Posts Tagged ‘debt based fiat money’

Debt II

October 25, 2012

Let’s be clear.

The problem is not Debt Based Fiat Money (DBFM) proper. As a system, DBFM is certainly less desirable than a value based system or a pure Fiat Monetary system free of debt.

No, the problem is not the system. Rather, the problem are the sponsors of the system.

DBFM is arithmetically limited in scope. Left undisturbed, DBFM would naturally reset regularly and by itself. In turn, this would allow a resetting of the economy purging the wasteful and the uneconomical before things get dramatically out of kilter. It is precisely this arithmetical limit that makes DBFM so desirable to the sponsors of the system.

The inherent tendency to reset provides the sponsors of the system with an excuse to intervene. In a DBFM system, under the guise of social justice, intervention takes the form of subsidies or bailouts. In this regard, electoral politics is symbiotic and reinforces the perceived “need” for intervention. Either way, the ultimate beneficiaries of intervention are the sponsors of the system. Hence the reason that in time, DBFM leads to the concentration of ownership of the productive capital of society in the financial sector along with the profits.

In an environment where the privilege to create the currency is arbitrarily bestowed upon a third party and where society is obligated to make use of this currency, the dynamic outlined above is arithmetically inevitable. The more expensive and pervasive the intervention the more assets are appropriated by the financial sector.

It is in this context that entities like the UN, the World Bank, the IMF, unions or any number of NGOs inscribe themselves. Pervasive and aggressive expenditure on the part of governments for the military, for subsidies or for social programs are absolute gold for the sponsors of DBFM. The best part is that some of this expenditure is justified as social justice or social responsibility when in fact it is purely a transfer of wealth … to the banks.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Government does have a role in upholding the rights of the less fortunate and the otherwise marginalized. But from there to justifying the dynamic of DBFM as morally right, is a stretch. It is a stretch exactly because the creation of funds ex-nihilo dictated by DBFM creates such violent social dislocations in the first place that neither the UN nor any entities that receive the funds can compensate the mayhem. Quite the contrary. An entity like the UN invariably reinforces corruption and waste thus it reinforces social marginalization and destitution.

It all goes back to the monetary system and the way it is managed.

It’s the monetary system stoopid! Government of the banks, by the banks and for the banks.

This is the reason saving the banks is presented as such a vital mission by our sovereigns.

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Gold moves from investment to money (Forbes)

August 26, 2011

Though many would be tempted to say better late than never, this does not detract from the absurdity that the specialized press as, indeed, professionals in finance and economics, should finally be coming around to the mathematical reality of our monetary system.

Status Change: Gold Moves From Investment To Money

http://www.forbes.com/sites/richdanker/2011/08/24/status-change-gold-moves-from-investment-to-money/

Why the movement to gold per se? It is an emphasis on asset-based rather than debt-based money. As Stoferle puts it, “The possession of gold is tantamount to pure ownership without liabilities.”” […] “The pump priming meant to nudge the economy out of the early 2000s recession spawned the housing bubble and its disastrous endgame. No central bank action, and virtually every possible one has been tried, has turned things around. The Erste report acknowledges a system failure: interest rates cannot go any lower, government debt has saturated the economy, and the misery index (the sum of the unemployment and inflation rates) in the U.S. is close to its average in the 1970s. Indeed, the real economy in addition to the financial system is deeply flawed. Forty-four million Americans are on food stamps and the effective unemployment rate is closer to 20 percent than the reported 9 percent.

Stoferle deftly links the rise in inequality in the U.S. to its monetary policy. Today, a CEO earns 425 times the average worker’s wages; in 1980 the disparity ratio was 24:1. “Monetary dispersion is not neutral,” he writes. “Market participants who receive the new money early and exchange it for goods benefit in comparison with those who get the newly created money later. We can see a transfer of assets from late money users to early money users.”” […] price inflation is relative and staggered as “newly created is distributed neither equally nor simultaneously among the population.

I will take only minor issue with the statement by the writer (not excerpted above): “Investors and central bankers have woken up to the reality that paper currencies decline over the long run because governments cannot resist pump priming in the face of economic slowdown.

The problem is not that governments cannot resist pump priming. The problem is woven in the monetary fabric. Debt Based Fiat Money can only exist in a world of constant pump priming. If that were not the case, then any other monetary system would do. The reason banks propose the system and politicians impose it on society is exactly because the system mandates constant pump priming (so banks make profits and politicians can fund their pet projects) AND BECAUSE those entities that have access to the newly created money first (banks and politicians) gain disproportionally more than entities that have access to it further down the line like the consumer… i.e. you and me.

Do any of you reading this blog still harbor any doubt that the particular variety of monetary system that has been imposed in the West is a deliberate policy of impoverishment of the many for the benefit of the few?

If so, I submit you truly need to revise your elementary arithmetic skills.

 

 

On the desirability of Debt Based Fiat Money

July 4, 2011

Recently, I had a discussion on another blog with someone who asked why Debt Based Fiat Money (DBFM) should be such an evil construct and how it is that it should be better or worse than any other monetary system.

As expected, I launched in my usual rant about exponentiality, diminishing marginal utility, transfer of productive capital yada, yada, yada till, I thought, I had defined the issue in its entirety. Whether she was being kind or whether she just wanted me to stop, my interlocutor acknowledged she now understood the mechanics of DBFM. However, she wondered, how much worse can DBFM be than any other variety of money?

It is only some time later I thought of something that should finally clarify the evil of DBFM.

In a non debt based monetary system (that could be either value based or predicated on a fixed amount of fiat money), an individual may choose to work less and, provided he at the same time chooses to consume less, said individual could still be able to save a portion of his earnings.

On the other hand, DBFM does not allow this choice. In a DBFM system, the same individual could not choose to work less because even assuming he decided to consume less, government would overspend on his behalf thus not only devaluing the little income the individual may have saved, but also saddling him with public debt which he is going to have to pay through taxes and/or through an increase in the cost of living.

March 1st, 2012 addendum

In the case of individuals that cannot or do not want to work, DBFM allows politicians to promise all sorts of state aid under the guise of social safety nets and safe in the knowledge that outlays can always be covered by newly minted currency. A cursory look at the creation of credit and currency over the past forty years will readily evidence the profligacy of our expedient political/monetary system. And, by the way, we ain’t seen nothing yet. The diminishing marginal utility of debt ensures that as the mathematical limit of the construct is reached, credit and money creation must go exponential:

FRED Graph
This picture requires little comment me thinks.

So even though, given political will, either monetary system can be subverted, a non debt based monetary system has the virtue to at least allow a 50% chance that the system can be managed properly ensuring fiduciary duty, true free markets, true freedom of choice and true democracy. Not so DBFM which from the get go is geared towards statism via the debasement of the currency and which is set up to transfer the productive capital of society into the hands of a financial elite and its cronies.

What this country needs is a good 5% CPI

June 20, 2011

And this, from no other than the Wall Street Journal. Granted it is but the opinion of Mr. Brett Arends but he’s given space on the WSJ.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304451504576394002810246540.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Inflation cures a debt hangover. It may be the only known cure. The reason? The value of the debt stays the same in dollars, but there are more and more dollars to go around and pay the debt off.

Mr. Arends’ opinion is not surprising. This is exactly the rationale that has been inculcated into most main stream economists and politicians for the past 100 years so that it is unreasonable to expect anyone else to understand the problem inherent in this strategy. After all, despite empirical evidence to the contrary, to anyone unwilling to question the received wisdom,  inflation does appear  to have served us well for the past century.

Mr. Arends of course fails to realize or understand that inflation is limited mathematically. But even for those that understand the inherently limited nature of inflation few realize the darker side of this dynamic when it is used within the context of Debt Based Fiat Money.

Inflation can only be induced for as long as a currency can be debased. Debasement of the purchasing power of a currency cannot go below zero and that is your mathematical limit. Said limit was reached in 1929, in 1969 and again now. The only way debasement can be stretched out in time is if the currency in question can assimilate other markets and currencies thereby extending the time line to total debasement. Hence the Lend Lease Act of the late 30s, then the Marshall Plan and Bretton Woods, then the abrogation of Bretton Woods and the adoption of Floating Exchange Rates. At that point, the currencies of all major Western industrialized countries became de facto dollarized thereby extending the capacity of the US Dollar to be debased. Unable to assimilate any other markets of consequence such as the Chinese currency (yet), the last major effort to extend the life of the US Dollar was the creation of the Euro. The creation of the Euro induced an immediate devaluation of all European currencies of between 20% for Germany to 50% for Italy thereby affording the US Dollar some respite.

The other problem is that inflation conforms to the law of diminishing marginal utility. This means that as the dynamic evolves, you always need greater degrees of inflation in order to get the same result. This is evidenced by any number of metrics the most glaring of which is the Money Multiplier:

***

***
The above metric evidences what happens when you induce inflation artificially, aggressively and persistently; each further  Dollar of debt gets you less and less bang for your buck. Hence the reason why since 1980 Federal Debt progressed from about US$1Trillion to currently US$14Trillion (that’s only Federal Debt not including personal and corporate debt… that’s a rise in excess of 1000%) whereas GDP barely doubled from US$6Trillion to currently US$14Trillion.
Naturally, one of the tangible results of unbridled inflation over long periods of time that everyone has felt but nobody can explain, is why and how a family could get by quite nicely on one salary till the 40s but then gradually not even two salaries have been sufficient to keep up with the Joneses and why debt has become such a prevalent feature of people’s lives.

That’s for the mechanics of inflation.

But inflation within the context of DBFM is a much more insidious and devastating dynamic and it is deliberate. This is where the vast majority of people are unable to venture intellectually hence believing inflation is as a panacea.

DBFM arbitrarily and unilaterally bestows the privilege to create the currency to an entity that is separate and protected from society. This entity is allowed to make a profit on something that has no cost of production but that society, under penalty of incarceration, must make use of and pay for AND must pledge to pay back fully. In other words, here is one single entity that stands apart from the entirety of society and that is allowed by decree to make 100% profit on something that costs nothing.

Thus, in the particular case of DBFM, inflation not only guarantees fabulous profits to the monetary authority and its cohorts, but it also guarantees that as the currency is debased, the productive capacity of society is gradually transferred to those entities that gravitate around the monetary authority. This is simple arithmetic. By dint of not having any capital, temporal or labor costs the monetary authority’s profit potential is unlimited. The more inflation is injected into the system, the greater the profits and the more productive capacity leaks out of society. On the other hand, society’s profit potential is limited not only by all input costs but also by virtue of the cost of money (interest rate) AND by the deliberate debasement of the currency on the part of the monetary authority. Thus society always needs greater amounts of currency units not only to expand production but also in order to pay for the use of all units of currency circulated prior. This of course leads us straight to the paradox of DBFM. That is; if someone decided to gather all the currency in circulation to return it to the monetary authority this individual, though noble this individual would still be out of pocket to the tune of the interest owed on the currency that was just returned. But having already returned the entirety of the currency in circulation there is no currency left with which to pay said interest.

Our monetary system is broken (more evidence)

June 7, 2011

As stated numerous times in these pages, the Western monetary system and the monetary system of the vast majority of countries the world over, is a US$ based Debt Based Fiat Monetary System. The whole thing is predicated on Floating Exchange Rates.

Don’t let the technical terms scare you. All the above, simply means that all countries that recognize the US$ as reserve currency pledge to prop the system by purchasing the sovereign debt of all the partners to the system (floating exchange rates).

Thus, for as long as the system is working as intended, then all sovereigns purchase sovereign debt from each other. This is what maintains the appearance of sovereign currencies when in fact each currency has been replaced by the US$.

So far so good.

But as the efficiency of the currency wanes, the diminishing marginal utility of debt means that at some point sovereigns may no longer desire or be able to purchase the sovereign debt of other countries. For as long as this situation pertains to one or two countries than the whole scheme can survive. For example, when Japan’s economy began to implode in the 90s, the economies of the rest of the world were by and large still expanding so that Japan engaging in Quantitative Easing didn’t really matter.

Things get interesting when gradually, most but then all parties to the Floating Exchange Rate mechanism are confronted with overwhelming debts. At that point, the rationale of the Floating Exchange Rate system must by necessity be thrown out of the window as each sovereign must desperately try to prop its own sovereign debt … by buying it from themselves…

That is the point the DBFM system is broken.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/gilts/8550716/Banks-buy-bulk-of-39.8bn-of-new-gilts.html

Banks bought 91pc of the £39.8bn of net issuance of new gilts with purchases totalling £36.1bn, compared to the £11.4bn of UK debt bought in the preceding six months. ”

 

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/dealers-flip-50-entire-just-completed-very-strong-3-year-auction-back-feds-brian-sack

Basically the auction was a massive success primarily due to the Primary Dealer participation, which took down 51.9% of the entire issue, or $16.6 billion of $32 billion. We predicted, accurately, that “Naturally, none of this due to actual demand, but merely due to Primary Dealer expectations of a prompt and profitable flip back to Brian Sack (the Federal Reserve).”

By the way. The Federal Reserve as of a few months ago is the largest holder of US sovereign debt paper having overtaken China.

Our monetary system is broken. Everything else is a dog and pony show.

Timo Soini – another good egg

May 9, 2011

Along Vaclav Klaus, Ron Paul and Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, add Timo Soini to the politicians I would support.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703864204576310851503980120.html

When I had the honor of leading the True Finn Party to electoral victory in April, we made a solemn promise to oppose the so-called bailouts of euro-zone member states. These bailouts are patently bad for Europe, bad for Finland and bad for the countries that have been forced to accept them. Europe is suffering from the economic gangrene of insolvency—both public and private. And unless we amputate that which cannot be saved, we risk poisoning the whole body.

Just what it is

April 15, 2011

Because it bears repeating till people finally realize the absurdity of it all. The use of debt based fiat money can only result in selective justice because the system is inherently limited mathematically. The lack of prosecution of those elements that are the linchpins of the monetary construct is as deliberate as it sadly is perceived to be necessary policy.

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/04/14/justice/index.html

Glenn Greenwald at Salon.com:

Of all the topics on which I’ve focused, I’ve likely written most about America’s two-tiered justice system — the way in which political and financial elites now enjoy virtually full-scale legal immunity for even the most egregious lawbreaking, while ordinary Americans, especially the poor and racial and ethnic minorities, are subjected to exactly the opposite treatment: the world’s largest prison state and most merciless justice system. That full-scale destruction of the rule of law is also the topic of my forthcoming book. But The New York Times this morning has a long article so perfectly illustrating what I mean by “two-tiered justice system” — and the way in which it obliterates the core covenant of the American Founding: equality before the law — that it’s impossible for me not to highlight it.

The article’s headline tells most of the story: “In Financial Crisis, No Prosecutions of Top Figures.” It asks: “why, in the aftermath of a financial mess that generated hundreds of billions in losses, have no high-profile participants in the disaster been prosecuted?” And it recounts that not only have no high-level culprits been indicted (or even subjected to meaningful criminal investigations), but few have suffered any financial repercussions in the form of civil enforcements or other lawsuits. The evidence of rampant criminality that led to the 2008 financial crisis is overwhelming, but perhaps the clearest and most compelling such evidence comes from long-time Wall-Street-servant Alan Greenspan; even he was forced to acknowledge that much of the precipitating conduct was “certainly illegal and clearly criminaland thata lot of that stuff was just plain fraud.”

Despite that clarity and abundance of the evidence proving pervasive criminality, it’s entirely unsurprising that there have been no real criminal investigations or prosecutions. That’s because the overarching “principle” of our justice system is that criminal prosecutions are only for ordinary rabble, not for those who are most politically and financially empowered. We have thus created precisely the two-tiered justice system against which the Founders most stridently warned and which contemporary legal scholars all agree is the hallmark of a lawless political culture. Lest there be any doubt about that claim, just consider the following facts and events:

When Bush officials were revealed to have established a worldwide torture regime (including tactics which Obama’s Attorney General flatly stated were illegal) and spied on Americans without the warrants required by law (which Obama himself insisted was criminal), what happened? This, from The New York Times, January 11, 2009:

And when Spanish prosecutors decided, in light of Obama’s refusal, that it would criminally investigate the torture by American officials to which its citizens were subjected by the U.S., what happened? This, from Mother Jones, December 1, 2010:

When telecoms get caught participating in Bush’s illegal eavesdropping program in violation of multiple federal statutes, what happened? This, from TPM, February 12, 2008:

And that, in turn, led to this, from The New York Times, June 3, 2009:

And when the CIA got caught destroying videotapes of its “interrogation” sessions with accused Terrorists even in the face of multiple court orders directing that they preserve such evidence — acts which even the establishment-serving, rhetorically restrained co-Chairmen of the 9/11 Commission strongly suggested constituted “obstruction” of justice — what happened? This, from Politico, November 9, 2010:

And when it came time to decide what to do with one of the most brazen and egregious lawbreakers in the financial world — former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo, whose fraud was so glaring that he was one of the very few to suffer any consequences (forced to pay a paltry $40 million out of his $500 million fortune) — what happened? This, from AP, February 10, 2011:

All of that stands in the starkest possible contrast to how ordinary Americans — especially the poor and racial and ethnic minorities — are treated by this same “justice system”: with incomparably harsh and merciless punishment. From The New York Times, April 23, 2008:

The virtually full-scale immunity now vested in political and financial elites stands in just as stark contrast to the treatment received by those who reveal wrongdoing, corruption and illegality by those elites — from The New York Times, June 11, 2010:

And, from CBS News, March 11, 2011:

And this overflowing forgiveness and generosity toward elites stands in starkest contrast to foreign nationals accused of Terrorism, who are literally rendered non-persons and denied all rights – from The Washington Post, March 11, 2011:

And, from the ACLU, September 15, 2009:

In a 1795 letter, George Washington vowed that “the executive branch of this government never has, nor will suffer, while I preside, any improper conduct of its officers to escape with impunity.” Thomas Jefferson — in an April 16, 1784, letter to Washington — argued that the foundation on which American justice must rest is “the denial of every preeminence.” It’s literally difficult to imagine how we could be further away from those core principles. That the culprits who caused one of the worst financial crises in modern history have been fully shielded from the consequences of their acts — set along side the torturers and illegal eavesdroppers who have been similarly protected — illustrates that quite compellingly.

As to why changing the monetary system should be a priority in altering the political landscape

April 8, 2011

By way of premise, we must realize that not everyone wishes to change the political landscape. Because one man’s loss is another man’s gain, there are entities that are profiting handsomely from the status quo. This situation will persist for as long as those sustaining the losses can do so without hard feelings. or till they realize the game is rigged and how badly it is rigged.

Change is a constant of life or at least so we would like to think. In the West today we boast a political quilt of parties that ostensibly have different goals and/or different solutions to reach a presumably ideal state of general prosperity and well being and the masses are allowed to express their opinion as to whom they think will be better suited to bring about the change they desire.

The reality is of course that whatever the political party that  may take your fancy, it must necessarily and inevitably make use of exactly the same basic tool that everyone else must make use of: money.

Fascists, communists, marxists, socialists, republicans, democrats, libertarians or what have you must all inherently, necessarily and inevitably make use of money.

There is no alternative.

Since money is the most basic indispensable tool to crystallize ideas and theories into actions and facts, it is useful to understand how money comes into being, how it is managed, whether there are alternative ways to create and manage money and, if there are, what the ramifications of using one management method over another may be.

In The Evil of Inflation I highlight the relationship that exists between inflation and aberrant policies that lead to the devastation of the environment and or the depletion of resources sooner than otherwise would be the case. So, clearly, the nature of money shoulders significant responsibility in dictating how we lead our lives.

This particular iteration of the monetary system in use in the West today is a Debt Based Fiat Monetary System. This simply means that government gives the privilege to create the currency to a third party for which the third party will be paid a fee known as interest.

The defining characteristic of Debt Based Fiat Money (DBFM) is that it has no perceived intrinsic cost of production. It is just paper. Or linen to be exact (I’m skipping here the concept of credit and Fractional Reserve Accounting for ease of comprehension). But the cost of producing a 1 or a 100 Dollar unit of currency is grossly insignificant compared to the fee paid to the creator of the currency.

And here is the first problem. The creator of the currency has no significant cost of production and yet gets paid for what it produces. Clearly therefore, the creator of the currency has a vested interest in producing huge amounts of currency in order to earn ever more fees.

And here is the second problem. Not only is government (i.e. you and me) obligated to pay the creator of the currency a fee to make use of said currency but by law it may not make use of any other type of currency.

So our governments have bestowed the privilege to create currency at zero cost to a third party and then they make it a criminal offence to not make use of said currency all the while charging you and me interest that is paid to said third party for something that has no cost of production.

Nice work if you can get it. But the logical ramification of this construct is that as the party creating the currency at zero cost injects ever greater amounts of currency into the system, society must find ever greater productive sources in order to pay back the creator of the currency. The creator of the currency enjoys the dual privilege of zero cost of production and a guaranteed market at usurious rates. Society is thus forever beholden to the creator of the currency as not only is it a criminal offence not to make use of the currency but in making use of it society must also pay the currency back plus more of it in the form of interest.  This is the law.

THIS IS THE LAW.

The law of Western countries says that society must make use of the currency created by the central bank and it must pay it back plus more.

If it were not yet clear, the above construct means that there will never be enough physical currency in circulation to pay back the central bank. Because regardless of returning the entire stock of money in existence in the realm, the interest on said stock of money would still need to be paid. But having returned the entire stock of money to the creator of the currency, where would you get money to pay the interest?

Hence the vicious circle brought about by DBFM. Hence the permanent enslavement of the masses to the monetary authority.

And here is the third problem and this one is a doozie.

As society requires ever greater amounts of currency to be created because it must pay interest on the money it requires but, there not ever being sufficient quantities of money to do so, inflation is guaranteed i.e. the permanent and aggressive expansion of the monetary stock is assured.

The final problem with this construct is this. From an arithmetical point of view, inflation cannot be and is not infinite. There is only so much purchasing power that can be eroded before you hit the singularity. But as you approach the singularity, you can be assured the monetary authority will do anything and everything to keep the system going as long as possible. Can you spell TARP? Can you spell Preferential Accounting Treatment? Can you spell rewarding deliberate and criminal colossal failure with a slap on the wrist? Can you not see that the same people that have perpetrated what would ordinarily be considered serious criminal actions are still in power and are given even more power? Is it not yet clear that if you are close to government or, indeed, are a primary dealer the rule of law does not apply to you?

How much more proof is needed in order for the ordianary citizen to see what is happening? What will it take?

STUNNING!!!!

March 31, 2011

A main stream publication allowing one of its reporters to take the monetary system to task!!!

http://blogs.forbes.com/richdanker/2011/03/30/to-lower-the-debt-ceiling-fix-the-monetary-system/

Better late than never comes to mind. If this trend catches on, the governing elites might be forced to justify their choice of our current monetary system. Could that really come to pass?

I am too cynical to think that might actually happen at this time. It may indeed be forced upon the elite but they would certainly not allow debate willingly or preemptively.

 

Employment in an inflationary environment

March 22, 2011

This post is lifted from the blog of one of the best non-main stream commentators I know, Mike Shedlock whom I often reference anyway.

His post along with the articles that gave rise to the post are worthwhile reading. The jist of the whole thing is that in a debt based fiat monetary system, government must necessarily, if gradually, become the largest actor in the economy. And of this, more proof follows:

http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2011/03/current-decade-of-job-losses-vs-great.html

Follows entire article and graphs:

Current Decade of Job Losses vs. Great Depression; How Did Quasi-Public Jobs Fare? Who is Whining?

It may surprise you to learn that job losses in the most recent decade ending February 2011 are reasonably comparable to the job losses from 1929-1939. Moreover, if we exclude government and “quasi- government” jobs, the latest decade is the worst ever, by far.

Please consider A Decade of Labor Market Pain by Mike Mandel.

In February 2001, nonfarm payrolls hit their business cycle peak of 132.5 million. Ten years later, the latest data pegs February 2011 payrolls at 130.5 million, a 1.5% decline. To put this in perspective, the ten-year period of the Great Depression, 1929-39 saw a 2.3% decline in nonfarm employment, roughly the same magnitude.

But even that 1.5% understates the extent of the pain for most of the workforce. I divide the economy into two parts. On the one side are the combined public and quasi-public sectors, and on the other side is the rest of the economy. Public, of course, refers to government employees. ‘Quasi-public’, a term I just invented, includes the nominal private-sector education, healthcare, and social assistance industries. I call them ’quasi-public’ because these industries depend very heavily on government funding. For example, social assistance includes ‘child and youth services’ and ‘services for the elderly and disabled’, which are often provided under government contract.

The chart below shows employment growth in the public/quasi-public sector, compared to employment growth in the rest of the economy, with February 2001 set to 100. We can see that public/quasi-public employment rose steadily over the past ten years, and is now up 16%. By comparison, the rest of the private sector is down 8% in jobs over the past 10 years.

Once again, we look at the Great Depression for an analogy. From 1929 to 1939, government employment rose by about 30%. If we back that out, then private sector non-ag jobs fell by 6% over the Depression decade. That compares to the contemporary 8% decline in private non-ag non-quasi-public jobs since 2001. So by this measure, the past 10 years have been worse for the labor market than the decade of the Great Depression.

The first chart below is from the BLS, the second chart below is from Mandel.

Nonfarm Payroll Employment – Seasonally Adjusted Total

The above chart shows the 1.5% drop between February 2001 and February 2011. Note that nonfarm employment is below where it was 11 years ago dating back to February 2000.

The next chart is the one Mandel created.

Public and Quasi-Public Jobs vs. Everything Else

Please see Mandel’s article for a state-by-state breakdown.

Who is Doing all the Whining?

Who is doing all the whining and all the pissing and moaning? The answer of course is those who fared the best in the last decade: the police and fire unions, the teachers’ unions, transit unions, and public unions in general.

Many in private sector fields have been hammered silly with rapidly rising healthcare costs and lower paychecks (assuming they have a job at all). Meanwhile those with the most benefits and those who have suffered the least are the ones unjustifiably bitching to high heavens about how unfairly they are being treated.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com

End article