Labors with No Fruits

It’s been a long row to hoe for most workers during the first 17 years of the new millennium.  The soil’s been hard and rocky.  The rewards for one’s toils have been bleak.

 

Ma and Pa farm worker lean against one of their recent productions to mug for the  daguerreotypist. Their happiness at a job well done is marred by misgivings about their remuneration in real terms.

Photo credit: Maple Valley Historical Society

 

For many, laboriously dragging a push plow’s dull blade across the land has hardly scratched enough of a rut in the ground to plant a pitiful row of string beans.  What’s more, any bean sprouts that broke through the stony earth were quickly strangled out by seasonal weeds.  Those ‘green shoots’ that persisted bore pods that dried out on the vine before maturity.

This has been the common experience of the typical 21st century American worker, thus far. Countless, stories of labors with no fruits have been shared at bowling alleys across the Bible Belt.  There are also hard numbers that backup these woeful tales.

Just this week, for example, Sentier Research released a new report showing that after scratching and clawing the earth day after day, median household income has finally surpassed a level last seen in January 2000.

In other words, living standards for the typical family are now a smidgen higher than they were at the turn of the century.  Rick Newman offers several details:

 

“Sentier calculates a monthly index representing median household income, based on Census Bureau data, starting at 100 in January of 2000.  Since it’s an index, it’s adjusted for inflation and represents the real earning power of a typical family.  The index drifted slightly above 100 a few times leading up to the 2008 financial meltdown, but mostly went sideways during the George W. Bush administration.  Then it plunged beginning in 2009, with a long recovery beginning in 2011.

“The latest reading in the Sentier index is 100.9, the first time it’s been above 100 since 2008. That number matches the previous high, from 2002, which means family income will hit a new high if it rises in May.”

 

The Sentier household income index vs. the U3 unemployment rate. Happy days are here again! Household income was probably invented by H.G. Wells, considering its eerie, time-machine-like qualities. We are back to where we were at the turn of the millennium! The complete Household Income Trends Report resides here (pdf) – click to enlarge.

 

Rip Van Winkle

Good grief.  What took so darn long? A lot has changed while the typical worker was running in place for the last decade and a half.  In fact, Rip Van Winkle would hardly recognize the world that remains after these lost years.  Good manners, good ethics, and good people have mostly gone the way of the dodo bird.

For one, politics at home has gone stark raving mad.  Debbie Wasserman Shultz.  Jim Comey.  Barry Obama.  Susan Rice.  John Podesta.  Hillary Clinton.  Anthony Weiner.  Barney Frank.  John Burton.  Harry Reid.  Chuck Schumer.  Ted Kennedy’s ghost.  And on and on.  And so on and so forth.

Years ago, when upright character was an expectation, these malevolent dingle berries would have been painted with tar and rolled in a dirty chicken coop full of feathers, among other things.  Nowadays, they get extended lordship, pensions, and countless hours of paid vacation. What to make of it?

 

Traveling by rail – citizens express their displeasure at a misbehaving politician the traditional way. Reportedly these folkways work wonders with respect to maintaining a certain minimum level of moral standards. Clearly some traditions are worth preserving; this one cries out for more practice.

Illustration via deviantart.com

 

The federal government – and many state and local governments – appear to be self-destructing in grand fashion.  Federal agencies and politicians are stabbing each other and the President in the back at a clip last witnessed in Moscow during the twilight of the Soviet Union.

At the same time, the truth has become a liability.  Specifically, sharing the dirty truth has become hazardous to one’s life expectancy.  For the ruling class has become desperate to keep the world tilted in its favor.  They’ll go to any length to keep money and power flowing towards them.

 

The Attack on Workers, Phase II

No doubt, President Trump’s a ghastly fellow.  But he’s not nearly as ghastly as the headlines make him out to be.  There are much worse haircuts out there.  Plus he’s facing an unwinnable battle.

All of Congress wants Trump to fail and are doing everything they can to ensure this happens.  Even his most partial efforts to redirect some of the failing social programs that are bankrupting the country are greeted with a disjointed and frenetic mass hysteria.  Rational contemplation and pragmatic decision making has given way to foaming mouths and erratic neck convulsions.

 

The Donald (he’s either praying for rain here or bestowing a benediction on his flock). Based on past experience with the Oslo-based Nobel committee’s decisions, we would argue he deserves a Nobel peace prize for the mere fact that he’s not Hillary. Not to mention that he merits recognition for having thrown all of Washington into a severe and persistent outbreak of hallucinatory hysteria that appears thoroughly Prozac-resistant.

Photo credit: AP

 

Should we be surprised?  Maybe this is the way things always were; only now they’ve been ratcheted up several notches.  For instance, two generations ago Nixon era Treasury Secretary William Simon let the cat out of the bag:

 

“One of the things I learned during my tenure in Washington is that the civic book picture of government in operation is completely inaccurate.  The idea that our elected officials take part in a careful decision-making process – monitoring events, reviewing options, responsibly selecting policies – has almost no connection with reality. 

“A more accurate image would be that of a runaway train with the throttle stuck wide open — while the passengers and crew are living it up in the dining car.”

 

These days, however, the runaway train is one ridge turn from jumping the tracks.  Alas, a stock market crash, depression, and world war will likely accompany it.  After that the attack on worker begins in earnest.

 

Dude! Where are our green shoots? Future revolutionaries in a field somewhere near Hicksburg.

Photo credit: Russell Lee

 

Chart by: Sentier

 

Chart and image captions by PT

 

MN Gordon is President and Founder of Direct Expressions LLC, an independent publishing company. He is the Editorial Director and Publisher of the Economic Prism – an E-Newsletter that tries to bring clarity to the muddy waters of economic policy and discusses interesting investment opportunities.

 

 

 

Emigrate While You Can... Learn More

 


 

 
 

Dear Readers!

You may have noticed that our so-called “semiannual” funding drive, which started sometime in the summer if memory serves, has seamlessly segued into the winter. In fact, the year is almost over! We assure you this is not merely evidence of our chutzpa; rather, it is indicative of the fact that ad income still needs to be supplemented in order to support upkeep of the site. Naturally, the traditional benefits that can be spontaneously triggered by donations to this site remain operative regardless of the season - ranging from a boost to general well-being/happiness (inter alia featuring improved sleep & appetite), children including you in their songs, up to the likely allotment of privileges in the afterlife, etc., etc., but the Christmas season is probably an especially propitious time to cross our palms with silver. A special thank you to all readers who have already chipped in, your generosity is greatly appreciated. Regardless of that, we are honored by everybody's readership and hope we have managed to add a little value to your life.

   

Bitcoin address: 12vB2LeWQNjWh59tyfWw23ySqJ9kTfJifA

   
 

5 Responses to “The Attack on Workers, Phase II”

  • Hans:

    You are most welcome, Mr Gordon, as readers on acting-man
    appreciate your splendid contributions!

    Precious metals, have benefited mighty from the Lonney Tunes Reverse’s
    policies and FedZero; which has forced investors into asset investments
    in order to find a return on their money.

    At the expense of sounding like a Socshevik, the middle class (we personally
    have been demoted) has declined, no thanks to the FRB and their ilk in
    CONgress.

    The worrisome collapse in GNP growth (as shown in your excellent article
    four weeks ago) along with declining productivity, has lead to employment
    destabilization, coupled with reduced wage growth. The days of long tenure
    and yearly wage growth, which allowed for disposable income to be placed with
    your local “community” banker at 5%, appears to be dead.

    As you have stated, Mr Gordon, the FRB has decided to redistribute the money
    supply from savers to spenders! This is why consumers with rest home insurance
    have seen dramatic rate increases; something the Onion Press Industry has never
    addressed.

    The frightful thing is, the entire world central bankers complex, is engaging
    in pretty much the same polices, with complete control over the financial
    sectors, interest rates and domestic economies. Debt, debt nothing
    but debt, so help you God.

    America has already reached Chapter Seven, which is why the return of
    normal interest rates is a thing of the past.

    Since Milhous(e) Nixon, all FRB chairperson have placed their
    right hand on the FRB’s emblem and sworn, “we are all Keynesians now.”

    Make Interest Rates Great Again
    Make Economists Great Again

  • Kafka:

    “There must a explanation for this lack
    of correlation”

    Baseline economics takes Monetary Policy as some benign, background liquidity producer keeping up with or sometimes giving the economy a little kick of cash or reduced interest rates.
    It was never contemplated that Central Banks would effectively take control of the economy, almost entirely for the benefit of their cronies.
    In that world, where the little guy would be lucky indeed to save a million dollars in his lifetime, a Central Bank can conjure, out of thin air, enough cash or credit to buy and sell the entire asset class(es) on the CME every hour of every day.

    • Hans:

      Kalka: “In that world, where the little guy would be lucky indeed to save a million dollars in his lifetime, a Central Bank can conjure, out of thin air, enough cash or credit to buy and sell the entire asset class(es) on the CME every hour of every day.”

      Yes indeed, Kalfa, as they can now monetizes the entire US debt. And why not,
      as there balance statement has little affect on either policy or the American
      economy.

      I would call the FRB’s action as FedCoin, no difference than Bitcoin
      with the exception that there are no market forces at play.

      The only acts that I approve of, from this institution, was Greenspam
      continuous requests, “ladies and gentlemen, can we break for
      coffee.”

  • Hans:

    Thank you, Mr Gordon, for always presenting such
    interesting charts!

    The right hand part of the chart seems rather logical,
    as the supply of labor diminishes, employers are forced
    to pay a higher level of compensation.

    What is rather puzzling is the absence of S & D on
    the left side of the chart. What interfered with the
    law of supply and demand?

    We all know how delicate and complex the machinery
    of the economy is. There must a explanation for this lack
    of correlation, however, it is no present in the recess of my mind.
    Perhaps that is a good thing. :<)

    Hear is an excellent observation of wealth. What is clear to
    me, are the interactions of the FRB (FedZero) and assets.

    http://slopeofhope.com/2017/05/very-interesting-video-on-wealth.html

    A somber Memorial Day to all, as we are all ensured to join the fallen.

    • M.N. Gordon:

      You’re right. The left side of the chart is very much a head scratcher. I squinted my eyes, and moved my head close to the screen and I still couldn’t discern what was going on. Though, Kafka appears to have hit the nail squarely on the head. Rampant money and credit inflation by the Federal Reserve and other central banks has devalued the earnings and savings of the working stiff wage earner. I suppose my article on the attack of the worker was incomplete for not mentioning this. Of course, what makes the central bank money creation scheme so rotten is that when they inflate away someone’s life savings, not only are they stealing this money from the saver, they are steal the time and effort that went into earning it. Thus they’re stealing that person’s life.
      Thanks for pointing us all to the slope of hope video. Very astounding presentation on just how skewed the distribution of wealth has become.

Your comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Most read in the last 20 days:

  • Trade War Game On!
      Interesting Times Arrive “Things sure are getting exciting again, ain’t they?”  The remark was made by a colleague on Tuesday morning, as we stepped off the elevator to grab a cup of coffee.   Ancient Chinese curse alert... [PT]   “One moment markets are gorging on financial slop like fat pigs in mud.  The next they’re collectively vomiting on themselves. I’ll tell you one thing.  President Trump’s trade war with China won’t end well.  I mean, come...
  • From Fake Boom to Real Bust
      Paradise in LA LA Land More is revealed with each passing day.  You can count on it.  But what exactly the ‘more is of’ requires careful discrimination.  Is the ‘more’ merely more noise?  Or is it something of actual substance?  Today we endeavor to pass judgment, on your behalf.   Normally, judgment would be passed on a Thursday, but we are making an exception. [PT]   For example, here in the land of fruits and nuts, things are whacky, things are...
  • Getting High on Bubbles
      Turn on, Tune in, Drop out Back in the drug-soaked, if not halcyon, days known at the sexual and drug revolution—the 1960’s—many people were on a quest for the “perfect trip”, and the “perfect hit of acid” (the drug lysergic acid diethylamide, LSD).   Dr. Albert Hoffman and his famous bicycle ride through Basel after he ingested a few drops of LSD-25 by mistake. The photograph in the middle was taken at the Woodstock festival and inter alia serves as a...
  • Rise of the Japanese Androids
      Good Intentions One of the unspoken delights in life is the rich satisfaction that comes with bearing witness to the spectacular failure of an offensive and unjust system. This week served up a lavish plate of delicious appetizers with both a style and refinement that’s ordinarily reserved for a competitive speed eating contest. What a remarkable time to be alive.   It seemed a good idea at first... [PT]   Many thrilling stories of doom and gloom were published...
  • US Stock Market: Happy Days Are Here Again? Not so Fast...
      A “Typical” Correction? A Narrative Fail May Be in Store Obviously, assorted crash analogs have by now gone out of the window – we already noted that the market was late if it was to continue to mimic them, as the decline would have had to accelerate in the last week of March to remain in compliance with the “official time table”. Of course crashes are always very low probability events – but there are occasions when they have a higher probability than otherwise, and we will...
  • No Revolution Just Yet - Precious Metals Supply and Demand Report
      Irredeemably Yours... Yuan Stops Rallying at the Wrong Moment The so-called petro-yuan was to revolutionize the world of irredeemable fiat paper currencies. Well, since its launch on March 26 — it has gone down. It was to be an enabler for oil companies who were desperate to sell oil for gold, but could not do so until the yuan oil contract.   After becoming progressively stronger over the past year, it looks as thought the 6.25 level in USDCNY is providing support for the...
  • The “Turn of the Month Effect” Exists in 11 of 11 Countries
      A Well Known Seasonal Phenomenon in the US Market – Is There More to It? I already discussed the “turn-of-the-month effect” in a previous issues of Seasonal Insights, see e.g. this report from earlier this year. The term describes the fact that price gains in the stock market tend to cluster around the turn of the month. By contrast, the rest of the time around the middle of the month is typically less profitable for investors.   Due to continual monetary inflation in the...
  • Russian Gold Rush - Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Goldfinger Strikes, Sort Of This week, we saw a tweet from a prominent goldbug. He said, "Russia added another 9 tons of gold to its reserves in March. The hits just keep coming." How many errors in this short quip? We count six, exactly one error for every two words.   This one's got everything: Smersh, Spectre, Putler and Pussy Galore! [PT]   One, we call this the fallacy of the famous market actor. Russia is famous. Its purchase of 9 times is therefore imbued with...
  • Flight of the Bricks - Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      The Lighthouse Moves Picture, if you will, a brick slowly falling off a cliff. The brick is printed with green ink, and engraved on it are the words “Federal Reserve Note” (FRN). A camera is mounted to the brick. The camera shows lots of things moving up. The cliff face is whizzing upwards at a blur. A black painted brick labeled “oil” is going up pretty fast, but not so fast as the cliff face. It is up 26% in a year. A special brick, a government data brick of sorts, labeled...

Support Acting Man

Item Guides

Top10BestPro
j9TJzzN

The Review Insider

Austrian Theory and Investment

Archive

350x200

THE GOLD CARTEL: Government Intervention on Gold, the Mega Bubble in Paper and What This Means for Your Future

Realtime Charts

 

Gold in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Gold in EUR:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Silver in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Platinum in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

USD - Index:

[Most Recent USD from www.kitco.com]

 

Mish Talk

 
Buy Silver Now!
 
Buy Gold Now!
 

Oilprice.com

Diary of a Rogue Economist