The Hard Way

Thu, Mar 19, 2015 - 8:30am

We had this dirtbag cold, and we knew his racket. The boys brought him in and McCluskey and I gave him a chance to come clean. “Alright Tico, listen carefully. You know what we want. We can do this the easy way, or we can do this the hard way.” I should have saved my breath.

They always choose the hard way.

The avoidance of pain in the short-term, otherwise known as kicking the can down the road, has been the default position of our politics and culture for several generations now, and has left us with a gargantuan can that is increasingly impossible to kick. We took the easy path every single time, narrowing our options with each and every choice until there were no longer any good choices to make. Now, all we are left with is the hard way.

Not only are the signs of this everywhere, public awareness of our untenable position is growing daily, despite the best efforts of the media/establishmentarians to suppress the disquieting reality of the situation. I have noticed that core parts of Turd’s famous “TEOTGKE” hypothesis (that the great seventy-year Keynesian experiment subverting free markets and the law of supply and demand through easy money creation and central bank control of the economy is grinding to an ugly and inevitable end) are becoming more and more common in the mainstream. Conspiracy theory turning to conspiracy fact. What was once the sole province of the tinfoil-hatted, the goldbugs, and other supposed “fringe” elements is now becoming mainstream knowledge. Indeed, many of the central ideas that have animated the PM community are now leaking out into the wider consciousness in ways that are increasingly visible.

AceofSpadesHQ is a highly trafficked Libertarian leaning blog with an anarchical comments section that calls itself ‘the moron horde’. One of the regular contributors, named Monty, blogs once a week on economic news in a series he cheekily titles “DOOM!”. A recent news round-up of his featured this side-note by Monty, which could very easily have been posted at TFMR:

Still no love for us goldbugs out there in econo-land. That's okay. I've become comfortable with being the crazy uncle at the family gathering. As long as it keeps the price of the barbaric yellow metal down to affordable levels, I'll indulge the foolish love of my peers for their fiat paper. (Every time I buy something with cash, I feel an atavistic little thrill of passing off what amounts to Monopoly money for real stuff. I feel like I'm getting away with something. But then I remember that my daily wage is also being paid in those federal IOUs, and my thrill fades.) :

People are noticing the cracks, and you see glimpses of it in places you never did before. Leftist Huffington Post writer David Russell just posted an article describing, contra the official Obama narrative, how actually crappy the economy has been for the majority of working people while benefitting the top 1%.

Unsurprisingly, he fails to come to terms with the inconvenient fact that 1. His party has been in charge of this economy for six-plus years and their policies have contributed mightily the situation he now laments, yet 2. He calls for more of the same as the solution. What did surprise me was that while Russell titled his article “It’s the economy, stupid”, the very first comment to this post simply replied “It’s the government, dummy”. Not a notion I would expect to see in the HuffPo comments section.

The fact that labor force participation rate has dropped to a 37-year low has now become common knowledge, receiving mentions even in mainstream outlets like Bloomberg and Barron’s .

Yet even this frightening metric vastly understates the true degree of precariousness of our present condition. Ask yourself this question: is it realistic in today’s economy for a single person to support him or herself, AND to totally support three other people at the same time? To produce so much surplus that they feed, clothe, house, pay for medical care and all the expenses of life for three other people in addition to themselves? Well I guess it must be, because we are all doing it right now.

Total US population is around 325 million people. Government assistance is at 107 million and is now larger than the working population, which is just 100 million. We have crossed the Rubicon. Additionally, 25 million of those 100 million counted on the ‘working’ payrolls are employed by the government (and therefore, by definition, do not create wealth, profits, or surplus), so what we are left with is a system in which 75 million people are supposed to toil to create enough total wealth to support the remaining 250 million.

So out of every 4.3 people in the US, only one works to produce a surplus. Or you could say that every working, surplus-producing person has to produce enough to entirely support 3.3 people in their every need, in addition to providing for themselves. These 75 million are all that remains of the once mighty middle class in this country, the shrinking foundation upon which everything else is constructed. These people drag themselves out of bed every day, down their cup of coffee, then slog off to work to earn their keep… plus enough for 3.3 others as well. A grateful nation rewards these 75 million brave souls by besieging them with new taxes, regulations, obligations, and laws, and treats them with scornful condescension though a media and intelligentsia that disdains their "retrograde" middle class culture, sports, hobbies, and religious beliefs.

People are noticing. Professor and classical historian Victor Davis Hanson commented trenchantly on the increasing “under siege” mentality of ordinary Americans on whose backs the entire edifice rests:

For bewildered and increasingly quietist Americans, the center holds mostly in family, religion, a few friends, the avoidance of the cinema and nightly news, the rote of navigating to work and coming home, trying to stay off the dole and taking responsibility for one’s own disasters — as the world grows ever more chaotic in our midst.

Efforts to escape from the madness are now epidemic. Home-schooling. Gun ownership. A second home in the mountains. A trunk of freeze-dried food. Kids living in the basement. A generator. Some gold coins. A move to Wyoming. An avoidance of the old big cities. A careful and narrow selection of channels on cable TV. A safe room or escape plan. And on and on.

There is a strange new and dangerous sentiment brooding below the spoken surface that whatever is going on in the world and in America today cannot go on much longer…

We all know what follows from this — either the chaos grows and civilization wanes and tribalism follows, or we see the iron hand of the radical authoritarian Left or Right, or a few good people in democratic fashion convince the mob to let them stop the madness and rebuild civilization.

I hope for option three. I fear option one is more likely at home. And I assume that option two will be, as it always is, the choice abroad.


At some point in the last 40 years or so, we could have chosen short-term pain (a brief recession, fewer entitlements, balanced budgets, etc) and secured long-term stability. Instead, we chose the easy way.... every single time. Now the consequences are settling in with a finality that is becoming increasingly evident to all but the most clueless observers. A baffled, besieged middle is waking up to the fact that both parties will fight any reforms tooth and nail, that change through political processes is impossible when there is no opposition party. They are slowly starting to hunker down, withdraw, husband their resources, and wait to see what happens. Those who aren't doing these things can deny the obvious all they want, but something tells me they will learn soon enough. The hard way.

About the Author


Mar 19, 2015 - 8:44am


Marchas45 my good friend, don't let the bastards get you down. This article could be written for you or me, but remember nothing of value is easy. If it was easy we would not value it

Manipulation will occur until to the day it stops


Stack till it hurts

Mar 19, 2015 - 9:09am

Second gets silver... that's all right... Great to see you Pining. Edit: Drat, no WAY it took me 3 mins to type that... Well, bronze is plenty useful as well... :-) Take a look at the comment section of this thoroughly party-line hit-piece on Putin: Even though the comments are hosted by Facebook (and thus easily personally identifiable), there are PLENTY (if not a majority) of comments skeptical about the author's (and the US .gov's) motivations for publishing it. I find it fascinating that such a blatantly propagandistic piece would garner such comments on such an extremely mainstream site. Now back to reading P4TF's piece.

Mar 19, 2015 - 9:17am

Thanks Pining

The truth and eloquently written.

Mar 19, 2015 - 9:28am

Hat tip...hat tip...hat tip...hat tip...hat tip...

Best, most insightful, concise summation of our predicament I've seen in a long, long time.

Mar 19, 2015 - 9:32am

On Topic

This latest piece from Koos.

UN Preparing For Global Sovereign Debt Restructuring

Mar 19, 2015 - 9:33am

China Bank

European countries signing on to alternative to IMF. "Losing confidence in U.S. leadership". A strong sign of shifting mentality away from the U.S. financial system.

Safety Dan
Mar 19, 2015 - 9:41am

Pining Great Job.. Thank You..

And for another 'they are going to do it the hard way'

Low rates will trigger civil unrest as central banks lose control - BIS

Bank for International Settlements warns that low rates risk backlash as effects spill over into the real economy

The BIS warned that the low rate environment could result in a backlash from ordinary people whose savings were being eroded away Photo: AFP

By Szu Ping Chan

Low inflation, bond yields and interest rates around the world will push the boundaries of economic and political stability to breaking point if they continue on their downward trajectory, the Bank for International Settlements has warned.

The Swiss-based "bank of central banks" said the "sinking trend" of global rates would push countries further into uncharted territory.

It highlighted that $2.4 trillion (£1.6 trillion) of long-term global sovereign debt was now trading at negative yields, with an increasing number of investors willing to pay governments for the privilege of lending to them.

"As bond markets show us day after day, the boundaries of the unthinkable are exceptionally elastic," said Claudio Borio, head of the Monetary and Economic department at the BIS.

"The consequences should be watched closely, as the repercussions are bound to be significant."

The BIS warned that the low rate environment, which has already led to gaping pension deficits and lower bank profits, could risk a backlash from ordinary people whose savings were being eroded away.

It said 20 central banks had eased monetary policy over the past three months alone. Mr Borio noted that the low rate environment had become so acute that even the International Monetary Fund had set a floor on its special drawing rights - which serves as the IMF's own form of international currency.

Mapped: How central banks lost control of the world

More here:

Mar 19, 2015 - 9:42am

Thanks Pining

It is so refreshing to read the truth! I started stacking 25 years ago and felt like a lone wolf back then. I do not feel that way today.

Safety Dan
Mar 19, 2015 - 9:45am
Mar 19, 2015 - 9:46am

No Way

My Friend I'm OK!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and right behind you, AGAIN!!!!!! LMAO

Pining great read for me as I've been down the last few days and I've been reminded why I'm Stacking Everything for the Inevitable Event by you and many Turdite's on here. Thank you All. Keep Stacking

Mar 19, 2015 - 9:50am

Wiki primer on China Bank

32 countries now signed on to use the bank including many US ally countries.

The bank will clear trade in Yuan and become operational by the end of this year.

This is getting interesting real fast.

Mar 19, 2015 - 9:54am

"They are slowly starting to

"They are slowly starting to hunker down, withdraw, husband their resources, and wait to see what happens."

I live in a small town and admittedly it's sometimes hard to gauge the level of economic activity from my own window. But what I see:

Increase of second hand shops opening.

Little private sector building - only two new construction business facilities built within the past 3 years (one for social services, one was a dollar store). Some conversions of existing empty mini-mall type buildings to new use.

Restaurant business dropping off

Theater nearly empty.

No new entertainment or activity businesses opening.

State and local government paring services and benefits, but not taxes.

Increasing "nuisance laws" that carry the penalty of fines.

Definitely an "under siege" mentality.

boomer sooner
Mar 19, 2015 - 10:16am

Thanks Pining. What a great

Thanks Pining. What a great group of contributors!!! We are very lucky to have a group who can put their thoughts on "paper" in a way that is understandable and meaningful. Fantastic reads all week. Miss the podcasts tho. Can't get that tune out out my head.

Mar 19, 2015 - 10:17am

Work Force Metrics

Great article Pining!

With so many people out of the workforce maybe there is a "silver" lining ( no pun intended).

All of these people now have more time on their hands to get involved politically, make their voices heard, and demand big changes to our political process...UNLESS.....all of these people are just fine with losing middle class status and living off the governments dole. Time will tell which way it will go....and we will get what we deserve in the end.

Trying to remain cautiously optimistic.


Mar 19, 2015 - 10:29am


Pining, a metaphor, "CRACK! , it's over the wall !"

"Now the consequences are settling in with a finality that is becoming increasingly evident to all but the most clueless observers."

Unfortunately, in my world, the vast majority are clueless.

So Cal, the last to fall?

It truly is like living in the matrix after you have taken the red pill.

Mar 19, 2015 - 10:35am

Thanks Pining

I'm wrapping things up today with LT#1 and traveling home.

Normal service will resume tomorrow. In the meantime, you can see that we are still battling that same downtrend line that was the border of the pennant tow weeks ago.

Mar 19, 2015 - 11:08am

From bad to worser

Sobering thoughts, Pining!

What has my head not only spinning but reeling is that of the 75 million, a significant percentage of those are engaged in a financial industry that has been sucking the life-blood out of the economy for at least three decades now!

Mar 19, 2015 - 11:14am

Fantastic Post, Eloquent, Somber, and Captivating

Pining my friend: that was a stunning post! It captures the essence of the situation perfectly.

Let me ask you this, and please weigh in when you can:

How have the past five years changed you and your outlook, personally?

I know I have changed dramatically, and I have the scars and stack to prove it. But it is more like a somber acceptance of the reality that helpless people, unaware of reality by choice or otherwise, are just unable to comprehend what awaits. I'm a bit more jaded, but also simultaneously much more empathetic because I realize many people simple have not the capacity to accept the truth of the situation. And I realize that many people do not want freedom of choice, they want freedom FROM choice.

Your writing reflects great wisdom and exceptional insight. Thank you for all you do!

Mar 19, 2015 - 11:38am

Pining thank you

Thank you for your thought provoking article that is laid out in a way even some sheeple can grasp.

erewenguy your list of notable downturn examples is good, especially the:

"State and local government pairing services and benefits, but not taxes."

Not only is their no taxes but these government endeavors push out any private sector involvement that is of similar service.

In my left coast state of Washington many private Doctor Clinics are closing because the the insurance companies pay 30 to 40% higher fees to regional non profit community Hospitals for the same procedures as the private clinic might do. This obummercare this is dispicable!

Some years back a friend of mine had a transportation company that did some airporter services transporting people to Seatac some 80 miles away and he also got into taking people to medical appointments including vans that could service wheelchair patients. Soon the County bought some smaller wheelchair accessable buses and began the service for free to patients locally.

My friend proved he serviced the same as the county for half the cost but did have to charge a fee. My friend finally went broke as the airporter service wasn't enough by itself to keep him going. How can you compete with free?

I owned a trash collection business in the same rural county which I wasn't hauling a very high percentage of customers till I looked into the County owned Transfer Stations operations and found that they were only charging 15% fees to customers of what their actual cost was. 85% subsidized, practically free!! The county was receiving most of the revenue to pay for this service from the private landfill where my trucks unloaded. The county added on additional fees for themselves. So in essence I was competing with my own tax dollars.

I raised some hell with the county threatened to take it to the press and got them down to 60% subsidized and I gained a lot of customers after that, but I'm not sure that threat of taking it to the press would work anymore.

So when you see your state or local government doing a service it is probably because either regulation pushed out the private sector option or some jackass socialist politician with his abiding staff push these services out to the public for a much higher actual cost in most cases and the private sector can't compete.

It is no wonder State, Local and Federal government is half of our GDP. This trend couldn't happen if we didn't have government loving Progressives and a media corpse that investigates nothing anymore. We just need some accountability in our systems again. This trend also requires a monetary policy as we have to make it work.

Mar 19, 2015 - 11:45am

The Hard Way

"So out of every 4.3 people in the US, only one works to produce a surplus. Or you could say that every working, surplus-producing person has to produce enough to entirely support 3.3 people in their every need, in addition to providing for themselves. These 75 million are all that remains of the once mighty middle class in this country, the shrinking foundation upon which everything else is constructed. These people drag themselves out of bed every day, down their cup of coffee, then slog off to work to earn their keep… plus enough for 3.3 others as well. A grateful nation rewards these 75 million brave souls by besieging them with new taxes, regulations..."

I believe that the above and other paragraphs following it are true only if the USA ran a balanced budget. If that were the case the system would be sustainable. Unfortunately the government does not take in enough from businesses and working people to do so and borrows heavily to bridge the gap. It is both the contribution of the workers and the debt that support "the 3.3 people in their every need". I do not know the percentage each supports. Am I missing something Pining?

Mar 19, 2015 - 12:13pm

I Wonder

I wonder how many of the 75 million workers do not make enough to pay federal income tax. Moreover who may receive the EIC and actually take from other tax paying workers. The amount of people supporting the whole is truly tiny.

Mar 19, 2015 - 12:16pm

German TV presenter doctored Varoufakis middle-finger footage

A German TV presenter admitted faking a video showing Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis giving the middle-finger gesture to Germany, after the politician vehemently contested its authenticity.

Jan Boehmermann, host of satirical program “Neo Magazin Royale'' on public broadcaster ZDF, said he had been waiting since Sunday for someone to ask him if he had faked the controversial footage, but no one had questioned him.

“Sorry Mr Varoufakis, we won't do it again,'' he said, detailing how a production team had manipulated the video. The footage showed Varoufakis before he became finance minister speaking at a 2013 event in the Croatian capital of Zagreb. In the doctored images Varoufakis talks about the problems facing his debt-laden country, and says “stick the finger to Germany'' as he makes the offensive gesture.

The footage, originally shown during the Guenther Jauch weekly talk show on Germany's ARD channel late Sunday, prompted an immediate and vehement rebuttal by Varoufakis. He insisted on air that the video had been “doctored.’’
Jauch's show, which draws millions of viewers, said Monday it had seen “no indication whatsoever of manipulation or falsification in the video shown during the live show''.

This was a big deal in Germany, where the German term is evidently "stinkefinger."

Mar 19, 2015 - 12:24pm

Why Europe dismisses U.S. concerns to join AIIB

ROME, March 18 (Xinhua) -- The euro zone's biggest economies -- Italy, France and Germany -- join Britain in dismissing U.S. concerns and will become founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Experts say the development is a diplomatic and financial success for China, which is behind the new financial institution, and shows how Europe is prepared to look east for trade deals.

The news comes amid increased pressure on the United States to relinquish its domination of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and coincides with Chinese and European concerns over America's dominance of trade in the Pacific.

European Commission spokesperson Mina Andreeva welcomed the new European cooperation with Beijing. "Under-investment in infrastructure is a global challenge," she said, adding that "in Asia, as in Europe, there are extensive needs for investment. Increased investment in Asia's infrastructure is highly welcome and is also a business opportunity for EU companies."

Her declaration came after U.S. Secretary Treasury Jack Lew had urged caution over AIIB membership. "Whoever joins the new AIIB should first make sure it adheres to rigid standards," he said. "They must protect workers and the environment. There must be no corruption." But a joint statement by the foreign and finance ministers of Germany, France and Italy said they would work to ensure the AIIB "follows the best standards and practices in terms of governance, safeguards, debt and procurement policies."

Mar 19, 2015 - 12:26pm
Mar 19, 2015 - 12:32pm
Mar 19, 2015 - 12:34pm
Mar 19, 2015 - 12:35pm
Mar 19, 2015 - 12:44pm
Mar 19, 2015 - 12:45pm
AGAU DeaconBenjamin
Mar 19, 2015 - 1:11pm


Ha ha so Varoufakis gets to shove a "stinkefinger" at the Germans but cost free - some dumb German TV presenter did it for him you couldn'tmake that up hee hee


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