If you're beginning to get the sense that there are actually two completely separate economies out there, then you're on the right track. How else are we supposed to read the entire story of this post-Lehman “recovery”?
Rejoice! The US economy added a whopping 217,000 new jobs in May, according to the always reliable and honest Bureau of Labor Statistics! Although the headlining unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.3%, the new jobs push the total nonfarm employees back up to pre-recession level of just over 138 million. Expect to hear about this nonstop on not just the financial media, but any mainstream media you might accidentally come across in recent days. (The story is top of Google News as I write this.)
Thomas Piketty Interview
And why not? It's just another piece of good news to add to the mix. After all, US consumer confidence was up in May, perhaps heartened by the Fed's taper and the stock markets rise. Speaking of which, the S&P and the Dow are trading in record territory yet again, pushed to fresh highs on the news of Draghi's decision to send ECB rates into the negative. The hot new tech companies continue to fall from the sky; this week it's car-sharing app “Uber” which was pegged for a $10 billion valuation by investors but is now looking like it will reach $17 billion. And corporate earnings continue their more-or-less upward trajectory.
And the good news isn't just in the US. Italy, the UK, Austria, Sweden, and other Eurozone countries are expecting a significant 2% - 4% GDP boost later this year as new European Union accounting regulations force them to take drugs and prostitution into account when adding up their GDP totals. Chinese manufacturing activity was up in May, but India was up by even more. In turn, emerging stocks were up too.
My, it certainly sounds like a lovely time out there these days. Surely this means that the 2008 crisis is finally behind us, right?
But wait...if so many jobs are being created and so many people are in the workforce now, why is the labor participation rate down near historic lows? If the European recovery is so upbeat, why is Draghi cutting rates to negative in the first place? If corporate earnings and stock prices and manufacturing are so far up, why are real wages stagnating and/or falling in country after country? In short, why are things so bad when they are simultaneously so good?
If you're beginning to get the sense that there are actually two completely separate economies out there, then you're on the right track. How else are we supposed to read the entire story of this post-Lehman “recovery”? After all, what kind of recovery is it when the percentage of people of working age in the labor force are near all-time lows and people are earning less in real terms than they were before the crisis happened? The obvious answer is that it isn't a recovery at all, but perhaps the real answer isn't so obvious. You and I are the people at the bottom looking at the people with real jobs who may have been laid off during the crisis, or whose job may be hanging in the balance. But these are not the people for whom our modern economy was designed.
For the banksters, the economy really has improved. They not only received the $26 trillion in bailouts from the government during the crisis, but perhaps more importantly they've set the triple precedent: they are too big to fail, so will be bailed out whenever they are in trouble; they are too big to jail, so none of their executives will ever go to prison; and the public are unable (or unwilling) to change this state of affairs. Along with their corporate cronies and their political toadies, the elite class are enjoying the recovery quite well, thank you very much.
For their corporate cronies, they're getting everything they want. The Federal Reserve funny-money QE juice is pumping up equities, and since it's mostly hedge funds and other institutional investors who actually own stocks these days, this suits the corporate chieftains just fine.
Startling statistics from the Economic Policy Institute bear the have/have not dichotomy out. In the 28 year period from 1979 to 2007, average income in the US grew 36.9%. What that number hides, however, is how wildly disproportionate those increases are between the top 1% and the bottom 99%. In that same period, the top percent saw their income rise by an average of 200.5%. Everybody else: 18.9%. During the crisis itself, from 2009-2011, the top percent's income rose by 11.5%. Everybody else: -0.7%. We could go on. And on and on. But the point is obvious: as in every economic crisis, wealth is neither created nor destroyed, only transferred. In this case, it was concentrated in the hands of the mega wealthy. This should not be surprising to those who understand how the banksters create the money out of thin air and use their made-up funny money to keep their political cronies in line.
There are very few who would defend this state of affairs. The fascistic intertwining of state and business (and finance) is enough to set any red-blooded average Joe's blood boiling. This is a natural reaction to the process of being fleeced.
However, as always, it's what we do with that reaction that counts. Because you see the powers-that shouldn't-be-know perfectly well that this is how people will react to these types of statistics. And that's precisely why they're happy to keep it out in the open, even flaunt it. 'Yes, there are two economies, one for us and one for everybody else. Yes, we will cheat, steal, swindle and bribe who we need to in order to maintain our relative status and power. And yes, there's nothing you can do about it, but if you try we'll have that covered, too.'
Take Thomas Piketty's “Capital in the 21st Century,” the hot new Harvard University Press economics text (yes, those words just went together in the same sentence) that spends much of the book laying out the details of this rising disparity between the very rich and the very poor. And then, just as one's blood is set to maximum boil, Piketty lowers the boom: the solution to inequality? Government intervention, of course!
Yes, the very same government that is demonstrably in the back pocket of the banksters. The very same government that lets the corporate lobbyists set up shop in their Capitol Hill offices. The same government that keeps a revolving door spinning between the top positions in private business and those government offices that are supposed to regulate them. The same government that gladly passes the bills that the multinational's corporate lawyers write for them, whether they've read it or not. Yes, that government. Because, in Piketty's deluded thinking, this criminal organization known as “government” is going to be “reformed” and turned toward the public interest so that new income and wealth taxes can be instituted and fairly implemented.
OK, alright, so Piketty's small fry in all of this. Second-tier propaganda for the middlebrow masses to get behind. But this is exactly what they love to do: sell us a problem just so they can give us a phoney solution. A much more ominous solution to the income inequality problem presented itself in London last week. I'm referring of course to the meeting on “fairer capitalism” that was organized by none other than Lady de Rothschild herself, Lynn Foster de Rothschild, and some of her regular old buddies: Google executive Eric Schmidt; GlaxoSmithKline CEO Sir Andrew Witty; Larry Summers, former US Treasury Secretary; Mark Carney, the current governor of the Bank of England and the former governor of the Bank of Canada. Oh, and did I mention Bill Clinton and Prince Charles?
If this doesn't sound like an ominous meeting to you, you aren't paying attention. And it is particularly disturbing that this group of millionaires, billionaires and incalculaires (those with the ability to print money into existence) are now turning their attention to “fairer capitalism.” One wonders if any one of these globalists could have achieved their position of power and influence under a system of “fair capitalism” (whatever that means). But regardless, the ideas that such a group come up with are especially dangerous because (unlike when regular Joes like you and me get together) they have the combined power and wealth to implement almost anything they think of. That's a power that needs to be wielded as lightly as possible (if at all) during the best of times. In our current situation, however...
There's no word yet on what was discussed at the meeting, or what conclusions they came to, but we know the results of similar deliberations. We know, for example, about the Robin Hood Tax, the idea of implementing a “tiny” tax on the financial sector (yeah, because those tiny taxes really work out, don't they) in order to fulfill globalist pet projects like tackling poverty and the (fake) threat of manmade global warming. So we can no doubt imagine what pretty words they'll try to wrap their own recommendations up in, even if it is something to the effect of Bill Gates' speech on how we need to get population close to zero and how his foundation's vaccines will help him accomplish that (“oops, did I just say that out loud?”)
The point is that if we wait for some political solution to the very real problem of this two-tiered economy that has been created, we are going to be waiting an awfully long time, and when the cure arrives it will probably be worse than the disease it's treating. In fact, any attempt to get greater government oversight or control over these issues is just another pressure point that those who operate the true political power (i.e. the powers behind the throne) have to play with.
So what is the solution? For that, we may have to look to the German countryside, and a quaint little village called Löwenstedt. You see, there the residents were faced with a problem: they are spread out over 500 acres (22 kilometers) of land, and no major telecom wanted to pay the expense of running high-speed fibre-optic internet cables into the town. So the residents didn't wait for orders from headquarters, they simply acted. They went out and collected the money necessary to run a high-speed internet network themselves. No government. No middle-men. No going cap in hands to the banks. Just good old fashioned roll-up-the-sleeves-and-do-it grit. This is what it requires to really supplant these parasites that have attached themselves to the non-productive parts of our economy (the bankers and politicians): not money, not force, but the willingness to work with those around us, and the willingness to work, period.
These are qualities that were around in much greater supply the last time there was a Great Depression and crushing levels of income disparity. Let's hope we can find some way to regain them before the next one.