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“It Is a Pathology That Characterizes America’s Upper Middle-Class”: Entitled and Doomed

Charles Hugh Smith
April 28th, 2016
Of Two Minds
Comments (94)

dictatorship-in-america

This article was written by Charles Hugh Smith and originally published at his Of Two Minds blog.

Editor’s Comment: This goes beyond the wealth gap and the 1%. If this is how clueless, and ultimately helpless, the well-off can be, it suggests that the rest of us are just as prone to disaster.

No one is coming to fix the system, indeed hardly anybody is wise enough and disciplined enough to keep themselves from being swallowed up by debt, and cast aside when they’re no longer need. God help us all if/when the system finally collapses on its own weight of dependent zombies at all strata of income and education.

America’s Entitled (and Doomed) Upper Middle Class

by Charles Hugh Smith

The upper middle class is well and truly doomed by self-delusion and the pathology of entitlement.

Two recent articles describe America’s entitled (and doomed) upper middle class: the top 5% of households with incomes above $206,500 annually and individuals with incomes of $160,000 or higher annually. (source: Historical Income Tables: Households Census.gov)

The first describes how businesses are responding to the new Gilded Age in which spending by the top 5% has pulled away from the stagnating bottom 95%:

In an Age of Privilege, Not Everyone Is in the Same Boat Companies are becoming adept at identifying wealthy customers and marketing to them, creating a money-based caste system.

With disparities in wealth greater than at any time since the Gilded Age, the gap is widening between the highly affluent — who find themselves behind the velvet ropes of today’s economy — and everyone else.

The Haven’s 95 staterooms were located so high up in the forward part of the ship that even guests in comparatively expensive staterooms might remain unaware of its existence. Depending on the season, a room in the Haven might cost a couple $10,000 for a weeklong cruise vs. $3,000 for an ordinary stateroom elsewhere on the ship.

Since the late 1990s, however, “there has been a huge evolution, maybe a revolution in attitudes,” Mr. Goldstein said. In addition to larger rooms or softer sheets, big spenders want to be coddled nowadays. “They are looking for constant validation that they are a higher-value customer,” he said. For example, room service requests from Royal Suite occupants are automatically routed to a number different from the one used by regular passengers, who get slower, less personalized service.

With a week in a top Royal Suite costing upward of $30,000, compared with $4,000 for an ordinary cabin, the focus is on “very affluent travelers, and we have no trouble filling these rooms,” Mr. Bayley said.

The second article is by an upper middle class writer who bemoans his declining income and status:

The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans: Nearly half of Americans would have trouble finding $400 to pay for an emergency. I’m one of them.
We are naturally sympathetic to anyone describing themselves as middle-class who is in such dire financial straits that they don’t even have $500 as an emergency fund.

But as we read further, we find the author is hardly a typical middle-class worker-bee: he was a substitute host on a national television program for a few years, received substantial advances for books he wrote (substantial enough for him to complain about the taxes due), got a Hollywood movie deal for another book he wrote, etc.

He was making enough money to suggest his film-producer spouse (yet another not-a-middle-class job) quit working, and to buy a house in the tony Hamptons which he poo-poos as nothing special. (A home in a pricey premier suburb is nothing special? In what circles is it nothing special?)

The solution to his poverty is obvious to the rest of us: sell his Hamptons home and moving to less tony digs. He could buy a house in a Midwest college town for a fraction of the Hamptons house and live happily ever after off the cashed-out equity.

The writer was never middle-class–he was upper middle-class, with upper middle-class income, assets and aspirations.

Then come his complaints: he made too much money for his kids to get financial aid to Stanford (fire up the sad violins of sympathy), so his parents had to pony up the $150,000 for each kid to attend an Ivy league university–oh, and then go on to earn Masters degrees or higher.

His wife, out of the work force for the years he was raking in big bucks, couldn’t find a job as a film producer (how awful!)–and then she vanishes from the narrative: did she lower herself to take a “normal” job, or is she still a Hamptons Housewife? Are we not being told because it doesn’t fit the “poor me” narrative?

His 401K retirement was sacrificed to pay for one of his daughter’s wedding–and how much did that extravaganza cost? Was that a wise decision?
The writer confesses he’s made poor financial decisions, but he lays the blame on economic ignorance rather than the real cause: his overwhelming sense of entitlement.

This is not simply hubris; it is a pathology that characterizes America’s upper middle-class, and those who aspire to membership in that class.

This article expresses the core belief of America’s upper middle class: I deserve to make more money every year until I decide to retire. Then I deserve a well-funded retirement in an upper middle-class neighborhood with all the usual upper middle-class trimmings.

The list of entitlements is practically endless: my wife shouldn’t have to work, even though writers’ incomes are notoriously uneven; my daughters deserve to attend Ivy league colleges without taking on $100,000+ in student loan debt; they deserve lavish weddings that they don’t have to pay for; I deserve a recent-vintage auto, numerous nights out to movies and dinner, annual vacations (we can assume overseas vacations, of course; how gauche to travel only in the U.S.), and so on–an endless profusion of entitlements that are completely unmoored from the realities of their chosen careers in writing (insecure) and film production (insecure).

Memo to the author: did you somehow not notice that the money to pay writers is drying up? Did you not notice that book advances are vanishing like rain in Death Valley? How clueless does a writer have to be not to be aware of the structural changes in his industry?

The writer sets out to illuminate the precariousness of middle-class life, using himself as an example: a high-end New York writer/author and his equally high-end New York film producer spouse, who made tons more money than the $50,000-per-year middle class household and managed to buy a home in one of the most desirable suburbs in America.

The writer is aware of the disconnect, and he attempts to mask this by downplaying his previous (high) income and the value of his Hamptons home. (I got the feeling he didn’t even want to disclose he owned a home in the Hamptons.)

Given prices in the area, the writer is sitting on hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity–and if he had drained the equity, we can be sure he would have disclosed this poor-me factoid.

Is this a household that is flat-broke, or a house-rich, cash-poor household that spent far beyond its means for years in the belief that the upper middle-class were magically entitled to a high income, regardless of economic realities?

As we look at the economic landscape, we find this class the fantastically entitled bourgeois dominating the technocrat / managerial / professional layers of our economy–the people who pen the editorials and edit the news reports, the people with tenure or high-paying government jobs–the people who claim the mantle of knowing what’s what.

The reality is this class of entitled bourgeois is utterly clueless about the financial realities that are about to hit the global economy like a tidal wave. The top 5% aren’t prepared to weather a mild storm, much less survive a tsunami. They are well and truly doomed by their self-delusion and their pathology of entitlement.

With this clueless class in positions of leadership, where does that leave the nation?

Meanwhile, the economic realities that the top 5% have evaded (thanks to the “recovery” that benefits the few at the expense of the many) have pushed U.S. Suicide Rate to a 30-Year High.

———-

This article was written by Charles Hugh Smith and originally published at his Of Two Minds blog.

His new book is #2 on Kindle short reads -> politics and social science: Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform ($3.95 Kindle ebook, a 20% discount thru May 1, $8.95 print edition) For more, please visit the book’s website.

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The Finger is on the Nuke Button | Future Money Trends

Author: Charles Hugh Smith
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Date: April 28th, 2016
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94 Comments...

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  1. GMAFB says:

    Same shit, new day.

    GMAFB

    • Ketchupondemand says:

      No, GMAFB, it’s a new article, not the same shit.
      Do you ever feel the need to actually add a pertinent comment, or just the same one, every time?

      I thought it was an interesting take; it illustrates the ignorance of the subject, his wife and entire family.
      No sympathy at all.

    • Silent Eyes says:

      This article is pure bullshit. Smith is lambasting an entire group of people based on ONE MAN’s attitudes and experiences. It is craptastic writing like this that makes Smith look like an idiot and Mac as well for even publishing it. Great job fomenting class warfare yet again. Can we PLEASE have some actual prepping articles rather than this steady stream of silly, half-baked, putrescent, garbage?

      • hammerhead says:

        While this is a class warfare article , the point gets missed here and its the good news .
        The good news is that we still have the ability to achieve wealth and we still have the right to piss it away.
        We also still have the right to bitch about it or anything else we choose to take issue with .
        While i dont agree with entitlements , i have no problem with people who have more than me , maybe their lucky in lifes lottery or busted thier asses to get it , its all good !

        Myself , i choose to be financially poor but have what i need , wealth isnt my thing but i wont bemoan those that wish for wealth .
        It really still is a free country because we have articles like this ! LMAO !

  2. Anonymous says:

    The top 5% are the ones that pay for almost everything.

    They go, the rest of us go as well.

    Without them, there is no one left to cover the costs of Western Civilization as it now exists.

    • WhoWTFKnows... says:

      The Good News today is that Silver Price is rising fast. Today’s high @ $17.68… Once Silver hits $18 it will really take off, because the Hedge funds can no longer short this without getting slammed with margin calls.

      ~WWTI… $26.50+ by End of July.

    • anon says:

      Anonymous

      They go, we go. Cost of western civilization.

      I don’t know about that. Maybe the free loaders go.

      Those who would presume they are entitled are going to find resistance. Cash, Ass, Grass or Gas. Nobody rides for free.

    • TheGuy says:

      Yeah?

      Well I got some bad news. Unless you already have had a family (that is by some miracle supportive of you) IT’S HAPPENED ALREADY.

      Let me repeat that. It. Has happened. Already.

      The only thing more ultimately futile than thinking you’re a temporarily embarrassed millionaire is thinking that “you’re just waiting for the right one”.

      Keep right on waiting.

      Women burn > 75% of all disposable income in this country, at a time when THERE IS NO DISPOSABLE INCOME IN THIS COUNTRY.

      What does that tell you about their alignment with reality?

      • grandee says:

        Ya know, there is disposable income if you learn to manage and budget your income.

        That is the key to all of this-manage and budget.
        Save for that rainy day (not in the bank of course).
        Pinch your pennies till they squeal.
        Live within your means.
        No credit card consumer debt.
        Live modestly.
        Be content.
        Delay your gratification (vs instant gratification).

        it can be done!

    • Only those of us who are victims of misfortune or unprepared. I moved from the Seattle Area to Wyoming. I’m probably in the income range, but live modestly and save everything.

  3. sherri says:

    We have had a lot of lay offs where I live of coal miners who are used to making a pretty good living, around 85,000 yr. Only about a week after being laid off they were complaining about not having any food to eat, poor me. They have 300-400,000 dollar homes with a boat( the nearest water is 75 miles away and that is only a lake). They have a RV, 4 wheelers, expensive trucks and cars. Some of them are moving away and leaving their homes to be foreclosed on. Things are looking pretty gloomy here in Wyoming.

    • Robin Sage says:

      Im waiting to see who the establishment says the people in WV, V, Penn, and NC, and the other coal mining states voted for the next Puppet .. if they tell us Hillary .. it will be definitive proof its a lie

      I already know its a scam, but hopefully this will wake up others to the Bullshit

    • lena says:

      In Houston, they are laying off oil company workers too; which will result in layoffs of working in oil service companies; which will result in the reduction in jobs of all types in Houston because the people who had extra money to spend will not be spending anything.
      And on top of that, the city government has of course spent more along with the “recovery” and now has budget problems because it assumed the good times would last forever just 8 years after a hairy recession.
      The city of Houston may have helped the nation in the recovery but it is going to be leading the way into the next recession/depression.

    • Woogie says:

      Everything is based on good or bad choices, and they saw this coming 7 years ago in 2009 when Obummer said he will punish coal companies.

      I paid off my debts years ago seeing the Obama disaster coming, live under my means, saved thousands on my poverty wages, and don’t keep up with the Jones as my choice.

      The more I read about the poor rich people, the richer I am being poor.

      • Taxedn2poverty says:

        Well said Woogie. There is much wisdom in your statement.

      • Marcus of Arrington says:

        Win for Woogie

      • Woogie rocks. I am on the path… behind you.

      • Braveheart1776 says:

        Woogie, good post. “The more I read about the poor rich people, the richer I am being poor.” How original and true. Congratulations on becoming debt-free, Woogie. It’s an awesome feeling, isn’t it?

      • Woogie,
        It is called; Going Galt. Living below your means, not keeping up with the Jones, saving money, making less and enjoying life more and living with the land, not working for The Man, but working for yourself or in a capacity below your abilities, not loving money but simply understanding that money is a tool, like a hammer.
        I went Galt 25 years ago, I went from engineering manager at a Fortune 100, to an electrician, and now blacksmith, and have never been happier.
        Now, my BIL, thinks I’m absolutely nuts. He thinks I should have been out there busting it and stressing myself to the gills in order to ‘get rich’.
        I told him long ago, when his system collapses, with no skills except a keyboard, he will become a wart on the ass of decent, skilled, hard working people. And his response?
        “Nah, I’ll just come to your house.”
        I never responded to him in words, I just smiled. If he and his spoiled children, nephews and nieces of mine, show up, I’ll simply put them to work doing chores that I’m doing now, and if they will not work, they will not eat.
        Hmmm… time to go feed the chickens.

    • Harry Merkin says:

      You must live in Gillette. Alas, since you live in Wyoming same as I do, you no doubt at sometime have seen the common Wyoming bumper sticker:
      “PLEASE GOD, JUST ONE MORE BOOM. I PROMISE NOT TO PISS IT AWAY THIS TIME”

  4. Obviously, everyone deserves everything. But the numbers behind their being given it are characteristically problematic. And while true charity can be good, government welfare is always paid for by sanctimonious theft.

  5. Sgt. Dale says:

    Thank God I’m a country Boy. I have things but they are for the hell that is coming. Yes I use them and play on them now and then. I also used them to do some work that I can physically do but it is easier to use the equipment.
    Sgt.

  6. lena says:

    The people who are going to hate the future the most are the upper middle class. They figure the good life will always exist and that financial reality of most every country have debt defaults will never happen and that the usa will always be on top and they will never have to compete with the world like todays factory worker does.

    So, they will continue to spend like that reality never comes and not save and buy hard assets so they can survive the storm. On the other side of the storm, they’ll be living in shacks because they lost their jobs, their money in the mkt, their homes foreclosed on and be sending their kids to the 3rd world that is todays public schools.

    The irony is they could have stopped it if they had actually kept a watch on the government, but they choose to have no concern; even when the usa passed 1 trillion dollars in debt in the 1980s. If they would have acted then, today would be much better; instead its on the edge of the next depression.

  7. Ron Ahrens says:

    Get your children lined up middle class slave cowards for forced vaccination to dumb them down even more, and get ready to line them up for forced RFID chipping in the collapsing Globalist Fascist Police State hell on earth. Middle class coward slaves in fascist America have turned their children over to Globalist psychopaths and the boot licking cowards could care less about anything except getting drunk, popping Prozac, and screaming like deranged lunatics at football and all the other “bread and circuses” the psychopaths have to distract the coward middle class slaves.

    • WhoWTFKnows... says:

      I was in the top 10% income earners backin the late 1990’s with Clinton. Then that Lil Pecker Head GW Bush destroyed it all. I said back then, they are destroying the economy to keep us middle classers, broke and bankrupt, and too focused on survival to thwart their Tyranny. Then the Commie Pinkos knew our Guns were the last hurdle to take away, to make us completely defenseless into enslavement. How how they grossly miscalculated.

      ~WWTI… Reading a 1890’s facts book of early American History. Back in early 1700’s they had people in Jail mostly for failing to pay debts. Basically Debtors Prisons.. The Murders and thieves would be marched through town humiliated, and then hung in the public square. If that Policy were still enforced today, there would rarely be any blacks living here in the US.

      But No, we like to reward failure and misdeeds by housing these thieves and feeding them at Tax payers expense. @$75000 a year, way more than they stole.

      ~WWTI…

      • Steve says:

        You were a top income earner in the 90’s because of Reagan… you know, the economy Clinton inherited. You lost your ass under GWB because of two bubbles… Housing and Banking, both of which has been under Democratic control since the 60’s. As far as welfare, look no further then the Democratic party. It’s their new and improved plantation, welfare voters. I know, I know… it’s all Bush’s fault. /Facepalm

    • Karl V. says:

      Between the pathetic farce of public school “education” and the seemingly universal and endless thirst to be constantly entertained by video screens, there is little need to ‘dumb down’ today’s younger people. Not only are they doing it themselves; they will pay hundreds of dollars to do it, and will go into fits of anxiety if removed from their electronic pacifiers.

      Wolves are significantly smarter than dogs because Nature pitilessly culls those that cannot develop sufficient cleverness to cope with a constantly changing and very challenging environment. Dogs have had an easy ride for several thousand years; and the dimwits have the opportunity to pass on their genes, to the overall decline of the abilities of the species.

      The analogy with humanity can readily be observed by sitting in any public area for ten minutes and watching those who are passing by…..

      Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

  8. Practically everyone has read it, but it’s worth re-reading it from time to time.

    “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.” – Thomas Jefferson in 1802.

    “A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have.” – Thomas Jefferson

    “The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.” – Thomas Jefferson

    “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” – Thomas Jefferson

    “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.” – Thomas Jefferson

    “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” – Thomas Jefferson

    • lena says:

      Jefferson, Franklin and yes, Andrew Jackson; where all guys that had good grasp of reality and that is without the internet, think tanks and public and private studies on economics.

      I believe guys like them still exist today, but there is just not enough to hold back those that want to keep everyone down and live the elite-serf system today with all the perks of the 21st century.
      Ryan, Boner, McConnell and a cast of others getting ready to put their $1,000 suits on and be driven to the capital for their 6 hour work day plain disgust me.

    • Sean says:

      The really funny thing is that all but one of those quotes you ascribe to Jefferson is phony…and one is a serious misquote.
      Gullible much?

      Monticello.org exists. Use it.

      • grandee says:

        “A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have.”

        Thomas didn’t say it.

        It was first in print in the 1950s.

    • Sean says:

      “The Rams shoulda took Wentz” -Thomas Jefferson

      C’mon man, you call yourself a patriot?

  9. buttcrackofdoom says:

    here’s a note i sent out to a few friends recently, and i figger i should share it with ALL my shtf friends.

    MY biggest worry isn’t all the natural disasters that we prepare for. no, it’s the fiat money’s end that HAS to happen that concerns ME. i been waiting for it for more than ten years now…and for every year that we avoid it, it’s been painfully obvious that when it does happen, it will be SO much worse than if we had “accepted our medicine all those years ago…i’m more convinced than EVER that collapse is just around the corner. and here i sit in the high desert city, right smack dab in the middle of the ghetto known as california. but when i think of moving away from my 13 and 15 yo kids to a better place, just about all of them got their OWN set of problems. i’m now ready for just about anything, except for the obvious. no fixed position is defensable long-term…there’s apartments within a 3 block walk for the zombies when they start marchin….but at least i spend my last days with my kids, and have SOME hope of raising them right, unlike my ex, that thinks they should raise themselves….video games are such great babysitters, afterall……but while i am waiting, i’m just tryin’ to enjoy the rest of the time i got left….i suggest y’all do the same…….the powers that shouldn’t BE can put off this collapse for lord only knows how long….they THINK they can control this shit, but they are wrong. the FED’s got themselves(US) painted into a corner. if they RAISE rates, our national debt becomes untenable, but with rates THIS low, people are not incented to save..it’s alll about DEBT….we are BROKE…cities are broke….counties are broke….states are broke…the feral gubmint is BROKE, and broken…most individuals are broke, with many having nothing saved….many have even less than that..it’s all comin’ unglued, as i type…..it’s already started….sorry to be so bleak, but that’s the way I see things.

    • lena says:

      it’ll reset and i think those that have some real job skills and are not just another person with a worthless degree and don’t have debt outside their mortgage will be okay, but there’s also going to be a period of months when it resets and if you dont have food and water stored or the assets to acquire those; you’ll like starve.

      • Old Guy says:

        No it will not reset. its a slow regression. every day will be a little bit worse than the previous one. Many who have done things to protect their well being ftom the actions of other people ,actions or thngs . They might possibly fare a bit better than others for a short time. But eventually their preps will get used up. Or their preps will be confinscated and Redistributed! A reset isn’t even remotely possible. It will revert to a stone age exestiance. Everyone will suffer.

        • hammerhead says:

          Dont know about “STONE AGE EXISTANCE”, But i agree that it wont reset , this is a slow ride into Venezuela style socialism and poverty . Give it twenty years , we will be there .

          • rabbitone says:

            Hammerhead, sorry to disagree. While you may be right that we may not see the big reset for awhile we risk having “black swans” that will bring fear to excessive levels. These swans may disrupt enough of our systems we may need our preps.

            The obvious question is why? The answer is this socialist mania is a world wide issue that threatens multiple country/regions/markets. On the road to Venezuela type poverty we may see tight government controls that may produce everything from supply chains brakes, to riots to regional wars.

            • Old Guy says:

              The peak has come and gone. The producers are not producing very much. And the parasite takers are receiving more and more. there isn’t any viable political or ballot box solution. Yet you think there will be some sort of reset? Not gonna happen. It took the south 120 years to begin to prosper again after the civil war. And that was with half the nation not destroyed. And most of the rest of the worlds govermnts still working. How long to rebound when the entire planet is in disarray?

              • Old Guy
                do you remember the initial promise of robotization, etc? It was that humans would be able to live without heavy labor! If the benefits of machines taking over production of goods, and now services, were spread out, the work as we know it would disappear. Industrial revolution did something very similar as far as providing goods and services never before seen. Many jobs were deleted as well, but there were endless crappy jobs created. As a lifestyle change it was a mixed bag. China had so much cheap human labor they shied away from industrialization. My take on new technical developments is that they are impractical without a consumer base… as they destroy the consumer base. Given that the Bill Gates/Monsanto contingent appears to be set on massive population reduction (no possibility they do not know what they are doing), and development of killer viral infections, etc., it appears to me that tptb have chosen mass genocide and to keep the trillions in profits. We are not going to fair well in this scenario.
                The Geogia Guidestones explain all the insane behaviors going on at every front. You may believe that 7 billion people are not impacting the planet, climate, and 6th extinction… but the Big Boys do believe it, no matter their public “keep you stupid” stance… they do not want you paying attention while they solve the problem their way. Instead they encourage hatred and division, fighting over half a bone. They are already dividing up the spoils of a genocide.
                I came to this conclusion as a servant to the servants of the Bigs. They talk openly about the need to reduce population before the Earth is destroyed. They never advocate free birth control to all… a cheap and easy solution.

                • Old Guy says:

                  Your assesmet is true. When they no longer want or need any group they kill them off. That is why the manifest destiny excuse was used to get rid of the native americans. Thats why I really hope the NIBIRU planet X is really happening. It will not differentate between the races or social status. It will effect everyone the exact same. a true survival of the fittest. Im skeptical about Nibiru. Its possible but there isn’t any real proof. If it happens I would consider it divine intervention. I simply don’t believe there will be a so called Reset . and that reset will make everything hunky dory.

                • Old Guy,
                  The only reset might be on banksters. We already gave them a reset in 2008 and they made a bigger mess that the Republicans already guaranteed with Obama’s sign off. It won’t matter though, because they do not believe they need us. Nothing but destruction and death by 1000 cuts. I don’t want Nibiru because I am 62 and still want to live. That and Yellowstone do not look survivable for me, I am just under 1000 miles from that blowout.
                  I am doing my best to prep for the global financial collapse that is overcoming us all. That is something I can take action on and is the most likely scenario. I was reading about the industrial revolution this morning, I have my doubts that we went down the right path. Working in IP law for 24 years has given me the same feeling about hi tech. I vote on the side of human beings, and yes they are dumb.

                • Old Guy says:

                  Nibiru is survivable. Its not going to strike the earth. It will pass by close enough to effect the planet just as the moon does. But in spades. creating great clatyclisims! supposively it passed by during the time of the Exodious. And everyone didn’t die then? Im way past 60 and if I die that’s Ok. Its my grandchildren who I wish to see survive.

                • Old Guy
                  during Exodus? I had not heard that.
                  When I say I, it always means me, my son and his family. Example: I am committed to growing enough to feed myself 100%. That includes all 5 of us, up to about 10 when I include a few extendeds.

    • Ben Raines says:

      BCOD…

      I wish I had a friend that would send me an email like that.

      I do not.

      That’s why I come to SHTFplan.

      Thank you.

      • buttcrackofdoom says:

        you came to the right place, ben…thank you for the compliment. why not go out and meet some “like-minded” people. oathkeepers would be a good place to start….gunshows have a lot of conservatives in attendance….rallys for 2nd amendment…there’s a bunch of places to meet people like “us”….just go to some of those places and start TALKIN’…wherever you find old people)over 60), you’ll find conservatives…i let the libs win arguements for a looong time, but i’m FED up with what’s become of our country, and the path we are on….we gave in to these sons o bitches, and now it’s ingrained in our society…so now i won’t let these dumb masses have their way any more. give me a computer and i can show facts, at which point THEY throw up their hands and start screaming about raciss…fed up, i am….good luck to you….BTW, several of the email i sent went to friends here i met on shtfplan…oh, and thank you very much for your contributions to the site!

    • Can you buy a Chrysler with Fiat money

    • Karl V. says:

      BCoD ~ You make an excellent point. I have no idea whether or not single, catastrophic events (e.g., WWIII; Yellowstone Caldera; huge meteorite; global pandemic) will occur within my lifetime. It’s prudent to have some level of preparation for such things, but it is possible that none of them may take place while I’m around.

      However! Every fiat currency throughout human history has eventually collapsed. Were it not for the massive advantage that Bretton Woods gave to the USD, ours would probably have tanked long before this. And now that our empire, like all others before, is crumbling away, the US dollar is running on fumes. Everyone here knows the mantra: the $19T debt, the $1.5Q derivatives trade, decaying infrastructure, lack of decent jobs, crushing personal debt, bankrupt cities and counties, etc.

      A lot of us thought that back around 1979 when gold and silver zoomed in value and interest rates went up to 19% that we were seeing the beginning of the end. A plethora of fixes –most of the cures being worse than the disease– have staved off the day of reckoning. But it’s not going to stay abated forever.

      When the National Debt hit $1T people were tearing their hair out. Some weeks ago, when the odometer flipped from $18T to $19T, nobody batted an eye. It wasn’t even mentioned in the so-called “news”. People shrug when you mention it, as though it’s just dusty accounting data that doesn’t really mean anything. But it’s the highest National Debt in the history of humankind. The laundry list of warning signs mentioned above (and many more) are telling us in no uncertain terms that the Bad Times have begun in earnest, and they show no signs of slowing down.

      As the saying goes, “at first it was gradual; then it was all of a sudden”. We are still in the “gradual” phase, and now is the time to get ready. By the time we hit “sudden” it will be too late. There is not a doubt in my mind that a sudden and severe economic crisis will occur in my lifetime. Zombies and commies and Martians are a “maybe” but the banksters are as certain as death.

      With this in mind, my prep mindset is largely focused on surviving a crippling economic/monetary crisis that will reverberate for many years…and for the wave of predatory crime that will inevitably result.

      Just my two grams worth…..

  10. Tucker says:

    A really good article.

    I often scratch my head and wonder whether I am the only sane and financially rational thinking individual left in my generation. I talk to others in my age group, or just little below my age group, about financial topics fairly often and I hear a lot of them expressing angst over the upcoming college education expenses that they are going to have to find some way to take on for their kids. And, at the same time, I hear them expressing their worries about being able to afford to save for their own retirements – and most, if pinned down, will sheepishly admit that they can’t afford to put the maximum amount into an IRA or a ROTH or a 401K plan and worry that their failure to do so is going to prevent them from being able to afford to retire.

    I listen to them express their worries and concerns and I have to shake my head in amazement. First of all, while my parents did have the generosity to put aside a small sum of money into a mutual fund for their kids and it was earmarked to ‘help’ us if we chose to go to college, none of us decided to pursue that goal and in my case, I went into the military, stayed for 4 years and earned the G.I. Bill. I also learned a trade that was transportable to the civilian sector, and once my enlistment was over – I got out and pursued a career in that field and chose to go to college part time using the G.I. Bill.

    In other words, not only did I not sponge off of my parents and deplete their financial resources but neither they or I had to go into massive financial debt in order to send me to college. My parents, therefore, were not forced to squander their retirement savings and that allowed them to remain self sufficient for the remaining years of their lives. They did not have to wind up getting jobs as greeters at Wal-Mart in order to make ends meet, after letting their children drain them of their life’s savings. And, most importantly, they did not become a financial burden on their own children who’s careers and salaries had not yet risen to a level which would have made it affordable to take care of their parents and their own families at the same time.

    At any rate, the main point I am trying to make is this: Parents are not automatically obligated to pay for a college education for their children. This is a luxury, and if the choice comes down to being able to afford to save for their own retirements and make sure they can remain as self sufficient for as long as possible and not become a burden on their children at a time in their adult children’s lives where they are still struggling to provide for their own families – then that is where the parents financial resources need to be focused. If, on the other hand, the parents have managed to be successful and frugal enough to secure and lock in their retirement needs and have a little extra left over, then if they want to help their children with their college expenses – they are welcome to do so. But, this should NEVER be done at the expense of ignoring the retirement needs for the parents.

    Why? Because the parents place themselves into a vulnerable position and will have to depend upon receiving help from one or more of their adult children who either may not be able to afford it, or who are not willing to take on the financial burden.

    Like I said. Rational thinking is critical to financial planning.

    • cranerigger says:

      Tucker, thank you for an outstanding post. As a fellow veteran I found your comment on “RATIONAL THINKING being critical to FINANCIAL PLANNING” to be perfect. As a retiree the ability to say “I cannot afford that” has been a key factor to our success.

    • Marcus of Arrington says:

      Tucker,

      I identify with some of your story because it is my story as well. All except the parents setting aside a fund for my college. My parents divorced.

      I had the VEAP program. Before I “ETS-ed” in 85′, my mother contributed a lump-sum $2700 into VEAP- which yielded $8100 that paid for a community college degree in engineering. While in school, I lived with her, contributed to the housework, studied and worked a job in Hemodialysis. Uncle Sugar taught me a great skill- electronics.

      30 years later, I was involuntarily “re-tired” from a 19 year Sales Engineer career. I find now that unless you have a half-million stored away in readily accessible FRNs it will be hard to live comfortably from 55-75 age bracket in a “middle class” classification. (Uncle Sugar’s gonna get a 1/3 of that 0.5M off the top irregardless).

      That’s a linear 16.7K a year for 20 years in a very non-linear, future cost curve. Consider that none of the following will drop in cost: real estate taxes to live on “already paid for” property, transportation, electricity, mandatory insurance(s), gasoline, groceries, Rx, maintenance costs ….. ad nauseum.

      Before his death, my Dad made the remark, “If it eats, I don’t want it”. By that, he meant if it incurred taxes he avoided it at every opportunity.

      In this country, in this current age I’ve come to the conclusion the little man doesn’t own anything, we lease it until we run out of money, then “they” take it. We’re always on the hampster wheel.

      my advice for any 20-somethings reading this is:
      -do not get into debt (do without, re-purpose or repair what others throw away). Dross comes with many possessions.
      -learn a repair skill you can make side money from- cash not credit. With that skill you can barter with other skilled people you will meet saving thousands of dollars over time
      -lower your standard of electronic living, read books instead
      -stuff $20 bills into your mattress. you’ll have a good supply of toilet/note paper/tinder if it turns worthless. :O)

    • Braveheart1776 says:

      Tucker, welcome back, and that was an outstanding post. Once those kids turn age 18, they are legally considered to be adults and the parents no longer have any legal or moral obligations to them. That entitlement BS really burns me. Nobody is ‘entitled’ to a damn thing from anyone. Everyone is expected to do for themselves. You go out and work for what you want and need, not take away from other people. That’s how I was raised.

    • Babycatcher55 says:

      Amen! Truer words were never spoken. I hope my children will teach their children that anything you get is either a gift, or you worked for it. All three of my kids worked their way thru college, incurring some debt, which they paid off themselves. The girls paid for their own weddings, too, working within their budgets, and potential lifestyles( one had a DJ and a bar at her wedding; they saved up for 4 years to pay for it! Same with my nephew and his family). Point is, if they wanted something they worked for it. They each started working at some job or other from the time they were 14 years old. Dog sitting, house sitting( neighbor), yard work, babysitting, until they could get the requisite Kobe at the hamburger place. Then they each got to go on a mission trip as part of graduation, where they learned to serve others and appreciate what they have here in America. It CAN be done….

  11. Most incisive perception I have ever read on the current reality. Brilliant

  12. Rebel Son says:

    anyone else consider the possibility that an organised group of cops took out that family of 8 in Ohio?

    they are organised crime , and they are trained in home invasions
    like TWAT raids , they like to take drug money , and they know how to cover their tracks, they know what the detectives would be looking for and how to hide their tracks ..id say they be prime suspects

    ya just gotta think outside the box.. also the fact that they have no one in custody almost a week later , and dont seem to be able to find a viable pasty to load the crime on

    no offense to any constitutional officers .. that is if there really are any of those in this country anymore
    if you take this personally , than there just might be some merit to what i say

    again it isnt about the dope, its about the money ,, there had to be a shit load of dough at that place , thats what got took

    eyes wide open folks

  13. Nopitypartyhere says:

    Most upper middle class folks I know, like myself, are self made people. Meaning we either built a business or busted our asses for our own education. And we are some of the most aware folks I know. We know it will all come to an end and probably soon and have been pair ironing ourselves for years. I sold a home at. $50000 loss to get the hell out of an urban area. I know others who have disengaged from the system. They worked hard for 20 years, saves every thing living beneath their means and now do odd jobs to keep up their property and living expenses and no longer owe it to the man.

  14. No joke says:

    I think that this written article is one of the most divisive I have ever read. Americans do not need to attack each other based on money; that is a socialists way creating anger/hate against that other man over there even though you do know his circumstances. When I was born I was dirt poor and now I am one of those upper 5% people. I worked hard long hours for many years and lifted up a few other families with me. The author of this essay is really the person crying out that his entitlement wishes have not been fulfilled by .gov or by someone else.

    • Silent Eyes says:

      I totally agree on your assessment of this article. This thing is a direct slap in the face to all of us who started out poor and have achieved the level of 1% by our own talents and very hard work. Guess what? Most of us saw opportunity, threw the dice and worked very hard to achieve our goals. No one gave us anything. We earned it.

      • Silent Eyes
        Most people are childish, dumb, and bratty. They like to take down others because destruction is easier than creation.
        My complaint is with the oligarchs who pervert our government and write laws that suppress small businesses… because the laws that make it hard for small businesses are written by law firms like where I worked, paid for by the Bigs, and enacted by the D/R corporate machine. No matter how the Bigs whine for effect, never forget they have been writing our laws for going on 50 years.
        Capitalism is a harsh system, it rewards creation and hard work. Bigs hate capitalism and spend their money on creating an oligarchy that destroys competition and rule by Constitutional law.

  15. aljamo says:

    Trickle down became flood up.

  16. Desertrat says:

    No joke, how is it divisive? The author is merely pointing out the spoiled-brat behavior of a group which seems to believe that privilege is a right, and that the good life is somehow owed to them–and should continue in the future as in the past. They readily whine when reality hits.

  17. “Suicide at 30 year high”:

    The real reason for suicides is that anti-depressants flood the brain with a chemical that causes the person to feel tranquil and happy/cheerful. If the victim taking this horrendous modern form of murder, stops the drug; they fall into the depths of a depression so severe that hanging themself seems reasonable to them.

    Coming off anti-depressants is probably the hardest but the most important thing a person must do. First step is to cut back. Cut pills in half and some in quarters. Take 3/4 the amount by consuming one half and one quarter. Look up supplements for depression. And take them. Also, clean the gut and take pro-biopics. Juice and eat the vegtables and fruits of the rainbow. Eat grass-fed beef. Eat wild Salmon. Take flax seed oil in cottage cheese. Build yourself up. Exercise vigorously. Exercise is the safest way to get feel good endorphins which the lack of is what causes depression in the first place. Get plenty of exposure to sunlight without sunscreen or sunglasses. Take vitamin and mineral supplements, vitamin D3, Bcomplex (nutritional yeast). Eat fresh, Organic, Grass-fed healthy and exercise Religiously. As you reduce your dependence by gradually lowering the amount you are taking, realize you will still go thru the worst hell of your life when you stop all together. It will only be for a few weeks that you suffer and then you come alive again, unless of course you kill yourself. Don’t. The way you feel is a lie. Your brain is telling you life sucks. Just get thru it. Life is worth fighting for.

    Please, if you or your children feel depressed, don’t take anti-depressants. They are not the answer. Try doing these things. Clean gut. Clean food. Sunshine and long walks. Friendship, love, and support a loved one. Kind words and a smile are something even a pauper can afford to give away.

    • I suppose I should add that the above is from my experience with friends going thru withdrawal. You should not misconstrue my intentions. I am not giving medical advice, for medical advice go to your medical doctor. It is only my opinion and is not based on any expertise what so ever.

      • cranerigger says:

        B from CA, your comment is right on the money.

      • B from CA
        I agree with you. In my field most people were on antidepressants. Sometimes people cannot face their life decisions and think they cannot escape due to financial considerations. I spent several years unlocking myself financially. A friend of mine who made it to 66 destroyed her health and recently admitted that the extra money was not worth her current health problems, even though she was determined at the time.
        Our society is pretty crazy, most of those taking antidepressants are reacting poorly to it and haven’t quite gotten that it is situational not internal.

  18. Godsoldier says:

    I want my entitlement to be as much free ammo gas, and cold beer as i want and also slow growing grass cus i have to have something to do other than watch the neighbors dog take his daily crap on my lawn

  19. Beaumont says:

    Water was reportedly unmetered during the (first) Great Depression, and common food staples were subsidized, at the level of production, causing them to be relatively inexpensive.

    I’m saying this as someone who grows much of my own food. I make my own tools and fix old ones. My hands are quite worn, but still work. I get the concept of hard work.

    But, we’re not actually pioneers, taming some foreign wilderness.

    Generally speaking, any courteous and intelligent person, fit for labor, should be able to afford first world living standards, in a developed country. I knew my social obligations and have been willing to meet management, halfway, in fulfillment of the social contract.

    I’m not above speculating, if that’s a survival need, now.

  20. TheGuy says:

    The solution to his poverty is obvious to the rest of us: sell his Hamptons home and moving to less tony digs. He could buy a house in a Midwest college town for a fraction of the Hamptons house and live happily ever after off the cashed-out equity.

    Or for 15 years until the spread between (inflation / property tax hikes) and the (FUCKING ABYSMAL return on his saved equity) catches up with him and throws him back into abject soul crushing poverty. This is even assuming he learned the first time and isn’t buying gold plated diamond studded butt plugs anymore.

    And guess what now he’s land-locked. It’s not like he can move back outa there. Ever.

    Do the math it’s not pretty. You really think 2 million in cash sitting in a bank account earning 1.25% is going to save you with THIS level of inflation? It doesn’t even work with the 100 year AVERAGE level of inflation.

  21. Kevin says:

    I moved out the city and the rat race. Paid for my home in full. Took my retirement away from the people who are
    clueless about the situation the country is in. We are in so much debt, the country is being invaded by thousands of “refugees” by Obama. When this comes undone it will be very bad. You think the cops will save you, they will be home taking care of their own. Be prepared.

  22. Houston/Cypress/Katy/Shtf says:

    I am not even going to comment on this. THIS IS A FACT OF LIFE AND ITS ALREADY TOO LATE. Yes folks its already too late, its down hill from now on. Everytime i post, i get my ass handed to me, calling BS. Want to know what i just got told this past week by my scientist friend. No HAARP was used on Houston, in the recent flood and no HAARP was used on Texas Last year in the torential floods. He is telling us, that its planet X, that is causing the atmosphere to get eletrical charges, as seen, and this is why we keep seeing lightning in broad daylight, since i have personally seen this. Flash flooding and another big one will be hitting Houston again because the planets environment is changing as a result. THE ENVIRONMENT, THE ENVIRONMENT, THE ENVIRONMENT. Then the engineered financial callapse will be engineered to use as the excuse to declare martial, “a state of emergency” to then shut down the elections. Donald Trump will make it to the presidency, it literally means that those who are running the cabal would have to be removed, everyone of them immdiately starting today, right now on all levels, and we all know that its impossible for that to happen. We will be plunged into shtf by years end or some time sooner. And if i am wrong, and we do not plunge, it means that it was stopped. So far, nothing is getting stopped and the cabal knows that a confrontation is enevitable by October 2016. that they have to go on national TV, call Trump out as a bad person, and they already know that convincing the Patriots and citizenry that they will have to accept his removal means revolutionary war. So they cabal used JH15& 16 to position all the military assets in place in Texas to take down the state during this process including having us invaded. Like my scientist friend tells me, just listen to Larry Nichols, that Nichols is 100% on the money.. So this means that Mac Bracken who Alex Jones in terviewed a few days ago is 100% on the money as to the end result by October 2016…GET READY FOR ONE HELL OF A PHUCKING RIDE.

    You all remember me telling you about Major Ed Dames telling us that the 2016 election will not be happening. No more elections will ever take place i this country even if Trump wins. degal.com. They didn’t put up those figures for the hell of it, its their plan to mass genocide off the population.

    Donald Trump will not be able to stop what coming. This could change and we need to be positive, but its not likely to happen.

    Aka

    The scientist.

    HCKS.

    At the bottom of local mass grave in Houston 2016-2017…

  23. Nubmaeme says:

    I have no sympathy for these people whatsoever. I know what it is like to go from having an income of about 75K to one less than 30K. The funny thing is, I’m actually much happier now with less of everything.

  24. Ponce says:

    Middle class are only poor class with more debt…

    Me? retired 18 years ago and living only from my SS. But of course I do have a “something” put away.

    V

  25. Anonymous says:

    High-value ego that demands a certain image be projected to keep up appearances. As long as they are willing to part with their cash there will always be somebody ready to feed their self-imposed delusions.

  26. Asshat says:

    Seriously what kind of person can’t produce $400 only a fucking straight up welfare ass loser drunk drug addict nobody. I pay that in deductions every week. Jeez are people desperate or what. If your one of these bums you should just kill yourself and get it over with. I make $50k a yr and think I’m poor. Supposed to make like70k but wages are in the bucket. If I’m out of work for more than a few weeks I get bored. Everyday your not on the clock getting paid is a loss IMO. I don’t like losing$. There is jobs but it’s easier to complain and smoke dope everyday. home depots DC has a sign on the door that says now hiring and below it says if you use drugs don’t bother to apply.

  27. Asshat says:

    It doesn’t matter the culling of the useless eaters is coming.

  28. grandee says:

    ht tp://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2016/04/28/angry-venezuelans-take-to-streets-setting-barricades-and-raiding-shops-for-food/?intcmp=hplnws

    The socialist administration began imposing a four-hour daily blackout around the country this week to save electricity.

    … the water level behind the nation’s largest dam has fallen to near its minimum operating level because of a severe drought. If it gets much lower, the whole nation could be plunged into darkness.

    coming to a town near you.

    • CommonCents says:

      grandee – During the mid-late 1990’s that was routine for 3 consecutive yrs while living in Silicon Valley, CA.

      We had rolling blackouts they claimed were due to shortages, but were really TPTB ‘power wars’ and we were without power for 4 straight hours, at least every few days.

      We never knew exactly when it would happen, just that it would. If a week went by without a 4-hr power outage I knew our turn was coming soon. They took the power out section by section and called them ‘Rolling Blackouts.’ In the area I lived in I had noticed a pattern; it usually occurred from 8:00pm – midnight, every 5-7 days.

      Meanwhile, the politicians were fighting and finger-pointing. Basically, TPTB had created a problem were there really was none. After all was said and done, PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric) raised our rates.

      Much to my non-surprise, that was their solution and the end result.

  29. CommonCents says:

    The four most entitled politicians are: 1- the invertebrate in government housing/White House, 2- Hellery, 3- Trump, and 4- NJ Gov Chris Christie.

    IMO, Christie brings new meaning to the term “Entitled.”

    I don’t live far from the George Washington Bridge and can tell you the media covered up a lot of stories about that crime. School buses full of little kids were crying for hours stuck on hot buses on the Bridge their first day of school waiting anxiously to get to school to meet their new friends, etc,… they had to sit in a hot school bus all day, 7 hours, were crying, had no food, and had to exit the bus to pee on the side of the bridge, to name a few of many other things that occurred and were played down or hushed by the psychopathic-run media.

    The anguished parents, who of course couldn’t get to their children, were frantic, all while Christie played it down and failed to react with a sense of urgency.

    Christie is a liar. He got away with that crime, that was repeatedly downplayed, referred to as “a scandal”, as well as others. All Christie said a few days later was “It’s over, they’ll forget about it.”

    But if that had happened to his kids then there would have been hell to pay = entitled.

    And, they will find a position of power for this crazy man who rules with an iron fist, Christie, (power that he will surely and definitely abuse and then deny) because they know he will do anything to become wealthy and get closer to the elite, even if that means getting down on his knees and kissing ass, taking away more of our rights, possibly dissolving social security, or allowing crimes. IMO, he’s a dangerous, loud-mouth bully, greedy, self-serving self-benefiting pos, the most entitled of them all.

    BTW, I’ve said it before, all you need is one entitlement person in your shtf camp and they will disrupt everything, even if you think you have control of the situation… entitled people are very sneaky and destructive. Beware.

    Also keep in mind entitled people have no conscience — ‘entitled’/’without conscience’, the two always go hand-in-hand…. can’t have one without the other.

  30. James says:

    And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth, for in one hour she has been laid waste!

  31. James says:

    Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you.

    And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth, for in one hour she has been laid waste!

  32. James says:

    Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.[a] 6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.

  33. Old Guy says:

    Demonizing someone on the basis of how much they have is irrational. Its not too different from the spcialist commie term (Fair Share)? for several decades after WWII the USA was the producer for the entire world. The poorest of us where wealthy compared to some other places. The socialist UN types decided the USA middle class had more than their fair share. So thinks like the fake gas shortage & nafta ect where put in place to redistribute the USA,s working producing middle class jobs to other third world places. Not all wealthy people are evil. and not all poor folks are good. Productive people are good and parasites are bad. There are too many takers (worthless Eaters) And not enough producers (makers) for the present situation to be long term sustainable. The Georgia Guidestones are correct on that issue.

    • Old Guy,
      The Georgia Guidestones are about protecting the environment, and dropping the global population down to about half a billion. That means genocide at an unbelievable scale. Nothing particularly indicates that those you want dead will be the ones to disappear. My guess is that old folks would be high on the no longer needed list. I see no indication that any Americans are on the must be saved list, either. My best guess: a few thousand will have advance notice and time to bug out. The rest of us will be taking the dirt nap, as Braveheart says. A few hundred million will survive one way or another. Not like it will matter to tptb.
      I would like to survive (read my heirs and assigns in there).
      Most on here forget that the Eaters were mostly employed taxpayers until jobs started disappearing at a fast pace. No sense playing tptb divide and conquer game, it isn’t like they won’t steal everything you have and throw you under the bus.

  34. CommonCents says:

    James – There is no correlation with one’s wealth or lack of wealth and their true inner core-character.

    Some rich people are entitled, nasty scum, and so are some middle class, as well as some of those struggling to get by. One’s inner core-character, who they are as a person, trustworthy or untrustworthy, has nothing at all to do with their socioeconomic background and status.

    We cannot possibly determine if a person is evil or not, or untrustworthy and deceitful, or honest as the day is long by their bank account. Your posts are ludicrous.