29 September 2014

The Failure of the Academy: Politicization of Statistics and Definitions (Part 1 of 2)

Don't trust the metrics. Statistics can be and often are manipulated.

The Clinton era economic boom of the 1990s was a time of prosperity for some but few seem to realize that growth usually comes at someone else's expense.

I chuckle as I engage in conversation and read so many commentators who suggest the poor need to quit clamouring for higher wages and just work toward getting more education. That's a great idea for some but it won't work for all.

The whole system is predicated on the fact that there is a mass of cheap labour at the very bottom. There must be a pool or poor working class people that work for wages that they cannot live on. Without this, consumer prices would skyrocket and the consumer-based US economy would crash.

Not all growth is good. During the 1980s as the unions were broken and the Northeastern tier of the United States began to rust, corporate growth in terms of profits and stock values meant tremendous losses for other people. Growth was good for some and not so good for others.

How many conservatives have I heard that talk about the booming 80s but then admit that they personally didn't experience it?

During the 1990s the Clinton administration opened up the economy to Globalization and once again the stock market grew... but that growth proved painful for others.

The influx of capital didn't exactly trickle down but a new domestic industry grew up... the tech sector and with it the Dotcom bubble. The upper and upper middle class grew and it created a large demand for low-wage service sector jobs that provided little or no benefits.

Unemployment figures came down.... but was the progress real?

People were working but their wages had been cut. If it were not for the credit boom and the cheap goods from overseas, they wouldn't have survived at all. The price for all this... would be paid later.

The rich grew richer, some of the middle class attained wealth and then lost much of it in the stock market hiccups and crashes.

But a lot of middle class people dropped down and the poor lost even more. So-called Welfare Reform made life even harder for many of them.

The crime bill of 1994 which has recently made the news increased the prison population by hundreds of thousands.

That's one way to get unemployment figures down! Lock them up.

Our economy has been transformed since the 1980s. It wasn't a recovery, it was a new paradigm. The new model meant massive wealth for those with investments and members of the upper class. But in order for this to work the previous industrial model had to be destroyed.

Reagan got the ball rolling and Clinton the supposed liberal simply turned up the volume and the let the new architects have free reign. His successors have only continued this trend while feeding a new economic sector which is in reality a social parasite... the new Security Complex birthed by 9/11.

Our economy has been something of an illusion for several decades. It's real, viable, wealthy and powerful but the disparity is growing and the cracks are getting wider.

So far the Establishment has been able to plug the holes, play smoke and mirrors and keep the machine going.

The bigger the empire the more fragile it becomes.

Contrary to some, I don't believe the Establishment wants it to collapse. Far from it. But their own greed knows no bounds and they will take it to the edge of the cliff in order to squeeze out some more profits. Eventually the momentum will be so strong it will get away from them.

So much of our economy depends on feeling and perception. This is the nature of a consumer economy. As long as people 'believe' the economy is strong they will spend their money and the machine keeps chugging along. A little fear is helpful to the power-elite. Too much will crash the whole system.

We are being propagandized. Unemployment figures are manipulated but I think this surpassed when it comes to inflation. The Federal Reserve and the Treasury keep insisting inflation rates are within the margins... they of course want a small and consistent inflation rate. They don't want people parking their money in the bank or hiding it under the mattress. Inflation drives you to invest your money in the markets.

However if you pull out your household files and revisit your utility bills from a decade ago, the inflation rate is staggering. Most costs have doubled. Gasoline has obviously more than doubled. As someone involved in the building trade I can attest to the fact that many costs have tripled and quadrupled.

My wife and I were talking about the late 1990s and early 2000s. We made far less money then and yet at times it seemed like we weren't as tight as we are today. It's hard to come up with hard numbers and percentages but I can say with absolute confidence the statistics provided by the government do not reflect reality. They are leaving out and excising key data indicators, manipulating terms and time frames and doing whatever they can to get the numbers they want.

The system has to grow or die.

For many this is basically economic orthodoxy.

For some this has even become theological orthodoxy.

This needs to be examined and reconsidered and I insist that all growth is not good and one man's growth is all too often at the expense of someone else. Economic sectors do not possess the ability to grow infinitely.