Poverty Report Contradicts GDP Claims

Paul Craig Roberts

It is amazing how the government manages to continue selling Brooklyn Bridges to a gullible public. Americans buy wars they don’t need and economic recoveries that do not exist.

The best investment in America is a highly leveraged fund that invests only in large cap companies that are buying back their own stocks. Many of the firms repurchasing their stocks are borrowing in order to push up their stock prices, executive “performance bonuses,” and shareholders’ capital gains. The debt incurred will have to be serviced by future earnings. This is not a picture of capitalism that is driving the economy by investment.

Neither is consumer spending driving the economy. The US Census Bureau’s 2013 Income and Poverty Report concludes that in 2013 real median household income was 8 percent below the amount in 2007, the year prior to the 2008 recession and has declined to the level in 1994, two decades ago! Even though real household income has not regained the pre-recession level and has declined to the level 20 years ago, the government and financial press claim that the economy has been in recovery since June 2009.

Neither is an increase in consumer debt driving the economy. The only growth in personal debt is in student loans.

Real retail sales (corrected with a non-rigged measure of inflation) remain at the level of the bottom of the recession in 2009. Macy’s , J.C. Penny’s, and Sears store closings are further evidence of the lack of retail sales growth, as is the fact that two of the three dollar store chains are in trouble. Walmart’s sales are declining.

The basis of auto sales hype is subprime loans and leases taken by those who cannot qualify for a loan to purchase.

Housing starts remain far below the pre-recession level, which is not surprising when available jobs are part-time with no benefits. Such jobs cannot support the formation of households and purchase of homes.

The UK’s Conservative Party Declares War on YouTube, Twitter, Free Speech and Common Sense

Michael Krieger

Some of the most memorable moments of my tabloid-filled youth consisted of watching Geraldo Rivera interviewing and confronting Neo-Nazis and racists both in his studio and on the streets. Often times, these heated encounters resulted in brawls such as the one in this video, which has over 600,000 views on YouTube.

Geraldo and many others gave “a voice” to countless hateful groups on a regular basis throughout my youth, and millions of my fellow Americans saw them and were exposed to their unenlightened and pathetic ideology. This didn’t result in hordes of youth turning to violent extremism or the beginning of a Fourth Reich. Rather, what these interviews successfully did was expose the idiocy of these groups and make them even more isolated than they were before. That is how things work in a functioning free society. You aren’t afraid of ideas, you exchange them.

On Friday, I woke up to headlines proclaiming that David Cameron had called for a criminalization of “non-violent extremism” during a speech at the UN. I thought this could be a good topic for a post, but after watching it, I decided to focus on something else. At the time, I figured it was just a politician spouting stupid nonsense as usual. It wasn’t until today that I realized his “war on free speech” was about to become a key platform of Conservative Party policy in the UK. We learn from the Guardian that:

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