Friday, January 20, 2012

Welcome To The Third World, Part 4: Boomers Reap What They’ve Sown

It was fun while it lasted. We Baby Boomers got to diss our elders when we were young and borrow without restraint through middle-age. Few generations have traveled such a smooth stretch of financial/psychological highway.

But now that we’re…old…the world we created isn’t so congenial. Our savings are inadequate, jobs are scarce, and retirement, as a result, is out of reach for many of us. We are, in short, reaping what we’ve sown these past four decades. From today’s Wall Street Journal:

Oldest Baby Boomers Face Jobs Bust
Many older Americans fear they will be working well into their 60s because they didn’t save enough to retire. Millions more wish they were that lucky: Without full-time jobs, they are short of money and afraid of what lies ahead.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Stressed at work? How to rekindle job satisfaction


Your workload has increased, so have your boss’s expectations. But scaling back could mean losing your job.

Paul Baard, an organizational and motivational psychologist at Fordham University’s graduate business school in New York, knows just how stressful a work environment can get. He has consulted for athletes in the high-stakes, high-pressure world of professional sports.

What secret has he passed along to those clients? When you’re in a slump, you can still contribute by encouraging your teammates.

Rather than burdening a team with distracting self-doubt and pity, try to help others, he said. “In order to remain self-motivated, research has found that the innate psychological need for competence must be satisfied,” Baard said. “This drive pertains not only to the ability to do a job but to achieve something through it — to have impact, to contribute. A way an employee can expand opportunities to satisfy this need is to help her team succeed by encouraging others, even if her direct contributions are limited.”

Monday, January 16, 2012

Need food stamps in Florida? Prepare to be drug tested

If you find yourself falling on hard times in Florida and need to apply for food assistance, you’d better be prepared to pee in a cup. Gov. Scott on Tuesday signed a law requiring drug testing of welfare recipients.
The Scott campaign website (which is now run by the Republican Party of Florida) posted a statement from Scott boasting about the bill signing, calling it a “promise kept”:

Today, I signed HB 353, keeping my promise to require drug screening for welfare recipients.
The bill is designed to increase personal accountability and prevent Florida’s tax dollars from subsidizing drug addiction, while still providing for needy children. Parents failing the required drug test may designate another individual to receive the benefits on behalf of the children.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Many Americans gave up hope last year – 2012 will be worse

The chance of realising the American dream is receding for millions as jobs are lost, savings run out and houses are repossessed

The year 2011 will be remembered as the time when many ever-optimistic Americans began to give up hope. President John F Kennedy once said that a rising tide lifts all boats. But now, in the receding tide, Americans are beginning to see not only that those with taller masts had been lifted far higher, but also that many of the smaller boats had been dashed to pieces in their wake.

In that brief moment when the tide was indeed rising, millions of people believed that they might have a fair chance of realising the "American Dream". Now those dreams, too, are receding. By 2011, the savings of those who had lost their jobs in 2008 or 2009 had been spent. Unemployment cheques had run out. Headlines announcing new hiring – still not enough to keep pace with the number of those who would normally have entered the labour force – meant little to the 50-year-olds with little hope of ever holding a job again.

The cause of this recession? Economic pundits ignoring history's voice

As long as factional interests like bankers or economists override common sense, there will be another crash

The Queen, reported the Daily Mail, was wearing a speckled cream suit and matching hat. Her Majesty was at the London School of Economics, listening to a professor, Luis Garicano, talk about the credit crunch. "It's awful," she said suddenly. "Why did nobody see it coming?"

For three years I have pondered the Queen's question, and the answer. (LSE was institutionally flummoxed; a year later, it gave her a waffly reply, that "everyone thought they were doing the right thing," and that "wishful thinking was combined with hubris".) It resurfaced last Tuesday with the publication of the Financial Services Authority report into its own conduct of the 2008 collapse of RBS and the attendant chaos. It is like expecting the Cosa Nostra to investigate the mafia. We are all sinners, ruminated the FSA, and need forgiveness, but no one was really to blame. It is a rough old world.

How the Recession Changed Young People’s Attitudes About Money



Everyone knows someone who grew up during the Great Depression, and as a result, eats green beans out of the can and sews up holes in socks.

The recently released Charles Schwab 2011 Teens & Money Survey (PDF) suggests that, in some small way, the recession may have instilled a similarly conscious attitude about money in young people who lived through (or are living through, as 80% of teens surveyed did not feel that the recession was over as of late February and early March of this year) The Great Recession. Some highlights from the data, which comes from an online survey of 1,132 American teens between the ages of 16-18:

    “93% say their family was impacted by the recession (55% say ‘a little’ and 38% say ‘a lot’).”
    “64% say they are more grateful now for what they have.”
    “58% say they are less likely to ask for things they want.”
    “73% say it’s important to have enough emergency savings in case times get tough.”
    “77% describe themselves as “super savers,” and only 23% say they’re “big spenders.”

That’s the good news. The bad news is that the generation that was raised on the self-esteem movement has unrealistically high expectations for their careers. The average teen expects to earn a starting salary of $73,000. The national average for new college grads is just $50,034, meaning that students who sign up for student loan payments based on their salary expectations are likely headed for disaster.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

THE AMERICAN DIVIDE

Pew Survey: Class Conflict Now Biggest Source Of Tension In The U.S.

Significantly more Americans see "very strong" or "strong" class conflict between the rich and poor, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center. The results show that Americans think that conflicts between the rich and poor are stronger than immigrant and native born, black and white and young and old.

In 2009, 47 percent of respondents said there were "very strong" or "strong" conflicts between the rich and poor. In 2011, 66 percent saw the same, possibly signaling that the "We are the 99 percent" rhetoric of Occupy Wall Street has had an impact. The ongoing economic recession also may have magnified class differences as income inequality has risen, continuing a trend occurring in American society since at least the 1970s.

Democrats in general -- and President Barack Obama in specific -- have also spoken out about income inequality. "Now, this kind of inequality -- a level that we haven't seen since the Great Depression -- hurts us all," Obama said in a December speech in Kansas. The GOP front-runner for the presidency, Mitt Romney, has in turn charged Obama with promulgating the "politics of envy" and said that discussions over the distribution of wealth were "fine" to talk about "in quiet rooms in discussions about tax policy."

Media mentions about income inequality have also risen significantly since the start of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The Pew survey found that whites had significantly larger increases in perception of class conflict than blacks and hispanics, rising to 65 percent from 43 percent in 2009. Seventy-four percent of blacks and 61 percent of hispanics see class conflicts, increasing by single digits from 2009.

The perception of class conflict has also intensified -- 30 percent see "very strong conflicts," a figure that doubled from 2009. marking the largest increase since the question was first asked in 1987.

Other social conflicts were less intense. Thirty-eight percent of Americans saw "very strong" or "strong" conflicts between blacks and whites, virtually unchanged from 2009, and 62 percent saw "very strong" or "strong conflict" between immigrants and native born, up 7 percent from 2009. Thirty-four percent saw "very strong" or "strong" conflicts between young and old, up 11 percent from 2009.

Grievances, however, against the wealthy did not increase, with 46 percent saying that rich people "are wealthy mainly because they know the right people or were born into wealthy families," and 43 percent saying they are wealthy because "of their own hard work, ambition or education."

Young people -- suffering the highest levels of unemployment -- see class conflict significantly more than older people, with 71 percent of people aged 18 to 34 seeing "very strong" or "strong" class conflicts while just 55 percent of people over 65 see them.

Republicans see class conflict less than Democrats and independents. GOP leaders have dismissed calls to raise taxes on the wealthy, calling it "class warfare." Still, 55 percent of Republicans see "strong" or "very strong" class conflicts in comparison to 73 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of independents.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Gerald Celente: Money Junkies and The Coming "Bank Holiday" 1/2

On the Tuesday edition of the Alex Jones Show, Alex talks with noted trends forecaster Gerald Celente on the latest concerning the MF Global heist. Celente also covers the top 12 trends of 2012. Celente is on the record for accurately forecasting and naming the current "Great Recession" and for forecasting the 1987 Stock Market Crash, the Dot-com bust, Gold Bull Run to Begin, 2001 Recession, the Real Estate bubble, the "Panic of '08", Tax Revolts, and the coming "Greatest Depression."

2012 PREDICTIONS, TRENDS & INSIGHTS must watch video !!!!!

2012 predictions may not be what you want to here although there is some good news, the fact is that things will get worse for the majority, and for the global economy. Something big is coming, will it take place in 2012? My gut says yes. In this video I cover everything from global financial markers to civil war in America (yes America) and Iraq. The coming war with Iran, the Chinese bubble economy, and much, much more. I have tried to cover many of your questions and concerns as well. Hope you enjoy.

Death of the Dollar, Again: Before You Mourn, See This Chart

The following article is based on analysis from Robert Prechter’s Elliott Wave Theorist. For more insights from Robert Prechter, download the 75-page eBook Independent Investor eBook. It’s a compilation of some of the New York Times bestselling author’s writings that challenge conventional financial market assumptions.

If you want the latest news on the U.S. Dollar Index, try a search under its new ticker symbol, RIP. — as in, “rest in peace.” Let the record show: In the early morning hours of Tuesday, October 6, the mainstream financial community officially declared “The Demise of the Dollar” (The Independent).
The “coroner’s report” cites these details as the causes of death:

Feel like the recession never ended? That’s because we’re still in one

“Why does it still feel like a recession? Economist Richard Koo has a simple explanation (pdf below, via Krugman): We’re still in a recession. “

This kind of recession Koo is talking about is not a technical recession. After all, the economy is technically growing — slowly, imperceptibly, like the turning of the earth. But upon closer inspection, we’re in a shadow recession he and other economists call a “balance sheet recession.” That means that just about everybody in the Western World — households, corporations, and sometimes even governments — is focused on paying off our balance sheets (i.e.: paying off debt) at the same time. That’s nice for our balance sheets. But it’s a horrible way to jumpstart a weak economy.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fake "Mitt Romney" Endorses Ron Paul before Iowa Caucus

The video begins with a costumed actor saying, "I am Fake Mitt Romney, which makes me remarkably like the real Mitt Romney... I took a break from picking up a check at Goldman Sachs to talk to you, America." He then asks viewers to skip the video, because they will most likely change their vote to Ron Paul after watching.

"With the impersonation, we wanted to exaggerate Romney's most defining features" says Stephen Oskoui, Co-founder of Endorse Liberty. "Writing our script was easy, because the real Mitt Romney is as much an actor as the guy in our video. It seems like everything he says is filtered through focus groups. We also wanted to point out that Romney's top contributors are all banks like Goldman Sachs that took billions in bailouts from American taxpayers. Contrast that with Ron Paul's top contributors; the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Army, and the U.S. Navy."

Outlook for 2012: Total Collapse of Society and The End of Internet Freedom

On this first live show of 2012, Alex takes a large number of your calls and talks about the latest news, including the Iowa caucus tomorrow and Ron Paul's chances as the Republican establishment plots against him and pushes the script-reading warmongers Mitt Romney and the recently come-from-behind candidate Rick Santorum, who has proposed air strikes on Iran.

Alex also talks about the concerted effort by the corporate media to fiddle with poll results in order to downplay Ron Paul's obvious lead in the eleventh hour before the caucus. Alex takes a look at the police state NDAA legislation signed into law by Obama, who promises he will not send the military to arrest American citizens and strip them of their rights under the Fourth Amendment.

How to Find the Perfect Place to Retire: From Recreation to Real Estate

With more unemployed Americans choosing to retire rather than continue their frustrating job searches, many retirees are currently in the process of downsizing and looking for a new retirement rental lease or piece of real estate. Based on surveys of retirees, the following are cited as the seven most important components of retirement real estate.

Cost of Living
Almost 100% of retiree moves are primarily motivated by cost of living; how many retirees have you known to move from Mississippi to Hawaii? The availability of affordable rental lease or real estate prices, of low cost but high quality food, and entertainment that doesn’t break the budget are all critically important to a fulfilling and comfortable retirement.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Ron Paul Talks Gold Standard

Presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) spoke with Judge Andrew Napolitano, host of FOX Business News “Freedom Watch”, about his belief in the gold standard and the current state of U.S. monetary policy. Paul discusses the transition from fiat currency back to the gold standard by legalizing gold and silver tender without having a fixed exchange rate between the two currencies. Judge Napolitano questions whether there is a possibility of a true gold standard that allows exchange between the two, and Paul responds that while that scenario is a long way off, the current system cannot sustain itself and that an audit of the Federal Reserve is a good place to begin reform. For more on this continue reading the following article from Tim Iacono.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) appeared on Fox Business News yesterday to talk about the nation’s money and a return to the gold standard in the unlikely event that he’s elected president.



His discussion of the U.S. dollar throughout American history reminded me of a Wall Street Journal book review yesterday by James Grant that, from what I could tell, was a lot better than the book – Greenback Planet by H.W. Brands. From the book review:

Best Small Businesses To Start In 2012

Looking to start a small business in the new year? If so, make sure to consider these industry segments. Whether looking to buy into a franchise, or start your own business, these 5 industries promise to be in high demand in the the coming year. For more on this, continue reading the following article from The Street.

What are the hottest industry segments going into 2012?

The overall economy may have a stubborn gray(ish) cloud above it, but there are a more than a few industries with significant expectations for growth in the new year.

"The recent economic conditions have been a game changer, redefining the term 'job security,'" says Brian Miller, president and COO of The Entrepreneur's Source, a franchise consulting firm.

Many unemployed workers are turning to entrepreneurism, specifically owning a franchise, as a way to become self-sufficient, Miller says. A typical question from clients: What industries are expected to grow the most over the next decade?

40% of Millionaires Vanish! To the food line with the Rest of us!

Recently released IRS figures show that the number of millionaires has declined 39 percent since 2007, leaving those millionaires who remain to continue paying the lion's share of taxes, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Figures for these disappearing millionaires go a long way toward explaining why federal tax revenues have sunk to 15 of GDP in recent years: The loss of millionaires accounts for at least $130 billion of the higher federal budget deficit in 2009.

They also suggest that if Warren Buffet truly wants to reduce the deficit, encouraging policies that create more millionaires would be smarter than not campaigning to tax the remaining ones more.

Nearly four of 10 millionaires vanished in two years, and the total taxes they paid in 2009 declined to $178 billion, a drop of 42 percent.

The Rich Get Poorer as Number of Millionaires Declines 

Article Source

Something Wicked this Way Comes

The year 2011 has almost reached its end. Some say, at the point of a major psychic shift, time seems to speed up – known as the Quickening. While I am not a predictor of the future, my eyes can in fact see through the veil of lies and illusions. The good news is, I am not the only one who senses something is amiss with our current world-state. Regardless of my belief that there is a predetermined agenda being orchestrated against the people of the world, you also will have to face the coming Brave New World System.
The internet has been a scourge to this hidden agenda, as bloggers everywhere are continuing to sound the alarm of impending doom. While I cannot stop the coming changes, I can raise my voice until the masses wake up, for only then can we subdue the powerful Elitist class. Without rehashing all the devastating events caused by the Elites – dollar debasement, terrorism fears, wealth distribution etc. – we need to discuss ways to protect against these calamities.

Regardless what country you are from, the hedges I am suggesting are universal to all. We are all one family, even though a small cabal of Elitists would tend to disagree.

Fake! Fake! Fake! Fake!

In discussing the recent release of some 5,000 Climategate e-mails, blogger Anthony Watts uses the clever headline "They are real -- and they're spectacular." He credits Jerry Seinfeld as the source. Following his example, I choose the headline "Fake! Fake! Fake! Fake!" -- also taken from a Seinfeld episode -- in discussing the surface temperatures generally reported for the latter part of the 20th century; they form the science basis for prosperity-killing international climate policy.

Here I am using the word "fake" as an adjective, and not as a verb. I mean to say that the scientific conclusions derived from such temperatures are not real, but I don't imply that the values themselves have been purposefully altered or adjusted. We simply don't have any information to support such an accusation.

But I do claim that the commonly reported and accepted warming between 1978 and 2000 is based only on thermometers from land surface stations and is not supported by any other evidence that I could find. Specifically, ocean data (from 71% of the earth's surface) and global atmospheric data (as recorded by satellites and independent balloon-borne radiosondes) do not show such a warming at all. In addition, most proxy data, from non-thermometer sources such as tree rings, ocean sediments, ice cores, stalagmites, etc., show no warming during this same crucial period. (One has to be careful in this analysis since the year 1998 shows a major warming spike caused by a Super-El Niño. But by 1999 and 2000, temperatures had returned to pre-1998 values.)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Glenn Greenwald: The Real Reason the GOP Primary Is a Pathetic, Incompetent Clown Show

Because Barack Obama has adopted so many core Republican beliefs -- particularly in the realm of foreign policy -- the Republican race is a shambles.

American presidential elections are increasingly indistinguishable from the reality TV competitions drowning the nation's airwaves. Both are vapid, personality-driven and painfully protracted affairs, with the winners crowned by virtue of their ability to appear slightly more tolerable than the cast of annoying rejects whom the public eliminates one by one. When, earlier this year, America's tawdriest (and one of its most-watched) reality TV show hosts, Donald Trump, inserted himself into the campaign circus as a threatened contestant, he fitted right in, immediately catapulting to the top of audience polls before announcing he would not join the show.

The 10 Most Dangerous Meds Driving America's Pill Crisis

More Americans now die from prescription pills than car accidents. The nation's response to the trend will define an era, but corporate influence threatens reform.

For the first time in nearly a century, automobile accidents are no longer the nation’s leading cause of accidental deaths, according to a major report released Tuesday by the National Center for Health Statistics. The new number one killer is drugs—not smack, crystal meth or any other stepped-on menace sold in urban alleyways or trailer parks, but bright, shiny pills prescribed by doctors, approved by the government, manufactured by pharmaceutical companies and sold to the consumer as “medicine.” Yet of the billions of legit pills Americans pop every year for medical conditions serious and otherwise, the vast majority of lives are claimed by only a select few classes—painkillers, sedatives and stimulants—that all share a common characteristic: they promote abuse, dependence and addiction.

The Dollar: Soon to Swoon?

Bearish pronouncements on the greenback from Buffett and Pimco add to the market's unease. Here's what investors need to know

Reports of the demise of the U.S. dollar may be premature. But when some of the world's most powerful investors are warning of the currency's decline, investors take notice.

Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) Chief Executive Warren Buffett warned in a New York Times op-ed on Aug. 19 that the U.S. debt load threatened to turn the U.S. into a "banana republic economy."

A flood of greenbacks from the Federal Reserve and the Obama and Bush Administrations may be necessary now to prop up the ailing economy, Buffett said. But the government must control its debt in the future—or risk the consequences.

How Inequality Hurts the Economy

The gap between the rich and the rest makes for short recoveries


The public discussion about the widening gap between rich and poor hasn’t been this loud since the Great Depression. Warren Buffett has condemned the disparity, Occupy Wall Street has inveighed against it, President Barack Obama cites it to justify higher taxes on the wealthy. Much of the debate, though, has focused on inequality’s moral dimension. Somehow it just doesn’t seem right that so many Americans struggle while a handful prospers. What many are missing is the actual impact rising inequality is having on the U.S. economy. Hint: It isn’t good.

Since 1980 about 5 percent of annual national income has shifted from the middle class to the nation’s richest households. That means the wealthiest 5,934 households last year enjoyed an additional $650 billion beyond what they would have had if the economic pie had been divided as it was in 1980, according to Census Bureau data.

The typical U.S. household, meanwhile, has yet to regain the ground it lost during the recession. The median income of $49,445 at the end of 2010 remains a shade below the level reached in 1997, adjusted for inflation. “Income inequality in this country is just getting worse and worse and worse,” says James Chanos, president and founder of money managers Kynikos Associates. “And that is not a recipe for stable growth.”