- In the 1960s, economist Arthur Okum began calculated
America's Misery Index by adding the unemployment and inflation rates for
a sense of public pain or lack of it in good times.
- In May, it hit a record high exceeding 25, surpassing
the earlier June 1980 21.98 top, based on how both measures were then calculated,
not today's methodology, manipulated to hide painful truths.
- At issue is:
- -- over 22% unemployment, including discouraged workers
and the so-called "birth-death model" estimate of net non-reported
jobs from new businesses minus losses from ones no longer operating; during
hard times, painful truths are hidden by creating non-existent jobs out
of whole cloth instead of subtracting them to reflect fewer, not additional
- -- double digit inflation, including soaring food, energy,
healthcare, college tuition, and other costs omitted or understated in
- -- rising poverty, more than one in seven affected according
to way understated Census Bureau figures, using threshold measures developed
40 years earlier;
- -- record numbers on food stamps;
- -- record measures of food insecurity - Feeding America.org
reporting one in six American facing hunger;
- -- predicted record 2011 numbers of home foreclosures,
estimated at 1.2 million after one million lost last year;
- -- record homelessness numbers up to 3.5 million on any
given night, needing refuge wherever they can find it or face life on city
- -- other measures of worsening conditions during a Main
Street depression, affecting Europe, Japan and elsewhere like America.
- Economic recovery? Explain how to millions unemployed
or underemployed, foreclosed homeowners, bankrupt business owners, impoverished
legions, and many others food insecure at a time US and European leaders
enforce austerity when massive social stimulus is needed.
- Across Europe, large deficits and public debt crises
are spreading, an Economist April 29 article highlighting "a moment....when
events spiral out of control. As panic sets in, bond yields lurch sickeningly
upwards and fear spreads to shares and currencies."
- It happened in September 2008, a decade earlier when
Russia defaulted, and similar past events. "When the unthinkable becomes
the inevitable," contagion and panic follow like a tsunami sweeping
away everything in its path.
- Numerous European countries are deeply troubled, notably
Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain, entrapped in debt, locked in
a Eurozone straightjacket. Perhaps heading for default, they've inflicted
painful austerity on working households, rallying them en masse in protest.
- On May 30, financial expert and investor safety advocate
Martin Weiss said:
- "Never before have I seen so many threats to your
safety and wealth converging in one time and place," citing:
- -- deteriorating bank safety, evident from increasing
failures and other systemic risk measures;
- -- a deepening housing market depression with no end
- -- a worsening European sovereign debt crisis; and
- -- most worrisome, the contagion spreading to America.
- According to Weiss:
- "If you thought the debt crisis of 2008-2009 was
a harrowing experience, wait till you see what's coming next." Last
time, corporations were affected. Sovereign states are getting hammered
now, including America.
- On May 16, the Global Europe Anticipation Bulletin (GEAB)
headlined, "Global systemic crisis: Confirmation of a Major Alert
for the second half of 2011 - Explosive fusion of world geopolitical dislocation
and the global economic financial crisis," saying:
- As it predicted in February 2008, GEAB again believes
conditions now suggest a later in the year "explosive fusion....(a
worldwide) geopolitical dislocation on the one hand and (a) global economic
and financial crisis on the other."
- Combined they show major economic trauma coming, extinguishing
economic recovery hopes, notably in debt entrapped America, "represent(ing)
the end of an era (in which the) dollar was the currency of the United
States and the rest of the world's problem."
- Ahead, it's becoming "the main threat weighing on
the rest of the world" and America. Summer 2011 "will confirm
that the Federal Reserve has lost its bet: the US economy has, in fact,
never left the 'Very Great Depression which it entered in 2008 despite"
massive money creation.
- As a result, interest rates will rise. Government deficits
will explode. Economic decline will intensify. Equity valuations will decline.
The dollar will behave erratically "before suddenly losing 30% of
its value" as earlier predicted.
- At the same time, "Euroland," BRIC countries
(Brazil, Russia, India and China) and "commodity producers will rapidly
strengthen their cooperation while launching a final attempt to salvage"
the remnants of Bretton Woods and a US/UK dominated world.
- "(I)t's unrealistic to imagine (Obama) who has shown
no major international stature so far, proving himself" statesmanlike
enough to take risks ahead of the 2012 election cycle.
- Under his leadership, America "is completely in
dreamland. Whilst the country has reached unsustainable levels of debt,
(its leaders) have made this topic an election issue."
- Moreover, America today is seen as the "sick man
of the world in which any sign of weakness or serious inconsistency can
trigger uncontrolled panic."
- In addition, the combination of "(c)razy central
bankers, world leaders without a roadmap, economies at risk, inflation
rising, currencies in trouble, frenzied commodities, uncontrolled Western
debt, (high unemployment), (and) stressed societies" leaves little
doubt about looming trouble ahead as early as second half 2011.
- A Final Comment
- In late May, Gerald Celente highlighted "the most
trend-significant story" getting little or no coverage in Western
media reports. The combination of weather, economic, and geopolitical events
portend "far-reaching and disastrous" socioeconomic consequences.
- "Farming, shipping, seafood, food supplies and petroleum
refining will be among the foreseeable casualties, accompanied by massive
population displacement. But the ensuing chain reaction (inflation, shortages,
unemployment, etc.) will claim many other victims," so far unquantifiable.
- Middle East and European protests "signaled a major
turning point, (an unstoppable) "Off With Their Heads" mega-trend,
America's media don't notice or explain.
- Celente calls the European bailouts failures, creating
higher unemployment, more debt, draconian austerity, and "a wholesale
sell-off of valuable public resources," asset-stripping national wealth
to enrich bankers, producing painful consequences.
- As a result, "(e)conomic conditions will continue
to deteriorate for most European nations. The worse they get, the louder
and more heated the protests...." Repressive crackdowns will follow,
producing greater protests this summer into 2012 and beyond as conditions
- However, a potential wild card deserves watching - one
or more terror strikes likely derailing angry protesters temporarily, uniting
them behind national security issues, the way 9/11 worked.
- More worrisome is a possible major false flag, even a
nuclear one targeting a US and/or Western European city. If so, all bets
are off short term, but sooner or later unmet needs will take precedence,
perhaps when hungry people blame Washington for their misery and react
angrily for help. It bears watching and may happen sooner than expected.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays
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