So the stock market is at new all-time highs. GDP is at an all-time high, well above 2007 levels. Unemployment has supposedly fallen from over 10% in 2009 to only 7.3% today. Corporate profits are at all time highs. Wall Street bonuses are at all-time highs. The talking heads on CNBC and the rest of the MSM tell me that things are great. Interest rates, at least for some people and banks, are at record lows. Bernanke pumps $2.5 billion of heroin into the veins of Wall Street on a daily basis.

So why so glum average Americans? It seems average Americans plan on spending 10% less for Christmas gifts this year than last year. Not only that, but they are spending 19% less than they spent in 2007 and 18% less than they spent in 1999. Didn’t you people get the message? Stop with the goddamn austerity, whip out that credit card, and buy Chinese shit you don’t need with money you don’t have. Don’t you realize Wall Street bankers and mega-retailer CEOs are depending on your recklessness materialism to generate their $7 million bonuses?

It seems the 99% are not cooperating with the 1% plan for economic recovery. Maybe they are little depressed because their health insurance policy just got cancelled and their new Obama policy is going to cost 40% more. Maybe it is the $1,000 less the average household has to spend this year versus last year because the 2% Social Security tax reduction expired. Maybe it is because they lost their $80,000 per year job at Merck and are now working at the Dunkin Donuts across the street for $9.00 per hour – but they get free donuts at the end of the shift. Maybe it’s the fact that the real median household income is 10% below the level of 1999.

You see, reality is a bitch. Your owners can prop up the stock market and spew propaganda on the corporate media outlets, but they can’t create wealth for you. The average American is spending less because they have less. It really is that simple. And the less they spend, the more retailers will suffer. The JC Pennys, Sears, Radioshacks, Barnes & Nobles, Best Buys and many more will be forced to shutter stores, fire employees and in some cases file bankruptcy. You can smell the desperation among the mega-retail conglomerates. They over-expanded based on the delusional belief that this credit based fantasy could go on forever. They will pay the price.

Opening stores on Thanksgiving will not save their sorry asses. They fucked up and they will pay the piper. It’s a zero sum game. The average American is running on empty. The Wall Street/Hamptons crowd can not sustain the nation with their extravagant spending. I love the smell of desperation in the morning. It smells like bankruptcy and disgrace for delusional retail CEOs.    



Holiday Spending to Dive: Gallup



  1. You could smell it coming through the TV LED screen at the O’s press conference yesterday, that before this news was known. John

  2. [email protected] says:

    And here we are descending into the Obamacare Abyss at the same time.

    I don’t know if this is part of The Plan or if the lies/corruption/ineptitude of our and Wall Street has just reached some critical mass, but I think it is really time to brace for impact.

  3. I shall use this opportunity to request that everyone boycott holiday shopping as much as possible. Instead of buying worthless boxes of plastic shit that everybody will either forget about or exchange for cash by January anyway, either buy nothing or buy only necessary items that the Emperor’s Minions would prefer you not buy. Retiring debt if you have it (that hurts them the most and really pisses them off), pm’s if that’s your investing flavor, prep supplies, glasses/contacts or dental work (both will be ridiculously more expensive after January 1), and my personal prepping pet peeve: a few extra pairs of good quality shoes. Of all the shit I hear about on the prepping threads and places like SHTF, nobody ever talks about stocking up on quality footwear while the global economy is still technically alive. How many start-to-finish shoe manufacturers are left domestically? Half dozen? Maybe less? If your feet are fucked, you’re immobile = YOU’RE DEAD and all your preps go to whoever finds your body.

    Other than that, fuck Christmas. The Grinch was right and Whoville was overrun with goddamned commie pinko bastards. Fuck ’em.

  4. ecliptix543 says:
    “I shall use this opportunity to request that everyone boycott holiday shopping as much as possible.”

    My wife and I are getting a puppy for Christmas! Our current Cocker Spaniel is becoming insecure at 10 years old so she’s getting a baby sister! Damn I love puppies! And Cocker Spaniel pups are the cutest pups of all!

    The new arrival will be 8 weeks old on 12-29 so it might be a few days after Christmas before we get her but she is our only expenditure this Christmas.

    We’ve been looking to get one for months but apparently the public is no longer paying for pure bred pups in this economy so the breeders are really cutting back on the number of litters they produce.

    Damn! I can’t wait! I freaking LOVE puppies!

  5. I’d love to get a golden retriever again. I had one when I was growing up, got him when he was about 8 weeks old and I was six. He lived for 17 years and was the best pet of any species I’ve ever had. Jumping fences was for pussies – my dog would climb 15ft up the silver maples in the yard and wait for me to come get him down. He wouldn’t dare threaten my pet birds but he could trap and kill squirrels/rabbits/cats/moles/possums.. you name it, he could kill it. He’d probably have held his own against a fucking ostrich if one ever came into the yard. Best of luck with the new puppy!

  6. Only on TBP could a dire post about retail bankruptcies and the decline of the American economy immediately be sidetracked to cute pictures of cocker spaniel puppies.


  7. [email protected] says:

    @ecliptix: Good morning! Agree totally with the shoe issue. I have been stocking up for me and the family for several years now. Buy the very best quality of boots you can find, take care of them and buy as many as you can. You cannot ever spend “too much” money on proper footwear, IMHO.

    With shoes, don’t forget SOCKS!!! I buy all my boots large enough to put one of those running shoe gel soles on the bottom while wearing the thickest 100% wool socks I can find. I also try to buy my boots at the end of the day when my feet are a bit bigger than they are in the morning. Wool will wick any moisture out of your feet, will give your feet some cushioning and keep your feet warm. I even wear them while working in the summer. I never have feet problems as a result.

    As far as prep clothes go, avoid cotton except for summer wear. Once it is wet, it doesn’t hold body heat and as for cotton socks, forget it unless you want the skin of your feet to chafe off. Same for polyester. Linen and wool are best, denim/corduroy good durability but they won’t keep you warm.

    Don’t forget GLOVES. If your hands are damaged, you are almost as incapacitated as if your feet were. I use a 100% leather glove with a second pair of a thin100% wool gloves underneath, with the same reasons as noted above. If the gloves get wet, you can still function without losing warmth or getting a blister.

    I am just not a normal woman. I should be oogling the latest Prada hand bag or Jimmy Choo shoes but honestly, I just don’t “get that” whole fashion thing.

  8. I’m expecting to see a huge increase in store closures after the new year. Maybe even before shoppers can return gifts for refunds. There are so many stores that NEVER seem to have any traffic in them around here that I have no idea why they are open at all.

  9. Yep. It has to be TBP if puppies take over an economic doom article whilst the godless communist Whos of Dr. Suess remain undefended and left to die in the cold, cold winter all alone. And yet, our most popular thread ever was Best Penis Nicknames. This is probably why the NSA hasn’t shut us down yet.

  10. Obama and the socialists are making out quite well, at your and my expense.

    WH Predicts: Taxes Will Hit Record $3T in FY14–$29,673 Per Full-Time Worker
    November 14, 2013

    ( – The latest Monthly Treasury Statement, which was released on Wednesday afternoon, relies on the estimate made by the White House Office of Management and Budget to say that federal tax revenues will top $3 trillion for the first time in the nation’s history in fiscal 2014.

    In fact, the record $3,023,004,000,000 in tax revenues that the White House is predicting the federal government will rake in during fiscal 2014 not only exceeds the inflation-adjusted revenue taken in by the government in any previous year, it also equals $29,673 in tax revenue for every full-time worker in the country.

    It is also equals $9,534 for every man, woman and child currently living in the country.

    Until now, the record-setting year for inflation-adjusted federal tax revenues was fiscal 2007. In that year, the federal government brought in $2,899,644,380,000 in constant 2013 dollars.

  11. I will believe it when I see it to be honest. America is all about consumerism instead of production now. Doom and Gloom prep to get the stupid masses out to shop! Oh my goodness honey we need to go consume and run up our credit cards it is the patriotic thing to do! ROFLMAO

    One must keep up with the Jones you know!

  12. Puppies are another thing that’s going to go the way of JC Penney in time. Dogs are EXPENSIVE and unnecessary. In a study the average cost of keeping a medium dog, getting routine vet care and average quality food, was $1200 a year. If your dog live for 14 years that’s about $16,800 down the drain. More for larger dogs times the number of dogs owned. People just aren’t going to be able to afford this anymore. At first they’ll go with much gnashing of teeth and tears, and people will turn their dogs loose to ‘give them a chance’ creating a huge human health and safety issue ( but they will go.

  13. Christmas is gonna suck this year, at least as far as presents are concerned…

    But Christmas shouldn’t be about how much loot you get, anyways.

    Maybe would like to get a nice pair of Redwing boots for my boy… but he’s growing so fast, it might not be worth the investment…. I bought several pairs of combat boots before I got out, so I got awhile before I wear my way though them…

    Last year, I got the wife a teddy bear and pasted 1/4oz Gold Eagles on the eyes and nose. Gonna be hard to beat that this year…

    We should start a Christmas thread… what do you want for Christmas?

    1. Some funny comments on Zero Hedge:

      1. You know the fun is starting when you go to buy a crockpot on Amazon and their recommendation system shows at high percentage of people who also bought crockpots viewed and/or also purchased boxes of nails and ball bearings. I bet prepper supply businesses will do well this holiday.

      2. Here’s the shopping plan:

      Dine and dash

      Flash mob at dept stores

      Five finger discounts

      Breaking into your house while you’re at midnight xmas mass

      Car hijacking

      Apple picking

      Ocare scamming

      Bank hold ups

      Home invasion


      3. I want to personally thank obama and Bernanke for keeping the prices of homes artificially high and making them unaffordable to millions of Americans who would like to buy homes. Clearly these two men deserve 1 or more Nobel prizes for their efforts. Also the 1 trillion in government backed student loans has made college unaffordable and has put millions of students into debt that will take a generation to pay back so high five there.

      4. I am on the frontlines at my retail job. i have detailed records going back 4 years tracking sales for every month. The economy on main street is in a virtual collapse. Of course, this may be limited to isolated geographical locations but enough dots can be connected from Detroit to California. The phones hardly ring compared to what used to occur. Our sales are down 30% from a year ago. We must haggle to make a sale because of incredible price competition. People are totally spent out and have zero cash reserves. The most amazing aspect is that this lack of money is slowly creeping into those wealthier zipcodes we deal with.

      5. While the propaganda says thing are looking great. The reality for me is that the sh-t has already hit the fan. Selling my belongings to pay for electricity, food and gas puts me in the holiday spirit. Though at times it may seem so, I don’t believe that I am part of a small insignificant % of the population.

  14. Have gone the Elfster route as well. Wife handles the logistics and the upside (for me) is instead of having to buy Christmas shit for twenty people for whom I other wise can’t stand being in the same room with for more than twenty minutes, I’m now down to two. An otherwise 90% improvement in my holiday economy.

    Indebting less?
    What’ya some kind of terrorist or sumpthing?
    You anti-Amerkin?
    What in Sam Hill is wrong with you?
    You want some little china kid to have to make Saudi donkey porn films to get older brother through NYU?
    Please, think of the bond market. Think of the CDI traders. Don’t you want them and their kids to enjoy their Vail/Bahamas Christmas?
    Besides, not spending is a NSA red flag. ( could be…um..’rough’ on you. Know what I mean? )

    When you have to drop a hundo every time you visit the grocery store, that ‘luxury ski trip’ (for the now dismantled middle class) seems to be a few years away.

  15. My local mall has a Macy’s, J C Penny and Dillard’s as the big-store choices for general home, shoes and apparel. Macy’s is the busiest of the three I think, but not nearly busy enough to be profitable IMO.


  16. I posted on my facebook wall that people should try and pay off a little debt or save a bit this christmas instead of buying iGadgets they will just have to buy all over again in 2 years time.

    I posted it and walked off and came back to a bunch of fiscally responsible people saying “Hell yeah, good advice!” and a bunch of bourgeois living-on-credit housewives going at it hammer and tongs.

    It kind of blew up on me. It turns out middle-american housewives would rather fill up a credit card to give their babies a happy christmas than see the kids next door get better trinkets.

    Its a matter of choices. Would you rather shower them with trite meaningless gifts their entire childhood, and then dump them unprepared at 18 into the world?

    Or maybe just baby them indefinitely?

    Or perhaps you could be responsible and buy within your means now, that way when your child is older you can help them get a jump start in life and maybe even help them out when they hit adulthood.

    I didn’t say that of course, I waste my time enough as it is about this stuff. My give a fuck meter is rapidly emptying.

  17. hey there jim, it’s hard to deny that no one has any money. but that doesn’t matter because the dollar is the world’s currency.

    Every time a random country wants to buy a widget from another random country, they have to use dollars. The best way to have dollars is to buy american bonds, treasuries or whatever.

    You might as well stop warning people of this and that because it’s not going to happen for years. Maybe by that time manufacturing will come back to america(not)

    You are a very entertaining writer, however. I love to read your articles, even it they border on the fantastical.

  18. s. petersen must have somehow missed China brokering multiple deals around the world to deal in countries’ native currencies. India, Russia, Brazil, and even some European countries. These aren’t backwater African nations, but major players.

    When country’s start bailing on their current currencies and swapping to new ones, deals like that with China will be a lifeline they can’t refuse.

  19. Note that these Gallup figures are nominal dollar amounts (as polled at the time of each year’s poll). Adjusted for inflation, the November 1999 figure of $857 is actually $1,190 in today’s dollar (CPI, All Urban Consumers SA). Therefore, adjusted for inflation*, American’s holiday gift spending plans this year are a paltry 59% of their gift spending plans in November of 1999, and very nearly match their gift spending plans at the depths of the housing bubble crash of 2008.

    * using the BLS CPI figures which actually *understate* inflation


  20. Admin’s money quote – “It seems the 99% are not cooperating with the 1% plan for economic recovery.”

    Heh. Very funny.

    But puppies are cute and funny too.

    Reggie, our Old English Sheepdog passed away a year and half ago. Life became so quiet. So we adopted Mabel in March. She’s 80 lbs – she’s a big boned sheep dog. A bit of a toughie – but very sweet too. Chases squirrels and absolutely hates bikers – both cyclists and motorcyclists. Not sure why, but goes into a total meltdown when she’s in the car and a motorcycle comes up from behind. Poor thing. Must be some history here. I have a supply of Dunkin Munchkins on hand which sometimes helps.

    I_S you’re gonna have such a great Christmas with your new pup. Best present ever.

  21. TPC said:
    “It kind of blew up on me. It turns out middle-american housewives would rather fill up a credit card to give their babies a happy christmas than see the kids next door get better trinkets.”

    It’s all about “feewings” with the middle class American house wife.

    “Its a matter of choices. Would you rather shower them with trite meaningless gifts their entire childhood, and then dump them unprepared at 18 into the world?

    Or maybe just baby them indefinitely?

    Or perhaps you could be responsible and buy within your means now, that way when your child is older you can help them get a jump start in life and maybe even help them out when they hit adulthood.

    I didn’t say that of course,”

    Hell TPC, that is the most important thing you could add to the conversation!

  22. KaD, Dogs have been with man forever and no matter how bad it gets, dogs will be with man until the last man expires. Dogs are a huge benefit to man. The quality of their lives will drop alongside ours but we will remain partners to the end.

  23. ecliptix543 says:

    “And yet, our most popular thread ever was Best Penis Nicknames. This is probably why the NSA hasn’t shut us down yet.”


  24. who can forget that twilight zone episode where the old man drowns trying to save his dawg?

    alteeza or invernia, whatever that stupid insurance company in san diego is called, refused to give me a home insurance quote because I told them my golden retriever is part chow, (they said call back when he’s gone, fuckers.)

    he has a couple of spots on his tongue. otherwise I would swear he is part chicken. we got him about eleven years ago from the pound, we noticed recently that he has gone deaf, he no longer responds when we call him from around the yard and he doesn’t notice when i open the slider behind him.

    he did well with dry dog food then he showed a preference for dry cat food (we have two cats) now he loves leftovers, my wife makes him a stew of sorts with whatever we have left from our dinner.

    his doghouse is set on top of the grave I dug for our poodle mix, my idiot son in law left the gate open and the dog ran out and mysteriously got run over right there not 40 feet from the house, no note no nothing, assholes. I was considering where I should dig a hole for this dog when the time comes.

  25. [email protected] says:

    Here is an HZK Christmas Story.

    Some of my inlaws got into a spot of $$$ trouble (mainly cuz the misses spent 1.5 x their income) so we loaned them $1500 so they could make their house payment.

    Even though they were teetering on the verge of bankruptcy and foreclosure, when the work bonus came in, did they try to get out of debt? Or pay me back? No, they blew it on a trip to Hawaii, which really pissed me off becuz I had not yet been there.

    By Christmas time they were asking to borrow more $$$$ so the kids “could have a nice Christmas”.

    I said NO. The HZK Bank was closed.

    I told them that the best present you can give your kids is the lesson that if you act like a financial maroon, Christmas presents are not in your future.

    Regardless to say, I never got my $$$ back but I never got asked for $$$ again neither.

  26. HZK, great story. I never loan more money to anyone, including family, than I am willing to lose. Although I always establish terms with anyone I loan money to, mentally I consider the money gone forever. If I happened to be paid back I just consider it a bonus. If I don’t get repaid, I then know all I need to know about that person.

  27. Mary Malone said:
    “I_S you’re gonna have such a great Christmas with your new pup. Best present ever.”

    Indeed! We just got word that we can pick our our new pup on 12-27 which works out perfect as my wife and I are taking the last week of ’13 and first week of ’14 off for a little puppy overdose! I wish we didn’t have to drive 700 miles round trip in the dead of winter to pick her up but I’m excited!

  28. We in my extended clan made an agreement years back that we would scale back our Christmas gifts, to no more than $20 or so per gift.

    After all, we all have everything we need and we’re well able to buy what we want… and we really don’t want that much. The whole point of the gift-giving thing is to surprise each other with something cute, amusing, and meant to be used immediately….

    Most of all, the whole point to be with each other around the tree, drinking eggnog and reminiscing about times and people now gone, to commemorate the cycles of life.

    This will be the first Christmas ever without my mother and her absence will dominate, but we will celebrate her and drink to her, and be glad we had her for so long. We’ll gaze at photographs and wear her clothes, her beautiful beaded sweaters, and think how she might have liked this or that, while we focus on my sister’s kids, a new generation.

    None of us will participate in “Black Friday”.


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