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91
Geopolitics / 🗳️ Warren readies for 2020 run
« Last post by RE on October 16, 2018, 01:10:33 AM »
Told you she would run.  You heard it here first.

RE

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/10/15/warren-2020-election-902706


Monday’s video rollout sent a clear sign to any Democrat who wondered whether Sen. Elizabeth Warren would fight back against President Donald Trump. | Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images

Elections
Warren readies for 2020 run

The Massachusetts senator’s presidential race choreography is unmistakable.

By NATASHA KORECKI and ALEX THOMPSON

10/15/2018 07:44 PM EDT

Updated 10/15/2018 08:40 PM EDT

At a town hall meeting last month, Sen. Elizabeth Warren finally revealed she was taking “a hard look” at running for president.

Now it’s clear just how hard she’s looking.

Monday’s grandiose, made-for-media detailing of her Native American ancestry — complete with DNA documentation — erased any questions about the Massachusetts Democrat‘s intent.

Something approaching a 2020 campaign slogan is beginning to take shape: “Persist.” Her political team rolled out a nationwide “PERSIST Project” campaign on Facebook this past June, hawking free state-specific “Persist” bumper stickers. At the progressive conference Netroots Nation in August, Warren’s team distributed signs with the single word to the audience to wave during her speech. The front page of her website currently includes a mosaic slideshow of supporters wearing “She Persisted” T-shirts.

The breadth of her national political operation was made clear in an exhaustive account on Sunday. In recent months, Warren has released 10 years of tax returns, introduced a major anti-corruption legislative package, published policy papers and even shifted from her studied avoidance of the press to stopping in the Senate hallway to take questions and taking private, off-the-record meetings with national reporters in New York and Washington.

All along, Warren has supported a sprawling network of Democratic candidates, pouring $8 million into campaigns across the country, placing staff in key races and making personal contacts with winning and losing candidates in pivotal states.
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And if the 2020 choreography wasn’t unmistakable enough, Monday’s video rollout sent a clear sign to any Democrat who wondered whether Warren would fight back against President Donald Trump, who has taunted her as “Pocahontas” and stated he would donate $1 million to Warren's charity of choice if she took a DNA test that proved her claims of Native American ancestry.
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By taking the test, demanding that Trump pay the money he publicly wagered against her and wrapping it all with an expertly produced video that detailed her roots to Oklahoma Republicans, Warren went about as far toward announcing her candidacy as she could without actually saying the words.

Jim Demers, a New Hampshire-based strategist on presidential campaigns, called Warren’s moves “smart” in today’s environment.

“Once the 2018 election is over, I think the presidential race is going to bust wide open,” Demers said. “That’s mainly because the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary will literally be less than a year and a half away. That’s not a lot of time to be organizing and campaigning. Any of the potential candidates who has laid the groundwork now will see it pay off. This campaign is going to move very fast.”

While some Democrats criticized Warren for distracting from November‘s midterms, her moves were in keeping with a flurry of recent positioning moves by potential 2020 candidates.

“You want to get out early enough so you can raise the money you need and lock in the political support you need but you also don’t want to appear getting out too early before a midterm election,” former Hillary Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said. “I assume that’s the needle they’re trying to thread here.”

Democratic strategist and former adviser to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, Patti Solis Doyle called the video release a savvy play by Warren, allowing her to get out her message, signal she would stand up to Trump and take potential backers on a tour of her family background and professional credentials.
Elizabeth Warren.

congress
Elizabeth Warren hits back at Trump, releases DNA test 'strongly' supporting Native American ancestry

By REBECCA MORIN and QUINT FORGEY

But Doyle also questioned Warren’s timing, saying her actions are different than other 2020 contenders who are laying the groundwork by campaigning in early presidential states.

“With a wink and a nod they’re going to Iowa campaigning for Democrats who are in serious races,” Solis Doyle said of other Democrats in the field. “You can’t even with a wink and a nod say this is for anyone but Elizabeth Warren, in defense of Elizabeth Warren, promoting Elizabeth Warren.”

Warren, who is in a reelection contest of her own — and still staring at three debates in the campaign homestretch — has not yet visited Iowa, and, as of now, has no events scheduled there before the midterm elections.

The Massachusetts senator has sent out emails on behalf of local candidates, offered financial support and in upcoming days, is set to take part in a conference call as part of the Iowa coordinated Democratic campaign.

Still, she risks getting outpaced in Iowa by Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, who has already has stormed the state, and other top potential candidates including Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Kamala Harris of California, who are scheduled to stump for candidates there next week.

“They were waiting for somebody to go first, Sen. Booker went first. Sen. Harris is coming,” Iowa campaign strategist Matt Paul said of possible 2020 contenders visiting the first presidential state. “The door is open. If [Warren] put out a video like this, it only makes sense she follow it up with a visit.”

As Monday’s rollout made clear, Warren’s “Pocahontas” problem still hasn’t been fully resolved. Her submission to a DNA test comes after six years of trying to find another way to defuse the issue.

Trump reignited it during the 2016 campaign as Warren became a high profile surrogate for Hillary Clinton. The president’s incessant taunts — combined with deep reporting in early 2018 by The Boston Globe — helped prompt Warren to give a speech to the National Congress of American Indians in February 2018 where she attacked Trump for “reducing Native history, Native culture, Native people to the butt of a joke.”
Dianne Feinstein

Congress
Dems fume as GOP advances Trump judicial picks during Senate recess

By ELANA SCHOR

She then promised the group that “[e]very time someone brings up my family’s story, I’m going to use it to lift up the story of your families and your communities.”

On Monday, Republicans — led by the president — showed every sign they weren’t about to let it drop, despite reports and former superiors supporting Warren’s claim that she received no special treatment for her claims of Native American heritage while a university professor.

“Senator Warren’s latest ‘disclosure’ is a glaring signal that she recognizes this issue is going to be a major problem for her all-but-announced presidential campaign,” Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Reed said in a statement.

Donald Trump Jr., often the tip of the spear for White House attacks, also chimed in about Warren’s disclosure: “I’m gonna go out in a limb here and say she did it to get favorable treatment throughout her career. The real shame is that those benefits could have gone to someone who was way more than 0.0009765% maybe Native American. #fraud.”

The president, who denied Monday that he had wagered $1 million despite a public statement to the contrary, said he welcomed a presidential challenge from Warren while talking to reporters on the South Lawn.

“I hope she's running for president because I think she would be very easy," Trump said. "I do not think she would be difficult at all. She'll destroy the country. She'll make our country into Venezuela. With that being said, I don't want to say bad things about her because I would hope that she would be one of the people that would get through the process. It's going to be a long process for the Democrats.”
92
Environment / 🌀 Michael: The Path of Total Destruction GEI Crosspost
« Last post by RE on October 16, 2018, 12:59:48 AM »
Michael: The Path of Total Destruction now UP on Global Economic Intersection!  :icon_sunny:

http://econintersect.com/pages/opinion/opinion.php?post=201810152202

RE
93
Environment / 🌀 Families of people missing after Hurricane Michael turn to social media
« Last post by RE on October 16, 2018, 12:10:51 AM »
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/families-people-missing-after-hurricane-michael-turn-social-media-clues-n920396

Families of people missing after Hurricane Michael turn to social media for clues
"Please Help Me Find My Son," one mother wrote in a Facebook group that was set up to locate missing people during disasters.
by Farnoush Amiri / Oct. 15, 2018 / 3:57 PM AKDT


A firefighter searches for survivors in Mexico Beach, Florida, on Friday.Douglas R. Clifford / Tampa Bay Times via AP

Keith Douglas' family has been trying to reach him since last Wednesday, when Hurricane Michael directly hit Panama City, Florida, where he lives. He had decided not to evacuate, and his sister, Mandy Robinson, wanted to make sure he'd weathered the storm. But every time she called, all she heard was beeping.

Robinson grew even more frantic to reach Douglas on Saturday, when their brother, Mark Bonner, 48, died unexpectedly of congestive heart failure. Bonner's funeral is Tuesday in LaGrange, Georgia, and Robinson knows that Douglas would want to be there. But she still hasn't been able to reach him.
The Bonner siblings, Mark Bonner, from left, Mandy Bonner Robinson, Tina Bonner and Keith Douglas, who is missing
The Bonner siblings, from left: Mark Bonner, Mandy Bonner Robinson, Tina Bonner and Keith Douglas, who is missing.Courtesy Bonner family

"I don't want him to not know about it," said Robinson, 44, who posted on Facebook to ask if anyone had seen or spoken to her brother. "We've tried everything. No one has heard from him."

Five days after Hurricane Michael devastated beach towns in the Florida Panhandle, search-and-rescue teams are still combing through rubble in search of hundreds of people reported missing. As of Sunday night, authorities said that 250 people who had chosen to stay behind were unaccounted for.
00:03 / 01:19
Hurricane Michael destruction exposes weaker building codes in Florida Panhandle
Oct. 15, 201801:20

It's too soon to say what happened to those who are missing. Nearly 200,000 Floridians still don't have electricity, and some areas are without cellphone service, which could be preventing people from reaching out for help. In the absence of official information on their loved ones, dozens of relatives who live outside of the hardest-hit areas are turning to social media to fill in the gaps.

"Please Help Me Find My Son," Kristine Wright wrote Saturday in a Facebook group that was set up to locate missing people during disasters. Wright and her husband, Robert Perry, who live in Freeport, Florida, have been anxiously trying to reach their son Nicholas Sines, 22, who lives in Panama City and didn't plan to evacuate.

Wright and Perry had been driving about 60 miles each day to Panama City in an attempt to reach their son's home, but each time they were rebuffed by authorities who told them the area was not safe to enter. They had reached out to rescuers, but there were no updates. So the post with photos of their son in the Facebook group, Hurricane Michael: Missing & Separated Resources, was a last-ditch hope.
Nicholas Sines
Nicholas SinesCourtesy Kristine Wright

On Monday afternoon, Erica Rodgers, a resident of Panama City Beach, wrote that she would check on Sines. No one answered the door of his apartment, Rodgers said, but Rodgers told Wright that neighbors had seen him on Sunday and he was fine.

“I can’t believe she got to Nick’s apartment,” said Wright, who was glad for the news but still worried. “I hope and pray that it really was him who the neighbors saw."

Rodgers, 33, said she had checked on two other residents of the area for family members on Facebook after returning home to Panama City Beach on Monday and finding her waterfront property virtually untouched. "We were very, very fortunate," Rodgers said. "That's why I wanted to help those who were in need."

The Facebook group where Rodgers and Wright connected was created last year by Tara Holmes, a Florida resident, after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston. With each new storm, the group grows.
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"Sometimes it takes a disaster to bring people to work together," Holmes said.

Another person who posted in the Facebook group was Danielle Garone. She last spoke with her aunt, Agnes Vicari, 79, on Wednesday when Vicari was boarding up her Mexico Beach, Florida, home of 30 years after receiving a mandatory evacuation order.

Mexico Beach was "wiped out" in the storm, Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said during a press conference one day later, calling the beach town "ground zero."
Agnes Vicari
Agnes VicariCourtesy Vicari family

Garone, who lives in Miami, has struggled to piece together what happened to her aunt. An Oct. 13 Tampa Bay Times article reported that an elderly woman named Agnes was airlifted out for medical assistance, but when Garone reached out to the Coast Guard, hospitals and shelters, no one was able to confirm that they'd seen her aunt.

"It has been an absolute whirlwind trying to get any sort of information," Garone said. "We don't know if she is alive or if she is buried underneath something."

While the Facebook group hasn't turned up any solid leads, Garone is glad more people are seeing her aunt's photo and information.

"More than anything I am surprised by the amount of backing and support we have been getting from absolute strangers on Facebook and Twitter," she said.
94
Economics / Re: How Blockchain Will Rule Your World
« Last post by jdwheeler42 on October 16, 2018, 12:09:41 AM »
My recent investigations into gold and currency manips have increased my awareness of the role blockchain technology plays  into certain narratives that interest me.

Certain subjects are difficult for me, and although I've been reading about Bitcoin and Blockchain for nearly a decade, I really have had a hard time getting my mind around it. I was aware that the huge amount of buzz the tech has created in cyber and financial circles meant that it was a big deal. But I never (until now) really got the immensity of what it means or how it might impact me and you in our daily lives.

I don't have it all figured out. This thread represents my journey, not my destination.

The first big takeaway is the way blockchain dovetails with the concept digital money. Not just cryptocurrency, but ALL money. Specifically, those two things working in tandem will be a POWERFUL tool for financial repression.

I have a strong and growing suspicion that very soon, all sovereign currencies will be cryptos, because it is to the advantage oF TBTB for that to happen. That would allow for an end-run around Bitcoin, which threatens the very foundation of the banking cartel.

It would make garden variety tax fraud impossible.

It would do a lot to remove commerce from the typical black market work-arounds.

It would put an end to the current mechanism of capital flight out of China (Argentina, Venezuela, etc) through the use of Bitcoin.

The Chinese will be the first, and everyone else will immediately be forced to follow.

If you go on utoob and listen to the gurus, they make it sound like blockchain is this tremendous tool for increasing cyber security, for making business more efficient, and they tout many, many other positives. As far as that goes, they are telling the truth. The technology solves a lot of problems.

But the truth is that a better tool for globalization and domination of the people of the entire planet has never been invented or conceived. The dark side of blockchain is huge.

The limits of blockchain have to do with the TREMENDOUS amount of power (FF's, by way of electricity) it will take to maintain the cloud computing of the future. So I tried to parse it out. Will blockchain fail because we don't have enough power? This is a very key question.

So far, my general working theory is NO. We have adequate power right now for it to take over, because the timeline is probably less than 5 years.  I would not be surprised to see China launch the first sovereign crypto within a year.

Bitcoin is being driven by China. Because China has ample hydro power, cheap electric power that would otherwise go to waste has been used to mine bitcoin. In China, if you have the connections, you can also get your own coal-fired electrical generating plant built just so you can mine bitcoin. Nowhere else on earth is as perfect for bitcoin miners.

The rulers are tolerating the Wild West world of Bitcoin, because they want to keep the blockchain innovation ramping up at top speed. In the fullness of time, I think they might well kill Bitcoin off completely.

My investor spider sense says that a lot of money will be made on companies that convert the entire world and the entire internet to blockchain. Right now all cryptos have tanked. The stocks of companies that do blockchain tech are completely correlated to cryptos, which is a mistake. Coin offerings are sketchy apps that are the penny stock scammers new jam. Blockchain tech is WAY more than that, but investors haven't quite figured it out.

I know GO is interested in blockchain and understands money will be made. He posted something a while back about Ethereum.

Ethereum is confusing, because it is a coin (really a couple of them, looks like) but it is more than that. It is a blockchain platform that software developers can build a myriad of apps upon. that's where the real value lies. Ethereum is in the toilet just like bitcoin, at the moment.

I have no interest in buying Bitcoin or Ethereum or any other coin. My tastes run to wanting to benefit from companies leading the way.  Many of them are private, unfortunately. I have assembled a preliminary list of about 8 that are publicly traded, and I'm going to do some due diligence on them while the market finds a bottom. All these companies are dirt cheap compared to 6 months ago, but they might fall further in the current market rout.

GO, if you read this and want to share your pick, please do. I'm fairly sure (from previous experience) that you've already picked the best one and that nobody beside me who reads this is even interested.

As I get more of a good footing on understanding these companies, I will share some names. Probably, I'll set up a different thread for that, like the Potfolio thread. I only mention the investment angle because I'm really starting to smell big opportunity here. I've always advised against the crypto coins, and that isn't changing, fwiw. That might change as governments get involved. This will not be an investment thread. That part is only one reason blockchain is of interest. Here, I will post relevant articles that hopefully will explain blockchain apps and how they will change all our lives.

The frequency of relevant articles is increasing, and we'll see the coverage of this tech in the media  explode over the next few months and years. There are a lot of utoob videos interviewing the leaders, and I'll post the good ones I manage to find.


Here is an explanation of how Blockchain works. It's fairly easy to see how it can be used as a platform to run currencies, but that is only a very small part of what blockchain can do.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/_160oMzblY8&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/_160oMzblY8&fs=1</a>
Blockchain is DOOMED to fail, because the power requirements go up exponentially with the number of transactions.  The faster it is adopted, the quicker it fails.  This does not mean, however, that it will fail before replacing all other currencies or een before the rest of civilization collapses.  But at some point any blockchain technology if sufficiently used will consume all the power in the world.
95
Geopolitics / 🚢 'March of the Migrants' draws over 1,000 Hondurans to US border
« Last post by RE on October 16, 2018, 12:08:48 AM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/V0dIQKrJVrQ" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/V0dIQKrJVrQ</a>
96

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/10/paul-allen-microsoft-co-founder-seahawks-owner-and-space-pioneer-dies-at-64/

RIP —
Paul Allen—Microsoft co-founder, Seahawks owner, and space pioneer—dies at 65
He persuaded Bill Gates to quit university and sell software instead.

Peter Bright - 10/15/2018, 5:28 PM

Miles Harris


Paul Allen, who with Bill Gates founded Microsoft, has died at the age of 65. His death comes shortly after he resumed treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma; the cancer had returned after being in remission for nine years.

Allen was a Seattle native and went to high school with Gates. The two kept in touch at university—Allen at Washington State, Gates at Harvard—and when Allen dropped out in 1975 to start a company to develop software for the MITS Altair 8800, he soon convinced Gates to follow. That company was Micro-Soft, which shed its hyphen the following year. In 1980, Microsoft was chosen by IBM to develop DOS for its new PC. With the success of the PC and PC compatibles, Microsoft became hugely successful.

Allen had his first run-in with cancer in 1982, when he was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma and drastically cut back his work at the company while recovering. He formally left Microsoft in 1983, but he retained his share of ownership and became a billionaire when the company went public in 1986.

With this newfound wealth he created his own investment firm, Vulcan Inc. One funding priority has been space; he helped fund the Allen Telescope Array in California, and in 2011 he created Stratolaunch, a space company that wants to launch rockets from a giant airplane. Local sports were also a priority; Allen bought the Seattle Seahawks NFL team in 1996 to prevent it from being moved to California, and he was a minority owner of the Seattle Sounders MLS team.

Beyond this, he invested hundreds of millions of dollars to research disease, artificial intelligence, and bioscience. He also contributed substantial funding to organizations working to fight the 2013-2016 Ebola epidemic in West Africa. He established the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, along with a number of other institutions to showcase his collection of art, aircraft, computers, and memorabilia.

When not working, Allen was by all accounts a talented guitarist and released a blues rock album in 2013. He also had an interest in undersea exploration and was involved in locating of a number of lost planes and ships.

Allen never married and had no children.
97
Marathon Man Newz / Re: Charles Hugh Smith On Who Is Middle Class
« Last post by Nearingsfault on October 15, 2018, 07:23:54 PM »
I think you have to hustle more, skimp, Do it yourself, do without, repair, barter,  all the skills that households took for granted before the post war period. Or like seems to be the norm delude yourself in a home you rent from the bank, in a truck that is shiny but not yours and in expensive shit to dull the nagging doubt that you are drowning.  Shit, I must be glum again, I should not write when I am glum. Its as bad here as there. We do have some control on college tuition and healthcare is mostly covered despite what orange guy thinks he knows. Dude is still bitter Torontonians didn't want his gold plated condos...
98
Marathon Man Newz / Re: Charles Hugh Smith On Who Is Middle Class
« Last post by Eddie on October 15, 2018, 07:11:37 PM »
I think that's a major point CHS is making. The middle class, once fairly sizable, has shrunk to nearly nobody. It takes more money to meet the definition than most people make.

College costs for me to educate my kids was perhaps 15-20 TIMES what I paid for my own undergrad.  Health insurance here is mind-boggling. Cars are 10X or more in that same time period, which is less than 40 years.
99
Marathon Man Newz / Re: Charles Hugh Smith On Who Is Middle Class
« Last post by Nearingsfault on October 15, 2018, 07:04:18 PM »
Short version, it backs up everything I've ever written here on this subject.

How Many Households Qualify As Middle Class?

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 10:09

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

By the standards of previous generations, the middle class has been stripmined of income, assets and purchasing power.



What does it take to be middle class nowadays? Defining the middle class is a parlor game, with most of the punditry referring to income brackets as the defining factor.



People tend to self-report that they belong to the middle class based on income, but income is not the key metric: 12 other factors are more telling measures of middle class membership than income.

In Why the Middle Class Is Doomed (April 17, 2012) I listed five minimum threshold characteristics of membership in the middle class:

1. Meaningful healthcare insurance (i.e. not phantom insurance with $5,000 deductibles, etc.) and life insurance.

2. Significant equity (25%-50%) in a home or equivalent real estate

3. Income/expenses that enable the household to save at least 6% of its income

4. Significant retirement funds: 401Ks, IRAs, etc.

5. The ability to service all debt and expenses over the medium-term if one of the primary household wage-earners lose their job

I then added a taken-for-granted sixth:

6. Reliable vehicles for each wage-earner

Author Chris Sullins suggested adding these additional thresholds:

7. If a household requires government assistance to maintain the family lifestyle, their Middle Class status is in doubt.

8. A percentage of non-paper, non-family home hard assets such as family heirlooms, precious metals, tools, etc. that can be transferred to the next generation, i.e. generational wealth.

9. Ability to invest in offspring (education, extracurricular clubs/training, etc.).

10. Leisure time devoted to the maintenance of physical/spiritual/mental fitness.

Correspondent Mark G. recently suggested two more:

11. Continual accumulation of human and social capital (new skills, networks of collaborators, markets for one's services, etc.)

And the money shot:

12. Family ownership of income-producing assets such as rental properties, bonds, etc.

The key point of these thresholds is that propping up a precarious illusion of consumption and status signifiers does not qualify as middle class. To qualify as middle class (that is, what was considered middle class a generation or two ago), the household must actually own/control wealth that won't vanish if the investment bubble du jour pops, and won't be wiped out by a medical emergency.

In Chris's phrase, "They should be focusing resources on the next generation and passing on Generational Wealth" as opposed to "keeping up appearances" via aspirational consumption financed with debt.

What does it take in the real world to qualify as middle class?

Here are my calculations based on our own expenses and those of our friends in urban America. We can quibble about details endlessly, so these are mid-range estimates. These reflect urban costs; rural towns/cities will naturally have significantly lower cost structures. Please make adjustments as suits your area or experience, but please recall that tens of millions of people live in high-cost left and right-coast cities, and millions more have high heating/cooling/commuting costs.

The wages of those employed by Corporate America or the government do not reflect the total cost of benefits such as healthcare insurance. Self-employed people like myself pay the full costs of benefits, so we have to realize there is no ideal average of household expenses. Some households pay very little of their actual healthcare expenses, other pay for part of these costs and still others pay most or all of their healthcare insurance and co-pays.

1. Healthcare. Let's budget $15,000 annually for healthcare insurance. Yes, if you're 23 years old and single, you will pay less, so this is an average. If you're older (I'm 64), $15,000 a year only buys you and your spouse stripped down coverage: no eyewear, medication or dental coverage--and that's if your existing plan is grandfathered in. (If you want non-phantom ObamaCare coverage, the cost zooms up to $2,000/month or $24,000 annually.)

Add in co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses, and the realistic annual total is between $15,000 and $20,000 annually: Your family's health care costs: $19,393 (this was before ACA).



Let's say $15,000 annually is about as low as you can reasonably expect to maintain middle class healthcare.

2. Home equity. Building home equity requires paying meaningful principal. Let's say a household has a 15-year mortgage so the principal payments are actually meaningfully adding to equity, unlike a 30-year mortgage. Let's say $5-$10,000 of $25,000 in annual mortgage payments is interest (deductible) and $15-$20,000 goes to principal reduction.

3. Savings. Anything less than $5,000 in annual savings is not very meaningful if college costs, co-pays for medical emergencies, etc. are being anticipated, and $10,000 is a more realistic number given the need to stockpile cash in the event of job loss or reduced hours/pay. So let's go with a minimum of $5,000 in cash savings annually.

4. Retirement. Let's assume $6,000 per wage earner per year, or $12,000 per household. That won't buy much of a retirement unless you start at age 25, and even then the return at current rates is so abysmal the nestegg won't grow faster than inflation unless you take horrendous risks (and win).

5. Vehicles. The AAA pegs the cost of each compact car at $7,000 annually, so $14K per year assumes two compacts each driven 15,000 miles. The cost declines for two paid-for, well-maintained clunkers and increases for sedans and trucks. Let's assume a scrimp-and-save household who manages to operate and insure two vehicles for $10,000 annually.

6. Social Security and Medicare Taxes. Self-employed people pay full freight Social Security and Medicare taxes: 15.3% of all net income, starting with dollar one and going up to $127,200 for SSA. But let's take a household of two employed wage-earners and put in $8,000.

Property taxes: These are low in many parts of the country, but let's assume a level between New Jersey/New York/California level of property tax and very low property tax rates: $10,000 annually.

Income tax: There are too many complexities, so let's assume $2,000 in state and local taxes and $5,000 in federal taxes for a total of $7,000.

7. Living expenses: Some people spend hundreds of dollars on food each week, others considerably less. Let's assume a two-adult household will need at least $12,000 annually for food, utilities, phone service, Internet, home maintenance, clothing, furnishings, books, films, etc., while those who like to dine out often, take week-ends away for skiing or equivalent will need more like $20,000.

8. Donations, church tithes, community organizations, adult education, hobbies, etc.: Let's say $2,000 annually at a minimum.

Note that this does not include the cost of maintaining boats, RVs, pools, etc., or the cost of an annual vacation.

Here's the annual summary:

Healthcare: $15,000
Mortgage: $25,000
Savings: $5,000
Retirement: $12,000
Vehicles: $10,000
Property taxes: $10,000
Income and Social Security/Medicare taxes: $15,000
Living expenses: $12,000
Other: $2,000

Minimum Total: $106,000

Vacations, travel, unexpected expenses, etc: $5,000.

Realistic Total: $111,000

That's almost double the median household income of $59,000. Note that this $111,000 household income has no budget for lavish vacations, luxury vehicles, large pickup trucks, boats, second homes, college expenses, etc. There is no budget for private schooling. Most of the family income goes to the mortgage, taxes and healthcare. Savings are modest, along with living expenses and retirement contributions. This is a barebones budget.

$111,000 household income is right about the cut-off point for the top 20% of household income. How close are you to the top 1%?

Toss in a jumbo mortgage, college tuition paid in cash, an aging parent to care for or any of a dozen other major expenses and the minimum quickly rises to $155,000, which puts the household in the top 10% of household income.

How can we even talk about a "middle class" when the minimum thresholds put the household in the top 20%? And we haven't even considered the ultimate  minimum threshold of middle class membership: family ownership of income-producing assets such as businesses, rental properties, bonds, etc.

The key takeaway of this chart is the concentration of the household wealth of the bottom 90% in the family home. The wealthy and upper-middle class own income-producing assets, while the bottom 90% own some life insurance, cash and pensions, but their largest asset by far is the family home. (They also "own" a tremendous amount of debt.)



The problem is life insurance, cash and pensions don't generate much income, and neither does the family home. Households counting on the equity in bubble-priced housing are not factoring in the unwelcome reality that all bubbles pop, even housing bubbles that can't possibly pop.

To have the equivalent security and generational wealth enjoyed by the middle class two generations ago, households have to check off all 12 minimum thresholds. I'm not sure there is a "middle class" any more; if we use these 12 minimum thresholds, the U.S. now has a super-wealthy class (top .01%), a very wealthy class (top .5%), an upper class (top 9.5% below the wealthy) and the rest (bottom 90%), with varying levels of security and assets but at levels far below what median-income households enjoyed in bygone eras.

By the standards of previous generations, the middle class has been strip-mined of income, assets and purchasing power.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-10-15/how-many-households-qualify-middle-class
Hmm, that is a divisive one. My gut says his version of " middle" is head and shoulders above where most would peg it...
Assuming I save as much as the example My math says I need 38000 for my family of 3 If I had a mortgage. I have no health expenses though other then a $3000 float for dental and eyes. We have kid bonuses though and mine are both under 8 so thats almost $1200 a month extra in the kitty... With the kid money I'm middle class. Without it, I'm still making it but I'm not saving much so probably high end working class. I cannot see anyone looking at a household income of $110000 and saying " boy that is barely middle income". If that threshold was real then there is no middle class...
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Marathon Man Newz / Re: Comparing Various Cryptos
« Last post by Eddie on October 15, 2018, 07:00:32 PM »
You are welcome. Cryptos are the Wild Wild West of speculative investing. With the whole sector in the tank, and the long term outlook fairly good in terms of the future of the tech (outrageous waste aside) it looks like a decent time to speculate in a  small way if one is so inclined.

I am pretty sure the idea of a stablecoin based on the Yuan will be huge. It won't be a speculative investment, just a real threat to the USD, especially if the Chinese can really keep the Yuan pegged to gold.  I'm not sure that's a real thing at all, but if it is, I don't see how they can keep it going. I did not realize the launch of such a crypto was so close. Looks like months until a non-state sponsored version is out there.

I wasn't that keyed into the crypto world until I started trying to understand the currency wars between China and the West (and more specifically the US). I think cryptos are likely to play a major role. I'm just trying to figure out how that would work. I don't think many analysts have given thought to how cryptos and the concept of all-digital, cashless money fit hand in glove.

This also ties in nicely to the recent Ted Kaczynksi thread. This blockchain technology also fits very hand-in-glove with AI. I will be getting back to that thread.

These crypto geniuses are not really well versed in macro economics. They are children playing with fire, imho.
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