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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Even Main Stream Media Figures out Few Can Afford the American Dream


Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…


 

ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources


"To oppose corruption in government
is the highest obligation of patriotism."

-- G. Edward Griffin
Historian, Author
Source: his book, The Freedom Manifesto

 


If you haven’t heard already, the sandwich chain Subway raised the cost of its $5 footlong specials to $6, effective last week.

“We launched the $5 footlong in 2007,” said a Tweet from the company on Tuesday. “Since then our costs have gone up greatly, but we try to balance that with promotions.”

Say this much: Subway is more or less keeping pace with the government’s bogus consumer price index. Using CPI as a yardstick, the $5 footlong of 2007 should cost $5.71 now.

I’ve written for years that government stats on inflation and labor are pretty mere nonsense used to bolster whatever party is in power.  The reality for the United States is that the wealthiest 62 people now own as much as half the world’s population, or 3.5 billion people according to a new study by Oxfam.  The wealth of the richest 62 people has risen 44 percent since 2010, while the wealth of the poorest 3.5 billion has fallen 41 percent during that time! 

Mrs. Clinton raked in more than $600 million in speaking fees alone from the Wall Street, the very firms which very nearly destroyed this country a few years ago but she wants you to believe she will protect you as our President…minorities are still falling for her nonsense.

Another survey has found that there is nowhere on the entire planet where the average wage earner is making enough money to live “the American Dream”.  Once upon a time, the United States had the largest and most prosperous middle class in the history of the world, but now the middle class makes up a minority of the population, 51 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year, and poverty is growing rapidly.  The American Dream is essentially dead, and even the mainstream media is starting to figure this out.

Just today, someone sent me a U.S. News & World Report article entitled “Even Americans Can’t Afford the American Dream”. The following is an excerpt from that article

The study goes country by country, factoring in average local wages and prices to calculate the regional costs of luxuries such as midsize homes (by U.S. standards, 1,480 square feet); electricity and high-speed Internet; cars and enough money for gasoline; food for a family of four; and enough disposable income to periodically dine out and attend movies or other events.

Researchers ultimately found there isn’t a country on the map whose average wage earner could afford all of these expenses together. What’s more, average consumers in Saudi Arabia and Oman are actually closer to financing these socioeconomic goals than the average American. The average Saudi household would only need to see monthly salaries climb by about $74 to realize the American dream in their own country, while U.S. workers would need hundreds of dollars in additional income.

Friends of mine in the real estate business in Arizona saw residential home prices rebound to unaffordable rates recently but confided to me during my recent trip that they expect another crash soon.

For decades I have warned that government policies have hollowed out our middle class and that it made long term prospects much dimmer than those of our parents.  We have witnessed the folly and creative destruction of liberal policies of politicians from both sides of the aisle destroy millions of formerly secure livelihoods.

Economics isn’t complicated. The Universal Law of Prosperity is very simple: produce more than you consume.

Despite the “rosy” jobs picture painted by the Obama White House, more people are falling into poverty than ever before…that might explain why that auto industry leases more cars than it sells despite offering six and seven year financing deals!



As our nation hits the $19 trillion debt mark citizens are going deeper into debt again as well using credit cards at unprecedented rates.  During our trip I noticed it was not uncommon to see folks swipe a card for a $2 charge – that’s pitiful in my book [I don’t want to hear the nonsense about building points for this BS or that BS, it just makes no sense to me].

The USA cannot afford to fix its own infrastructure or pay decent wages and is becoming a third world nation by many accounts.  The odds of another major recession in the US are the highest since 2011, according to a CNBC survey of money managers, economists and strategists – about 29% this year!




Additional Resources…

·  How to Sell Your Stuff at Consignment Getting the most for your old stuff


 

·  Cheap Emergency Foods We Often Overlook
Did you know that you can get 'prepper' foods at your local grocery store?

 


 

Money-Making Mom: How Every Woman Can Earn More and Make a Difference by Crystal Paine: I picked this book up in the airport yesterday and enjoyed the read (even though I'm not a mom). Now my wife is reading it. It's a great source of motivation, particularly for mom's looking to make extra income from home.

 

The Alpha Strategy: The Ultimate Plan of Financial Self-Defense for the Small Investor.


The Alpha Strategy is a refreshing, common-sense idea that can completely and permanently insulate your assets from all investment risks, including inflation, depression, taxation, and market manipulation. In the rush for illusory profits promised by investment hucksters, there is a very good reason why The Alpha Strategy has been overlooked: because it totally thwarts the investment schemes that allow others to profit at your expense. It prevents anyone in the financial industry from chipping away at your wealth.

Best explanation I've read of the inner workings of our Federal Reserve System, and well-worth the read just for that. Clear explanation of basic economic principles, and the nefarious impact of government intervention--put simply, bureaucrats destroy value (through price controls), demand taxes, and cause inflation (monetizing debt), thereby stealing your money in three ways.

The second half of the book is devoted to preserving wealth in the face of inflation. Some say that inflation is no longer a problem and they scoff at tangibles (even as the purchasing power of your dollar plunges), but the lessons found here are worth considering, in case they're wrong…older hardbound that is still worth the read. [Hardbound, 1980, 280pp] To order a hardcopy version, go here:


Use this link to get a free PDF version:


Yours for better living,

Bruce, the Poor Man

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Will 2016 Spell the End of the Dollar?


Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…


 

ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources


Is 2016 the Year of the Dollar Collapse?


By Simon Black
 

"The entire American political system is a con, a sleazy mix of
legalized bribes, auctioning off of favors, revolving doors between
government agencies and the corporations they enrich and the blatant
hypocrisy of snake-oil salespeople who know the marks (voters) face a
false choice between two parties that are the same poison sold under
different labels."

-- Charles Hugh Smith
American writer
Source: If Your BS Detector Isn't Shrieking, It's Broken, June 08, 2015

 


On September 4, 1993, President Bill Clinton spoke about the American Dream in a weekly radio address….

He told his audience that “in America, the idea is that if you work hard and play by the rules, you’ll be rewarded with a good life for yourself and a better chance for your children.”

That’s what America used to stand for, and indeed much of the Western world. Freedom. Truth. Hard work and fair play. Building a better life.

But those ideals have all but faded now, displaced by a new normal of war, debt, government surveillance, freedom-killing bureaucracy, and a monetary policy that decimates responsible, hard-working people for the benefit of a tiny elite.

In his end-of-year commentary in the Washington Post, writer George Will summed up 2015 citing example after example of government overreach and excess--

  • The value of property seized by the US federal government through Civil Asset Forfeiture exceeded the value of property stolen by burglars and thieves
     
  • Florida police raided a Mahjong game played by four women aged 87 through 95 because they were *gasp* betting with their own money
     
  • New Jersey police arrested a 72-year old retired schoolteacher for illegally carrying a firearm-- a 300-year old flintlock pistol he had purchased from an antique dealer
     
  • A 9-year old in Florida was threatened with sexual harassment charges for writing love notes to a girl saying that her eyes sparkled like diamonds

George Will’s list, of course, barely scratched the surface of the tip of the iceberg

2015 was the year that the middle class was officially vanquished in the Land of the Free, with its share of the population falling to just 50%.

US federal debt reached nearly $19 trillion in 2015, an increase of almost $750 billion during the calendar year.

The US government published over 80,000 pages of new regulations, making it nearly impossible to understand ‘the rules’, let alone play by them.

But with each successive law and regulation, they tighten their stranglehold on the financial system, to the point that even the most innocuous activity is considered grounds for suspicion.

As a result of these ridiculous AML [anti-money laundering bills] laws, walking around with too much cash is now considered an indication of criminal activity.

And thanks to the Civil Asset Forfeiture rules in the Land of the Free, police have the authority to confiscate your cash.

There’s no trial. No jury. They simply steal your money.

Believe it or not, the AML rules also apply to coin and jewelry dealers. So buying too much gold is now an indication of money laundering.

Having too many transactions in your bank account is considered ‘suspicious activity’.

(Of course, if you have too little financial activity, your bank account can be considered ‘dormant’ and turned over to the state.)

Even going to the bank to withdraw your own money is now considered suspicious. It’s madness.

The latest craze for the anti-money laundering crusaders is going after people who buy luxury real estate without a mortgage.

Last week the US Treasury Department issued new ‘rules’ demanding substantial scrutiny over real estate transactions involving more than $3 million in New York City, and $1 million in Miami.

Property buyers will now have to jump through all sorts of bureaucratic hoops to prove that they aren’t criminals or financing terrorists.

Plus anyone who buys real estate through trusts and corporate entities must now publish the details of the ultimate beneficiary.

This is bad news for George Clooney who owns property through his “George Guilfoyle Trust”.

And Leonardo Di Caprio. And nearly every other celebrity out there, who, for obvious privacy reasons, don’t attach their names to the properties they buy.

(Barack Obama has done the same thing, as neither he nor Michelle is listed as the official property owner at the couple’s multi-million dollar mansion in Chicago.)

It’s quite sad that seeking a little bit of privacy to be left alone in your own home is now considered possible grounds for criminal activity. But it really fits the trend.


Every month, every week, often every day, there’s something else. There’s a new rule. A new restriction.


It’s strange that the government is willing to make life more difficult for 99.99% of the population because of the actions of a handful of people who might be criminals.

2015 also saw the passing of incomprehensibly terrible laws, including the USA Freedom Act, which restored many of the worst parts of the PATRIOT Act that were set to expire.

Then there was the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, passed at the end of the year, which officially turns the Land of the Free into a gigantic information-sharing surveillance state.

And of course the 2015 spending bill, which as of 3 days ago, allows the US government to strip you of your passport if they believe in their sole discretion that you owe them money.

These are hardly the actions of a solvent, trustworthy government, or a nation that’s on the right track.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that this story doesn’t have a happy ending.

We can pretend that this time is different, that this country is different, that there is some special sauce that allows this government to run massive imbalances forever.

But deep down we all know the truth... and where this is headed.

I’ve read no shortage of apocalyptic predictions suggesting that 2016 is the year of the dollar collapse. Or the global economic collapse.

Or something else that invariably ends in the word ‘collapse.’

I don’t believe that. First, no one can credibly answer the question “when?”

“We’ve seen a dramatic slowdown in consumer spending… When sales actually fall from November to December during the holiday season, you are in recession.”

Governments have surprised us all with their uncanny ability to kick the can down the road and delay the repercussions of their folly.

But I don’t really think the question of ‘when’ is relevant.

Nearly every major western government is insolvent. Entire monetary and financial systems are insolvent.

Governments have destroyed their own middle classes, giving rise to the greatest wealth gap that has existed since the Great Depression.

The risks are obvious. And you either stick your head in the sand and ignore them, or you take steps to reduce their impact on your life.

It’s like anything else -- if you live in a wildfire zone, you get fire insurance. And you’ll never be worse off for having good coverage on your home to protect your family.

Having a Plan B just makes sense, regardless of whether a major disaster occurs in 2016, next year, or never.

We can’t see the future, we can only see the risks today. Develop a Plan B that addresses those risks, and you’ll never have to worry about the future again
 

NOTE:  Long time readers have witnessed my similar thoughts and predictions for several years now and perhaps the time has finally arrived to truly button down your hatches…

I think the results are even worse than portrayed in the results presented by the Census Bureau. Retail sales grew by only 2.2% in 2015 versus 2014. That is significantly less than the real inflation being experienced by real people, so on an inflation adjusted basis they fell. Even the 2.2% increase is artificially pumped up by the Fed induced auto debt fueled boom in car sales (or long-term rentals in reality). The 7 year 0% auto loans, subprime auto loans to deadbeats, and record levels of auto leases have created fake demand that will end in tears when the defaults skyrocket. If you remove these fake sales, then total retail sales are up a pitiful 0.9% over 2014.

When you realize that two of the few strong sales categories were autos (7.5%) and furniture stores (5.8%), you can put your thinking cap on and realize the 7 year 0% financing scam is solely responsible for these sales. Reducing credit score criteria and extending loan terms always works. Right? The other relatively strong area was internet sales (6.3%). Amazon and the rest of the on-line retail segment continues to destroy the bricks and mortar retailers, but even these sales are slowing. They were up a weak 0.3% from November. Before the states started taxing internet sales and it was still a newer concept, the annual growth rates were 15% to 20%, so the 6.3% growth rate is rather unimpressive.

Sincerely,

Simon Black
Founder,
SovereignMan.com

Useful Stuff You Can Share…

 
Homemade Toiletries and Lotions


Luxury lotions at a fraction of the price!


6 questions affecting your money in 2016


The New Year's big financial questions involve interest rates, jobs, oil prices and more

 
A well stocked pantry is a wonderful savings tool. Keeping it organized allows you to find those savings!




 

My gift to you:

The Poor Man’s Essential Survival Package

 

--The Doctors Protocol: Secrets of Survival

--How to Survive the Coming Economic Collapse

--Guide to Self Reliant Living

--Becoming Self Sufficient for Six Months

--How I Found Freedom in an Un-free World


 

Yours for surviving tough times,

Bruce the “Poor Man”

Non illegitimate carborundum – Don’t let the bastards wear you down!

The fates be willing I will be out of town for a week or so taking a break, visiting old friends and attending to some business…see you soon!

 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Free State Project: Finding Liberty in America


Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…


 

ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources

 

The Free State Project: Escape to Liberty


 


"If you want a Big Brother,
you get all that comes with it."

-- Erich Fromm
(1900-1980)
Source: Escape from Freedom

 

I’ve written about this project off and on for over a dozen years now and they are making progress.  As America becomes more and more restrictive and as the un-Patriot Act and life-long political leaches chip away at our Bill of Rights, this movement is looking better and better…here’s an update:

 

The FSP is, according to its website, “an effort to recruit 20,000 liberty-loving people to move to New Hampshire.”

Hatched in 2001, the FSP wants 20,000 libertarians to quit their jobs, sell their homes (if they own a home, that is) and relocate to the Granite State.
Let’s take a look at why this project shows promise.

First and foremost, the FSP makes a pretty convincing case for moving to the state. We can’t imagine anyone would think, on paper at least, that New Hampshire would be a bad place to live. Libertarian or not.

Just take a look at FSP’s video called
101 Reasons to Move to New Hampshire.

Here are just the first six…

  1. No sales tax
  2. No income tax
  3. No capital gains tax
  4. No inventory tax
  5. No machinery tax
  6. No eminent domain

Bottom line, New Hampshire, year after year, has been ranked #1 in the country for quality of life and livability.

Here are three Quality of Life stats that stand out to us.

ONE: “New Hampshire residents,” the FSP website reads, “rank #1 in knowledge of fundamental economics and financial concepts.”

In a FINRA Investor Education Foundation Financial Capability Survey, conducted nationwide, the Granite State scored first in the nation in areas of financial knowledge and decision making -- AKA “financial literacy.”

Imagine that…

A state filled with people who understand economics not just theoretically, but how it applies to everyday life. That’s an interesting experiment in itself.

TWO: “New Hampshire is the 5th healthiest state in the nation.”

New Hampshirites, despite its “high prevalence for binge drinking,” according to Health.com, “are more active than most Americans, enjoy a low rate of infectious diseases, and have a low infant mortality rate.”
THREE: Moreover, the FSP website reads, “With the lowest homicide rate in the country, New Hampshire consistently ranks as the safest state.

Not one of the safest… the safest.

It also boasts the largest homeschooling networks… strong self-defense laws… the highest number of Bitcoin transactions in the U.S. per capita (meaning, an openness to dollar alternatives)… the highest median income… and the lowest poverty rate in the U.S.

You can check out all 101 reasons at the Free State Project’s website here.

From the looks of it, as mentioned, the FSP is working.

Upon writing, 18,643 Americans have pledged to move to the state within the next five years -- amounting to 93% of their goal of 20,000.


As you know, we’re always on the lookout for ways to live free in an unfree world.

If you don’t like the idea of leaving the country in search of those greener pastures, New Hampshire could be a great option within the borders

 

RELATED:  The Case for a Convention of States…Sign the petition & get involved in helping to get Washington off our collective backs…


 

 

SIDEBAR:

The Royal Bank of Scotland recently told its clients that 2016 is going to be a “cataclysmic year” and that they should “sell everything”


According to RBS, the logical thing to do is to “sell everything” excerpt for high quality bonds…

“Sell everything except high quality bonds,” warned Andrew Roberts in a note this week.

He said the bank’s red flags for 2016 — falling oil, volatility in China, shrinking world trade, rising debt, weak corporate loans and deflation — had all been seen in just the first week of trading.

We think investors should be afraid,” he said.

And of course RBS is not the only big bank issuing these kinds of ominous warnings.

The biggest bank in America, J.P. Morgan Chase, is “urging investors to sell stocks on any bounce”

J.P. Morgan Chase has turned its back on the stock market: For the first time in seven years, the investment bank is urging investors to sell stocks on any bounce.

“Our view is that the risk-reward for equities has worsened materially. In contrast to the past seven years, when we advocated using the dips as buying opportunities, we believe the regime has transitioned to one of selling any rally,” Mislav Matejka, an equity strategist at J.P. Morgan, said in a report.

Aside from technical indicators, expectations of anemic corporate earnings combined with the downward trajectory in U.S. manufacturing activity and a continued weakness in commodities are raising red flags.

Major banks have not talked like this since the great financial crisis of 2008/2009

 

Grab these freebies while you still can – donations appreciated

The Poor Man’s Essential Survival Package

 

--The Doctors Protocol: Secrets of Survival

--How to Survive the Coming Economic Collapse

--Guide to Self Reliant Living

--Becoming Self Sufficient for Six Months

--How I Found Freedom in an Un-free World


 

Yours for better living,

Bruce, the ‘Poor Man’

 

Books, Art, Video – the saucy, the odd, the retro, even the practical…support our vices


                                                    

 

A Smoking Frog Feature from…

A Shallow Planet Production

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Fixing our Political System


 

Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…


 

ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources

 

                                     Fixing our Political System

 

Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.  >George Orwell
 

 

   The economic misery of the middle class and the resentment our government has fostered among the electorate for its overbearing and crushing anti-freedom policies has fueled the rise of Trump and anti-establishment feelings in this country.

 
Many Americans are fed up with government.

New data from Wells Fargo indicates that something is spooking a sector of the U.S. population, for example, — the nation's seniors — in a serious way.

On its Investor and Retirement Optimism Index, which tracks investor sentiment, retiree optimism dropped 23 points in a single quarter.

"It was a very big drop, and the first time in over a year that retirees were less optimistic than non-retirees," says Zar Toolan, director of advice quality for Wells Fargo Advisors.

COSTS RISE, INVESTMENTS FLAT

With the cash in their bank accounts earning virtually nothing, and the stock market essentially flat for the year, retirees have not been seeing any portfolio improvements. Inflation, a notorious portfolio-killer, looms whenever an economy is heating up.

Meanwhile, living expenses are lofty. Healthcare costs in retirement for a 65-year-old couple now stand at an estimated $245,000, according to Fidelity Benefits Consulting.

What really drives the point home for retirees is that they have a shorter investment horizon than those still in the prime of their careers. An investor at age 70 or 75 cares very much about shorter-term portfolio gains.

As a result, financial planners report having do an increasing amount of hand-holding with their senior clients.

"They worry about ISIS, rising interest rates, income disparity, European recession, dysfunctional Congress, slowdown in China, and falling commodity prices," says Austin Frye, a financial planner in Aventura, Florida. "There is, in fact, a lot for them to worry about.

 

   Over the past half century, our two-party system has managed to create a nightmare of red tape and regulation at the federal and state level which has strangled our growth and freedom while feathering their respective nests.

 
The “G” in government now represents GREED and GOUGE the citizen.  Even our courts have become another taxing authority with ludicrously high fines and costs.  Unelected officials via hundreds of agencies now rule our nation and levy fines created out of thin air without benefit of legislation creating a nationwide pit which has sucked the lifeblood out of our once famous middle class job creation machine.
 

  The average American has been dummied down or has lost faith in our system while our middle class has been decimated as a result of too much government….

 
Case in Point:  A Texas 7th grader was ordered to cover up his Star Wars T-Shirt because it violated the school’s ban on symbols oriented towards violence.  Colton Southern was told to zip up his sweatshirt to conceal the image of a Storm Trooper holding a blaster.

 
We’ve witnessed incidents in CA where children were told they could not wear an American flag on their shirt as it “might offend” others. 

 
If things don’t change soon, there won’t be much left to govern.  The United States has become a parody of George Orwell’s book 1984. This became especially true after 911 when suddenly all citizens lost their privacy and saw many of their freedoms and Bill of Rights diminished due to the results of a hastily and poorly conceived set of laws poorly named the “Patriot Act.”

 
Our nation’s greatness did not erode overnight but it sure seems the quality of our leadership [from either party] has.

 
Personally, I put much of the blame for our demise on career politicians.  George Washington warned against this in his farewell speech but that seems have been forgotten by the political elite who have figured out just how profitable it is to continually feed at the public trough, often collecting multiple public pensions and gold plated perks [Congress, for example, gets an automatic pay raise but usually forgets about our military or Social Security recipients].

 
Some Solutions

 

1.       TERM LIMITS-This is a must.  Our Founders served without pay, only expenses.  I suggest current elected leaders get paid a salary and perks for 20 years and that’s it.  If they feel inclined to ‘serve’ further, they can do so for expenses only or perhaps at the same rate Social Security recipients get AND if they need it, they should get Medicare at the same scale as well.  This should apply across the board – no job hopping or switching states [as the Clinton’s did so she could get a New York Senators job] to get extra pensions as is so often the case in politics.

2.       OVERHAUL OUR TAX SYSTEM – Our system is antiquated, outdated and overly complex.  A flat tax system is in order in which everyone pays a percentage including foreign corporations doing business here.  The US has a high corporate tax which is why so many incorporate elsewhere.  Many low income people receive refunds despite never paying into the system.  Since the United States has become an expensive nation in which to live, a better system might be to completely eliminate ALL taxes for low income people on the first $25,000 of income.  That would give them an immediate boost income without hurting small businesses.

3.       START ELIMINATING government agencies and red tape which hamper job creation or duplicate each other.  For instance, we do not need 51 Department’s of Education, we do not need the BATF, etc.  If an agency doesn’t help to boost new jobs, cut costs or help citizens or industry become more productive – GET RID OF IT!

4.       WELFARE-If you’re not here legally, you’re not entitled to food stamps, Section 8 housing, free schooling, free medical care, etc. – Period!  If you continually have illegitimate children, don’t expect the government/taxpayers to pay for them.  One is a mistake but three or more is a way of life.

5.       If you have a felony conviction, [EX: the late Marion Barry, former Mayor of Washington, DC] you should not be allowed to run for office…if cannot legally own a gun, you shouldn’t be in office.

 

   Many of my colleagues in the financial sector are saying this is the lull before the final storm and frankly, I often agree.  The wizards in Washington always manage to pull another rabbit from the hat despite rapidly mounting debt and inflation.

 

 

The world is already at peak debt yet…

 
  Politicians continually seek new ways to fleece the public of their money and their rights so I too feel it is only a matter of time before the casino collapses.

 
Personally, I believe some kind of collapse will have to take place before a new system replaces it…that would be how history normally operates and your best bet is to cover your bets as best you can.  Hope for the best and plan for the worst.

 

Yours for better living in the New Year,

Bruce ‘the Poor Man’

 

My New Year’s Gift to you [Donations appreciated]

How to Survive the…

War on Middle Class and All 14 Bonus Reports can be downloaded here: