“And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.” John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

Everyone has seen the pictures of the unemployed waiting in soup lines during the Great Depression. When you try to tell a propaganda believing, willfully ignorant, mainstream media watching, math challenged consumer we are in the midst of a Greater Depression, they act as if you’ve lost your mind. They will immediately bluster about the 5.1% unemployment rate, record corporate profits, and stock market near all-time highs. The cognitive dissonance of these people is only exceeded by their inability to understand basic mathematical concepts.

The reason you don’t see huge lines of people waiting in soup lines during this Greater Depression is because the government has figured out how to disguise suffering through modern technology. During the height of the Great Depression in 1933, there were 12.8 million Americans unemployed. These were the men pictured in the soup lines. Today, there are 46 million Americans in an electronic soup kitchen line, as their food is distributed through EBT cards (with that angel of mercy JP Morgan reaping billions in profits by processing the transactions).

These 46 million people represent 14% of the U.S. population. There are 23 million households on food stamps in a nation of 123 million households. Therefore, 19% of all households in the U.S. are so poor, they require food assistance to survive. In 1933 there were approximately 126 million Americans living in 30 million households. The government didn’t keep official unemployment records until 1940, but the Department of Labor estimated 12.8 million people were unemployed during the worst year of the Great Depression or 24.9% of the labor force. By 1937 it had fallen to 14.3% or approximately 8 million people.

The number of people unemployed during the 1930’s is an excellent representation of the number of households on government assistance during the Great Depression because 79% of all households were occupied by married couples with 4 people per household versus 48% married couple households today with 2.5 people per household. The unemployment rate averaged 19% during the heart of the Great Depression. Therefore, approximately 19% of all the households in the U.S. needed government assistance to feed themselves. That happens to be the exact percentage of households currently needing food stamps to feed themselves.

We are now supposedly five years into an economic recovery. The unemployment rate, according to the government, has fallen from 10% to 5.1%. Maybe a comparison to the the Great Depression in 1937, five years after the worst of it, would reveal some truth. It is not easy to do an apples to apples comparison because very few women worked outside the home in 1937 and the average life expectancy in the 1930s was 60 years old. Today, the majority of women are theoretically in the work force and the average life expectancy is 78 years old. In 1937 only 5% of the population was over 65 years old versus 13% today.

There were approximately 55 million Americans in the labor force in 1937, according to the DOL, and approximately 47 million of them were employed. So 85% of the eligible work force was working. There was no BLS to massage, manipulate, seasonally adjust, or fake the data to make things appear better than they were in 1937. Edward Bernay’s Propaganda techniques and methodologies weren’t perfected for a few more years. According to Census information there were 52 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 44, along with another 21 million between the ages of 45 and 64 in 1937. So even considering that very few women worked and many people died by the age of 60, we had a workforce of 55 million out of an age eligible population of 73 million at a maximum. That yields a participation rate of 75%.

These facts reveal the utter falsity of the propaganda drenched duplicitous data dumped by the BLS on behalf of vested interests who have captured our government and have an agenda requiring the public to be kept in the dark regarding their own dire financial situation. No matter how you slice the data, it reveals an absolute parallel to the situation during the Great Depression. There are 251 million Americans of working age and only 149 million are employed, of which 20 million are part-time and 8 million are self employed. Only 59% of working age Americans actually work. The BLS has the cajones to declare that only 157 million of the 251 million working age Americans are actually in the labor force.

This outrageous assumption flies in the face of all reasonableness, facts, and truth. In 1937, even with women not working outside the home and very few people living past 65 years old, the participation rate was 75%. Today, with the majority of women capable and willing to work and older Americans working well into their 60s, the BLS actually expects a critical thinking person to believe the participation rate is only 62.4%, the lowest since 1977. It’s a pure and simple despicable lie. The true participation rate should exceed the rate in 1937, based on the facts. Using the 75% participation rate today, yields a true unemployment rate of 21%, not the preposterous 5.1% shoveled by the bullshit artists at the BLS. The 21% rate ties very closely to the figure arrived at by John Williams at Shadowstats. An unbiased assessment of the facts reveals unemployment numbers and people on government assistance numbers that match or exceed those of the Great Depression.

I also wonder whether the corporate mainstream media purposely chooses not to show pictures of the poor waiting in long lines to be fed because their function is not to report facts and truth, but to perpetuate the lie that all is well in America.  I pass the Grace Lutheran church at 36th and Haverford Avenue in West Philly everyday on my way to work. Every Thursday is when the church, in partnership with the Philabundance food bank, distributes free food to the people of West Philly. The line stretches around the block at 7:30 am awaiting the Philabundance truck to arrive. There are old, young, black, white, Latino, and Asian in the line. It looks exactly like the line pictured in the Great Depression above. I’m sure there are similar scenes across every city in America on a daily basis. People dependent on food banks and living in homeless shelters are at record levels. Where are the mainstream media pictures? How does that jive with Ben Bernanke’s self congratulatory book tour about how he saved America by secretly handing Wall Street and foreign bankers $16 trillion?

For the average American family, the US economy has been in recession since 2000, with the Greater Depression arriving in 2008. The working age population has grown by 40 million since 2000, with only 12 million jobs added over that time frame. Of those, 10 million were in the government controlled health, education, social services (HES) sectors, with millions of good paying manufacturing jobs destroyed, replaced by a couple million low paying services jobs. As David Stockman points out, Bernanke and the vested interests he serves continue to spew disingenuous propaganda  to cover up the fact average American households continue to experience depression-like conditions. When your real household income is lower than it was in 1989, while your basic living costs for food, energy, transportation, rent, housing, healthcare, taxes, and education have skyrocketed, you just might be experiencing a depression.

“The Fed’s balance sheet has grown from $500 billion to $4.5 trillion or 9X during that span, but job growth outside the HES Complex amounts to less than 2%. For crying out loud, that’s a 12,000 per month rounding error in an economy which has 250 million adults. Virtually every job gained since December 2009 shown in the chart below was not a “new” job at all; it was just a “born-again” job that Greenspan had claimed credit for a few years earlier. Yet Bernanke has the nerve to boast about the Fed’s success on jobs and claim that the “labor market is close to normal”!”

Edward Bernays wrote the book Propaganda in 1928. It was utilized quite well by Goebbels and Hitler over the next decade or so. But the corporate fascist oligarchy, disguised as American democracy, puts Goebbels efforts to shame. Bernays would be thrilled by the efficiency and professionalism with which the invisible Deep State governing power is able to utilize mass media, the internet, public schools, and academia to shape, mold, manipulate and alter the minds of the masses. The unholy alliance between shadowy billionaires, a private bank owned by Wall Street and controlling our currency, the military industrial complex, the sick care complex, mega-corporations peddling consumer goods, and politicians who are easily bought, has left a hollowed out rotting carcass of a nation, with the peasants experiencing a depression, while the lords of the manor feast like there is no tomorrow. But at least the 103 million peasants who aren’t working believe only 5.1% of them are unemployed. It’s a Bernaysian Miracle!!!

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.” Edward Bernays – Propaganda


  1. It’s all done with money printing. But since all the other countries print money with abandon – they give each other a pass. The value of the currencies sink at the same rate – thus it’s all fine.

    The unforeseen bright spot of the Great Depression was that there was a future for jobs – manufacturing / communications etc. Today there seems to be no future except fast food, restaurants, hospitality.

    I believe in the near future there’s going to be an event that renders their paper money useless.

  2. Dutchman

    You are correct about the future for jobs after the Great Depression and WW2. The USA was an expanding manufacturing super power and the ‘creditor to the world’. We spent many years providing all sorts of raw materials and finished goods to all of the rest of the world that was physically devastated by WW2. Our middle class was expanding by leaps and bounds, and our factories made products for this expanding middle class. Ah, the good old days.

    Now the USA is a nation in serious decline. For anyone with eyes to see and a mind to think with the signs of decay are everywhere. There are absolutely no industries in existence today in the USA or soon to be developed here that can ever again put millions of people to work in high paying or good paying manufacturing jobs, such as steel mills, auto assembly, product assembly, etc. We, us, the entire USA have crested over the top of the ‘BELL CURVE’ and there is no coming back. To be sure, there are some who are doing well in this brave new world. But many / most are not doing well.

    I lived in Great Barrington Massachusetts for a few years, 2009 -2011. I had lots of free time while I was recovering from a major accident, so I helped out at the local food bank and at the Thursday night “community dinner” (soup kitchen) at the local Sheffield American Legion Hall. I became friends with the founder of these community services – a retired multimillionaire industrialist. I keep in touch with him to this day. He recently told me that the demand for help in food is overwhelming his food banks (he has five now). So where is the fucking recovery ? For most, there is no recovery.

    My unemployed son in law believes the mass media bullshit about how great the economy is doing. He has been unemployed for more than four months now, and is becoming depressed because “if the economy is doing well, and I can’t find a job then it must be me at fault.”

  3. The media isn’t focusing on food bank lines and homeless shelters largely because there’s a democrat in the white house. Same thing for flags draped over coffins and nightly dead soldier counts due to Middle East bullshit. If/when a Republican wins the White House again, you’ll see and *feel* the news turn more dark. They’ve figured out that it just takes a little “tint” one way or the other, applied consistently and on a wide scale, to make massive changes in collective mood.

  4. A lot is hid from the public sector. Even FedEx is not hiring as many temporary workers for the Christmas season as they usually do. Just got that message today. They didn’t give any numbers behind the message but I know things are not as Rosie as they were last year .I know some drivers are taking off the whole month of December for Christmas. This year FedEx doesn’t seem to care if you take that long off.I’ll be out for Christmas. Somebody’s got to WORK.

  5. From the late 1980s and on, it seemed to me that the whole bloomin’ country was going into a giant Saturday Night Spree. What ensues? Sunday morning hangover. Yuck.

    That’s when I started clearing debt, saving, buying PMs and generally “prepping”. Sure has made life easy, now that I’m in my dotage. I just sit back and watch.

    Sit and clutch, yeah, but I don’t scowl. 🙂

  6. Skinbag: I lost my job in February, UI ran out in August, I just sent an email about a temp job that will take me three hours to get to and from. That’s how desperate I am.

  7. All one needs to do is visit any city or rural burg West of New Jersey and East of Cali to see what is really happening. The lib elite and mainstream media ensconsed in NYC and DC and LA have no idea the decline in middle America. Check out the 20 year old rusted cars still in service, or the rural meth industry, or the real unemployment approaching 50% perhaps higher in the hollowed out former manufacturing cities. The only “growth” in fly over country is the entitlement industry aka as the govt. and perhaps some redundant social service no profit. Out.

  8. The crap put out on TV news about how great everything is,Makes me ill. I guess they are a mouth piece for the White house and don’t want to make anyone angry and not get invited to dinner parties. There definitely isn’t any objective journalism going on.
    Talking to people and just driving around and seeing all the empty commercial buildings for lease or sale tells a lot. Our local food bank has a tough time meeting local demand.The churches ask for people to donate which helps a lot.
    I am probably talking to the choir,But people need to get ready,I feel it is going to get much worse.

  9. Everywhere I look, companies are laying off. I don’t know how mine keeps expanding like it does, but I’m very worried about what will happen if we over-leverage ourselves any further.

    Another official recession/depression and we will have people looking for jobs.

  10. Nice work, Admin. As usual, great writing, with stats and sources, and just the right amount of vitriol and sarcasm-good stuff.

  11. And “initial claims” today came out at a 40-year low…

    The economy has changed. We don’t all work for “big companies” anymore – measurable, insurable, pensioned & benefitted jobs – but the government doesn’t want to know that.

    We don’t even QUALIFY for “unemployment insurance” because we don’t work enough hours, work part-time, are paid under-the-table or in cash, sell stuff online, are hiding in school, in the basement, or have sensibly quit looking.

    Time to get real.

  12. remember geo h bush and his NWO and the usa was to be a service nation, served the fraudsters very well, soon to be a nation of serfs with no food banks. the last worldwide depression created chaos what are the odds of that repeating. no marshall plan for us.

  13. The most important point that needs to be understood is that this is not a cyclical down turn that we will later recover from some years in the future. What is happening is a major reset to a much lower standard of living. And that lower standard of living will be permanent.

  14. The multiple scams being run against ordinary people are one reason there is no recovery. For instance, my Affordable Healthcare premium is going up 455% y/y. I will once again be without any insurance next year.

    The drug companies are pillaging the public. Their prices have nothing to do with r&d costs. Even if you’re on Medicare, they divvy up customers by which drugs you’re on so that in the end you have little to no choice but must pay whatever price the insurer and pharma company agree on. It’s absolutely criminal that congress created this racket and has done nothing to stop it. The latest, the TPP drugs, I think they call them biologics, they’re not even drugs! It’s a live-saving technology that should be accessible without paying extortion.

  15. Sib. #1 – not the brightest crayon in the box but has a huge heart and works at a food-bank in a prosperous Mid-west college town with a major hospital and research facilities.

    Sib. #2 is a teacher in a rural area in the same “car making” state who follows MSM and “mostly” believes what they say. And according to her the economy is improving. Although she readily admits that the owner-occupied housing has declined and rentals have surged – but then people should never have bought houses they could not afford.

    So – when visiting – I frequently ask about Sib 1’s clientele and have been told repeatedly that the demographics are evolving – not as many street crazies and drug addicts and more families and children.

    I point out that that doesn’t sound like an improving economy if MARRIED people with kids are showing up for free food before the month is over and that fewer and fewer people are home-owners and perhaps the MSM might be sinning by omission – or putting a lipstick on the pig to keep the ponzi scheme going.

    It’s then I get the “look” of pity – as someone who has gone down a rabbit-hole and have come out completely bamboozled by those whack-jobs that blog.

  16. KaD

    I do indeed feel your pain and desperation. I was exactly where you are today in the early 1990’s (another tough economy that our leaders were telling us “everything is just great”). Out of desperation I drove one hour and forty five minutes to an industrial park on the south shore of Boston for a fucking 10 dollar an hour cable TV installer. I left my house at 4 AM figuring that I would be there before anyone else. To my surprise and horror it looked as if I had arrived at a rock concert. Mid February, freezing fucking cold outside and there stood in line at least one hundred people. I never stopped the car, I began to cry (yes big boys do cry) turned around and drove home wondering what I was going to do to feed my family. If not for the help from my mother and father in law I would have become homeless. Their help, while needed and greatly appreciated made me feel less than a man. Only a couple short years prior I* was earning north of 100K per year – until the Cape Cod building boom of the 1980’s imploded.

    Now, once again I am struggling to find work. I have been here in North Eastern PA working in the gas drilling / fracking industry since 2011. Last year at this time there were not enough bodies to fill all of the jobs. Now it is like a ghost town here. The gas drilling industry has imploded. Some work still happening, but very little of it.

  17. The only thing that will save the middle class is the purchase of gold and silver.

    I believe they are life rafts.

  18. Dow broke 17000 and S&P broke 2000 today. The BFTDers look like fucking geniuses right now. How long until the wheels finally come off this bitch?

  19. KAD… I feel your pain too. My husband and I gave it up and bought land in the hills. Making a go of subsistence living. Fortunately, we scrimped and saved enough to be able to own outright and as long as we continue to be able to pay the “rent” (sic… taxes), we hope to be okay. Of course, they could raise the taxes and rain on our parade.

    People are scraping out here too… I hear about it all the time.

  20. As things have gotten worse I see my family supporting each other in numerous ways. There’s been a great pulling of resources of ride sharing, grocery sharing, and lodging. We’ve been exchanging services from babysitting to car repair. Everybody knows how to do something for someone else. The reality is the only people you can rely on is your own community. Whether your community just involves your family or if it is larger with the addition of neighbors and friends.

    I’ve read stories from the old timers who lived through the Great Depression and their personal stories parallel the current times. They realized they only had each other.

    I keep reading the tired story line of Millennials living in their parents basements and I find this to be false. Most Millennials I know personally help their families greatly. I’ve known quite a few that moved home to help their parents by pulling finances together. Of course TPTB don’t want this.

    They don’t want multiple generations living together and helping each other. They want everybody to need their own car and their own mortgage/rent. But who the hell wants to spend $20,000 on a new car or $1,000+ on renting to make someone else’s investment portfolio soar?

    1. Making Bank: Wall Streeters Are Earning More Than Ever Before

      Lauren Gensler

      If you work on Wall Street, you’re pulling in bigger bucks than ever before.

      Wall Street pay set a new record last year, according to a report out Tuesday from the New York State Comptroller’s office, with the average salary (including bonuses) rising 14% to $404,800.

      This is the first time since 2007 that the average pay on Wall Street has exceeded $400,000 and is the third-highest annual pay on the books when you adjust for inflation.

      The rise in pay has been propelled by larger bonuses, which rose 2% to $172,900 last year. The only times that workers collected bigger bonuses were in the two years leading up to the financial crisis.

  21. Maggie

    I visited Helen Nearing at her ‘Down East’ Maine home in the mid 1990’s. She and her husband started a subsistence living life after Scott Nearing was given the BOOT from his economics professorship at the Wharton Business school. They first set up in Vermont but ‘got out of Dodge’ when the ski resorts moved into town.

  22. Stephanie Shepard says: As things have gotten worse I see my family supporting each other in numerous ways. There’s been a great pulling of resources of ride sharing, grocery sharing, and lodging. We’ve been exchanging services from babysitting to car repair. Everybody knows how to do something for someone else. The reality is the only people you can rely on is your own community. Whether your community just involves your family or if it is larger with the addition of neighbors and friends.

    Clammy, I was at a party recently – a baby shower – I was talking for a bit with the paternal granny. She said she had 10 kids, most of them boys. I told her my mom and aunt had a kid every year for a few years. She said she had her kids every 18 months. “Of course, back then we helped each other”, she added. She said she spends her time with each of her children in turn. “I live in Tennessee but I am from NY” she said.

  23. Used to be easy to Google the demographic stats on employment, crime, life expectancy, health, per capita income etc, sorted by race. Now, you will just as likely get the obverse, long diatribes on why white males should be executed, or minimally castrated.

    In any event, THIS is a chart I find so interesting:


    Of the top 20 spots, 17 are populated by peoples nearly devoid of melanin. In the winter.

    Of the bottom 20, no sun required.

    I do recall seeing stats a decade ago, that has us as the second wealthiest, and number least violent country in the world…if you removed niggers. Instead, we subsidize their breeding, and apologize for their addled brains.

  24. “I lost my job in February, UI ran out in August, I just sent an email about a temp job that will take me three hours to get to and from. That’s how desperate I am.”

    No sane person drives 3 hours round trip to a temp job. That’s fucking stupid, so I’m gonna pull a Dave “Debt Free” Ramsey on you. (For the unwashed, google Dave Ramsey.)

    Are you married? You won’t be for very long. Kids? Get ready for a nightmare.

    What is your household income? Rent or mortgage? How much?

    How much debt do you have? Itemize for the readers here.

    Get rid of your cheapest debt first. Stuff you can ditch right now. Pick one and get cracking.

    I’ll walk you through this after you respond.

  25. Yojimbo – I do not know any middle class folks with the wherewithall to buy sufficient gold and silver as to make a difference in a full collapse. The ones I know tend to be indebted to their eyeballs.

    The middle class was an illusion. The natural order of things is not a welfare state and there is, nor ever has been, no entitlement to a middle class lifestyle, retirement, etc.

    Such things as retirement, healthcare, home ownership, etc., belong only to those who can cover the cost of such via what they can accomplish, create, earn, and save personally. Reliance on any other entity to provide such is a fool’s errand.

  26. “The middle class was an illusion.”

    Psssst. And here comes the bullshit flag, Sensation. What exactly WAS the middle class that was our collective illusion? Where did it go? What replaced this illusion?

    Do you ever THINK before you type?

  27. Points to consider:

    ALL pensions are underfunded; there will have to be cuts.


    There are 10,000 new boomers starting to collect SS every day.

    SS is insolvent; there will have to be some form of reduction of benefits.

    The dollar is the process of losing its reserve status. What money you do have will buy less- –inflation–.

  28. SSS – dat was me not the sensetti.

    The illusion was that it could exist in perpetuity. That it could continue on funded by debt. That the lifestyle need not be linked to value creation or productivity or skill or education. That the lifestyle could be had with no regard to the need to compete.

  29. Why not address the issue that technology is replacing people as workers? The Great Depression was clearly an economic slump however we are not in an economic slump despite high unemployment. The problem is fewer humans are required to run the economy and is a more dire prospect than a Depression.

  30. Gil, you’re either a troll, or an idiot. The base of our economy, the productive part, has been given away under the banner of free trade. Foxconn has almost a million and a half slaves, assembling electronics for export to the US, tariff free. Guess what. We about to change that

  31. Llpoh, I finally understand your point about what you are calling the middle class. When I talk about the middle class I’m referring to something different. What you speak of, never was real. Agreed. But you’re misunderstanding my description as well.

  32. The middle class I describe was very real. Still is, to some extent. Work hard, get married, save hard, buy a house, pay it off, put the kids through school, retire with no liabilities at 65-70 years old, live modestly, enjoy the grandchildren, the end.

  33. The middle class (llpoh) have it all. Government drone. Make work job, great pay, fantastic benefits, get out at 50-55, pension equal to your salary, maybe a big DROP lump sum, travel the world, portfolio of paper returns appreciates handsomely, vacation home. Vacation, vacation, vacation. Yeah, that never was real

  34. Twenty years ago I read Robert Prechter’s At the Crest of the Tidal Wave and came away from it with one ironclad conclusion: a nation that guts its industrial base is setting itself up for disaster down the road. Prechter’s timing was waaay off, but his conclusion was sound, so I believed. I began to fear for the future of my descendants and to a lesser extent my own; I was 49 at the time.

    I am now more convinced than ever that the future belongs to the grossly misgoverned “developing” countries of South America in which the possibilities for productive growth exist if they can ever get their acts together, a questionable gamble, I admit. In any case, the potential exists and the natural resources are vast and there’s no credit-created “middle class” to create the conditions now coming to pass in the US and other “developed” nations. There are two great obstacles: inept, corrupt governments and globalist control of credit, making it difficult to maximize development.

    Is it possible for the US to rebuild its manufacturing base? One hopes so, but that is clearly not the finance-capitalists’ plan for it as the evidence clearly shows. Time for retooling the USA is running out.

  35. Last night at the grocery store I was behind two obese 50 somethings with their early teen daughter and an older mongoloid son. Their bill was $819, so they said, ‘run the card (ebt) to see how much we have.’ Which the cashier did, which wasn’t enough, which required 2 trips out to the car looking for cash and the mysteriously disappeared checkbook. Then they had to dig thru the carts and decide what they wanted to keep. Everyone behind me moved to other lines, but I was captivated by the scene, particularly the mongoloid. He had extremely long hair, but his bangs were cut straight across, and he kept holding up one of the several cases of Dr Pepper and yelling ‘Docker Peepoh!!!!!!’. Anyways, 2 thoughts struck me. First that the modern soup line will disintegrate in spectacular fashion, and second, if we do have to resort to cannibalism after the collapse, the fat people aren’t necessarily who you want to eat first.

  36. An interesting place to visit for a surreptitious photo op illustrating what you are talking about is the afternoons outside Manna On Main St in Lansdale when the food pantry just before the place opens its doors. . You see mostly white and middling age folks in line. If you walk slowly past, which I did one day, the faces are startling. They look beaten down, embarrassed and almost frightened. Uncomprehending how this ever happened to them….

    1. Merf56

      Manna on Main Street is one of the few places I support with donations. My kids have volunteered there in the past. I know my money will be put to good use helping people within my own community.

  37. First of all…stop stewing over modern times…it’s bad for your health.
    This article is sadly entertaining, but it’s full of discrepancies that anyone over 60 can spot.
    The main elephant in the room left out is the sinkhole of pills and drugs that is swallowing cash in almost every family and community. Everyone knows someone they care about who borrows the last $20 in their purse for xanax or worse…all the time.
    If you don’t talk about that, you’re not talking seriously.
    And Bernie Sanders never talks about that.
    So get real….many in those food bank lines had their grocery money disappeared by a grown child or friend. We all know it. How many have had pain pills from a tooth extraction vanish…only to learn a year later somebody in the family or their friend, sold them at work?
    No Republicans or corporations or China is doing this. WE are doing it to ourselves.

  38. The average American in 1935 bears no resemblance to the average American today. The federal government was practically non-existent then, and so people were self-reliant. When people’s cell phones don’t work, when their power goes off, when their EBT card is reduced, when they can’t afford gasoline, when they go hungry for 24 hours, this society will be turned inside out.

  39. Some years ago I did some renovation work on a house that had been built in the last years of the depression. Some of it was cobbled together with wood salvaged from a burnt barn. The builders were obviously not rich. They had used newspapers as insulation in some of the walls I tore apart. It was like a time capsule! Boy, was I surprised at the spirit of optimism and unity that was evident everywhere. The sorry contrast to today was glaring. Granted, this was at the end of the depression, but still, the articles and pictures demonstrated dramatically the recent decline of the United States Since these papers were prior to the war, they also contradicted the notion that war saved the economy. Here’s a picture from inside those old walls.photo.php?fbid=10207758197132171&set=a.1566460160689.2074818.1210964954&type=3&theater

  40. Looks like the picture didn’t load. It shows a lovely tree shaded single family house and has the caption: “Any man earning forty dollars a wweek can own a house like this.”

  41. One Part Of The Economy Is Booming: The Underground/Cash-Only Sector

    Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

    If you make it so burdensome to operate a legit business, then you’re basically giving people without big lines of credit and capital few choices but to work in the cash-only underground economy.

    It won’t be much of a surprise to those living outside the Washington D.C. beltway and the Unicorn Herd of start-ups selling for millions of dollars that the underground cash-only economy is one of the few bright spots in the U.S. economy. Correspondent B.U. recently submitted this report from rural America in response to my entry What Happens to our Economy as Millions of People Lose the Habits of Hard Work?, which mentioned those in the cash-only sector as not showing up in official employment statistics:

    It is very common for folks where I live to get some form of subsidy be it SSI or WIC or whatever. Then they maintain their lifestyle by:

    — Selling items for cash on Craigslist:

    This is mostly sub $1500 cars, Building materials or scrap metal.

    I know quite a few folks that are doing very well in this line of business.

    –Selling at various ‘trades-days’:

    A friend mine clears ~$100K just trading in gold, firearms and ammunition.

    Others I know trade cattle and livestock.

    Another friend repairs cars at his home. He has weeks of backlog and turns away work all the time.

    The key to all of this is that these folks have no official business. They trade only in cash. They do not make deposits in the bank except for the government checks.

    The point is that for these folks, unplugging was a pay raise just in the tax exposure. When they get sick, they claim indigent and get whatever they need.

    The spread between the burden of regulation and taxes is getting so onerous that folks are just falling into the very solution you describe.

    I believe your focus is more professional in nature in terms of folks being a hired gun (i.e. free-lancer/contract employee). But what I see are the non-professionals as the ones who are really moving to fill the void of value that is growing as deflation/inflation oscillate.

    Thank you, B.U., for the straight-up report from the real world. Despite the fact I pay all my taxes (and am royally reamed as a result), I sympathize with those making tax-free incomes in the cash-only economy.

    Back when I had multiple employees in the 1980s, I was basically working to pay workers compensation insurance (40% to 80% of the hourly wage for construction workers), liability coverage, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, FICA (employers’ share of Social Security), excise tax, income tax, rent on the office that we were required by law to maintain, healthcare insurance for all the employees, filling out HUD/FHA forms required when building homes with FHA loans, and so on. Then there’s the cost of accounting and tax returns (complicated when you’re operating a business), and a long list of other expenses I’ve forgotten.

    My partner and I had a stock response when any employee griped about all the money we must be making: we’d take out our keys to the office and offer it to them, and say “payday’s on Friday. It’s all yours.” I’d have been relieved if any had been dumb enough to accept the offer. No one ever did.

    It’s no wonder that legit small business and self-employment is often a struggle for financial survival. I’ve covered the travails of one serial entrepreneur in launching a new business in today’s America: the costs were so heavy that he gave up. It was impossible to actually make a living once you met all the absurd regulations, codes and requirements.

    The people enforcing the regulations (“just doing my job”) are paid by taxpayers; their job is safe, their paycheck and benefits guaranteed.

    Our Government, Destroyer of Jobs (August 12, 2015)

    The Troubling Decline of Financial Independence in America (August 28, 2015)

    The Fading American Dream of Working for Yourself (October 2015)

    Financial independence is the American Dream because it gives us the freedom to say Take This Job And Shove It (Johnny Paycheck).

    This chart shows the tax-paying self-employed as a percentage of those with jobs (all nonfarm employees). According to the FRED data base, there are 142 million employed and 9.4 million self-employed. (The incorporated self-employed, typically physicians, attorneys, engineers, architects etc. who are employees of their own corporations, total about 5 million.)

    This chart depicts self-employment from 1929 to 2015. Self-employment is cratering in the “recovery” of high taxes, senseless regulations and burdensome report-filing (big fines if you don’t comply), tax preparation, business licence fees, fishing-expedition lawsuits, etc.

    I have no problem with paying all my taxes for a couple of reasons. One relates to “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s.” That’s my view, but I don’t hold anyone else to it. That’s up to them to deal with.

    I live by Andy Grove’s dictum Only the paranoid survive and for good reasons. (Intel co-founder Grove wrote a book with this as the title: Only the Paranoid Survive: How to Exploit the Crisis Points That Challenge Every Company.)

    Having experienced COINTELPRO in the early 1970s, I know what’s it like to be an enemy of the State. Violating tax codes makes you a very easy target for the state. If you want to draw a target on your back, be my guest. I’m going to pass.

    (The FBI thug who “was just doing his job” snarled at me, “This isn’t the Sunshine Biscuit Company, this is the FBI!” Hopefully their witty-threat training has improved.)

    Anyone who can’t find a state/Corporate America job or says Take This Job And Shove It has my sympathy. I’ve been down to my last $100, and it’s a lonesome, troublesome feeling. If you make it so burdensome to operate a legit business, then you’re basically giving people without big lines of credit or plenty of capital and regulatory expertise few choices but to work in the cash-only underground economy.

  42. Yesterday morning I dropped my daughter off at the home of a friend. Her mother designs and maintains landscapes and gardens for the wealthy and on their sun porch there were five cases of tulip bulbs that had been delivered for planting; Firespray, Blueberry Ripple, VanGogh, Guinevere and I’lle de France. I took the opportunity- as I am known to do- to share with them the illustrative tale of the Tulip Frenzy. Three hundred years ago those five cases of bulbs was probably worth more than the entire neighborhood in which they lived and today they are casually left on someone’s porch by a guy wearing brown shorts, working the better part of his adult life in exchange for an equally arbitrary and nonsensical object- money.

    It is incomprehensible to the modern American to conceive of a world without money. It is the primary driver of human activity and it has become the leading cause of stress in adults.

    The further we drift away from the primary reasons for our existence as named in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the more likely we are to become “crippled, stunted, immature and unhealthy” which yields a “crippled psychology and a crippled philosophy”. If ever there was a definition of our era, this is it.

    Money was designed to simplify commerce- it is a tool, not and end. Once it transcended it’s original purpose and became and object of human accomplishment and meaning, supplanting the the reason for our existence with it’s own directives, we began down a path that could only lead to ruin and collapse. There is no alternative at this stage, no way to “go back” to a time when things were different unless there is a wholesale rejection of this societal falsehood that has stripped us of human dignity and any chance at a life actually worth living.

    This morning it rained and so we put off chores and stayed inside. I brought a variety of sunflowers into the kitchen and my eight year old and I seeded the desicated blossoms on the counter top for hours. We talked the entire time, learned the best method, culled the damaged and empty shells, separated them by variety and heated up tallow to mix in the seeds creating a fat and laden feed for the chickens. We picked out the fattest ones for replanting in Spring, packaged up several pounds for further drying to use as snacks and in breads this Winter. Most of our time is spent together engaged in the production, harvest and storage of food and in sharing the labors. During that time- as our physiological needs have been met by the labors of our day to day lives- we engage in the soul satisfying aspects of love and belonging, which in turn feeds our esteem both for ourselves and each other, allowing us to pursue self-actualization. We don’t use those terms, nor do we particularly think about what we are doing, but it is the natural outcome of following a course that is set on the basics of human life. Feed yourself, provide shelter, procreate, nurture, care for and support one another, think aloud and share our experiences and thoughts, celebrate our success, console our failures, encourage each other’s dreams and hopes and move through life in harness. At no time do we worry about money, beyond the requirements imposed upon us by the current culture- taxes, fuel, legally required insurances and the occasional treat to those things that we cannot do or produce ourselves. All of these things we provide with the excess of our production. We make enough maple syrup to offset our fuel needs, our cattle produce enough meat and calves to take care of the taxes, our fruits and vegetables provide for our clothing, detergents, and household goods, timber and firewood provide enough to take care of luxuries like coffee, olive oil, Internet service and electronic devices- the list goes on. We do not work for money, we work for sustenance and self-worth, the principles in life and if we do it well the interest that pays off is the additional production. By learning to live with less, with a different set of goals and desires than before, we have become wealthy in way I don’t think I could have ever envisioned before. I spend the majority of my time with the people I love and respect the most, I live where I work, my office is the outdoors through every season and in all weather daily observing, hearing, smelling and touching an authentic reality rather than one made by man, my thoughts are filled with long term goals that extend beyond my own lifetime and my quality of life is based entirely on my own concept of liberty, not the demands and instructions of those who neither care for, nor wish me well.

    The modern global economy is as fraudulent as the Dutch Tulip Frenzy and it is entirely dependent upon the participation of the public to remain effective. The choices we make about whether to participate in it or to withdraw our support by failing to believe in it are the fulcrum upon which the levers of power rest. The number of people who try and maintain this bankrupt status quo for their own ends are insignificant. Their hegemony in the world is the result of not of their superiority or intelligence, but of the sloth and ignorance of the greater mass of men. Perhaps we are headed for a neo-feudalism and a Dark Age, that the impending collapse will result in a barbarism never seen before, but it is just as likely that it will end the way the Dutch reign of seafaring global trade vanished with their wealth of tulips bulbs, in a blossoming that continues to this day in the soil of Springtime gardens.

  43. Greetings,

    Whether you work in the underground economy or go legit, there will only be three classes of people remaining- Owners, Government Employees and Peasants. I’d like to talk about Owners.

    Owners have an asset (or two) that earn them money. It could be rental properties or the knowledge and tools to fix cars. It doesn’t matter so long as you’ve got real assets or hard skills – you’ll eat and possibly thrive as social mobility will only exist within the Owner Class. If the only thing you have for trade is unskilled labor then you will become a peasant as the law of supply and demand dictate that what is common has little monetary value.

    If you wish to survive what is coming then I’d suggest that you start thinking like an owner and if you are not currently earning 20% or more of your income from the underground economy then you are only a disaster away from a disaster.

    The time to start is now.

  44. Don’t expect any improvement as the self appointed geniuses who run the country continue to gather and share higher and higher percentages of our production and manipulate interest rates and money and add more regulations.

  45. I notice that mangy cur SSS slunk off with his tail between his legs once he realized he was calling out Chief Big Red Dog and not sensetti.

  46. El Coyote says: I’ve just been sitting here pooling my wiener.

    Very funny Coyote Dopple but I would have written – pooling my pud – just to get the PP in there. Heh.

  47. HSF, 2 points but first let me apologize because I am not as high up in Maslow’s hierarchy nor as eloquent as you.

    I saw on a T-shirt: “Points don’t lie”. Money is the way we keep score. If currency is a substitute for precious metals, credit card points and electronic credits are a substitute for currency. Money is many things and also a psychic reward, tangible proof that somebody was satisfied with our job.

    Speaking of proof: “just the tip” has a variant in Mexico, it is called “La prueba de amor” – the test (or proof) of love. Nowadays, one can also procure sex without love in exchange for payment. If you attend certain clubs for gentlemen, you can pay for pretend sex with clothes on; lap dances.

    Logically speaking, I should be able to pay for pretend sex with bitcoin.

  48. “The middle class was an illusion.”
    —-Sensetti (actually Llpoh)

    “Psssst. And here comes the bullshit flag. What exactly WAS the middle class that was our collective illusion? Where did it go? What replaced this illusion?”

    “I notice that mangy cur SSS slunk off with his tail between his legs once he realized he was calling out Chief Big Red Dog and not sensetti.”

    I stand by my comment, Llpoh. You stigmatized the entire middle class by saying LATER ON AFTER MY COMMENT that “the illusion was that it could exist in perpetuity. That it could continue on funded by debt. That the lifestyle need not be linked to value creation or productivity or skill or education. That the lifestyle could be had with no regard to the need to compete.”

    I still disagree. Yes, many millions in the middle class bought in to your tardy description, but just as many millions did not. Many of the ones who bought the carnival barker’s pitch and paid to see the Bearded Lady lost their homes, jobs, cars, marriages, and sometimes their lives. Those who worked hard, produced, created, and/or obtained a good skill did just fine, as long as they didn’t fall into the dark pit of too much debt.

    The middle class has been culled mightily of its fast-track wannabes on the way up the economic ladder. But it still exists and is probably stronger, but much smaller, than ever.

    Your turn, Chief.

  49. My granny said most people walk around in a dream until they begin to awaken after they turn 40.

    Prof Pangloss said that few people achieve self-actualization. I took that for fact until I got older and realized that once folks get past the needs of the body and the needs of society, when they fulfill their own spiritual needs, their dreams, their calling – then they can be said to have achieved self-actualization; folks like Admin, Stucky, LLPOH, who have realized different dreams but they realized them. Some folks do this several times with different dreams.

    The rest of us just dream. Guess I should have taken the red pill.

  50. You guys have to agree on the terms, just as there are 3 averages, there are many ways the middle class can be described: the state between filthy rich and dirt poor, the Sears clientele, the prudish proletariat, the working class..

    SSS may be referring to homeowners in general while LLPOH is describing homeowners with a tv in every room and a car for every person in the household.

  51. Llpoh says:
    “I notice that mangy cur SSS slunk off with his tail between his legs once he realized he was calling out Chief Big Red Dog and not sensetti.”

    Yeah, I fried his ass the other day on another thread and he just tucked tail. I still got a laugh out of it so it’s all good.

  52. hardscrabble farmer:

    I love, love, love your story! I am not a farmer (yet!) except for my suburban vegetable and herb garden, but I have worked in agriculture and outdoors for 40 years. If nothing else, there’s something special about experiencing Mother Nature and all its glory all day. I absolutely love it, so peaceful!

    I have read many accounts of people who have started farming (some after having left high-powered, big income office-type jobs), and were surprised to discover, despite the hard work and doing with less, that they too became wealthier in ways they never dreamed possible.

    Here’s an interesting story that was in our local teevee station online: http://wtkr.com/2015/09/25/north-carolina-pastors-idea-feeds-a-food-desert/

    I honestly believe that if, as a collective, we can save ourselves from what our government is inflicting upon us, it will be through decentralization of everything, and going back to basics. People will have to first get over themselves, and get past the brainwashing that ‘Murican’s are too good to do manual labor.

  53. @ Deanna Johnston Clark,

    Excellent point.

    Drugs of all kinds A N D gambling in our part of the world. Casinos everywhere.

    Families destroyed and formerly law-abiding citizens embezzling huge sums of money for…you guessed it…gambling debts.

    Keep a close eye on any workers, delivery people, etc…that come into your home. Chances are they are looking for something to steal and if they ask to use your bathroom, don’t allow it, especially if they just drove past 15 convenience stores on their way to your place. Duh.

  54. Llpoh says:
    “I notice that mangy cur SSS slunk off with his tail between his legs once he realized he was calling out Chief Big Red Dog and not sensetti.” which was followed by ………..

    “Yeah, I fried his ass the other day on another thread and he just tucked tail. I still got a laugh out of it so it’s all good.”

    Look at my response to Llpoh @ 6:08 pm above, cheesecake. As for your “frying my ass,” I am not in the habit of responding to lightweight assholes. Capiche? Are you still laughing?

    If you both want to take me on in a rational discussion about what I said about the middle class, game on. Otherwise, STFU, especially you IS. Especially you

  55. I reject your definition and put forth my own equally valid definition. The “middle class” was a propaganda tool to convince the sheep that they could work for 30-40 years, earn 12% annually on their investments then retire and live lavishly for the next 20-30 years. Perhaps a generation and a half benefited from it and it applied mostly to govt workers and union employees. Their children and grandchildren will be the ones who pay the bill for the “middle class” they will never achieve in the form of more taxes, fewer/shittier services and much lower quality of life.

    SSS said:
    “I am not in the habit of responding to lightweight assholes”

    Either you just did or I’m not the “lightweight asshole” you speak of. In any case, I still fried your ass the other day and yes, I’m still laughing. Thank you!

  56. SSS – I am too busy to give you the scalping you deserve, as my doomstead just finished, and I am real busy.

    You said as many middle class are doing the right thing as are not. If that is so, and given that the median income puts folks in the middle class, why do only 20% of all 55 year olds have net worth of $250k, and 60 per cent of them have less than $100k?

    Half the folks in the country make $50k or more, but only 20% of folks accumulate even the relatively small amount of net wealth of $250k by the time they are 55. And a lot of them would have inherited, or been from either side of the middle class, or only have paper wealth.

    Your statement does not compute. Only a fraction of those in the middle class are doing the right things.

    I could have said it better – the idea that the middle class can continue is an illusion. Debt, poor skills, education, work ethic, the welfare state, and global competition will see to its demise.

  57. In preparation for the next leg down… any liability at the bank is in danger of being written-down should the bank fail. And guess what? Deposits are considered liabilities according to US Banking Law. In this legal framework, depositors are creditors.

    So… if a large bank fails in the US, your deposits at this bank would either be “written-down” (read: disappear) or converted into equity or stock shares in the company. And once they are converted to equity you are a shareholder not a depositor… so you are no longer insured by the FDIC.

    So if the bank then fails (meaning its shares fall)… so does your deposit.

  58. “Looks like sombody doesn’t like that their chart was hotlinked.”

    Well, at least the guy had the courtesy to misspell “Burning.”

  59. I don’t understand why some aer so furious about hot linking…it gives their site and work more exposure public exposure right? ..and thats how I found all the blogs that I now read…what’s up with these turd pockets?

  60. That’s a hilarious hack. Making the front page of Burning Platform more entertaining than the original chart.

    And he did it while all the Big Dawgs are en route to a blowout beer fest in New York City. They probably won’t even see it until Monday.

  61. I think I will update my TBP bookmark to Buring Platform.

    It’s like he is just another shit throwing monkey but he is lobbing it in from the next tree over instead of from the TBP tree.

  62. Great speech by Dr. Ben Carson at the National Press Club last Friday. He spoke at length about the problem with government welfare and his battles with the press. Very sensible guy.

  63. LOL. It seems that somebody at http://www.trivisonno.com doesn’t like TBP hotlinking to their charts. 😀 The chart that is supposed to display the yearly food stamps shows just the following text:

    “Tyler Durden sucks goat balls.
    Yes, the very same goat that he
    was clutching when he got off
    the boat from Bulgaria.

    Burning Platform sucks balls too.

    Go ahead, hot-link another one
    of my charts, fuck face.”

    Who dafuq is Tyler Durden? It’s not a Bulgarian name….

  64. @ Vess

    Tyler Durden is the nom de plume for the anonymous contributors on Zerohedge.

    Zerohedge is registered to a Bulgarian ex-oligarch. Few people seem to realize that Bulgaria is an EU country.

    Lots of conspiracies surround the website.

    Just sayin’.

  65. Please check/delete offensive message at the centre of today’s editorial. Thank you for all your work T.D. Appreciated.


  66. I love that you remind us present-day ‘soup kitchen’ lines are invisible. Unemployment rates? Tweaked until they are invalid. Propaganda? Edward Bernays is credited for changing that term to ‘Public Relations,’ which seem to be the real mission of today’s corporate-owned mainstream media.

  67. Rush Limbaugh just read part of this article on air and credited Jim Quinn and theburningplatform.com (via Zero Hedge). This may bring more visitors than just INTJ’s to the site.

    Congratulations Admin!

    1. I’m going to sue that fat ass Rush for using my stuff without permission. Just what I need – a bunch of neo-cons flooding the site.

  68. May I simply say what a relief to uncover an individual
    who genuinely knows what they’re discussing online. You definitely realize how to bring an issue
    to light and make it important. More people must read this and understand this side of your story.
    I was surprised that you’re not more popular since you surely possess the gift.

  69. Said it since ’08, we are in a depression! The hope and change were meant for the illegals! They are taking our jobs and our lives over, and traitors like Zuckerberg are helping it along quite nicely. Employers actually expect americans to train their replacements! Well, the elites want ONE world, it’s just about there

  70. I would like to stand in a soup line but I don’t see any. Where do you stand in one if the economy is so bad as you say?

  71. Excellent writing. Just one calculation that I’d be interested to hear more about:

    “The unemployment rate averaged 19% during the heart of the Great Depression. Therefore, approximately 19% of all the households in the U.S. needed government assistance to feed themselves.”

    How have you reached the latter 19%? Would be very much appreciated if you could point that out for me!


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