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Old 04-26-2011, 02:23 PM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
13,145 posts, read 20,364,759 times
Reputation: 14041

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I know many of you will consider this tin-foil hat stuff, but I am convinced a conspiracy is afoot to shrink the size of the middle class, probably to lower our level of resource consumption as we move into a world with huge populations and very intense resource competition among nations.

I come to this tenetive conclusion after observing the following:

1. huge...I mean HUGE efforts have been put into making environmentalism a virtual pseudo-religion. Never before in history (that I can think of) has the idea of getting less been hyped as cool.

2. It's WAY too easy to obtain credit. Credit was (and still is) given far more freely than common sense would dictate. When there are inevitable defaults, the top of the heap banks are covered with bailouts and instructed to do the same all over again. Why credit? Because debt chains people, brings down their ability invest, save, and otherwise acquire wealth. The more debt one takes on, the poorer they ultimately get. Mortgages are particularly insinuous, locking folks in for 30 years and charging what essentially amounts to over 100% interest over the life of the loan on a commodity that is consistently overpriced (and manipulated to STAY overpriced) but still heavily encouraged by both the private and public sectors.

3. Purposeful inflation. The bank losses are covered and the middle class robbed of wealth all in the same stroke. The appointed money monkeys tell us a 2-5% inflation rate is "healthy", but is a .07% savings account interest rate "healthy" too? Not to mention the real inflation rate is more like 10%, meaning we are being slowly but surely sucked dry if we try to preserve wealth the old way by stuffing it under the mattress.

4. Oil. Yes, I am a peak oil believer, but I think we are progressing a bit faster than we should be. The price of oil is being inflated before the market demands it. Not only will it further drain us, but eventually extremely expensive fuel will rob the middle class of it's mobility. This will force a contraction from the suburbs into population centers, just as "new urbanism" is in full swing and having the tiniest "carbon footprint" possible is pandered as hip and desirable.

To say the oil price game is not fixed is incredibly naive in my opinion. Didn't anyone notice oil went from $50.00 to $150.00 a barrel at the virtual flick of a switch in '08 and then suddenly dropped down to $30.00 when the subsequent economic collapse was progressing a little too rapidly, then slowly crept up past $100.00 afterward? Or that potential new oil fields are being blocked by the federal government at a time of huge demand? The game is rigged folks…

5. Global Warming. It's not a particularly graceful strategy but fear works. If cultural manipulation to make environmentalism "cool" doesn't work, try creating fear and hysteria to change people's ways. That's all global warming is, fear and hysteria. Strange it should come out now…

To me all these contrived pressures (among others) converge to aim the middle class down one narrow path to poverty. I think the invisible hands directing the process are doing it with "good intentions" because we really can't sustain ourselves in the long run with exponential population growth and exponential wealth growth. Eventually the house of cards will come down in a dramatic and apocalyptic manor, and I think they are trying to avert such an eventuality.

Attack my theory if you must, but my real question is how do we preserve our wealth when the powers that be have apparently rigged the game to suck it away? Is it better to come to terms with a far leaner, more austere future, or should we fight to keep what we have and our assumed right to get more?

Last edited by Chango; 04-26-2011 at 02:33 PM..
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Old 04-26-2011, 02:39 PM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
13,145 posts, read 20,364,759 times
Reputation: 14041
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chango View Post
Attack my theory if you must, but my real question is how do we preserve our wealth when the powers that be have apparently rigged the game to suck it away? Is it better to come to terms with a far leaner, more austere future, or should we fight to keep what we have and our assumed right to get more?
... and don't tell me "buy gold"! Sure it's on a virtual rocketship to the moon at the moment but don't think for a second that it will save you when the guillotine finally falls. The value of gold is just one price fix, government seizure or crooked manipulation away from dooming people with piles of the stuff to the same inglorious fate. And fixing the price has the added benefit of having hardly any negative side effects... gold does virtually nothing besides being shiny and golden.

Gold is a trap! Don't say I didn't warn ya.
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Old 04-26-2011, 03:28 PM
 
98 posts, read 224,868 times
Reputation: 64
Personally, I'm not worried about any of the ones you listed. Right now, the only thing that worries me is the US debt. I think it will greatly impact whatever wealth (or the ability to build wealth) the middle class has.
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Old 04-26-2011, 03:40 PM
Status: "taking city data break." (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: Austin
14,205 posts, read 8,219,899 times
Reputation: 16260
Quote:
Originally Posted by muochoir View Post
Personally, I'm not worried about any of the ones you listed. Right now, the only thing that worries me is the US debt. I think it will greatly impact whatever wealth (or the ability to build wealth) the middle class has.
I agree with you, muochoir. How the government handles the deficit and increasing country debt will severly impact people in this country. Possibly an increase in federal income, payroll and social security taxes on all income earners; cutting the national annual budget; and/or, the scariest to me, hyperinflation due to printing money to pay off the country's debtholders with cheap dollars.
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Old 04-26-2011, 04:25 PM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
13,145 posts, read 20,364,759 times
Reputation: 14041
Quote:
Originally Posted by texan2yankee View Post
I agree with you, muochoir. How the government handles the deficit and increasing country debt will severly impact people in this country. Possibly an increase in federal income, payroll and social security taxes on all income earners; cutting the national annual budget; and/or, the scariest to me, hyperinflation due to printing money to pay off the country's debtholders with cheap dollars.
...but is it on purpose???

No one could be so stupid to think we can pile on the debt forever... or can they?
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Old 04-26-2011, 06:26 PM
 
Location: DFW
6,864 posts, read 12,731,907 times
Reputation: 5287
1) I may buy environmentally friendly products but I won't be the one footing the bill! I'll only do it if it's cheaper for me in the long run (i.e. getting a hybrid when it's time to replace my old car, getting energy-efficient appliances that cost less to run over the years, etc.)

2) I may have credit cards but they exist only for the purpose of collecting rewards points or when I'm in a true emergency and need the extra cash (i.e. unexpected medical emergencies.) I've been very disciplined in paying them off each month.. it's been well over a year since the last time I carried a balance over and had to pay interest.

3) I prefer focusing on keeping the BIG expenses down, like rent. I haven't had a rent increase in over 1 year and I still live in the same place. When rent goes up, I'll move and look for a place with the same rent. With the abysmal housing market here in So. California, there's always desperate homeowners out there who will take someone in to help pay off part of their monthly mortgage.

4) My car gets about 32mpg and I use about 40 gallons a month. Each $ increase in gas price is $40/month more that I spend. Nothing to sneeze at but it's not the end of the world if gas prices go up another $1 or $2/gal from here.

5) There's plenty of scientific evidence that the world is still emerging from the last ice age and these increases in temperature are inevitable. The contribution from global warming is very small to the natural increase over time.
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Old 04-27-2011, 02:39 AM
 
85,366 posts, read 82,887,213 times
Reputation: 61125
this past winter was so brutal and cold at our pocono mountain home that i think im organizing a march . we are all going out with our aerosal cans and start spraying.

maybe if we get that hole in the ozone later bigger it will warm up a little bit.
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Old 04-27-2011, 03:11 AM
 
28,668 posts, read 31,280,273 times
Reputation: 29684
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chango View Post
I know many of you will consider this tin-foil hat stuff, but I am convinced a conspiracy is afoot to shrink the size of the middle class, probably to lower our level of resource consumption as we move into a world with huge populations and very intense resource competition among nations.

I come to this tenetive conclusion after observing the following:

1. huge...I mean HUGE efforts have been put into making environmentalism a virtual pseudo-religion. Never before in history (that I can think of) has the idea of getting less been hyped as cool.

2. It's WAY too easy to obtain credit. Credit was (and still is) given far more freely than common sense would dictate. When there are inevitable defaults, the top of the heap banks are covered with bailouts and instructed to do the same all over again. Why credit? Because debt chains people, brings down their ability invest, save, and otherwise acquire wealth. The more debt one takes on, the poorer they ultimately get. Mortgages are particularly insinuous, locking folks in for 30 years and charging what essentially amounts to over 100% interest over the life of the loan on a commodity that is consistently overpriced (and manipulated to STAY overpriced) but still heavily encouraged by both the private and public sectors.

3. Purposeful inflation. The bank losses are covered and the middle class robbed of wealth all in the same stroke. The appointed money monkeys tell us a 2-5% inflation rate is "healthy", but is a .07% savings account interest rate "healthy" too? Not to mention the real inflation rate is more like 10%, meaning we are being slowly but surely sucked dry if we try to preserve wealth the old way by stuffing it under the mattress.

4. Oil. Yes, I am a peak oil believer, but I think we are progressing a bit faster than we should be. The price of oil is being inflated before the market demands it. Not only will it further drain us, but eventually extremely expensive fuel will rob the middle class of it's mobility. This will force a contraction from the suburbs into population centers, just as "new urbanism" is in full swing and having the tiniest "carbon footprint" possible is pandered as hip and desirable.

To say the oil price game is not fixed is incredibly naive in my opinion. Didn't anyone notice oil went from $50.00 to $150.00 a barrel at the virtual flick of a switch in '08 and then suddenly dropped down to $30.00 when the subsequent economic collapse was progressing a little too rapidly, then slowly crept up past $100.00 afterward? Or that potential new oil fields are being blocked by the federal government at a time of huge demand? The game is rigged folks…

5. Global Warming. It's not a particularly graceful strategy but fear works. If cultural manipulation to make environmentalism "cool" doesn't work, try creating fear and hysteria to change people's ways. That's all global warming is, fear and hysteria. Strange it should come out now…

To me all these contrived pressures (among others) converge to aim the middle class down one narrow path to poverty. I think the invisible hands directing the process are doing it with "good intentions" because we really can't sustain ourselves in the long run with exponential population growth and exponential wealth growth. Eventually the house of cards will come down in a dramatic and apocalyptic manor, and I think they are trying to avert such an eventuality.

Attack my theory if you must, but my real question is how do we preserve our wealth when the powers that be have apparently rigged the game to suck it away? Is it better to come to terms with a far leaner, more austere future, or should we fight to keep what we have and our assumed right to get more?
Chango, the conspiracy is much, much bigger than trying to shrink the middle class, although that is part of it.

You should watch this talk by David Icke at the Oxford Debating Society:


YouTube - David Icke - Live At Oxford Union Debating Society 1/11


Icke does go off on some really weird tangents that I don't agree with at all....but on this talk, he stays with his core thesis that there is a small global elite vying for every more power and control. And you are right, the methods employed to control people are always fear based. I highly recommend the video.
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Old 04-27-2011, 06:22 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,661 posts, read 78,418,746 times
Reputation: 36331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chango View Post
Not to mention the real inflation rate is more like 10%, meaning we are being slowly but surely sucked dry if we try to preserve wealth the old way by stuffing it under the mattress.
This is a very interesting observation, perhaps worthy of another thread.

The traditional way of measuring inflation is to compare the price of the same basket of goods from one year to the next. But the REAL inflation is the fact that one needs a bigger and bigger basket from one year to the next.

In one year, a car costs $10,000. OK. A year later the equivalent car costs $10,200 up 2%. But now you need a car with a better sound system, and the model without the tunes is not available, so it's $11,000, up 10%. The following year, the same car is $11,200, up 2%, but in the middle of the model year, they stop offering them without keyless entry option, so they're now $12,000, up 10%. The price of the equivalent car is up 2% a year, but the dealer stock, bloated with options and upgrades, is up 10%, and hence, the aggregate price to all consumes is up 10%.

The government goes out and buys a shopping cart full of the same groceries as last year, and finds them 2% higher. But the actual increase in the cost of feeding a family is up 10%, because more working moms requires more expensive convenience food, health scares are turning more people to organic, or last year's 16 ounce jar of peanut butter is now only 14 ounces, or contains cheaper HFCS instead of sugar, or is now called "peanut buitter spread' and contains less peanuts and more filler. Economists say there is NO inflation, when the same price now yields an inferior product, but still the same price.

The best case in point was when the government mandated that everybody either buy a new TV, or import a converter box from China, in order to watch the same old crap on TV. TV sets doubled in price immdiately because of the new technology (but have now gone back down), but more importantly, when buying a new flat screen, you had to buy a 24" in order to get the same size picture as you used to get in a 19", because the change in the aspect ratio meant that the 19" diagonal measurement was the 16:9 screen size, including black bars on the sides, and not the picture size of the standard 4:3 ratio. The vertical height of a 4:3 picture is the same on a new 24", as it was on an old 19". The economists, calculating inflation, never took into account that a) everyone had to buy a new TV that year, and b) they had to buy a bigger TV to get the same thing.
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:27 AM
 
98 posts, read 224,868 times
Reputation: 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chango View Post

No one could be so stupid to think we can pile on the debt forever... or can they?
Social security and Medicare continue to require more and more $ to fund every year. Nobody seems to want to touch them, instead politicians would rather make more promises on increasing the benefits which is an easy way to win an election. I believe I read somewhere that SS and medicare are around 50% of this year's budget. I recommend watching I.O.U.S.A.
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