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ASCE

Off The Cuff: Our D-Minus Infrastructure

We can hardly afford to maintain it, let alone rebuild it
Tuesday, February 21, 2017, 5:21 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Charles Hugh Smith discuss:

  • The War Within The Deep State
    • Which regime will triumph?
  • Our Crumbling National Infrastructure
    • Can the American empire still afford itself?
  • How The Oroville Dam Is An Omen
    • Systemic collapse always surprised with its swiftness
  • The Wrong Mindset
    • Our leaders aren't incented to care about preserving what we have
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How Bad Will It Get?

How big will the losses be? Who will bear them?
Friday, February 17, 2017, 10:45 PM

Executive Summary

  • How overvalued is the system?
  • The biggest errors that got us to this point
  • What to expect during the big reset
  • Taking necessary action

If you have not yet read Part 1: The Mother Of All Financial Bubbles, It's Time To Worryavailable free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

What will the coming reset look like when it finally arrives?

This is the operative question everybody should be asking themselves because, believe me, the bankers and politicians are already frantically at work on the only question they care about: Who, instead of us, is going to eat the losses?

Let me be clear. The coming reset is going to be very, very painful. Part of me just wants to rip the proverbial Band-Aid off and get on with it, yet part of me dreads what’s coming and is in no hurry to see it arrive. Talk about being ambivalent!

The big picture looks like this: Ray Dialo’s firm Bridgewater Associates, a mega-money management firm, put together the below chart of the IOUs of the US (most other countries look the same, so feel free to extrapolate for Japan, or most of the EU, or the UK).

There are, simply, too many promises that cannot be kept. At a recent ICV wealth conference (just this week) one of the speakers was a man named Bradley Belt, former executive director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).

I asked him if there were any possible solutions to the staggering risks posed by the data in this chart. And who, if anyone, is working on them?

He answered that... » Read more

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The Class War Playbook

There won't be one class war, but many
Friday, February 10, 2017, 8:16 PM

Executive Summary

  • Why the woes of the middle class will worsen from here
  • The tax-burdened middle class vs the "dependent" class that pays no taxes
  • The pinched middle class vs the gluttonous plutocrats
  • How the many ensuing class wars will end

If you have not yet read Part 1: The Coming Class Wars, It's Time To Worry available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part 1, we briefly surveyed the nature of class war in advanced capitalism, starting with the Marxist analysis that such conflict was inevitable. We then moved to the present: the Grand Truce that produced the middle class is eroding, social mobility is declining, and a sharp economic and cultural chasm has opened between the unprotected working class and the protected upper-middle class.

Why Is the Middle Class Eroding?

The big question is: why is the middle class eroding? Why is the longstanding accord between labor and capital breaking down? 

Peter Turchin’s recent book Ages of Discord sheds light on the historical context.  History’s economic and social cycles can be divided into two fundamental phases: integrative eras in which cooperation between competing forces is rewarded and disintegrative eras in which cooperation dissolves into conflict and discord.

Turchin’s analysis identifies three key drivers of social and economic disintegration:

1. An over-supply of labor that suppresses real (inflation-adjusted) wages

2. An overproduction of parasitic (unproductive) Elites

3. A deterioration in central state finances (over-indebtedness, declining tax revenues, increase in state dependents, fiscal burdens of war, etc.)

It’s clear that globalization, open immigration and automation are generating an oversupply of labor that is suppressing wages, especially for the lower-skilled work force (the working class).

The entitled upper-middle class that expects... » Read more

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Off The Cuff: The Message Is Propagating

Suddenly, the media is interested in our story
Friday, February 10, 2017, 10:26 AM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and I discuss:

  • Chris' recent presentation to NASA
  • The promise of our current meetings in Dallas with large media outlet
  • The recent spike in media interest in the Peak Prosperity message
  • Why the markets are "too calm" right now

While on the road, Chris and I sit down to share our observations of the fast start to 2017 that Peak Prosperity is experiencing. Likely due to the uncertainty following the US presidential election, this is the busiest start we've seen in years in terms of new audiences requesting access to the PP.com message.

I ask Chris for a debrief of his trip to Pensacola, FL last week for NASA's centennial celebration -- where he and other big brains discussed what should be NASA's priorities for the next 100 years. Then, he and I discuss the warm reception our message is receiving from the large media company we're meeting with in Dallas. » Read more

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Fight Cage

It's time we stop being the victims in this experiment
Tuesday, February 7, 2017, 11:51 AM

To my eye, society is fraying apart. People are confused, angry, isolated, and increasingly willing to fight each other. Formerly peaceful resistance is turning into violence. Our baser emotions like fear, anger -- rage, even-- are now bubbling at the surface.

It's entirely reasonable for people to be experiencing such emotions right now. But in most cases, their anger is misdirected. » Read more

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Off The Cuff: Trouble Returns To Europe

The end of the Eurozone experiment may be nigh
Friday, February 3, 2017, 11:51 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Mish Shedlock discuss:

  • Trouble In Europe
    • The end of the Eurozone experiment may be nigh
  • Our Justice System
    • Where to the Supreme Court?
  • Trump's Shake Up
    • Will he make it 4 full years?
  • Gold Strength
    • The metal and the miners are looking better

Mish returns this week to discuss the brewing stormclouds in Europe. As nationalist candidates gain popularity, growth slows, refugee challenges persist, and friction with the US builds, the binds between the countries in the Eurozone are weakening quickly.

Click to listen to a sample of this Off the Cuff Podcast or Enroll today to access the full audio and other premium content today. » Read more

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Hell, Described

It will make you sick, literally
Wednesday, February 1, 2017, 4:17 PM

There was an LA Times investigation of Oxycontin and Purdue Pharma’s behavior in introducing that pill, which is at the very heart of the opioid epidemic.  Certainly there are a lot of people in physical and emotional pain who are also seeking relief, but they are “assisted” by a pill formulation that is specifically, in a word, evil.

The basic outline of the story is that Purdue Pharma had a morphine formulation going off patent and they were shall we say eager to replace that product with another.  » Read more

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Preparing Prudently

Specific steps towards security & self-sufficiency
Friday, January 27, 2017, 8:13 PM

Executive Summary

  • Why most of those around you will not prepare, despite the obvious risks
  • Why the risks are bigger now than most realize
  • Positioning yourself ahead of the trend
  • The steps for prudent preparation

If you have not yet read Part 1: When The Rich Become Preppers, It's Time To Worry available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

People Aren’t Rational

Unfortunately, very few people make decision based on logic and/or rational calculations.  Most go by emotion.   If their pre-existing belief system is confirmed by something they will do it (or buy it, or learn it) but if not, then forget it.  Data doesn’t matter.

I am sure you’ve all encountered this in your own lives, perhaps by trying to spread the warnings of The Crash Course to otherwise intelligent, thoughtful people who somehow just cannot even bring themselves to confront the troubling data.

Not because they are unable intellectually, or even that the data is all that troubling, but usually because their belief system cannot digest the information contained therein.  One of the more dominant belief systems out there is that “the government will take care of me/us.”

This is not at all surprising given that we are raised in a very structured and authoritarian educational system.  Most of us that is.  The repetition of believing that a right answer always exists at the front of the room subtly reinforces the idea that you can trust in the hierarchies present in your culture.

And so it’s not much of a stretch to then invest that same comfort of knowing in the hierarchy of the political structure, or government, too.  To attack or undermine the idea that there is a large, benevolent set of public institutions out there is to undermine the very basis of faith in authority.

That’s a biggie for most people, and not easily dislodged.  This is why it can be so difficult to get someone to even consider storing an extra months’ worth of food in their otherwise barren pantry.  It has nothing to do with cost or space…it has to do with the new belief system that  would have to be installed first which is something along the lines of “maybe the system I trust so completely is slightly untrustworthy, and the people operating are not really as in control of it as I like to think.”

And even then, it’s not that simple.  Dislodging a belief system and installing a new one is not an intellectual process, but an emotional one.  Those are expensive for people under even the best of circumstances but really quite difficult if one lives in a country where emotions are clamped down, not permitted, drugged away, or otherwise subjugated and not allow to flow freely.

The point of all this is to be able to rotate the cube a bit and ask what happens when a mass of people suddenly all decide that their existing belief system isn’t working out anymore?

The herd is now skittish as a result of the tensions which are, in my experience, as high as they have ever been across the social fabric.

Rich people are feeling nervous because... » Read more

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Off The Cuff: Dow 20,000!!

Everything's awesome....right?
Thursday, January 26, 2017, 5:42 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and John Rubino discuss:

  • Dow 20,000!!
    • Everything's awesome....right?
  • All Hail Our Banking Overlords!
    • Manipulation and collusion abound in today's financial system
  • The Elites Are Beginning To Worry
    • Buying bunkers and retreats in a hurry
  • Hypocrisy Of The Extortionist
    • Our leaders are happy to berate the system once they leave it

The Dow Jones index just crossed the 20,000 milestone for the first time in history. The financial media is applauding, newly-elected President Trump is boasting -- should we just stop worrying and concede that everything is going great now?

Chris and John Rubino certainly don't think so. They see the Dow's 20k milestone as stark evidence of the massive set of asset bubbles created by the world's central banking cartel. Print up trillions and trillions of thin-air money and it has to go somewhere.

They lament that our political, regulatory and corporate leaders remain ignorant (willfully or cluelessly) of this. And as long as that continues, the excesses and resultant unfairness (wealth gaps, cost of living unaffordability, etc) will grow unchecked -- making the pain of the inevitable collapse that much more painful to society.

Click to listen to a sample of this Off the Cuff Podcast or Enroll today to access the full audio and other premium content today. » Read more

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Walt Kelly

Off The Cuff: Meeting The Enemy

A hard look in the mirror
Tuesday, January 24, 2017, 12:45 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Charles Hugh Smith discuss:

  • The Intelligence Wars
    • When everyone is pointing fingers, whom are we to believe?
  • The Need For Humility
    • Our current hubris is destroying the systems we depend on
  • The Enemy
    • Is our our "neo'" agenda, whichever side of the aisle it's on
  • Fixing Our Broken Healthcare System
    • Reform needs to start with our own behavior

"We have met the enemy and he is us"

~ Pogo (Walt Kelly)

This week Chris and Charles hold up a harsh mirror to American society. So many of the long-term predicaments we face are issues of our own making, pursuits that benefit an elite few at the expense of the rest of us. The good news here is that we still have time to dramatically improve our odds of a better future by choosing to make different decisions going forward. The all-important question is: But will we?

Click to listen to a sample of this Off the Cuff Podcast or Enroll today to access the full audio and other premium content today. » Read more