“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” –  Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

The lies we tell ourselves are only exceeded by the lies perpetrated by those controlling the levers of our society. We’ve lost respect for ourselves and others, transforming from citizens with obligations to consumers with desires. The love of mammon has left our country a hollowed out, debt ridden shell of what it once was.  When I see the data from surveys about the amount of debt being carried by people in this country and match it up with the totals reported by the Federal Reserve, I’m honestly flabbergasted that so many people choose to live a lie. By falling for the false materialistic narrative of having it all today, millions of Americans have enslaved themselves in trillions of debt. The totals are breathtaking to behold:

Total mortgage debt – $13.6 trillion ($9.9 trillion residential)

Total credit card debt – $924 billion

Total auto loan debt – $1.0 trillion

Total student loan debt – $1.3 trillion

Other consumer debt – $300 billion

With 118 million occupied households in the U.S., that comes to $145,000 per household. But, when you consider only 74 million of the households are owner occupied and approximately 26 million of those are free and clear of mortgage debt, that leaves millions of people with in excess of $200,000 in mortgage debt. Keeping up with the Joneses has taken on a new meaning as buying a 6,000 sq ft McMansion with 3% down became the standard operating procedure for a vast swath of image conscious Americans. When you are up to your eyeballs in debt, you don’t own anything. You are living a lie.

The lie was revealed as housing bubble burst and national home prices plummeted by 30%, resulting in millions of foreclosures, the worst recession since the Great Depression and homeowners equity falling to an all-time low of 38%. The Fed induced 2nd housing bubble has convinced millions to believe the lie again. The Fed easy money, Wall Street buy and rent scheme, with the FHA acting as the new purveyor of 3% down mortgages, has artificially boosted homeowners equity back to 57% just in time for the next housing collapse. Living a lie will result in more pain and suffering for those who didn’t learn the lesson last time.


At least there is an asset capable of appreciation backed by the mortgage debt. Auto loans are backed by a rapidly depreciating asset, while credit card debt allows Americans to live above their means while living their lie, and student loans  are the new subprime debt which will never get repaid. The country has been living a Big Lie since the day Nixon closed the gold window in 1971, eliminating any vestiges of constraint upon central bankers and politicians.

The Fed has continuously debased the currency and politicians have promised voters freebies while waging never ending wars of choice, creating a warfare/welfare empire of debt totaling $18.7 trillion with unfunded promises of $200 trillion. The masses have been lied to by bankers and their mass media mouthpieces, while willfully buying into the lie of living for today and funding it with debt. An entire society bought into the fallacy that a country could transition from savings and investment to borrowing and consuming, with no adverse consequences. The mass delusion is clearly evident in the comparative consumer debt data from 1971:

US population in 1971 – 208 million
Total credit card debt 1971 – $8.5 billion ($41 per capita)
Total auto loan debt 1971 – $40.5 billion ($195 per capita)

US population in 2015 – 320 million
Total credit card debt 2015 – $890 billion ($2,781 per capita)
Total auto loan debt 2015 – $1.03 trillion ($3,219 per capita)

The population of the US has grown by 54% since 1971, but the amount of credit card debt per person has grown by 6,782%, and the amount of auto loan debt has grown by 1,650%. Meanwhile, real median household income has grown by 8% since 1971. Replacing income with debt in order to give the appearance of wealth is nothing but a lie. It requires an ever larger amount of debt to generate an additional dollar of GDP. The exponential increase in debt became unsustainable and the Wall Street lies resulted in a global conflagration in 2008. The desperate effort by the Fed to re-inflate the debt bubble through ZIRP and QE has resulted in pathetic economic growth, while leaving willfully ignorant consumers with a record level of debt.

A recent report by Nerdwallet revealed the outrageous amount of consumer debt millions of Americans have chosen to take on in order to live the lives they feel they deserve. And Wall Street is only too willing to oblige them with credit, as they reap riches from the billions of interest paid each year by the debt slaves living on the plantation we call America. In addition to charging away their lives, Americans lie to themselves about how much debt they really have. It’s too painful to deal with reality, so they ignore it. The data in the report is frightening:

  • The amount of credit card debt carried by the average household carrying this type of debt is $15,355.
  • The amount of auto loan debt carried by the average household carrying this type of debt is $26,530.
  • The amount of student loan debt carried by the average household carrying this type of debt is $47,712.
  • The average household is paying more than $6,600 in interest per year, which means that roughly 9% of the average household’s income is being spent on interest alone.
  • Credit card debt — one of the most expensive types of debt — costs consumers an average of $2,630 per year in interest, assuming an average APR of 18%.
  • If you have the average amount of credit card debt ($15,355) and a 15% interest rate and only pay the minimum on that debt each month, it will take you more than 31 years to repay your debt and will cost you more than $18,600 in interest payments alone.
  • The average amount of credit card debt peaked at $16,912 in 2008, fell by 14% to $14,539 by 2012 as Wall Street banks wrote off billions in bad debt, and has since risen by 6% as consumers have been lured back by the Wall Street propaganda machine.
  • Consumers vastly underestimate or under-report how much debt they have. In fact, as of 2013, actual lender-reported credit card debt was 155% greater than borrower-reported balances.

Americans are embarrassed and ashamed by their levels of consumer debt, but they can’t stop. A record number of new cars will be “sold” this year with the highest level of auto loan debt in history, the longest loan length in history, rising percentage of subprime auto loans, and an all-time high in percentage of leases. These people are underwater on their auto loan/lease the second they drive off the lot. But at least their neighbors and co-workers think their successful. Appearances are all that seem to matter in our society today. Dying in debt will be common place in the coming years. Fully 21% of Americans say they don’t think they will be able to pay off their debts — including their car, credit cards, student loans and mortgages — in their lifetime, according to a survey of more than 1,000 adults by Our debt addict society is dying of an overdose.

The Fed’s master plan to revive the economy with massive doses of debt has failed. Main Street America is tapped out. Decades of minimal real wage growth, relentless inflation in the things we need to live (food, rent, energy, health care), and wasting money on Chinese produced consumer crap, has left the majority of American households with little or no savings and no disposable income. This is being reflected in the pitiful economic growth and plunge in retail sales since the end of QE3 in October 2014. Our system has become dependent upon exponential debt expansion, and as soon as the spigot is turned off, our economy crashes.

Bernanke chose to not voluntarily abandon the Fed’s failed credit expansion policies in 2008. The end of QE3 and the upcoming interest rate increase by Yellen will usher in financial collapse part two. There is no avoiding a collapse brought on by decades of warped monetary and fiscal policies, and irrational behavior by bankers, corporations and consumers. Even if Yellen reverses course when the economy plunges into a deep recession, catastrophe cannot be avoided.

“There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.”Ludwig von Mises

Our country has gone mad over the last few decades. We had a chance to come to our senses in 2008, wipe away the debt, liquidate the criminal Wall Street banks, prosecute the perpetrators, and reorient our economy and society back to one built upon savings and investment, rather than borrowing and consumption. It was not to be, as Bernanke and the Deep State decided their best interests trumped the interests of the people. The coming collapse hopefully will force Americans to come to their senses one by one.

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.” – Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, 1841

109 thoughts on “LIVING A LIE”

  1. Matthew 24:12-13

    12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

    13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

    Luke 21:19

    19 In your patience possess ye your souls.

  2. Our neighbors got their son one of those ugly Ford Raptors last month. 45k for a 17 year old whiny brat. I don’t know what the payment is monthly but they sounded sooooo excited cuz the dealer gave em zero down cuz their fica score is supposedly “above that of the avg Jones’s.” I laugh cuz its already been back to the dealer 2x’s. The first week they had it the water pump gasket started leaking and needed to be replaced (remember, brand new quality UAW work.) After that, the fucking software/chip that locks in the transfer case burned up. This kid is a fucking douche and clueless. I told the wife I bet he takes up to NY somewhere off roading and rolls it. This kid can’t even spell the word JOB. I wouldn’t get this kid a pair of roller skates, let alone a new truck. The world loves wannabe’s.

  3. HSF

    It is a question of one’s value system. Faking wealth to impress others

    may be a nightmare existence. How do people sleep?

    I owe zero. Well, property tax/end of year. We have to save up and

    account for fixed costs. The more thrifty of a couple is the one to keep

    the books. The other can delight in a nice savings account.

  4. Hey goofyfoot, it’s called buying love. Sounds like no respect in that household, either.

    re: …And having no respect he ceases to love.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

  5. I have often wondered whether those with all that debt will have the last laugh as I live debt free–but that means sacrifice and although I live well, I live way below my means. However, when I see every lower class individual driving a Mercedes or new SUV, I know that it is all borrowed, But maybe these folks are right to live for the moment knowing they will never be able to pay it back. Just a thought.

    1. Jim

      Millions of these live for the moment people were tossed out of their houses in 2009 because they fucked up. Millions more approach old age with no savings and gobs of debt. Their old age will be lived in squalor. You have done the right thing and will be fine when the shit hits the fan.

  6. Looking back to the depression,

    The average working man with debt and the average working man with no debt but no property or wealth both ended up in the same condition in short order.

    Being out of debt isn’t enough, having money and resources put away is also required if you want to weather the crunch.

  7. I just read this this morning:

    Christian consciousness begins in the painful realization that what we had assumed was the truth was in fact a lie. Prayer is immediate: “Deliver me from the liars, God! They smile so sweetly but lie through their teeth.” Rescue me from the lies of advertisers who claim to know what I need and what I desire, from the lies of entertainers who promise a cheap way to joy, from the lies of politicians who pretend to instruct me in power and morality, from the lies of psychologists who offer to shape my behavior and my morals so that I will live long, happily, and successfully, from the lies of religionists who “heal the wounds of this people lightly,” from the lies of moralists who pretend to promote me to the office of captain of my fate, from the lies of pastors who “get rid of God’s command so you won ‘t be inconvenienced in following the religious fashions!” (Mark 7:8). Rescue me from the person who tells me of life and omits Christ, who is wise in the ways of the world, and ignores the movement of the. Spirit.

    -Eugene Peterson in “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction”

  8. This stuff is only money. 100, 150 years from now whether the USA defaulted on its debt or Social Security collapsed or a bunch of people got foreclosed will pale in importance to whether we allowed the Muslim percentage of the population to climb to 15%, 20%, 51%. In the grand sweep of history, it’s demographics that matters.

  9. Regarding goofyfoot’s comment above: When I was seventeen I had many vehicles available for me, including the 1968 General Motors transit bus and the 1955 St. Louis Car Company R-17 subway car.

  10. The thing that most bothers me as a saver and/or responsible citizen, is the prospect for bail ins or confiscations of said savings. It does not take a rocket scientist to know where the feds will look when they run out of the ability to take on more debt. Those with any money will be targeted as schmucks. Out.

  11. My Dad brought my brother and I a 1976 Pontiac Ventura for 200 bucks. A red 4 door shit-box. We had to fix it ourselves to get it on road. The road trips were, well they had to be, the script for Wayne’s World’s. My friends still talk about that car over 30 years later. Not all is lost. My son just bought himself a band new Honda Civic. He saved his money and made a large down payment from his own bank account. It was a left-over 2014 model, if you can believe it, marked down for clearance after siting around dealer for almost 2 years. The new car market where I live is truly fucked! They have run out of suckers.

    But getting back to what Admin writes above I really think that this dog and pony shit-show is just about done. Fed is supposed to hike rates by a whopping .25% on the 16th of December. This latest twist, pun intended, will both fuck the stock market and here in Canada it will be the kill shot to the head of the Looney.

    And just in time for Christmas. I can’t wait for sales numbers in January. The wags on TV already have their excuses on standby but those in the know behind the curtain have to be aware the gig is up.

  12. “Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men’s protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values. Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it bounces, marked, ‘Account overdrawn.’


  13. Admin, many, many times you have chronicled the sad realities of the debt bloated economy very well for which I thank you. I’ve read most of them, and this one is just as informative. There is one additional benefit or observation that you included with this one that got my attention and that is the Dostoyevsky quote regarding with no respect there can be no love.

    Love requires trust and trust has been replaced by lies.

    The trust our society had in its government has been replaced by lies.

    Watching our indebtedness increase year after year without a major financial reset is one thing. Watching our society change in ways that reflect the never-any-consequences-to-our-actions is quite another and is by far the most dangerous aspect of the out-of-control unaccountability of government.

    When trust is gone what is left or what takes its place? Fear, apprehension, distrust and hate.

    When we look around today, those negative things are in great abundance. Trust and love, not so much. The emergence from the inevitable “reset” will likely be characterized by these negative behaviors.

    To be poorer in money is no big thing, really, as that can be remedied. To lack positive attributes on a societal level, to be “poor in spirit” bodes ill on a much longer term.

    You captured this very well and I hope your wish that we come to our senses, “one by one” comes true.

  14. going into debt is betting that your future self will be happy with your previous choices.

    going into bankruptcy is confirmation that your previous choices were not good.

    saving for the future is ensuring that you will have the ability to make choices in the future.

    “IF you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice” – Rush.

    Happy Friday, fellow Burners.

  15. Admin:

    Why don’t you write a short fictional story on how you see things unfolding? Would love to get take on your view, also Stucky’s and Hardscrabble Farmer. I have an idea of how things MAY unfold, but getting well thought out narratives from different perspectives can be very instructive.

  16. “I owe zero. Well, property tax/end of year. We have to save up and

    account for fixed costs. The more thrifty of a couple is the one to keep

    the books. The other can delight in a nice savings account.”


    I admire that, I really do. In any other time in history this would be wisdom of the highest order and even now it is admirable. It may all work out for the best…or your lack of debt may not matter in the least. The game has changed, in an case. The money you save is debt itself. Your savings account is legally a liability of the bank, to be defaulted upon at their whim. You rightly mention property taxes–an avenue for the State to take away your rightful property upon their whim.

    My point is in no way to detract from the way you are doing things, but to illuminate how fucked up the system really is. It is not possible to live without debt, when even the currency itself (which MUST be used) IS debt.

  17. @Jim,
    Like minds. A lot of people in my son’s neighborhood (the repo capital of the World, Manteca, Ca.) “lost” their houses (including his step-parents). But wait, they’re all still living there! Most of them declared bankcruptcy, refi’ed with Bernanke bucks, and are now happily running up new debt!
    I, as a saver, expect to get “proper fucked” on the whole deal. As Keynes said: “In the end, we’re all dead”, and that seems to be the current rule of the game.

  18. Those whom God wishes to destroy, he first makes mad. Euripides

    The western world has gone stark raving mad. I never thought I would see this in my lifetime, although it has long been predicted, but it has arrived and we see it every day. Sanity and morality will not return until the madness has been expunged by a devastating collapse which hopefully will be followed by a rebirth. As they say, out of the ashes will come a new society but only after major suffering and hardship. At this stage, reform through reason or political process is futile and can be compared to having an informed debate in a lunatic asylum. It is simply not possible. Our energy needs to be focussed on protecting ourselves during the coming tsunami, preserving the best parts of our civilization during the dark ages, and putting in place the building blocks of a new civilization. Because what follows the collapse is not pre-ordained with possible outcomes that range from global tyranny to a renaissance of freedom, peace and prosperity. No one knows the outcome but any thinking person knows that this rotten, in fact diabolical, system that we all live under has to be destroyed before something better can emerge.

  19. “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

    Joseph Goebbels

  20. Borrowing means you are simply betting on the future. Nothing wrong with that, unless the elite has planned something ELSE with YOUR future.

  21. Americans’ Faith In “Good Times Ahead” Plunges To 15-Month Lows

    Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/11/2015 14:00 -0500

    Americans’ belief that the country “will have good times for the next 12 months” has plunged. With the biggest YoY drop in 3 years, and despite stocks near record-highs and The Fed telling everyone how awesome everything is, the fewest people believe good time are ahead since September 2014.

  22. I have also come to the conclusion that the VAST majority of the U.S. population is totally oblivious of the situation the country is in, let alone the serfdom that “debt” entails. Even most so called educated folks will just roll along , vote for Hillary,and carry on like they are living in the best possible time in history. With the exception of my wife and a few other individuals, I don’t even point out the obvious facts as one is immediately labeled a downer and shunned as a negative nelly. Oh well….

    1. Jim

      Not on TBP. You’re way too optimistic. If you aren’t on anti-depressants after a month on TBP, you’re not paying attention. 🙂

  23. Jim says:
    “I have also come to the conclusion that the VAST majority of the U.S. population is totally oblivious of the situation the country is in…………”

    That vast majority knows that their happiness is contingent on them remaining oblivious. That’s why they don’t want to hear about.

  24. Another great article admin but I wish you’d slow down. It’s too hard to keep up with all the things posted here.

    Fuck the antidepressants! TBP is all the antidepressant I need. Besides, my new Carlin-esque frame of mind makes the shitshow quite entertaining!

  25. Every time I begin to feel good about myself Quinny comes along with another TBP missive and I’m back where I belong. Speaking of anti-depressants, I’m sure several of the posters here can spare some from there stash. The Wall Street boys have quite the racket going. Charge 18% interest until the suckers are run dry, then get Uncle Sugar to pay off the principal. Rinse, lather, repeat. The reason all of us here are so grumpy is we haven’t figured out a way to get cut in.

  26. starfcker–outstanding link. The foreclosed squatters look like what is going on here in suburban Cleveland. I am now making my way to the cabinet for my anti depressant for the weekend , a cople of good scotch on the rocks, Cheers!

  27. The economic blogs seldom mention gigantic things such as:

    The drain of almost every household of drug abuse. Millions in $20s and $50s go out of Mom’s purse for family members with these cravings….not for the drugs, but for the electric bill or gas for work…one long emergency
    It is called an illness requiring expensive therapies. But in 1931 the large drug abuse consumption in the US tanked, and stayed down until 1946. People just quit…preferring something to eat. Cocaine didn’t come back until the 1970s.

    Where is the Christmas shopping? It’s parents and grandparents paying college loan installments, older children’s apartment rent, car insurance on cars with their names on the title along with the grown child’s. And it isn’t always because the kids are brats…though they need to learn to like bag lunches and coffee in a thermos.

  28. slightly off topic, visited a farmer friend this afternoon, cancer beginning to eat him away, saving pain meds so will be available for christmas, he is debt free, i live in squalor in my barn, happy as a pig in shit, yet what we both agreed on is how quiet it is where we live and how beautifu it is and how fortunate we are. HSF can appreciate this, what is funny, now that his time is short he has his farm looking great, mine is fallow. we both agree our life’s work was well worth it and what more can we leave those who follow. as always i enjoy all the posts and especially this site, with luck i will be around to see HSF world next year.

  29. Admin- Home run!!! Not all of us slumbered after 2008, many have awakened. You have shook many and continue to do so with hard hitting articles like this.
    The numbers are shocking, really, how the fuck did we squander our hard fought birthright in one generation, unbuttfuckinbelievable.
    As a culture we deserve everything we got coming. Really, we are so far off track we litterally need fire for a prpoer cleanse.
    “Lets take off and Nuke the whole site from low orbit, its the only way to be sure”
    Fuckin Aye

  30. Crat says: Admin: Why don’t you write a short fictional story on how you see things unfolding?

    Let me get this straight, you want folks to stop writing the truth and turn to fiction?
    If you read long enough, you can make up your own scenario:
    President Trump cuts a deal with Putin to turn Syria over to Russia in exchange for Snowden. The internet is shut down, the TBP crew is rounded up and sent to re-education camp. ESPN becomes the most trusted name in news – featuring intense round the clock coverage of the sports world incliding the latest on midget wrestling championships and international curling tournaments.
    CNN doesn’t cover the riots at the welfare offices, the looting and burning of Walmart stores or indiscriminate drive by shootings on surface streets targeting Muslims and suspected Muslims like the group of Catholic nuns who were forced off the road and raped and killed because somebody mistook them for hijab wearing terrorists.
    Trump appears regularly on CNN, Hugo Chavez style, entertaining the nation with long discourses on the problems facing the country and what he is doing to renegotiate our foreign debt and trying to get some of our burger flipper jobs back from other countries and hours long diatribes against America’s enemies.
    The only thing we have to fear, he tells a broken nation, is fear itself, and hunger and the roaming bands of hungry people who are not worth saving anyway because they don’t have property or pay taxes or even vote.
    The bankers are working hard, he says, to bring our economic problems to a quick and rapid solution. I’m happy to say we got that firebrand hoarder that was keeping your food and mine, we got HSF and Billy and all the farmers that have been trying to starve this country into submission. We declared all brown and black people illegal and the deportations to Mexico and Africa continue right now. Some have opted to resist in contravention of our just laws I imposed when I became president. These lawless ones have been dealt with severely. You can rest assured and sleep soundly knowing that your government is doing all it can to root out evildoers everywhere. We have special mobil tribunals prepred to mete out ready and quick justice…

  31. Yes but our president will become a vassal of the Russian Emperor who will collect tribute for payment to China and Russia.

  32. Speaking of lies….
    When speaking of “household income” or “average household income,” I don’t see the taxes being taken into account. And what about the false wealth transferring not discussing the taxes paid on every item sold, regardless of how many times it is re-sold?
    How about estate taxes and death taxes?
    Congress’ only job is to rob citizens of their wealth. Every year they take a larger amount, in the name of paying for what you deserve and it being apportioned back to the “people.” LOL!
    Citizens! HA HA! Every society since the beginning of time has called that slavery.
    Are these your final figures? Do you stand behind these figures as being accurate, Administrator in Economy? Completely?
    Even the ‘truth’ is full of lies.
    Common sense is laughin’ it’s head off right about now.

  33. Jim (the poster), that link is one of the best that jim (the admin) ever put up. What strikes me is the author expected you to feel their pain. Instead she gave you an inside look at how the grift operates

  34. This reads like the old timers who didn’t believe in debt but instead saved up money to buy things.

    “Dang young’uns buy a house via a mortgage and saddle themselves with some 30 years of debt whereas back in my day I saved up the money to purchases the building materials then I built the house with my bares hands!”

  35. [Administrator says:


    Not on TBP. You’re way too optimistic. If you aren’t on anti-depressants after a month on TBP, you’re not paying attention. :)]

    HAHA… that made me laugh in a cynical sort of way. Nick told me that I needed to quit reading the articles here because there isn’t anything I can do about it anyway. I told him that I wasn’t sure I could stop, but maybe I could cut down.

    Jim… I’ve said it before… Nick and I saved, scrimped, drove old cars yadayadayada. Bought this 40 acres with cash and paid for the log home on a 3 year layaway plan (REALLY). Found a Mennonite builder who built the log home for about half what a commercial builder bid and have moved out here in the Ozarks to make our final stand.

    However, no matter how debt-free you are in these United States of the American Dream, there is always the taxman. We planned for property taxes and have enough saved to pay them for a while or until the point where the assholes raise them to monthly rent levels and beyond. Because they can and they eventually WILL.

    I’ve mentioned that my mother is now on dialysis and will be put into a nursing home once released from the hospital. Well, I know she has Medicare and a supplemental insurance plan, but I also know that the family farm is probably going to go away in medical bills. (Not lamenting… it is in the flatlands and there is no way I wanted any part of owning or living on that mosquito infested farmland. Is too high priced and too well known to produce lots of corn and beans for my paranoid mind. I prefer to be up here in the rocky hills, where there are places to hide when TEOTWAWKI starts.)

    So, even those of us who are debt free are living a lie, in many ways. The electric co-op here just raised its rates again. The gas company added a delivery charge of $10, so even though the price of gas is down, there is now a normalization of the idea that they charge us money to come out to sell us their product. Soon, it will be $20 and so on. The animals I keep have to have feed and while I hope to eventually grow the bulk of their sustenance, I am not set up for that now and the feed store just a couple miles away closed for lack of local support, so now I have to travel 20 miles each way to buy feed. So, saying that we are living out here debt free and independent is not really the truth and thanks a lot ADMIN for making me admit that to myself.

    And one of my rabbits is having kits probably today or tomorrow, even though she was supposedly not yet bred when I got her last month.

    Everybody is living a lie. Even the damn bunny.

    I still have Faith that God is in charge and that the bad guys eventually have to answer for their evil schemes. And even that is a lie, because we are all supposed to Love our enemies and pray for their redemption at the last second of their lives so they don’t have to face Hell. Really? The assholes screw us over and trample on our rights and freedoms, treating us as if we don’t matter at all and we are supposed to get on our knees and pray that they go to Paradise? Well, I will SAY I do, but I really hope they get what they deserve imho. So, my Faith appears to be challenged, doesn’t it?

    So, Jim, Admin is right. If you keep reading here, you will lose that optimistic tone and be as cynical as the other TBPers. But, you’ll be amongst some of the most clever folks around these parts.

  36. There was a father who had two sons, one perpetually optimistic, the other mired in dark pessimism. As Christmas Eve approached he decided to demonstrate to his wife how hard wired were the nature’s of their beloved children. After they had been tucked in to bed the father placed a gold watch in the Christmas stocking of his pessimistic son and a handful of horse manure in the other.

    On Christmas morning the two sons came downstairs and the pessimistic son pulled out the gold watch and said- “It must be brass. Probably won’t work anyway.”

    The other son reached in and pulled out the manure and with a cheerful cry called out “Santa brought me a pony and he must be around here somewhere!”

    It’s really about frame of mind. You can choose to see what’s good- and there is far more of it than most people realize- or you can dwell on the evil. We can’t change anything but our own lives, but that’s enough. Every time you have a positive influence on someone else it spreads. You don’t have to embrace the collapse, in fact you can turn your back on it and build something instead.

    It breaks my heart to see what happened to the country I loved, but it’s not mine any more so I don’t worry about it. It’s like losing an old car you were passionate about- you got plenty of use out of it, but now it’s gone so there’s no use in dwelling on what used to be. Time to get busy for what’s coming.

    And one more quote-

    “For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.”

    Patrick Henry

  37. Oh Maggie,

    I fear for your mother. The nursing home may indeed take your
    mother’s entire estate. They put a lien in holdings and when it
    runs out, then the medicaid kicks in. It is a racket. My Mom is 90+
    and doing well, but if something goes wrong? Most Nsg. homes have to
    hire felons by law and the frail elderly get bounced around by drugged
    out staff. Consider having her moved to a city close to you. Happens ALL
    the time, perfectly legal and normal. Who holds the POA for finances, and
    health? If there are siblings there can be conflict. Important things to consider.

    $, savings? I’m not a fool. Recognize all the 401 and investments will go poof.
    $ in the bank? Well, folks are shouting, “get your $ out of the banks.” You can
    only take out bits or you trigger a report which goes to Treasury dept, Then the
    authorities f/u. Fixed cost will go up…they aren’t so fixed. And SJW will bleed us to
    feed the “poor.” Not an optimistic scenario.

    Bail-ins are starting in Italy…the suicides will commence.


  38. Suzanna, I could tell your a horror story about elderly care lawyers and sibling infighting that would make your heart skip a beat or two.

    What is a “lien in holdings?”

  39. Suzanna… it doesn’t matter. Yes, I expect the farm is gone. But, since my eldest sister determined that my suggestion to put an addition onto their home where in home care could be easily provided in a 20 x 20 space with a wet room for easy access in a wheelchair or walker was a waste of $$$, even though my Mennonite builder would do it for an amazing price, I figure she can take care of the nursing home issues.

    Was it you who mentioned “Games People Play” in a comment earlier? Well, I am the youngest sibling. I’m the only one who left the farm and explored the world beyond. Yet, when I am in the company of those who see me as the youngest sibling, those games kick in. So, I do NOT spend any time in their company.

    Does it sound callous? I really do not care. She put $$$ over our parents’ end of life dignity. She can choke on it.

    Oh, wait a minute… I’m supposed to be praying that she gets a last second reprieve and avoids Hell, aren’t I?

  40. Hey Maggie, I really feel for you, I do. We- my wife and I and our children- handled end of life for both my Grandmother and my Mother. It was extremely hard on all of us, but it was also the best thing we could have ever done. Is there any way you could approach your siblings and simply ask if you could take it on yourself? Don’t ask them for anything, just to allow your Mother the dignity of dying at home with the people who love her. Maybe this could heal whatever rift you have with them, they might be feeling like they haven’t done enough, or whatever else they are dealing with and you can give them an out and at the same time honor your Mother. You obviously have the character and the depth to handle something like this and your Mother isn’t in the position to handle her own end of life affairs- that’s a hard part to accpet, I know, but at some point it becomes the reality.

    Whatever you do, whatever the outcome, know that you aren’t alone, that you aren’t the only person who has ever carried this burden and trust in all the things that you know to be true and just and in the end it will work out as it should.

    Best to you.

  41. @HSF… in my basement here at the log home, the 2 x 4 framing exists around a wet room I included in the design for the sole purpose of taking my mother in when the time came, since the room addition was out of the question on the 100 year old farmhouse that has been modified from time to time, but not adequate for the kind of care my parents needed. The wet room is not finished because I was told that I would NOT be taking her in.

    My siblings viewed that as an attempt to grab the farm and stepped in and told her that they would make sure she was cared for when my father died. She signed a POA for my brother and sister to manage her affairs. My sister moved to Tennessee and bought a new home. My brother bought some land with his wife and moved out of the home they build with my father’s money on the farm, renting it to his wife’s brother.

    I do not go there, since the last time I went there, I was accused of stealing my own possessions.

    I honor my mother, but I lost her in an attempt to do the right thing in a room full of stupid greedy hicks.

    I know I’m not the only one… I just can’t understand how greedy people get when someone reaches the end of their life. Nick and I made a vow that we were going to do the right thing. That is working out pretty good.

    Doesn’t mean I don’t feel bad for Mom. But, I can’t change it.

    I took good care of my Poppa G and the night of his funeral, I saw him in Paradise drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes… laughing with family. I modeled the wet room downstairs after the wet room in his nursing home/assisted living center.

  42. @HSF… thanks, though. I do appreciate your advice. I think the best thing Nick, my son and I EVER did was take care of Poppa G in a way that gave him the best end of life possible.

  43. @ thc0655

    The bridge in the video is performing exactly as it was designed and engineered to do for the given inputs.

    Who can doubt that our “culture” and “economy” du jour aren’t exactly operating according to long-laid plans?

  44. Maggie

    I have had ample exposure (in my own and others’ lives) to this phenomenon: the worst kind of greed and hateful behavior is invariably generated by issues related to inheritance and divorce.

    The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.

  45. Gayle reminded me of the old joke:
    -Honey, I won! I won the lottery.
    -I get half and I want a divorce.
    -It was a scratcher, I won $20. Here’s $10. Goodbye!

  46. Maggie,

    I goofed. A lien on mother’s property so when she is gone all proceeds of sales
    go to the care facility. Well, when

    greed kicks in…it is all over. i once saw 2 70yr olds
    playing tug over/with a rocking chair. Their Mother had put a name under all precious
    items to avoid that very thing. It is astonishing how grabby people get!! When my
    grandmother died, I stayed away from the “divide her belongings” event. I did not claim
    or ask for one thing. I did get a few left overs weeks later.

    Anyway…being the youngest, and no POAs, you are powerless. Too bad.

    Yes, Eric Berne, Games People Play, was me. I learned from that book.

    Good luck. Prayer for your Mother.

    I am outside. Fingers frozen.


  47. Suzanna,

    We lost so much stuff over and over when we were kids (due to an incurable condition called poverty, luckily, we didn’t know we were poor) and we learned by necessity not to place too much faith in things. Lots of folks even commit suicide when they lose their things. Dumb.

  48. I am NOT powerless. I can celebrate my memories of my mother and be at peace, knowing I didn’t lower myself into the fray.

    When my father died last year, I sent only a message saying that my son would like to have the little notebook his grandfather kept in the bib of his overalls where he scribbled the occasional note to himself about something said that he found interesting or amusing. My son was always intrigued with what his grandfather might have written.

    I was told that would go into the “archives.” Haha… What a maroon!

    [FWIW, my father was a POW in WWII and was a local celebrity of sorts because of that, being the only one in the area. But, I have met many, many former POWs from a couple different wars and most of them do not have “archives.” So, I told my son he was SOL on the little notebook. He got over it.]

    Everything I got from my parents worth keeping is in my memory and my heart. I wrote a nice article with pictures for a local periodical about my father and got a letter from a backwoods hick lawyer hired by my oldest sibling informing me that SHE owned all copyright on all photos he’d taken. He “gave” her copyright to them all, she said, before he died and I would have to ask her permission to use any of his photos again.

    So, you see that I’m dealing with IDIOTS. I sent the lawyer a letter telling him if he contacted me again, it better be via a court action, because otherwise I would complain to the state bar for his harassment. And, I told him to make sure he understood the 5 prongs of copyright violation. I “heard” he dropped big sis as a client.

    Talk about people living lies.

    My poor mother is “right”, but I can’t do squat. Moving on.

  49. EC international curling tournaments….. my sport curling is like Rodney Dangerfield No respect.

    Sorry to hear your story Maggie I have watched the same thing happen with my Grand parents farm.

  50. Rob, I love it and I’m not putting it down. But it paired so well with midget wrestling.

    Her’s my idea for improving music videos featuring asses you and I will never touch, replace the bimbos with midget women. Think of it, it cracks me up when I’m driving alone to work and I imagine the Kanye being ravished by big assed midget hotties.

  51. EC lol I play and make fun of curling all the time. It is fun where else can someone stand around drinking and call themselves athletes

    As I type I’m laughing at the thought. Throw in some serious twerking and we might might have something to sell.

  52. HSF, Maggie, it still may not work out, with the best of planning …

    My dad flew fighters in WWII, out Australia way. The Japs didn’t get that far, really, which was just as well seeing as he lied about his age to get into the Air Force. War over, he went to college, the first in his family, then made sure the other kids got to go. He found a gal and they had five kids, I’m the youngest. His other adventures will wait for another time …

    He was nearly 90 when he heard the Reaper’s footsteps, but the meds he was on and onset of senility made him slow to recognize them. He went into a seizure, and his wife of sixty years could not let him go; she called the ambulance, and he woke up in the hospital. They tried this and that to no avail, while he raged to go home and die in peace. They insisted he should walk across the hospital room, as a test to see if he was “healthy enough to go home”. He collapsed with an aide on either side holding him up, and was dead before he hit the floor.

    He had told me years before he wanted to die at home, but could not manage it. I believe he is flying ahead to scout our paths before it’s our turn to walk them. It’s the kind of thing he would have done.

  53. Maggie said:
    “I’ve mentioned that my mother is now on dialysis and will be put into a nursing home once released from the hospital. Well, I know she has Medicare and a supplemental insurance plan, but I also know that the family farm is probably going to go away in medical bills.”

    @Maggie and others, if you have elderly parents/relatives who own property or have assets of any kind I strongly suggest you look into setting up a simple Living Family Trust. I also suggest that anyone with property or assets of their own establish a family trust as well. Once established, the individual trustors no longer own anything, yet as a trustor/trustee, still maintains full control of those assets and is free to sell them or buy more. People like your mother who are forced to rely on govt assistance are not required to sell or dispose of assets to qualify and property/assets need not be signed over to the state. The person establishing the trust maintains a great degree of control even if they become incapacitated by establishing specific provisions according to their wishes.

    The initial trustors a free to designate other regular trustees and contingent trustees and designate what events elevate contingent trustees to full trustee status. Our trust includes final wills, living wills, health care directives, powers of attorney etc that go into effect automatically once certain events trigger them. No need for a lawyer or judge to get involved.

    Another benefit is that your estate is no longer subject to probate upon your death so your business remains totally private. No public notices are required. As long as your trust is in force, which can continue after your death, no taxes are owed on assets while owned by the trust. You can even determine the circumstances/methods for dissolving your trust after your death. So, if you trust your kids enough to name them as contingent trustees upon your death, they will have the same full control and freedom to sell or use/deplete/increase assets without being taxed.

    There are numerous other benefits and things can vary from state to state. Trusts can be used to protect and care for both minor and adult children who are handicapped after your own expiration date. They also eliminate legal squabbles among family members after your death by inserting provisions that automatically eliminate any heirs that contest the provisions of the trust which can prevent legal limbo that often occurs when your estate goes into probate. You may recall Anna Nicole Smith’s estate was tied up in legal limbo for nearly twenty years. A trust would likely have prevented that. As you might suspect, TPTB are always trying to chip away at the various protections offered by trusts so you’ll want to stay abreast of changes to trust law in your state each year.

    A basic family trust will cost about $1000 to set up. The law office will generally transfer all real property deeds for you but you’ll still have to transfer bank accounts, insurance policies, retirement accounts and other assets into the trust yourself. My wife and I established a trust even though we don’t have kids to protect & simply things if one of us passes or becomes incapacitated. It will also simplify things for our families to dispose of our estate after our deaths.

  54. My husband and I have an appointment Dec 22 to set up a trust for our son and my stepson. We had planned to do it anyway, but this situation inspired us to get moving.

    I have no control over my mother’s situation.

  55. @Maggie, yeah, it’s too late once the ball is in motion.

    Set one up for you and your husband as well. If your son is of legal age, he’ll have to set up his own. If your son has no real assets it may be a bit premature for him. Still, they can be set up and assets transferred in at any time going forward. Considering the constant devaluing of the dollar it’s probably cheaper to do it now then five years from now.

    Once established, the trustor/trustee simply purchases property and other assets using the name of the trust instead of your own at any time in the future. Same goes for bank accounts. Legally, my wife and I own nothing. It’s all owned by the trust and we are the only ones who have the power to control those assets until an event triggers the elevation of contingent trustee/s.

    A word of caution though, each trustee has the right to liquidate the trust at any time without informing the other so if you’re in a rocky or even slightly questionable relationship, tread carefully. If that is the case then you can probably set up an individual trust to handle things although jointly held property cannot be rolled into an individual trust. Your law dog will explain it all pretty thoroughly.

  56. What I meant was we are setting up a family trust to protect our property to protect it in the event one of us has medical issues (me, I’m adult onset hydrocephalic) that go beyond catastrophic cap of our insurance.)

    It is something we meant to do anyway. I declare all the time that this 5th and final shunt is my last and NO MORE BRAIN Surgeries, but in reality, many hydro heads have dozens of surgeries due to failure. However, I’m at 9 years which is indicative of a well-functioning pressure valve, so I DECLARE no more brain surgeries.

    But, I’ll rest better knowing that the land and two homes are in a trust to protect them for Nick and the boys.

  57. @Maggie, I might submit this to admin as a main post to remind people. We put it off for years as many people do. It buys quite a bit of piece of mind and should be a part of everyone’s preps.

    Best of luck with your mother and her situation.

  58. You lost me with the 1971 to present comparison. The Fed has debased our currency tremendously since then, when I bought my first NEW motorbike for $1200. A new VW Bug was $2K. Minimum wage $1.50. My current car, bought in ’04 for 25K is due for replacement, if I find a desperate dealer willing to give me a 0% loan I will not hesitate to take on another debt. Hyperbole and fear mongering gets old after a while. 13 trillion in mortgage debt sounds horrible until you look at the 26 trillion in total US home value. That means on average we have the house half paid for. But that does not get folks worked up. I have trouble getting a table at my favorite restaurant on a Thursday night. We are so busy at work my boss cries when I take time off. Nixon closed the gold window? Really? I can still buy all the gold I want for 1100 paper dollars. I think FDR closed the gold window, Jerry Ford reopened it and Nixon was forced to throw the USD out the window. I blame that bastard LBJ for the ‘Nam war debt, not Nixon. No doubt the country is on an unsustainable path, but we have been since 1913. The final collapse may be decades off. I read a great short book (free on line), The Alpha Strategy. The author was concerned about the reckless government spending and zooming public debt and suggested stockpiling goods against certain hyperinflation. The best part of the read for me was his excellent explanation of the boom/bust cycle created by the central bank. The book was written during the Carter administration.

  59. @IS… you should do so. Having seen what happened to Nick’s parents when the state of Ohio decided they could no longer return home from the hospital and had to go into assisted living (YES, the state apparently can decide that for the elderly when social workers get involved), and realizing that at that point, all my dear Poppa G’s hard-earned wealth was subject to confiscation by either the state or greedy “elderly care” lawyers who are experts at finding ways to generate income for themselves by transferring the wealth into fee-paying annuities and loaded funds that reduce the wealth of their “clients” so that they can be declared indigent. By the time, Nick got involved, his brother had stolen and squandered most of the money the man had worked all his life to save.

    We spent what Nick salvaged when he traveled to Ohio and kidnapped his father on his private care in Oklahoma. I’m happy we did, but if his parents had just been a bit more proactive about setting up a trust, it could have been a LOT different. They were products of their times, though and mistrusted any idea of giving up control of their possessions, just like my parents were. I guess it was post Depression paranoia?

    But, if they had put that money in a trust? Shoot, my bunnies could have a heated bunny hutch now.

  60. Maggie, part of a troll’s job is to be an ass even if I don’t like it.
    You reminded me of Tammy Faye Bakker who reportedly spent lavishly and even had an air-conditioned dog house for Fido.
    Freaking rabbits are hot-blooded little horn-dogs and hardly need central heating in the hutch.

  61. tinfoilhat davy says: The final collapse may be decades off. I read a great short book (free on line), The Alpha Strategy. The author was concerned about the reckless government spending and zooming public debt and suggested stockpiling goods against certain hyperinflation.

    Thank you, davy. Listening to Rob Kirby on End Game Machinations will scare the pants off you. However, gold bugs always talk this way.I have heard this doom scenario since 2000 when gold was at $200/oz. I get scared, really, then I have to take a deep breath and remember Dr. Pangloss said, Life is a marathon, not a sprint.

    Gold bugs have to scare you in order to make a market. If the story did not exist, I would have to make it up, however, everyone knows the story of that guy that died in his cabin. What do you call a guy who saved every last penny to buy a shack in the wild where he stashed cases of beans and crates of gold coins? The dude died and the state had to look for his distant relatives, a niece’s daughter in San Fran.

    I met a couple of girls in Hondo land. Black girls. They lived off the kindness of strangers. There is no welfare down there. Eliza says to her cousin, I can’t go on, I guess I’ll just kill myself. Reina replied, you mustn’t, you have to go on and see how far life takes you.

  62. EC- Who is this Dr. Pangloss of which you speak constantly ? And could you clue me in to where on the map Hondo land can be located?

  63. Honduras. Military joes call it hondoland like they called San Bernardino, San Berdu.

    From Merriam Webster — Origin of panglossian Pangloss, optimistic tutor in Voltaire’s Candide (1759)

    Dr Pangloss is a character in Voltaire’s Candide. I use his name to quote various people who have said some really smart shit. I used to use the character Old Sarge but some stuff would not jive to credit him.

  64. EC- Per usual U iz much smarter than I. Familiar with Voltaire’s writing but not this or I don’t remember reading that in school. Voltaire’s name was not Voltaire and he was of more interest to me in a masonic way. I went to public school, most people there can’t read.

  65. I’m kidding, Bea. Your a smart fucker. I just meant, my bad for assuming people knew I was referencing an obscure character, sort of like how people assume Boethius rings a bell.

  66. EC- In my world to refer to something as “hondo” means it it huge/massive/ultimate of whatever is being discussed. My family was in Honduras this week, have not talked to them to see if they came out alive. Will let you know.

  67. There is a lot more crime there. However, my wife’s sis in law travels there frequently and has not reported it being unsafe. If I went by the news, I’d think travel to the United States was unsafe. Tegus, as they call it, is the capital and quite nice. San Pedro Sula to the north is also big. The rest are small towns.

  68. EC- The sexy Moolata speaks Spanish, my family are your typical white Mericans. They stand out like a sore thumb in areas of that region. The native American coloring helps but they have perfect teeth and designer clothing, no hope.

  69. EC, was it true/have your heard that when a religious friend visited him on his deathbed and begged him to know Jesus as his Savior so that he would not burn in hell, Voltaire replied “Do not speak of that name to me again?” It was a story told by a college professor and I believed it then, but haven’t ever seen another reference.

    Candide is now college material if assigned at all.

    None of my animals have air conditioning. My cousins call me Maggie May. Is why I choose “Maggie” over Martha.

  70. Dr Pangloss warned us before assigning it that Voltaire was on the register and that if you were Catholic and feared for your soul, you could be excommunicated for reading Candide.

    That song reminds me of being in HS and dreaming of making a living playing pool.

  71. That’s one of my favorite songs no wonder I’m so fond of you Maggie. Wake up Maggie I’ve got something to say to you!!

  72. EC- My family is back in the US, back in the US, back in the USSA from Honduras. They say HondoLand was really nice and they would like to go back again. From what I heard, I think you would also like it there. I’m just glad everyone is OK.

  73. @Sensetti (mine too… and why my cousins started calling me MM I’ll never know but I moved here to be close to them when the rest of my family is down in the flatlands.)

  74. We just booked a Greyhound bus ticket for my stepson to come for Christmas from Kansas City area. Would someone explain to me why paying for his ticket requires me to pay an $18 fee that he wouldn’t pay if he were paying himself. Are they going to giftwrap the ticket and mail them to him?

    And, also, explain to me why the bus lines are now charging $25 per stowed bag just like their big brother, the airlines? Since he is only coming for three days, he will probably get away with a carry-on, but COME ON… the whole underside of the bus is open for luggage and the price of gas is DOWN. He could drive his truck but the cost of gas and wear and tear on the 12 year old truck makes it better to buy him a bus ticket.

    We want to have him down here this first Christmas, so I just checked “okay” and added the cost, but someone ought to pay.

    Oh, yeah. WE ARE.

  75. For all you rational and intelligent worriers out there, with the upcoming FED meeting, remember “the dollar is backed by the full faith and cred…” –scratch that–as Eron von Greyerz says–backed by 18 trillion dollars of debt and over 200 trillion in unfunded liabilities.

    I can just hear the rational and intelligent worriers out there saying, “Duh, what?


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