From belief to outrage: The decline of the middle class reaches the next American town
Below, [Michael Krieger at Liberty Blitzkrieg] provide some excerpts from the article, but these select passages don’t do it justice. I think this piece is so important, it’s imperative you read it in full and share it with everyone you know. The future of America rests upon reversing this pernicious trend.
From the Washington Post:
HUNTINGTON, Ind. —Chris Setser worked a 12-hour graveyard shift while his children slept, cleaned the house while they were at school and then went outside to wait for the bus bringing them home. He stood on the porch as he often did and surveyed the life he had built. The lawn was trimmed. The stairs were swept. The weekly family schedule was printed on a chalkboard. A sign near the door read, “A Stable Home Is A Happy Home,” and now a school bus came rolling down a street lined by wide sidewalks and American flags toward a five-bedroom house on the corner lot.
“Right on time,” Setser called out to the driver, waving to his children as they came off the bus.
In came 14-year-old Ashley, holding a payment notice for a school field trip. “Are we going to become one of those families with a voucher?” she asked.
“Don’t worry,” he said, handing her $20 from his wallet.
All around him an ideological crisis was spreading across Middle America as it continued its long fall into dependency: median wages down across the country, average income down, total wealth down in the past decade by 28 percent. For the first time ever, the vaunted middle class was not the country’s base but a disenfranchised minority, down from 61 percent of the population in the 1970s to just 49 percent as of last year. As a result of that decline, confusion was turning into fear. Fear was giving way to resentment. Resentment was hardening into a sense of outrage that was unhinging the country’s politics and upending a presidential election.
Setser had heard rumors earlier in the day that the company had decided to move its operations to Mexico, but he found them hard to believe. While dozens of other manufactures had left Northeast Indiana, his factory, United Technologies Electronic Controls, or UTEC, was still taking back contracts from China and winning president’s awards for performance. It was the area’s largest employer and also a rare place where America’s fraying social contract had remained mostly intact: Employees helped the factory’s parent corporation earn more than $6 billion in annual profit. In return they got a decent hourly salary with good overtime, bonuses for completing work-training programs, a turkey to take home on Thanksgiving and a ham on Christmas. “Successful businesses improve the human condition,” read one sign posted on the factory wall.
But on that night in February, another announcement had come over the factory speakers, instructing all UTEC employees to report to the cafeteria. The factory manager was standing at the front of the room, holding a piece of paper and reading into a microphone.
“A difficult decision,” he said.
“Relocation is best,” he said.
“Northern Mexico,” he said.
“No questions,” he said, and then he told employees they would have an hour-long break in the cafeteria to process the news before returning to their lines.
Together between his overtime and Bowers’s small salary at another manufacturer in Fort Wayne, they had remained firmly in the middle class by finding ways to make their money stretch. When they wanted to drive to Florida for their first overnight vacation in a decade, Setser could volunteer for more overtime to save up the cash. When they wanted a new TV, he could spend the 10 percent premium he earned for working third shift. He had cashed out part of his 401(k) account to pay for his daughter’s braces, purchased some of their basic household items with credit cards and taken out a no-money-down loan on their $95,000 house.
He had made the drive enough times to already suspect what he might find. Stride Rite had left Huntington for Mexico at the tail end of the recession; Breyers Ice Cream had closed its doors after 100 years. In the weeks after each factory closing in his part of Indiana, Lewandowski had listened to politicians make promises about jobs — high-tech jobs, right-to-work jobs, clean-energy jobs — but instead Indiana had lost 60,000 middle-class jobs in the past decade and replaced them with a surge of low-paying work in health care, hospitality and fast food. Wages of male high school graduates had dropped 19 percent in the past two decades, and the wealth divide between the middle class and the upper class had quadrupled.
Central banks are dumping America’s debt at a record pace
China, Russia and Brazil sold off U.S. Treasury bonds as they tried to soften the blow of the global economic slowdown. They each sold off at least $1 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds in March.
In all, central banks sold a net $17 billion. Sales had hit a record $57 billion in January.
So far this year, the global bank debt dump has reached $123 billion.
The fastest pace for a U.S. debt selloff by global central banks since at least 1978, according to Treasury Department data published (16 May 2016) Monday afternoon.
Treasuries are considered one of the safest assets in the world, but some experts say a sense of panic about the global economy drove the selloff.
Source: U.S. Debt Dump Deepens in 2016 – CNN
U.S. Slaps China With 522% Tax on Dumped Cold-Rolled Steel
The U.S. has raised its import duties on Chinese steelmakers by more than five-fold after accusing them of selling their products below market prices.
The taxes of 522% specifically apply to Chinese-made cold-rolled flat steel, which is used in car manufacturing, shipping containers and construction.
The US Commerce Department ruling comes amid heightened trade tensions between the two sides over several products, including chicken parts.
Source: US Slaps China Steel Imports with Fivefold Tax Increase – BBC
The Feds Fess-Up: Industrial Production Revisions Have Erased The Recovery
by Jeffrey P. Snider • May 18, 2016
Industrial production contracted for the eighth straight month in April, dropping 1.07% year-over-year. That’s a slight improvement from those prior months but likely only until April’s estimate is revised lower in the coming months. That has been the trend of late in both immediate terms as well as serious long-term revision to benchmarks.
[That devastating revisionist trend suggests the U.S. industrial production is doing so at a more steeper pace than the below charts indicate. It is worse than the statistics suggests and as officials cook-the-books, they fail to hide the awful truth about this engineered crisis.]
“The economy has shrunk with US consumers the primary factor in it. The implications of that are enormous and global, and begin to suggest its true causation (monetary). The production of consumer goods, and the revisions that continue to reveal the true state of it, comes as close to proving that as anything might. This is much deeper and more drastic than just the search for the next recession.”
Source: Alhambra Investment Partners
It is not an Accident, It is Policy