muses of the moment

September 2, 2011

Latest Release from Martin Armstrong dated September 1, 2011

Filed under: Economic Crisis, Fiat Currency, Martin Armstrong — Tags: — totallygroovygirlfriday @ 12:11 pm

Click here for Martin Armstrong’s latest release entitled Eurobonds War dated September 1, 2011 (1 page). Mr. Armstrong talks about the crisis in Europe and how Eurobonds will not solve all the problems, but it is the best first step.

Interesting turn of events in Turkey

Filed under: Odds 'n ends — totallygroovygirlfriday @ 12:04 pm

Turkey has expelled the Israeli ambassador and severed all military ties with Israel. They probably made this move for two reasons. First, Turkey asked Israel to apologize for the force used on the relief flotilla (which came from Turkey) last year. Second, the UN report released on the flotilla incident states that Israel used excessive force in that incident, but that the occupation of Gaza is legal.

Turkey, now that Egypt is forming a new government (and we still don’t know how that will all turn out), Turkey is one of the only stabilizing forces in the Middle East, that is actually a country in the middle east.

G5 aggression toward Syria and Turkey siding with Gaza will change the tide in the Middle East (and not in the US and Israel’s favor).

This is moving into a set up for a full blown war in the Middle East where a small incident makes everyone take a side and draw lines in the sand. GG is watching this carefully.

Joel talks about local food

Filed under: Odds 'n ends, Permaculture — totallygroovygirlfriday @ 10:48 am

Readers may or may not be aware of groovygirl’s other passion (the first being macro-economics):

Permaculture and food localization.

Someday, there may be a totallygroovygirlfarm.

Anyway, although she doesn’t blog about sustainable farming practices or local food security on a regular basis, she reads A LOT about it in the off-blogging hours.

And Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms in Virginia is one of the best on these subjects. gg highly recommends any of his books. Beware, he tells it as he sees it.

Chris Martenson had a great interview with Joel. Click here for the link (45 min). Good stuff, listen twice, so much valuable information there!! So many great ideas. Try one of them, if you like.

Here is just one issue that this interview addresses. Joel’s systems work better than industrial systems without machines, tillage, fertilizers or year-round grain feeding for animals. Joel has rebuilt the soil and kept it producing at the same levels or better without the normal (and expensive) industrial farming inputs. This is huge:

On our farm, in our county, one of the measures for pasture production is in cow days per acre. In other words a ‘cow day’ is what one cow will eat in a single day – that’s one cow day. And so in our county, the average cow days per acre is currently 80 cow days per acre. That’s what an acre of pasture does. On our farm, and I already told you at the top of the program what our farm looked like 50 years ago without a single chemical fertilizer and without planting a seed, we own no plow and no disc, and in 50 years, we have moved this farm to average 400 cow days per acre – that’s five times the county average. And so, the fact is, if Monsanto figured out a way to get 1% increase in yields in something it would make the front page of the New York Times. I’m telling you ways to double and triple production without chemical fertilizer, without even planting anything and it doesn’t make the obituary page.

Even if you think peak oil is ridiculous, the US agricultural industry is sustained by debt. (If you don’t believe me, ask an industrial farmer if he/she could plant a crop next year if the bank or government did not give him/her a loan.) The global debt implosion that we are currently experiencing will affect every industry, including food.

Another debt drain, our government monetarily supports industrial farming in this country. If you take away even a portion of government subsidies that industrial agriculture corporations and their employees (the farmers) currently receives, food would go up substantially. Government monies have hidden for years the true cost of food and oil in this country from the average American citizen. These handouts are unsustainable and it will change in the future.

This is part of the paradigm shift that the globe and you and your family will have to deal with. Start making small changes now in how you think about food. Start building relationships with local farmers. Plant a few seeds.

The stats

Filed under: Odds 'n ends, Taxes — totallygroovygirlfriday @ 1:27 am

A statistician will ask the question, “What do you want the result to be?” Statistics is a creative theory, not hard-core math and science. Just like you can have creative accounting (very creative for US banks), with stats, you can mold the numbers to hide important details and conclude whatever you wish.

So, let’s do a little-back-of-envelope, quick exercise in stats. This is not about taxes, that is another post. This is about discerning the political headline.

Groovygirl has noticed the last few years that taxes and tax revenue seem to come up a lot in the political realm. And one of the “stats” thrown around is 40% or 47% or half of all Americans pay no income taxes. This “stat” is used to justify raising taxes, reforming taxes, or doing away with taxes altogether.

Current editorial in the NY Times. The editorial talks about how 90% of the population makes less than $40,000 per year and everyone pays sales taxes on consumables. That is for another post, but valid points.

But let’s look at the stat. The first thing groovygirl wanted to know was: is this 40% of working Americans? 40% of families? 40% of the population including children? 40% of every human within the border including illegal immigrants and legal foreigners? In order to determine if this stat should be used to back up the need for tax reform, these questions need to be clarified.

GG did a little research and it seems that this stat refers to a percent of “taxable units”. That means a single person, married couple, or family.

The complete stats that gg found in various places were for 2009, and that is when 40% of the taxable units did not pay any income taxes. So we will go with that year for this exercise.

In 2009:

First off, 15% of the population is over 60, so let’s assume that 15% of that 40% is either retired or a spouse or head of the household is retired and that “taxable unit” doesn’t make enough money to quality as taxable income. These would also include people living off of social security checks. (The average social security recipient receives less than $700 per month, which falls well under the poverty line.)

So, we are down to 25% of taxable units don’t pay any taxes.

Then we have unemployed people or a taxable unit that has one person working or working part-time as the only income. Right now the real unemployment rate (including under-employed people and discouraged workers) is 22%, but back in 2009, it was around 17%.

So, we are down to 8% of taxable units that don’t pay any taxes.

Even if the percentages listed above are off…..

Let’s consider some other possible scenarios of a taxable unit not paying taxes that gg could not find reliable stats on:

Disabled or long-term disabled citizens/veterans who either receive social security disability or other forms of “income” from government or private agencies.

Long-term or short-term welfare recipients.

College and grad students.

Citizens in jail (20% of the population) and mostly “taxable units” presumably.

Citizens living abroad (up to $80,000 of income is non-taxable).

Citizens that retired early before age 60. Retired citizens living off of investments. Retired citizens living off of 401k distributions . Retired citizens living off of pensions.

So, looking at these other possibilities and the breakdown of retired citizens and unemployed citizens, is it really so outrageous that in 2009 only 60% of the “taxable units” paid the government money?

This little exercise also brings up the real problems we are facing right now. It is not that Americans don’t pay taxes. It is an issue of generational demographics and high unemployment (and a fifth of the population in jail doesn’t help either). Our current tax system may have problems. But even if we fix them, it will not solve these other issues that have nothing to do with the income tax system.

The boomers (the largest segment of the US population) are getting older and retiring. If retired people don’t make an income, they don’t pay income taxes. We saw this coming 50 years ago. Don’t complain about it now.

Unemployed people don’t pay income taxes. That is not a tax reform issue, it is an economic issue. Since the economy is not getting better, but worse, we will have this problem with us for a while.

These are two cycles (or waves as Martin Armstrong would describe them) coming together at the same time and effecting another cycle….the amount of income tax revenue for use by the federal government.

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