KEEPING IT REAL

“One only needs to reflect on the dramatic decline in the value of the dollar that has taken place since the Fed was established in 1913. The goods and services you could buy for $1.00 in 1913 now cost nearly $21.00. Another way to look at this is from the perspective of the purchasing power of the dollar itself. It has fallen to less than $0.05 of its 1913 value. We might say that the government and its banking cartel have together stolen $0.95 of every dollar as they have pursued a relentlessly inflationary policy.” Ron Paul – End the Fed

The BLS reported the CPI this morning. They tell me that inflation is well contained and has only risen by 1.2% in the past twelve months. Our beloved Federal Reserve chairman is worried inflation is too low. It is fascinating that the only people worried about inflation being too low are Ivy League educated economists and bankers whose wealth depends upon the middle class sinking further into poverty. As a person who lives in the real world, I can honestly say I like it when the things I need to buy cost less today than they did last year. When did inflation become a good thing for the average American? Our country was somehow able to grow from a fledgling new country to a world power in just over a century while experiencing mild deflation, except during times of war. The fallacy that inflation is beneficial to the common man has been peddled by bankers since 1971 when Nixon and his cronies closed the gold window and unleashed the inflationary boogeyman in the form of feckless politicians, captured Keynesian academics, and greedy soulless bankers.

It is no coincidence inflation accelerated the moment politicians, academics and bankers were unleashed to spend your money at will in order to obtain votes, Nobel prizes in economics, and ill-gotten obscene levels of wealth. David Stockman described Nixon’s dreadful sellout of the American people in his brilliant new book:

“Nixon’s estimable free market advisors who gathered at the Camp David weekend were to an astonishing degree clueless as to the consequences of their recommendation to close the gold window and float the dollar. In their wildest imaginations they did not foresee that this would unhinge the monetary and financial nervous system of capitalism. They had no premonition at all that it would pave the way for a forty-year storm of financialization and a debt-besotted symbiosis between central bankers possessed by delusions of grandeur and private gamblers intoxicated with visions of delirious wealth.”  –David Stockman – The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America

The USD has lost 83% of its purchasing power since 1971. The moment Nixon began playing politics with the USD and bullied the Federal Reserve Chairman into pumping up the money supply prior to the 1972 election, the inflation genie got out of the bottle and led to the miserable stagflation of the 1970’s. It took extreme measures by Paul Volcker to get it back under control in the early 1980’s. Since Volcker we’ve had nothing but academics and toadies who have chosen to change the definition of inflation in order to mislead the average American regarding how badly they are getting screwed. Every refinement, tweak, adjustment, or revision to the calculation of CPI has been designed to produce a lower figure. Why control inflation when you can just change the calculation to suit your purposes?

Over the proceeding decades, the BLS has sliced and diced the CPI in such a way that they can make it say whatever TPTB want it to say. They need to keep the mushrooms (you) in the dark regarding your standard of living deteriorating, while the beneficiaries of inflation (bankers, politicians) see their standard of living soaring. They have made hedonistic “adjustments”, quality “adjustments”, substitution “adjustments” and geometric weighting “adjustments”, all with the sole purpose to reduce the level reported to the American people on a monthly basis.

CPI was supposed to measure a common basket of goods and services that Americans needed to purchase in order to live their lives. If the price for this basket rose, you had inflation. If the price for this basket fell, you had deflation. The politicians, academics, bankers  and government bureaucrats decided if the price of steak went up by 10%, you would switch to chicken, therefore the price of steak did not go up by 10%. They decided if the price of a new car went up 5%, but you now had heated seats, the price didn’t really go up 5%. They now want to change to a chained CPI, which will further depress the reported figure. CPI no longer represents the increase in price of goods and services you need to live your day to day life.

Even the composition of the index doesn’t match the true cost picture for the average American. Somehow they bury the energy component within multiple categories and have the gall to argue that energy costs only comprise 9.6% of the average American expense budget. Tell that to the suburban two worker family that drives 30,000 miles per year and has to heat and cool a 2,000 square foot home. I doubt that too many families only spend 7% of their money on medical care. Housing accounts for 41% of the CPI calculation, but it is again a made up calculation called owner’s equivalent rent. Only an Ivy League economist could explain the calculation. The fact that home prices have risen by 12%, rents have risen by 4% and mortgage rates have risen from 3.25% to 4.5% in the last year somehow results in a 2.4% annual rate of inflation for housing.

If you have the feeling your standard of living has been falling  for the last few decades even though your owners tell you the economy is expanding, inflation is contained, unemployment is falling, the stock market is rising, and consumer spending is growing, then you might be smarter than a 5th grader. The financial elite ruling class are counting on the dreadful public education system, along with their mainstream corporate media propaganda arms, to keep the techno-distracted math challenged masses from understanding how the financialization of the country has resulted in their demise.

Being a skeptical sort, I decided to verify the accuracy of the CPI propaganda issued by the Bureau of Lies and Scams. The combination of the internet and memories from my youth provide a powerful and accurate assessment about the truthfulness of our government. I decided to create a chart of goods and services that average Americans have spent their hard earned wages on for decades. In a matter of minutes I was able to obtain prices from 1971 for various items common to most people. I was eight years old in 1971, being raised in a middle class one earner household on the salary of a truck driver. The chart below provides the proof the government CPI data is a bad joke and the American people are the butt of that joke.

Category 1971 2013 % Change
Average Price of New Car $3,470 $31,252 800.6%
Average Price of New Home $26,000 $245,800 845.4%
Gallon of Gasoline $0.36 $3.50 872.2%
Natural Gas $0.35 $4.00 1042.9%
Loaf of Bread $0.20 $2.20 1000.0%
Sirloin Steak per pound $1.19 $7.00 488.2%
Dozen Eggs $0.25 $1.90 660.0%
Box of cereal 12 oz $0.36 $3.50 872.2%
Pack of Cigarettes $0.32 $6.00 1775.0%
College Tuition – Private  $1,832 $30,094 1542.7%
Monthly Rent $150 $1,073 615.3%
Baseball ticket – Phila $2 $23 1050.0%
Movie ticket $1.50 $9.00 500.0%
Maximum Social Security Tax $406 $8,950 2104.4%
Median Household Income $9,028 $51,017 465.1%
Median wage per worker $6,497 $27,519 323.6%
Average Hourly Earnings  $3.60 $20.31 464.2%
CPI 40.5 232.0 472.8%
Consumer Credit Outstanding (tril.) $0.14 $3.07 2092.9%
Mortgage Debt Outstanding (tril.) $0.51 $13.18 2484.3%

The BLS tells me the CPI has risen by 473% since 1971. The very same agency also tells me average hourly earnings have risen by 464% since 1971. This means the average worker is earning less than they did in 1971 in real terms. The median wage per worker has lagged CPI dramatically, as the averages have been skewed by those making outrageous compensation in the financial world. Median household income has barely kept pace with inflation even though households were forced to send both parents into the workforce, with the expected consequences of higher divorce rates and children left to fend for themselves or be raised by strangers.

By the government’s own measures, the average American’s standard of living has fallen since 1971. But, we also know the government has been manipulating the CPI figure lower since the mid-1980’s. After examining the true cost increases for housing, transportation, energy, food, education and entertainment, you would have to be brain dead or an Ivy League economist to believe inflation since 1971 has only been 473%. If home prices and car prices are 800% higher, while the energy needed to power and heat them are 900% to 1,000% higher, and the cost of food is 500% to 1,000% higher, how could the CPI only be 473% higher?

There are far more people going to college today than in 1971. With college tuition 1,500% higher, how can this not be reflected in the CPI? It certainly isn’t because the education is better. Statistics show the uneducated poor are more likely to smoke. Lucky for them, cigarette prices have risen at a rate of 4 times CPI due to the government taxing the crap out of them to fund their various taxpayer boondoggles. Inflation always hurts the poor and enriches the peddlers of debt.

My dad would take me to the brand new Veterans Stadium (built for $50 million in 1971) to see the Phillies in the early 1970’s. He paid $2.00 for a general admission seat and kids got in for 50 cents. We would buy a bag of soft pretzels outside the stadium and bring them into the park. We’d get a hot dog and soda for another $1. The entire outing to see a baseball game was about $5. Today, if I wanted to bring my family of five to a Phillies game at Citizen Bank Park (built for $458 million and paid for by the taxpayer) the lowest cost for the outing would be about $200. In 1971, you could spend a vacation week at the Jersey shore for $200. Now it gets you 3 hours of watching spoiled millionaires playing a child’s game while sitting with a bunch of foul mouthed drunks.

I also found it fascinating that the most regressive tax on earth, the Social Security tax, which hammers the poor and middle class while leaving the rich virtually unscathed has gone up by 2,100% since 1971. The rate in 1971 was 5.2% and the maximum salary level was $7,800. Today, the rate is 7.65% and the maximum level is $113,700. This increased cost for every middle class American is not factored into the inflation figures. Why would the government need to increase the maximum taxable wages by 1,500% when wages have gone up by less than 500%? The hard working truck driver bears the full impact, while Jamie Dimon not so much.

So now that I’ve proved beyond a shadow of a doubt the prices of everything we need to live have far outpaced our wages and the patently false drivel published by the BLS and parroted by the MSM, what are the implications? Well that is an easy one and is summed up by the last two entries in the chart. The average American has been lured into $16 trillion of debt over the last forty years in a pathetic attempt to keep up with the Joneses. Consumer credit (credit cards, auto loans, student loans) has gone up by 2,100% and mortgage debt has gone up by 2,500%. The American people have been sold a false lifestyle dream built on easy credit by evil bankers and Madison Avenue PR maggots.

There are those who would blame the people who have chosen to live far beyond their means. They have a point. The American people certainly haven’t shown a penchant for delayed gratification, saving for the future, or consuming less than they produce. But it takes two to tango and the lead in this dance of debt has been and continues to be the Federal Reserve and their Wall Street bank owners. It’s always reasonable to ask – Who benefits? – when trying to figure out why something has happened over time. Did the American people benefit by increasing the debt owed to Wall Street banks from $650 billion in 1971 to $16.25 trillion today? I don’t think so, based upon the visible deterioration I am witnessing in my suburban paradise.

The financialization of America; where Wall Street con artists,shysters and swindlers rake in billions for shuffling paper and making risky casino bets; mega-corporations ship blue collar middle class jobs to Asia in an all out effort to increase quarterly profits; politicians spend future generations into the poor house in order to get re-elected; and the Federal Reserve purposefully creates monetary inflation to prop up the corrupt system; has systematically destroyed the working middle class and created generations of debt slaves. The American people have been foolish, infantile, and easily duped. But it is clear to me who the real culprits in our long downward spiral have been. Lord Acton stated the obvious, many years ago:

 “The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks.”  John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton

101 thoughts on “KEEPING IT REAL”

  1. really good stuff admin. i love the table of prices. it really astonishes me how no one knows about how everyone is systemically robbed of their purchasing power. even your point about smokers being pinched is important–the working class, by and large the group who mostly smokes, gets murdered at 8 bucks a pack. if you recall, when there was a tobacco settlement many years ago, during the clinton years, the end result was that the hyena lawyers got rich, state coffers got stuffed, and the smoker paid for it through higher taxes. thanks a lot you fucking jackasses. fuck you.

     
  2. Admin – if the rich did not have assets, well, by definition, they wouldn’t be rich.

    If the article showed after tax income instead of gross, it would help.

    Average household income marginal tax rate in 1971 was 22%. Today, marginal tax rate on average household income is 15%.

    It can be assumed by that, but I have not run the numbers, that the average household today benefits by a reduced fed tax burden. State taxes may shoot any benefit down.

    It would be good to know how taxes have impacted the cost of living overall. Also, how has redistribution impacted things – ie does the household income figure include any free shit, or is that on top of that number.

     
  3. Seems to me we the people need to give the jerks who are running the show their “report card”. Yes I know we supposedly do that with each election, but we know how rigged those elections are.
    All I know is, I’m getting sick of this shit.

     
  4. I was in the grocery store over the weekend. Prices are so high it’s ridiculous. $7.50 for a fucking pie, $8 for two boxes of brownie mix. Milk is almost $4 a gallon. Insurance keeps getting more expensive every time I get a bill. Electricity prices are getting ridiculous. Phone rates seem to go up every month. What it all means is our/my standard of living is collapsing. I’m not poor, but I feel poor as more cash goes out the door every month. It’s out of control, and seems to get worse every month. I don’t know how people do it, honestly.

    If things continue on as they have been, my kids will be lucky to be able to have a pot to piss in.

    Submitted by Simon Black of Sovereign Man blog,

    According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, just 33% of Americans think their children will have a better life than they did. On the other hand, 62% believe their children will be worse off.

    They’re likely to be right. The typical American family has seen its real income (adjusted for inflation) fall for 5 consecutive years now, and it earns less in real terms that it did in 1989.

    According to the Census Bureau, median household income fell in 2012, and it languishes 8.3% below the pre-crisis peak in 2007.

    The Brookings Institution, meanwhile, calculates that real incomes for working-age men in the US have fallen by 19 per cent since 1970.

    (Of course, if you’re fortunate enough to be a member of the super-rich who, thanks in large part to central bankers driving up asset prices, saw their real incomes rocket by 20% in 2012.)

    In Europe things look even more dire. Just 28% of Germans think their children will be better off than they were. In the UK it’s 17%, in Italy 14%, and in France just 9%.

    In Britain, research by the Financial Times shows that those born in 1985 are the first cohort to suffer a living standard worse than those born 10 years before them.

    Contrast this gloomy picture with China, where 82% think their kids will have it better than they did. In Nigeria, the number is 65%. In India, 59%.

    It’s blatantly obvious that the West is in decline. And most people seem to understand this.

     
  5. Archie – if a person is dumb enough to smoke, they get what they get. I very much doubt that the taxes collected from smokers cover the costs they burden society with.

    Around $32 billion in taxes is collected each year on tobacco. Here is a quote on costs – it is a bit old now.

    “During 2000–2004, cigarette smoking was estimated to be responsible for $193 billion in annual health-related economic losses in the United States (nearly $96 billion in direct medical costs and an additional $97 billion in lost productivity).”

    Cry me a fucking river.

     
  6. Llpoh

    Based on the median household income numbers, it would seem that the annual Federal tax burden would be 387% higher than in 1971, which is below the inflation rate.

    I think it is a damn good assumption that State, local, and sales taxes have gone up dramatically since 1971, along with fees, licenses, tolls and every other fucking way the government can bilk the average person.

    Household income includes entitlement transfers.

     
  7. People do not smoke because they are poor. They smoke because they are stupid. And because they are stupid, they are poor. Smoking costs a lot, and contributes further to their poverty.

    Too bad for them. Their stupidity is not my problem.

    But hey! Obamacare is meant just for them – they can smoke themselves into cancer and heart trouble and emphysema and still get insurance coverage for their pre-existing conditions!

     
  8. Admin – I bet you are right. Fed taxes have helped a bit, but state and sales taxes have way more than overwhelmed any benefit, in general.

    That the household income number includes free shit is also a real bummer – it means total wages/hours worked are down even more than they appear, as there was a lot less free shit in 1971. Take the free shit off, and incomes would be lower still.

     
    1. Llpoh

      I checked the PA toll rates over time. In 1969 the toll rate was 1 cent per mile. Today it is over 10 cents per mile. I pay $500 per year in tolls just to go to and from work.

       
  9. I am happy to see that there are some smokers about that still feel entitled to burden society with the costs of their filthy habits. Add smokers to the ranks of the free shit army. Along with AWD’s favorite group – the obese.

     
  10. llpoh, you surprise me with such shallow thinking. you’re quite wrong i’m afraid. smokers die early. you know from smoking. so, they don’t collect the many years of social security, medicare, medicaid, they otherwise would have. the admin covered this in an earlier post about how current social security recipients get multiples more than they put in. besides, there have been a number of studies calculating the difference between hospital costs (which are high) of smokers and what they didn’t otherwise receive from social security benefits. it’s a wash at best. if you want i can drag out the studies, but you see my point. you also question smoking itself. fair enough. it is a dirty, disgusting habit. there are many others. i for one would like to ban wearing sweatpants in public.

    who is crying a river? not me. i was merely echoing the admin on the deleterious effects of fiat money. i elaborated on his example. you want to live a long life? good for you. but be wary llpoh that, to paraphrase kant, it won’t “bring you long misery”.

     
  11. llpoh, if this was lost on you, i was also making the point that the lawyers and politicians got rich off of smokers. this isn’t really fair is it?

     
  12. tobacco smoking could be called llpoh’s revenge. although, to be fair, the native americans did not add all those wonderfully tasting addictive chemicals. I would still be smoking and drinking if not for jesus. scientists have managed to debunk supplements but they can’t debunk the power of faith.

     
  13. yes llpoh, ok. i agree with you. smoking has nothing to do with intelligence. but how dare you insult our buffoon in chief? you rayciss? he’s smoking because the white man made him! or maybe the red man? the yellow man?

     
  14. This boomer friend of mine was just diagnosed with lung cancer. He’s smoked forever. He’s obese, in poor health. He’s getting radiation and chemo. He’s glad his insurance is paying for everything, because otherwise he’d succumb and die. But his insurance is taking money from healthy people that didn’t smoke, exercised, and watched their weight, and giving it to him. Now he smokes this thing that looks like a crack pipe, with a reservoir off pure nicotine, it’s called an electronic cigarette. Hey, man, don’t force me to give up smoking, that’s not cool.

    Another boomer friend of mine is going to start kidney dialysis, he’s a diabetic, morbidly obese, has had both knees replaced, can barely walk, takes 12 meds a day, and he smokes cigarettes. He’s a great guy, funny, was in the dust-off corps in Vietnam and has some great stories. But now he’s destroyed his health to the point that he’s going to spend half his life hooked up to a machine to survive.

    Destroying your health through bad habits and over-indulgence is a really bad idea.

     
  15. my old boss earnie said, my doctor told me I have to quit smoking, drinking and running around with women, I already quit smoking, drinking goes next.

     
  16. How to fix Medicare: 1) get more people to smoke by cutting cigarette taxes and advertising the benefit of smoking (weight loss). 2) limit treatment of cancer to self-administered peanut butter enemas. Voila, Medicare is solvent.

     
  17. 1) How can health care account for 19% of GDP and only be reflected as 7% in the CPI.

    2) yes, you do recognize how expensive new cars are when you get your old car service at a dealership.

    The Federal Reserve and the BLS have been too clever by half. Sneaking in that low CPI number for health care knowing that the bulk of the increase of costs will only affect a few people and be hidden from the rest of the people. Gradually raising the cost of food, gas and other basic necessities hasn’t created too much of a stir. But over time people are going to buy that new car and notice a big dent out of their savings account. I’m not sure how borrowing to buy that new car is going to affect people at the higher price.

     
  18. “When the federal government spends more each year than it collects in tax revenues, it has three choices: It can raise taxes, print money, or borrow money. While these actions may benefit politicians, all three options are bad for average Americans.”

    ― Ron Paul

     
  19. “It is no coincidence that the century of total war coincided with the century of central banking.”

    ― Ron Paul, End the Fed

     
  20. Admin – I know the guy you bought those soft pretzels from. He was pushing a shopping cart on Pattison Ave and smelled like stale Schmidts. You know he never washed his hands after taking a leak behind a parked car. They did taste good I don’t know how I survived.

    On a serious note Im a few years behind you. All you have to look at was how many Moms stayed home to raise the kids – most of my friends growing up had stay at home moms unless they wanted to work.

    Now its a freaking luxury if some dude’s wife doesn’t have to work. It takes two incomes to support the lifestyle of 1971 where it used to only take one.

     
  21. I think that we need an episode of “When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong” to fully describe what’s gone on with the erosion of our money’s value. Where’s Dave Chappelle when you need him?

    chappelle-s-show-when-keeping-it-real-goes-wrong—vernon-franklin

     
  22. “The history of fiat money is little more than a register of monetary follies and inflations. Our present age merely affords another entry in this dismal register.”

    — Hans F. Sennholz

     
  23. @IIpoh…

    Your empathy for those less fortunate (the stupid) touches my heart.

    It is your world view that produced the squalor (and the unjust society) you revel in condemning!

    “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men—true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

     
  24. “Capitalism is at risk of failing today not because we are running out of innovations, or because markets are failing to inspire private actions, but because we’ve lost sight of the operational failings of unfettered gluttony.

    We are neglecting a torrent of market failures in infrastructure, finance, and the environment. We are turning our backs on a grotesque worsening of income inequality and willfully continuing to slash social benefits.

    We are destroying the Earth as if we are indeed the last generation.”

    Jeffrey Sachs, Self-interest, without morals, leads to capitalism’s self-destruction

     
  25. Great article and I would go so far as to say this whole economic crisis is actually a USD crisis. The USD is bereft of value and no longer serves the liquidity function needed by the global economy. This is why we are seeing so many bilateral trade agreements across the globe. All of the other global powers are involved in a desperate attempt to bypass and eliminate the USD as world reserve without causing the dreaded global economic implosion.

     
  26. Hey Jim…this is even more interesting .

    45 Cal. Bullets 1971 2013 Increase
    (Box of 20)
    $1.50 15.50 1030 %

    It’s worth it when TSHTF……especially if it’s for Banksters .

     
  27. Srv – you dumb motherfucker, it is my world view that has created and maintained about one hundred and fifty high paying jobs plus untold numbers of jobs indirectly associated with the business I run.

    There is not one damn thing I do that contributes to poverty. Quite the contrary, asshole.

    I pay directly and indirectly as many millions per year in tax. I employ folks. I donate my time and money.

    Just what the fuck to you do to help prevent poverty.

    Damn, there are some dumbshits around here.

     
  28. Every time I see a smoker sucking on those “crackpipes” I think what a weak ass, just put the damn cigarettes down and quit.

    Most smokers I meet are not the brightest people, hell when I was a smoker I was a dumb-ass myself.

    I have a small trucking company. No inflation there, LOL.

    Each truck spends $200 a day in fuel and they are run local. Tires in 2006 were $325, same tire today $525. Registration fees doubled in 09 for the state of Florida, and it goes on and on.

    But things are looking up for me, I have been selling trucks since 2012 and soon I will have just one.

     
  29. Thanks for the telling the truth – someday it will topple the regime in the empire of lies. Facts can be so inconvenient for the psychos in charge…

    Just a couple of personal observations –

    I graduated from college in 1980 – and was lucky to get my first job in advertising for princely sum of $135 a week. My net was approx. $120. I paid $150 monthly to share a one bedroom apartment with a college friend in Yonkers.

    My commute was a 2-fare zone. I hopped a bus to Grand Concourse in the Bronx for 50 cents, and grabbed the D Train for 50 cents to midtown. No discounts. The weekly cost was $15 week.

    I ate a buttered role for lunch for 25 cents.

    Happy hour was my ticket to dinner. I would meet my girlfriends at Harry’s Hanover Square, where the waiters served chateaubriand for free. I would nurse a wine spritzer – $1. Or, we would meet up at an Irish Pub like Ryan McFaddens, where the complementary buffet and $2 pitchers attracted throngs of 20 somethings just as broke and eager for cheap drinks and free dinner.

    No debt. No credit cards. I shopped at real outlets – not the fake ones we have now.

    Over the years, I just could not understand why my salary increases did not provide me with the ability to live the good life. I didn’t spend wildly. I saved money. I didn’t have a car until 1992 – when I bought a used Peugeot.

    It was only when I accessed credit that I had the ability to eat out at real restaurants from a menu; shop in department stores and travel a bit. I remember thinking that this was really weird. The more debt I financed and paid off, the better my life seemed to be – but there was always a nagging thought that this just wasn’t right.

    It took me 30 years – I’m a bit slow – to finally see how the devaluation of the dollar, inflation, and propaganda spewed by corporate media and government set the table for fake affluence.

    It was all just a mirage. None of it was real. Except the debt. That, I am afraid is very real.

     
  30. @llpoh You should be eternally grateful to smokers. Their addiction funds children’s healthcare programs.

    If they did not cough up $6 for a pack of smokes, the wee ones would not get their vaccines, ADHD meds.

    Sheesh…have a heart man. It’s Christmas.

     
  31. Mary – how you figure that? Every reputable study says smokers cost more than they deliver in tax base. Re ADHD meds – best if those are stopped, I think. Ask SSS why. Vaccines I am for.

    Re have a heart – I have a heart – despite all evidence to the contrary. It just doesn’t grow bigger just because of this commercial enterprise called Christmas.

     
  32. @llpoh Gee, I was just razzing you. Didn’t mean to insinuate you are not a good guy. You are.

    When the states settled their lawsuits against Big Tobacco, the settlement monies were allocated back to the states. They claimed to use the money to fund anti-smoking campaigns.

    The states used most of their money to fund S-CHIP, a federally mandated insurance program for children in low income families.

    Over the years, the number of smokers has decreased. So has the revenue – taxes levied on tobacco products.

    Well, how do the states and the feds expect to fund the S-CHIPS program if the sole source of its funds is derived from smokers?

    States like NY have been very successful in using taxes and social pressure to get smokers to quit. Fine.

    But where is the money going to come from to fund S-CHIP? This program was started with the purpose of using the tobacco settlement money. Well, Big Tobacco is not paying up. That leaves the smokers – only group left that can be taxed into oblivion to pay the kids health insurance fund.

    So, that’s what I meant. Without smokers, kids from poor families will not get healthcare services in the S-CHIP program.

    Make sense?

     
  33. Mary – I know you were! You iz a good one around this parts. Just razzing you back, my lovely! I have a rep to keep up, you know!

     
  34. Admin – another great one! Thank you. That list of the increase in prices is simply astonishing, but it’s also criminal.

    “The American people certainly haven’t shown a penchant for delayed gratification, saving for the future, or consuming less than they produce. But it takes two to tango and the lead in this dance of debt has been and continues to be the Federal Reserve and their Wall Street bank owners.”

    The “lead in this dance” is a great way of saying it. Both sides are culpable for the mess, for sure, but you are correct to point out that there has been a clear leader. This has been carefully planned and executed by a well-oiled machine.

    Orwell said: “Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.” If the leaders turn up the heat much more and seriously crank up inflation, people will rebel, and therein lies our only hope because they have to rebel before they can become conscious.

     
  35. Love the article, PERIOD. YOU should consider publishing the real cpi and trademark it as RCPI each month. Housing is tricky during a period of debt deflation, but using calculated per square foot rent nationally, should, at least show the measure of cpi(with minimum skew) for everyone that the government hides from us.

     
  36. “Our government… teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.”

    Louis D. Brandeis

     
    1. “But there is a sort of ‘Ok guys, you’re mad, but how are you going to stop me’ mentality at the top.”

      Robert Johnson

       
  37. just wanted to say something about smoking. The statistics on smoking is no different that the manipulated numbers of the CPI.

    I have never smoked in my life and really I can’t stand anyone smoking anywhere close to me. However I also refuse to be manipulated by the “statistics” out there on smoking costs.

    So you guys know if a smoker dies from heart attack, cancer, etc it goes down to smoking cause
    Forget the fact if that person is obese
    Forget the fact if that person’s family history points to an increase risk of say heat disease
    Forget the fact his/her diet was extremely poor
    Nope, to the statics it only counts that he smoked.

    In fact even if this person had quit 10 years before that heart attack, you guess it. Goes down to smoking.

    How else can they justify taxing a legal product 200%-900%.

    And as some have said, if a smoker dies on average 6 years earlier than a non-smoker, cost savings in government cost is substantial. Unless some idiots believe a non-smoker living in their 80s don’t have any health problems. Really? I guess all non smokers never receive any medical benefits, they just die in their sleep.

     
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  39. Pingback: Anonymous
  40. Any informed citizen understands that our political/economic system operates via privatized gains and socialized losses.

    There are many things we can all complain about but two facts are the most important:

    1. No country, including ours, can avoid economic collapse if it keeps accumulating endless overwhelming debt while not growing anywhere near enough good jobs for a majority of citizens to prosper.

    2. No one has any right to complain if they keep re-electing the same republicans and democrats controlled by the same big special interests whose opposition to reforms is destroying the middle class and our country.

     
  41. The Fed’s monetary policy has gone off the rails since 2008. The whole point of encouraging inflation after WWII was to reduce the real value of outstanding war bonds, thus reducing the government’s repayment burden.

    The US needs a central bank to regulate the money supply and prevent the banking system from locking up in a crisis, as it did in 1907 until J.P. Morgan forced a solution. Getting rid of the Fed is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It just needs governors who aren’t academic economists.

     

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