riddle instead of reply.
    “He who serves me best,” said he
    “Shall earn the rope on the gallows-tree.”

    And he stepped down and laid his hand
    on a man who came from another land.
    And we breathed again, for anothers grief
    at the hangmans hand, was our relief.

    And the gallows frame on the courthouse lawn
    by tomorrow’s sun would be struck and gone.
    So we gave him way and no one spoke
    out of respect for his hangmans cloak.

    The next day’s sun looked mildly down
    on roof and street in our quiet town;
    and stark and black in the morning air
    the gallows-tree on the courthouse square.

    And the hangman stood at his usual stand
    with the yellow hemp in his busy hand.
    With his buckshot eye and his jaw like a pike,
    and his air so knowing and business-like.

    And we cried, “Hangman, have you not done,
    yesterday with the alien one?”
    Then we fell silent and stood amazed.
    “Oh, not for him was the gallows raised.”

    He laughed a laugh as he looked at us,
    “Do you think I’ve gone to all this fuss,
    To hang one man? That’s the thing I do.
    To stretch the rope when the rope is new.”

    Above our silence a voice cried “Shame!”
    and into our midst the hangman came;
    to that mans place, “Do you hold,” said he,
    “With him that was meat for the gallows-tree?”

    He laid his hand on that one’s arm
    and we shrank back in quick alarm.
    We gave him way, and no one spoke,
    out of fear of the hangmans cloak.

    That night we saw with dread surprise
    the hangmans scaffold had grown in size.
    Fed by the blood beneath the chute,
    the gallows-tree had taken root.

    Now as wide, or a little more
    than the steps that led to the courthouse door.
    As tall as the writing, or nearly as tall,
    half way up on the courthouse wall.

    The third he took, we had all heard tell,
    was a usurer…, an infidel.
    And “What” said the hangman, “Have you to do
    with the gallows-bound…, and he a Jew?”

    And we cried out, “Is this one he
    who has served you well and faithfully?”
    The hangman smiled, “It’s a clever scheme
    to try the strength of the gallows beam.”

    The fourth man’s dark accusing song
    had scratched our comfort hard and long.
    “And what concern,” he gave us back,
    “Have you … for the doomed and black?”

    The fifth, the sixth, and we cried again,
    “Hangman, hangman, is this the man?”
    “It’s a trick”, said he, “that we hangman know
    for easing the trap when the trap springs slow.”

    And so we ceased and asked now more
    as the hangman tallied his bloody score.
    And sun by sun, and night by night
    the gallows grew to monstrous height.

    The wings of the scaffold opened wide
    until they covered the square from side to side.
    And the monster cross beam looking down,
    cast its shadow across the town.

    Then through the town the hangman came
    and called through the empy streets…my name.
    I looked at the gallows soaring tall
    and thought … there’s no one left at all

    for hanging … and so he called to me
    to help take down the gallows-tree.
    And I went out with right good hope
    to the hangmans tree and the hangmans rope.

    He smiled at me as I came down
    to the courthouse square…through the silent town.
    Supple and stretched in his busy hand,
    was the yellow twist of hempen strand.

    He whistled his tune as he tried the trap
    and it sprang down with a ready snap.
    Then with a smile of awful command,
    He laid his hand upon my hand.

    “You tricked me Hangman.” I shouted then,
    “That your scaffold was built for other men,
    and I’m no henchman of yours.” I cried.
    “You lied to me Hangman, foully lied.”

    Then a twinkle grew in his buckshot eye,
    “Lied to you…tricked you?” He said “Not I…
    for I answered straight and told you true.
    The scaffold was raised for none but you.”

    “For who has served more faithfully?
    With your coward’s hope.” said He,
    “And where are the others that might have stood
    side by your side, in the common good?”

    “Dead!” I answered, and amiably
    “Murdered,” the Hangman corrected me.
    “First the alien … then the Jew.
    I did no more than you let me do.”

    Beneath the beam that blocked the sky
    none before stood so alone as I.
    The Hangman then strapped me…with no voice there
    to cry “Stay!” … for me in the empty square.

  3. If anyone starts a grad program in Fourth Turning Studies, I hope that they endow a Jim Q. Chair to handle the teaching and research duties. Your wrok gets better with practice.

  4. Consider the following, from BCA:

    The Occupy Wall Street movement is rooted in the secular decline of the American middle class. Judging from the GINI coefficient, the distribution of income is more unequal in the U.S. than OECD countries in general. Moreover, real wage growth in the U.S. has stagnated since 2000, while education and healthcare costs have soared. High education costs have serious social repercussions since they are a strong drag on upward class mobility.

    While it is currently impossible to boil down the Occupy Wall Street movement to a single issue, it is a symptom of deepening social strife, political polarization and spreading discontent in the U.S. These are ingredients that, if left unchecked, can lead to potentially radical shifts in policy made to score political points with the extremes, rather than to address underlying economic problems. Both the extreme right and left of the political spectrum will be energized by genuine social discontent – which can nonetheless translate into completely opposing policy preferences – leading to further political polarization. If the clash between left and right intensifies, policy making will become even more difficult. This would mean a heightened political and policy risk premium on equity prices among all G7 markets

  5. Back in the 30’s:

    There was no FSA, disability, welfare state, 60 million on food stamps.
    The government couldn’t spend $1.5 trillion per year it didn’t have
    They didn’t have a $15 trillion deficit.
    They didn’t have $70 trillion in future spending promised
    They didn’t have $300 trillion is derivatives and CDS’s outstanding.
    They didn’t owe $6 trillion in unfunded pensions.
    They didn’t have state governments that have trillions in defecits/obligations.
    They didn’t have a Fed/Treasury that loaned or bailed out $6 trillion to banks.

    The numbers may not be exact, but you get the point. Our situation is so much worse, multiple orders of magnitude worse, and global. And war won’t solve the problem, like it did back then, only make it worse. I don’t see any answers. The FSA is like a suit-case nuke in every city, county and small town, waiting to blow if the plug is pulled.

    Our situation and collapse will be biblical.

  6. Oh, forgot to mention:

    Back then, we still had a manufacturing base. It’s gone now, not coming back.
    Back then, we didn’t have a hundreds of billions trade deficits every few months.
    Back then, there wasn’t nearly $1 trillion in student loan debt.
    Back then, there wasn’t nearly $1 trillion in credit card debt.
    Back then, there weren’t more than 40 million “underwater” on their mortgages.
    Back then, Asian countries didn’t control and make our technological products
    Back then, we weren’t shipping millions and millions of jobs overseas…
    Back then, Asian countries didn’t flood our country with cars, trucks, mini vans, SUVs, wash machines, dryers, tractors, heavy equipment, T.V.’s, DVD players, motorcycles, 4-wheelers, lawn mowers, toys, auto parts, computers, audio/video/photo equipment, dog food, computer chips, memory cards, cell phones, smart phones, tablets, icrap, sports equipment, etc. etc. etc., much of which is bought on credit/debt.

    Did I mention it’s so much worse now than back in the 30’s?

  7. I, Stucky, aka The Judge, hereby rule that Jim Quinn is the best economics blogger on the Internet. I have ruled. So shall it be.

    “The choices we make in the next few years will decide the fate of our country. I hope we choose wisely.” — Admin

    I, Stucky, aka the worst economic writer on the internet, will try to help you connect the dots concerning the above quote. Here it goes …

    Obama. Or, Bachman, Perry, Santorum, Gingrich, Romney, and Cain.

    We don’t stand a fucking chance, so get ready for some pain.

  8. Stuck,

    Thank you, I feel better already.


    Good article, connecting the dots constantly gets it across. I think this debt slave issue is finally waking people up.

  9. Out of the Park again!

    “The choices we make in the next few years will decide the fate of our country. I hope we choose wisely.

    Admin: Is there enough of an uncorrupt majority to set things right? I just don’t see it.

    1. cv51

      I always throw a line like that in at the end so I don’t depress myself to the point of suicide. I don’t know if there are enough people to set things right. I think there are more than there were 4 years ago.

  10. Well done, Admin.

    “Amazing how the exact same banks that caused the 1929 and the 2008 market crashes came out unscathed and more powerful after each crisis.”


    Amazing how regulations can be circumvented and made obsolete when government gets all hot and sweaty with the banking industry.

    Amazing how banks can launder money for mexican drug lords and ride off into the sunset after making some sizable donations to either or both political parties.

    Amazing how the banking industry created an entity to track the changes in titles and mortgage registrations that isn’t worth a kiss my ass.

  11. The bankers suck and many should be strung up, but the crosshairs are squarely on Washington, which set up the Fed and allow all this to happen. Gutless, selfish pukes.


  12. CV51-I do not think there is a majority that can right the ship. But fortunately, many of the “corrupt” (or rather, “on the tit” FSA) do not vote. That is why I disagree w/ AWD’s Direct Democracy on-line voting proposal. I want knowledgeable, responsible citizens to vote. Voting on American Idol does not qualify. I say, keep some level of effort required, so those who do vote have at least a little skin in the game.

    Are there enough “likely voters” left to right the ship? That is a different question. I echo Admin’s response to that one.

  13. There well always be the haves and have nots.If your life revolves around money,then life sucks.
    It well be interestingto see how long the empire can keep afloat till it crashes.Theres a lot of people going to hell.

  14. newsjunkie,

    “And tell me again why the fuck you’re not writing a book ? ”

    Patience grasshopper……

    When membership here triples and then triples again, the time will be drawing nigh.

    My guess—- 2 1/2 to 4 years.

    He’s already proposed the title—“How My Fellow Baby Boomers Fucked Over This Country “.

  15. BBES.

    Luckily for Admin, he is born after the cutoff date for Boomstains, per Strauss and Howe rules. He will be spared from the Children of the Corn purging.

    Otherwise, we’d have SSS jumping the Boomer Boat with “Tweener Theory”

  16. You said: “The 2008 financial crash was caused by loose Federal Reserve monetary policies [and]lack of Federal Reserve regulation over criminally reckless Wall Street banks”. The implication is that if only the Federal Reserve had regulated the banks, everything would have been OK. But the “loose Federal Reserve monetary policies” that you cite precluded the very same Federal Reserve from regulating the behaviour of the very banks they enabled through their loose monetary policies.

    Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, and the US Government all wanted the credit bubble. All gained money and power via easy credit and the piling up of debt. You can’t expect the Federal Reserve of the US Government to regulate the banks because they are all on the same team with the same goals — an easy money system. The majority of people in the US liked it fine as well when they could borrow money to buy a big house, fancy car, expensive vacation,and when the financial boom make their pension funds rise in value. But now when the credit bubble has crashed, the scramble to loot the rubble has commenced. Just as in WWII Germany when the end was near and the insiders looted the treasury and ran off to South America.

  17. Put a pig on the fifty yard line of the Rose Bowl at half-time on New Year’s Day.

    Now, have 100,000 people in the stadium call that pig a cow.

    Does that pig genetically mutate into a cow ?

  18. Smokey

    Just slightly off on the title: How the Baby Boomers Destroyed America.

    Why would I write a book when I can run this hugely profitable website?

    It’s a gold mine. I have a deal with Casey. If anyone signs up for one of their newsletters through my site, I get 50% of the 1st year subscruption price. They send me a quarterly report and then send a check a week later.

    I got my quarterly report last week. Even though my visitor counts are at all time highs, I opened the report and saw that I OWE CASEY 92 cents for the quarter. Three people got subscriptions, but two people cancelled and the net was me owing them money.

    Am I a capitalist genius or what?

  19. Admin

    Your deal with Casey is one funny story, punctuated by “Am I a capitalist genius or what?”

    I still think your idea of you hosting a TV show which focuses on the economy is a winner. You would interview expert guests by asking thoughtful questions while a bunch of shit-throwing monkeys run around the studio is a format that can’t lose. 130-foot yachts and a getaway finca in Argentina would be a stone-cold lock in your future.

  20. To address Smokey’s & SSS’ obsession with Admin’s being a Baby Boomer: Yes, by historical definition, folks born thru ’64 or so are baby boomers. That definition was based solely on birth rates-lots of babies=baby boom. S&H defines the Boom generation based on generational archetypes, not birth rates. Per S&H, the Boom generation was born between ’43 & ’60. Perhaps it is unfortunate that S&H labelled that generation “Boom”, and not some other, unrelated label (Ahole Generation??), but it is what it is. You can call Admin & I Boomers by the traditional definition, but if you want to define the our generation by typical behaviour, attitude & experiences (i.e., archtype), then we classify as Xers. So says S&H, anyway.

  21. One evening as the sun went down
    And the jungle fires were burning,
    Down the track came a hobo hiking,
    And he said, “Boys, I’m not turning
    I’m headed for a land that’s far away
    Besides the crystal fountains
    So come with me, we’ll go and see
    The Big Rock Candy Mountains

    In the Big Rock Candy Mountains,
    There’s a land that’s fair and bright,
    Where the handouts grow on bushes
    And you sleep out every night.
    Where the boxcars all are empty
    And the sun shines every day
    And the birds and the bees
    And the cigarette trees
    The lemonade springs
    Where the bluebird sings
    In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

    In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
    All the cops have wooden legs
    And the bulldogs all have rubber teeth
    And the hens lay soft-boiled eggs
    The farmers’ trees are full of fruit
    And the barns are full of hay
    Oh I’m bound to go
    Where there ain’t no snow
    Where the rain don’t fall
    The winds don’t blow
    In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

    In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
    You never change your socks
    And the little streams of alcohol
    Come trickling down the rocks
    The brakemen have to tip their hats
    And the railway bulls are blind
    There’s a lake of stew
    And of whiskey too
    You can paddle all around it
    In a big canoe
    In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

    In the Big Rock Candy Mountains,
    The jails are made of tin.
    And you can walk right out again,
    As soon as you are in.
    There ain’t no short-handled shovels,
    No axes, saws nor picks,
    I’m bound to stay
    Where you sleep all day,
    Where they hung the jerk
    That invented work
    In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.
    I’ll see you all this coming fall
    In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

  22. Admin – thanks for the effort. I think there are a few issues that have impacted simultaneous to the financial issues that had an equal, or perhaps greater, impact.

    Between 1900 and 1930, the percentage of workers in agriculture fell from 41 percent to 21.5%. This fall put enormous pressure on the rest of the economy to absorb a large bank of relatively unskilled workers. The decline in farm worker percentage was a result of the rapid industrialization of agriculture.

    The Dustbowl was a period of severe drought, combined with extremely poor farming practices. Farms literally blew away. Over three million farmers were displaced. The reality is that there was virtually no way to survive on farmers in the dustbowl during this period. Bankers may be perceived as villians with regard to some of this, but the reality is that there was no way these farmers (owners and sharecroppers) could withstand the environment.

    Agricultural workers as a percentage of population continues to decline to this day as advances in technology continue.

    The shift in income equality that you refer to that commenced in the late 1970’s has much to do with the folowing: 1) there was a rapid conversion to computer driven technology/robotics/etc. This created new fileds for skilled workers, who benefited at the expense of unskilled manufacturers. 2) At the same time, Japan (originally) began to rise, dragging a substantial amount of manufacturing with it. Automated processes also began to erode away the need for unskilled workers. This served to concentrate income in the hands of the skilled workforce. 3) other, primarily Asian, nations began to suck manufacturing jobs away from the US, and further tech advances also peeled away manufacturing jobs. This continues unabated. 4) The US lost its leadership in education. The overall quality of the US workforce is poor, and a great many persons are unable to compete in a world market. 5) The welfare state began to take hold more and more, further exacerbating the issue, and further increasing the inequality of income. 6) The expenditures on military tech largely go un-rewarded. The lag between time the tech is developed to the time it is released to commercial entities means that most of the possible overall economic gain is lost. The vast military expenditures serve thus as a drag on the US economy, as opposed to being a gain. For instance, the US has long paid for the defense of Japan. Japan has spent approximately 1 to 2 % of its GDP on defense, which is vastly different to the percent spent by the US. This differential is arguably the PRIME reason Japan was able to advance so rapidly in the 70’s and 80’s.

    I recently posted info that details the breakout of the top 1% earners by field of endeavor – managers lead far and away, followed by bank/finance/lmedicine/law/etc.

    I believe that the issue is extremely complex, but one of the roots is not so much that the top are earning more, but that the bottom are earning less, as they have become uncompetetive in a world market that does not value unskilled labor. The combination of poor education, low skills, high technology, global markets, extraordinary and non-returning investment on defense, costs of policing the world, etc., along with financial improprieties, has resulted in an enormous debacle that we will not be able to recover from without hitting the reset button at some stage.

    But in any event, I believe that modern technology has changed the game permanently for the unskilled and poorly educated. I see no way that these groups willl be able to overcome the income inequality issue. Skilled professionals will dominate the income charts, manufacturing requirements will increasingly reduce owing to tech advances, as will labor requirements in agrigulture, etc., and the result is that in tthe long term I see that the low skilled/poorly educated will be funnelled into service work of one type or another. I do not see an answer to that, no matter what is done with regulation or financial institutions. There simply are not enough semi-skilled jobs available, and they are being eliminated by technology daily.

    1. llpoh

      Excellent analysis of the current situation. I wonder how Germany was able to avoid going down the same path we followed. I need to do an article comparing how the choices made by the leaders and citizens of Germany differed from the decisions made by the U.S.

  23. AKAnon

    Let me inject some common sense here. The guy who COINED the term Baby Boomer also gave it a time frame, 1946-1964 inclusive, which has been accepted universally by everyone except Strauss and Howe.

    Look, I was born during WWII when 10 million U.S. males were in uniform and almost all of them overseas. Kinda difficult to father a child in the U.S., don’t you think? Not so when the war in Europe ended in May 1945 and the Pacific ended in August 1945. Ergo, the initial Baby Boom started in 1946 when all the discharged soldiers were back home and under the sheets.

    I’m a Tweener or perhaps a Not-So-Silent. You and Admin are Boomers. Just that simple.

    The end.

    1. SSS

      So Solly. Read the Fourth Turning and weep. You are stuck in the Shallowest Generation without Admin or AKAnon. Thanks for destroying the country.

  24. SSS—-Fuckin A.

    You absolutely teed it up and powdered it.

    Look at the demographics. The decline in population began AFTER 1964.

  25. SSS-And what criteria did “the guy who COINED the term Baby Boomer” use to define who was and was not a Boomer? Birth rate. If that is your criteria, I concede your point. If you examine the social influences & behaviours instead, as do S&H, the dates change. Like I said before, maybe it would have been less confusing had S&H used a different label, but it probably would have been morphed into Baby Boomer anyway.

  26. AKAnon

    Damn straight he based it on birth rate. I’ll take a quantifiable birth rate over that fuzzy “social influences and behaviours” shit you threw out there any day.

    WTF are “social influences and behaviours” anyway? Goddamn, you can’t EVER define that shit. Ever. It’s like “economic justice” and “social justice.” Un-fucking-definable.

    And what’s up with the British spelling of behavior?

  27. SSS-The social science bullshit isn’t mine, it is S&H’s. Re “behaviour”-spell check doesn’t like “behavior”, it likes “behaviour”. Color vs colour Fuck, you are right. My bad. I didn’t realise (realize?) that spell check was British.

  28. Admin – thanks for that.

    I am not one who subscribes to the German miracle. The Germans currently have a very substantial debt problem. Their total governmnet debt is similar to that of the US as a percentage of GDP. And we know that banking in Germany is an absolute shambles – and the piper will need to be paid. They also have an enormous public welfare system.

    That said, the Germnas benefitted from a differnet view of how to handle a down turn. The did an excellent job banding together and mutually sacrificing to save jobs. Some employees were semi-furloughed, and the government help subsidize these folks being kept on the payroll. Unions and businesses worked better together than in the US (I think unions actually get spots on the company board of directors by law, but that is by memory).

    Germans are very structured in how they go about things, and that has helped them greatly.

    Additionally, they have very captive markets close at hand – the Eastern bloc are big buyers of German tooling and tech products. Howver – and it is a big however- German banks have loaned a lot of the money to the Eastern Bloc nations which in turn has been used to buy German products. Uh-oh.

    So, although Germany is relatively unscathed by European standards, I really believe they too are hanging by a thin thread.

    1. llpoh

      I think the German mindset always goes back to the 1920s and 1930s. They were the only country in the world that did not have a parabolic housing boom. They fear inflation. They are not easily convinced of new paradigms. Their banks are in trouble because the American banks sold them toxic shit. Michael Lewis’ book details the fraud.

  29. William Strauss to Neil Howe during the writing of 4T,

    “Wouldn’t it be something if somebody actually believed this shit ?”

    Howe responds, “And why wouldn’t they ? ”

    Strauss counters, “Because it’s shit, that’s why. You know damn well we made it up as we went along. ”

    Howe persists, “And just what does that have to do with anything? Of course we made the shit up. But THEY don’t know that. There are probably many people stupid enough to buy this shit. ”

    Strauss finally relents, “Hey. If you’re convinced we can make a buck, I’m all in. But let’s focus our sales efforts on TBP. There are some easy marks over there, and we have to start somewhere.”

    William Howe, barely containing his glee, “Let’s roll. “

    1. Smokey the Boomer

      Expounds authoritatively on a book he hasn’t read. Shocking!!! A Boomer spouting off about something he is clueless about. That’s never happened before. LOL


  30. Here I am trying to have a legitimate conversation and the shit throwing monkeys are out in force.

    Admin is a baby boomer for sure. He just will not admit it – lest he be throwing shit at his mirror whenever he lets fly with an anti-boomer article. Vanity thy name is Boomer.

    AKA – it is beneath you to curry favor with the Admin. Sic him – he is a boomer denier and you are simply helping him continue his delusion. It is time he awakens to the truth.

  31. Admin – I m not up to speed on the source you mention, but I do not think that you can blame anyone but the German banks themselves for running up a fifty to one loan to reserve balance. That is fucked up, and where was the due diligence?

    1. llpoh

      I agree. The banks truly screwed up and should accept the consequences of their actions. I was referring more to the German people. They are risk averse and skeptical. I like those traits.

    1. I haven’t seen the weekend tally of Smokey’s football picks. I’m sure his knowledge about The Fourth Turning will be matched by his prescience in picking football games.

  32. I have the misfortune of working with a few Germans. Damn, they are intractable. “Ve vill do it this vay”. No other options are acceptable – things are done one way and one way only. Generally, that works out for the best. But try to implement something new – holy batshit, you need to practically have another Normandy invasion to get something new in place.

    I admire their precision and their aversion to risk. And their common culture really helps them. They have a good wok ethic in general as well. And they still have a sense of what deprivation means and try to avoid a reoccurence at all costs.

    1. There are only 73 million Boomers left. Thankfully, 3 or 4 million have already kicked the bucket. The good news is they will die off at an increasing rate over the coming years, leaving the country with millions less delusional morons.

  33. Admin says: “The good news is they will die off at an increasing rate over the coming years, leaving the country with millions less delusional morons.”

    He meant to say “we will die off”.

  34. Indianapolis won’t win a game this year. Not without Peyton.

    The vast majority of people who follow pro football have no idea the value of Peyton Manning. The Colts would not have had a winning record any year this decade if they’d had any other quarterback in the NFL. Most years, they’d have won one two or three games at most.

    Peyton is the most valuable player in the NFL of ALL TIME.

    You switch he and Tom Brady’s teams for the past ten years. Put Peyton on the Patriots and Brady on the Colts for the past decade. Peyton would have probably at least eight Super Bowl titles with the Patriots, and Brady would have been forced out of the league after two or three losing years with the Colts.

    If Peyton is healthy and starts next year for the Colts, they’ll contend for the title.

  35. Yeah yeah its the banks…

    Admin’s not a fucking boomer, it’s the Strauss and Howe rule and that’s that. Just what I expected: Boomers clawing at the innocent members of another generation, pulling them down with them into the history books.

    There’s one other metric for a boomer and that’s if you wear a blue tooth when not driving. Because that would be based on the honor system… which has been shown to be completely unworkable in the presence of the Prophets… we have the Srauss and Howe Rule.


  36. “Stated very simply, the demographers, sociologists and the media define baby boomers as those born between (and including) 1946 and 1964.”

  37. Colma – no listen up you little kneebiter. You cannot keep hiding behind the Admin’s skirts. Best you stay out of this.


  38. It seems only Gen X can post pictures. Boomers again prove to be incompetent dumbasses, blaming wordpress for their own inablity.

  39. Baby boomers. A catastrophic catastrophe.

    Baby Boomers Retirement – How It Impacts the US Economy

    As Pot-Smoking, Pill-Popping Baby Boomers Age, New Health Problems May Arise

    Alcohol, Drug Abuse Continue to Cause Problems for Aging Baby Boomers

    Baby Boomers Appear to Be Less Healthy Than Parents

  40. When danger rears it’s ugly head, he quickly turned his tail and fled.

    Once again, the administrator finds the medicine too strong, and departs, a thoroughly whipped cur.

    Colma—-you best disappear also, or either do an about face, because this could get ugly without the Administrator here to babysit you.

  41. Admin says “It seems only Gen X can post pictures. Boomers again prove to be incompetent dumbasses, blaming wordpress for their own inablity.” Well shit, there goes my case. At least I don’t own a blue tooth.

  42. EXACTLY cbdenver!

    Too few seem to want to include the role the U.S. Federal Government played in their assessment of what went wrong. Don’t think for a minute that the pols in DC didn’t do everything they could to encourage the housing ‘boom’. The housing ‘boom’ was encouraged by the Fed, Wall St, and pols for various reasons. One major reason IMO, was to offset the losses suffered in the manufacturing sector to ‘free trade’. I’m not an isolationist, but dammit, we’ve cut our own throats with this insanity. Real wealth creation relies on resource extraction and manufacturing. Shifting bits around on digital ledger sheets in this idiotic ‘service economy’ doesn’t create wealth.

  43. paul descartes,

    Tell you what.

    Go get a fucking brain transplant and then come back to this forum and say something that hasn’t been said here fifty thousand goddamn times already.

  44. paul descartes

    Greetings and welcome aboard. Despite the rude comments from Smokey, I liked your statement “Real wealth creation relies on resource extraction and manufacturing.”

    Right on, Paul. Right on. Any thoughts on illegal drugs?

  45. It seems ‘choose your expert’ is the arbitrary way to describe generations. A snip from Alliance for Families and Children:

    The various ways and date ranges that generations are referred to:

    The Greatest Generation (born 1901-1925)
    Silent Generation (born 1926-1944), (1925-1942), (1933-1945)
    Traditionalists born before 1946
    Boomers (born 1945-1962), Baby Boomers (1946-1964), (1943-1960), (1946-1955)
    GenX (born 1963-1980) Generation X (1965-1981), (1965-1976), (1961-1981)
    GenY (1979-1994), (1977-1994), (1989-1993) Gen@ (born 1981-2002), Millennials (1982-2000)

    Of course, if you choose the one the majority do, it’s the U.S. Census Bureau.

    So can all you government lovers explain 1964 as the definitive marker?


  46. I don’t know about the full accuracy of Mr. Barnett’s rant above, but one thing I can say for sure. Well maybe two things.

    I’m really glad to be a silent for that means I’ll be outta here fairly quickly and if not, perhaps I can be of use when TSHTF and, having led a wonderful fulfilling life, not worry about loosing a lot of years.

    The second thing is that this country _is_not_ the country I was born in, grew up in, worked a long and modestly successful career in. A few years before I “retired” , developed the MRO trading system and kept working – but on my own thing – I realized that things were going astray. Actually I saw it first back in 1973 when I went overseas to work (and never came back except for visits).

    Now is it simply FUBAR and the Feddies and State Govs. have backed us into a corner from which there is no escape. We have fulfilled the prophecy of Thomas Jefferson (I think!) of the majority voting itself benefits from the common weal from which there is no escape short of economic collapse.

    We are on the slippery slope now. Too coated with slime to slow down, more slime being added world wide as time passes. What used to be the USofA will be close to the last country to totally fail but I seriously doubt we’ll escape the crunch without significant injuries to persons and economic systems. It may and will likely end in martial law as more and more people and families fall off the bitter end of poverty into destitution. When you have nothing left to loose, you loose it.

    When the head of a family watches his/her children start to starve because food is priced out of reach or the family is forced to live under a tarp in a wooded area to avoid being hassled by the New Gestapo, or panhandlers become common on every street corner, or people are most everywhere with “will work for food” signs on their chest, then you will start to see the blood start to flow. It won’t be sudden.. It will be gradual – like inflation and the loss of the purchasing power of your “money”. A little here and there, faster and faster until out comes the National Guard and the cop-shops are all barricaded behind the barriers with swat teams to defend the doors.

    Now sleep tight and don’t let it worry you any! Just stuff your head under your pillow and dream sweet dreams of chocolate and candy and fairy godmothers who will solve everything.. Right…


  47. James,
    Thanks for the good article, I read it on Financial Sense. Please remember that earth is not meant to be an easy and gentle experience. Being in a body on earth places us next to the fire, and in its heat our hearts heal and open. We are extremely fortunate to have the earth experience. Feel your heart pulsate, and in its waves of energy all beings will heal.

  48. @Chetat: Holy shit! Sounds like something from the Master in Tibet or Nepal or somewhere else 25,000 ft. up and oxygen-starved.

    Pardon me while I pulse..


  49. this is all a result of agenda 21 for god’s sake man wake up and study this they let the banks run to cover the export of capital and jobs so the rest of the world would sign onto the enviromental treaties. nafta gatt wto now this week the pacific rim and n korea plus the american people paid for power plants all over the world enron ring a bell clinton bombing the serbian coal plants carbon cap and trade to cover for the 30 year opec deal running out at 20 dollars a barrel when they would not re up we overthrew them or killed them. they have no intension of letting the economy recover. the world will be on a carbon based limited to each country’s qota thats all the economic activity your going to get.

  50. Every dumb fuck with an agenda or conspiracy or speaking from the mothership romps in and sez, “Wake up.” The above stream of subconscious writing is amusing, though.


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