DoomwatchTM vs. Timesizing®

Collapse trends - Sept.16-30, 2003
[Commentary] ©2003 Philip Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 622, Cambridge MA 02140 USA (617) 623-8080 - HOMEPAGE


9/30/2003  surfin' those headlines from hell - 9/27/2003  surfin' those headlines from hell -
  1. More Americans in poverty in 2002, census study says - Household income falls - Lingering effects of recession hit hardest at Midwest and nonwhites, data shows, by Lynette Clemetson, NYT, front page.
    The number of Americans living in poverty increased by 1.7m last year and the median household income declined by 1.1%, the Census Bureau reported [yester]day.... It was the second straight year of adverse changes in both poverty and income, the first two-year downturn since the early 1990's....
    The official poverty rate rose to 12.1% in 2002 from 11.7% the year before, bringing t[he] total number of people living below the poverty line [itself outdated] to 34.6m. The median household earned income fell $500 over the same period to $42,000. Per capita income declined by 1.8 in 2002 to $22,794, the first decline since 1991..\..
    The data, results of the Census Bureau's annual Current Population Survey, the official barometer for measuring income and poverty rates, showed that lingering negative effects of the recent recession cut across a broad swath of the population....
    [Or maybe they're not "lingering" effects of a recent but past recession - maybe they're deepening effects of an ongoing and worsening depression, caused by an "intelligent" species that creates work-saving technology, but by downsizing instead of timesizing, turns it from a blessing into a curse.]
    [Followup -]
    Boom times on the poverty roll, editorial, 9/30/2003 NYT, A28.
    An additional 1.7m Americans slipped into official poverty last year, ground down by the pernicious joblessness that remains the most salient fact of the economic 'recovery' [our quotes]. Job growth - promised by the Republican architects of the new tax cuts favoring the affluent - remains a national dream. The poverty roll rose to 34.6m people, more than a third of them children, according to new census data.
    ...This trend is hardly reversible in the immediate future as the pResident and the Republican-led Congress pay for the taxcuts, postwar Iraq and other programs with budget deficits that are projected to sap $5 trillion from the nation's revenue flow over the next decade....

  2. [and the underlying cause of spreading poverty, ever increasing concentration of the national income, so intense that it is even starting to undermine its own established hoards -]
    Top 1% in '01 lost income, but also paid lower taxes, by David Johnston, NYT, B1.
    [This is ultimately the cause of the deepening depression - the national income is immediately concentrated so astronomically and unspendably that it not only starves its job markets and through them, its consumer base, but also, through its consumer markets, starves its own investments. Yet on they go, blindly dismantling more and more of the income centrifuges of the nation, and the world, paying lower taxes at the top where the extra money just sits, and re-imposing them further down where previously the money had been contributing to the consumer base. The hypocrisy of the neo-con chant about lowering taxes devastates more and more of America in Decline.]
    The incomes of the top 1% of Americans fell 18% in 2001, as did their income taxes, shaving $66B off revenues and showing how dependent the federal government has become on its wealthiest citizens.
    [Huh, this guy must have a brain lesion. If it's shaving the taxes off the top, it's getting less dependent on its wealthiest citizens.]
    Overall, Americans had 2.8% less income in 2001 than in the previous year. But federal tax revenues fell 9.4% because the incomes of those at the top, who pay the highest tax rates, dropped so much more than the average.
    [Poor babies - as if this diminished their spending one whit - which is so much less than their astronomical hoards.]
    The top 1% reported $1.09 trillion of income, down from $1.34 trillion in 2000, according to data posted by the IRS on the Internet yesterday without announcement.
    The minimum income to reach the top 1% was $293,000 last year, down from $313,500 in 2000...due to the collapse of the stock market...and the recession..\..but almost identical to the threshold in 1999....
    The combination of a sharp drop in income, if sustained for several years, and the tax cuts that were enacted this year, could result in another sharp drop in taxes paid by the top 1%. [...and another loss of income for them, despite more centripetal forces pushing income their way - to the further strangulation of the ultimate basis of that income, the consumer base.]
    The top rate on capital gains and dividends, the source of much of the income in the elite group, has been cut to 15% from 20%.
    Taxes paid by the top group fell to $300.1B in 2001 from $366.9B in 2000. The decline accounted for the bulk of the $92.7B drop in individual federal income tax revenue in 2001.
    The sharp drop in incomes caused the share of income taxes paid by the rich to shrink nearly a tenth.... The top group [we assume here the top 1%] paid 33.9% of all income taxes, down from 37.4% in 2000 [(37.4-33.9)/37.4= 3.5/37.4= 9.36%].... [How fair is that! Therefore -]
    The share of total taxes paid by other groups consequently increased.... The bottom half of Americans, the 64m households making less than $28,000, accounted for a somewhat larger share of total taxes.
    [Get specific! Johnston immediately distracts attention from this important group to a trivial splinter cohort. Little touches like this remind you that the New York Times is no longer the great liberal newspaper, now that it's been taken over by Rupert Murdoch.]
    ...The IRS also released data on the top tenth of 1%, the most prosperous 129,000 households in the country..\.. The very wealthiest, the top tenth of 1%, [only] paid 16% of the government's total taxes [despite the fact that] this group had so much income that they made almost as much as the other nine-tenths in the top 1% [never mind the "bottom" 99%!!!]
    This very top group, representing one in a thousand households [ie: only 12,900, rounded 13,000 households], had $505B in income, for an average of $4m each. To be counted among this group one needed an adjusted gross income of at least $1.3m, down from $1.6m in 2000.
    [And it will keep declining as they continue to vacuum the consumer markets and job markets from under their own investments.]
    This small group received almost $1 of every $12 earned by all 129,000,000 American households.
    ...The taxcuts that pResident Bush championed in 2001 [giving] the most benefits to the top 1% in income...had not [even] taken effect in 2001.... Congress has now reduced the maximum income taxrate to 35% from 39.6% when Mr. Bush was elected....
    [So we can expect much faster income concentration and general deterioration in the next few years. Future historians will look back on the Bush administration as the stupidest and most nationally destructive in America's 225 years of history so far - and there won't be much more of that history at this rate of decay. Isn't it lucky that we count so much of that decay, such as rampant prison construction, as a positive in our main economic scoring index -]
    U.S. economy grew 3.3% in quarter, Bloomberg via NYT, B2.
    [Thus keeping the wealthy, insulated, isolated decision-makers safely? asleep. This story illustrates the paradoxical truth that extreme income concentration harms even the very most wealthy. And the two great economic restoratives of the last century, the two world wars, by rebuilding the income centrifuges throughout the economy the grisly labor-surplus liquidating way, actually benefited the very wealthiest, not in relative terms of course, but in absolute terms, in stability of investments, and in personal security. The Timesizing program accomplishes the same benefits without the killing.]

  3. The wages of luck - Republican icons Milton Friedman and Wm. J. Bennett acknowledge the link between the birth lottery and poverty - Can their conservative brethren learn from them?, by Matthew Miller, Boston Globe, H1.
    [Real progress gradually offsets the extremes of the accident of birth, the "birth lottery." When Phil Hyde inherited $100,000 in 1969 and then lost it four years later, he didn't know which was more disturbing, losing it after four years through no fault of his own, or gaining it in the first place through no credit of his own but only through "the accident of birth."]

9/26/2003  surfin' those headlines from hell - 9/25/2003  surfin' those headlines from hell - and multiple "outrages du jour" today -
  1. [while Bush wastes billions of our children's high taxes on irrelevant Iraq, America continues its split into a few Eloi and many many Morlocks -]
    Gap widens between rich and poor, pointer digest (to C2), NYT, C1.
    The gap between rich and poor more than doubled from 1979 to 2000, an analysis of government data shows.
    [...a situation that is easily reversible on the basis of the all-pervasive time dimensions, for example, by shifting to a common, narrower workweek-range per person via some such program as Timesizing. Main article -]
    U.S. income gap widening, study says, by Lynnley Browning, NYT, C2.
    ...The gulf is such that the richest 1% of Americans in 2000 had more money to spend after taxes than the bottom 40%.
    [A very misleading way to phrase it, because at those levels there's no way they can spend that money - they were already spending all they wished before they got that extra, and therein lies the problem of such tight and astronomical concentration of the national income that it's actually suctioning the markets away from its own consumer base, a classic depression situation.]
    In 1979, the wealthiest 1% had just under half the after-tax income of the poorest 40% of Americans, analysis of new data from the Congressional Budget Office shows. ...The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonprofit research organization in DC...released its analysis on Tuesday [9/23].
    ...The National Bureau of Economic Research, a nonpartisan nonprofit research organization in Cambridge, Mass....found that in 2000, the top 1% income group had the largest share of before-tax income for any year since 1929....
    [Bingo. And guess what caused the Great Depression. Hint - it wasn't the centrifugation or deconcentration of the national income.]

  2. [but no worries, we can save the economy by killing off our labor surplus, instead of just Timesizing -]
    Stretched Pentagon says it may need to call up thousands more reservists to serve in Iraq, NYT, A8.
    [but a mitigating item -]
    Rumsfeld's role - Another call for Pentagon chief to resign, by Bryan Bender, Boston Globe, A17.
    ...from an unexpected source: one of the Bush administration's former envoys,. Joseph Wilson, former acting ambassador to Iraq, [who] urged Congress yesterday not to approve the funds unless Rumsfeld, who Wilson believes failed to prepare the nation for the true cost and duration of the occupation, gave up his job. He also called for political reconstruction to be handed over to the UN.
    Wilson had a unique vantage point from which to assess Rumsfeld: He was the career diplomat sent by the Bush administration to the West African nation of Niger in 2002 to investigate a British intelligence report that Iraq sought to buy uranium there. Even though he thoroughly discounted the report, it somehow made its way into pResident Bush's State of the Union address - a decision the White House later acknowledged was wrong.
    Beyond that, however, Wilson said the questionable prewar assertions and postwar miscalculations now demand that Rumsfeld be held responsible.
    "The arguments for the war - weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and liberation [all false] - were used to bolster decisions that were already made," Wilson said. "We opted for the highest risk - invasion and occupation - which did not serve disarmament and increased the chances that weapons of mass destruction could be transferred to a terrorist group. And it's hard to make the argument it was a legitimate liberation. The Iraqis are not terribly grateful."...

  3. [the Iraq quagmire would be a tad less bad if Bush & his 'goon show' weren't so incompetent about it -]
    US eyes special unit for Iraq oil, by Adam Entous, Reuters via Boston Globe, A13, flagged by colleague Kate.
    The Bush administration plans to create a special force to protect Iraq's oil industry and to deploy a rapid-reaction team to repair pipelines after terrorist attacks....
    [You mean they STILL don't have a rapid guard&repair force for Iraq's oil??? The Bush-shnooks can't even plan and implement their main criminal goal of stealing Iraqi oil! They should be on the "America's Dumbest Crooks" show. And on the front page today, carefully tucked below the fold even in the liberal Boston Globe (BG), we discover how the Bush goof-ups are doing in Afghanistan -]
    Afghan officials see Taliban resurgence, BG, A1,
    [and right next to it -]
    US report to be inconclusive on search for Iraqi weapons, Washington Post via BG, A1.
    [with reference to] the former Iraqi government's chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs....
    [that is, the famous WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) with which Bush-lite stampeded the dufuses in Congress and the rubes of the nation into a first-strike war against a nation at peace with no ties to 9/11.]

  4. [Bush's latest excuse for his unilateral orgy of chest-thumping opens new vistas in truth twisting -]
    The pResident, Iraq and the world, letter to editor by Stephen L. Baker of Houston, NYT, A26.
    Re "Bush, at U.N., defends policy over Iraq" (front page, Sept.24):
    pResident Bush has, incredibly, put forth yet another explanation of why the United States attacked Iraq. The United States "acted to defend the peace and the credibility of the United Nations."...
    [Wow, all the grease oiling the joints of Halliburton headquarters is sizzling at that one! "Saint Dubya" suddenly has a soft spot for the U.N., yea sister! Matches the spreading soft spot in his head.]

  5. [and what feedback is he getting?]
    The pResidential bubble, editorial, NYT, A26.
    Four progressive political groups sued the Bush administration this week, charging that the Secret Service is systematically keeping protesters away from the pResident's public appearances....

  6. [but don't worry - we've got a LOT of global security in 'solid' NRA terms because...we're arming terrorists -]
    U.S. remains leader in global arms sales, report says, by Thom Shanker, NYT, A12.
    ...with about $13.3 billion, or 45.5% of global conventional weapons deals, a rise from $12.1B in 2001.
    [That sooo proves our commitment to world peace, nicht wahr? And our commitment to solving world poverty? -]
    Of that, $8.6 billion [65%] was to developing nations, or about 48.6% of [all] conventional arms deals concluded with developing nations last year, according to \the\ new Congressional report.
    Russia was second in sales to the developing world last year, with $5B, followed by France with $1B....
    [Another reason (or maybe the real reason) to curse them French - they're cutting in on our arms profits!]

  7. [Meanwhile, on trivial home fronts like, oh pooh, primary schools, say -]
    Education chief Paige, pointer summary (to D4), WSJ, front page.
    ...compared the schooling many minority children receive to "a system of apartheid." States this year must identify dangerous schools to let students transfer. Most say they have none.
    [But then immediately following, we see -]
    A freshman shot a fellow student, news blurb, WSJ, front page.
    ...to death and badly wounded a second at a high school in Cold Spring, Minn....
    [Minnesota??? Home of Garrison Keillor's Lake Woebegone and legions of law-abiding Lutheran bachelor farmers?!? How is it possible?]

  8. [And in the silly casinos of Wall Street -]
    Ahead of the tape..., by Jesse Eisinger, WSJ, C1.
    Suddenly, investors are fleeing stocks like cockroaches after the kitchen light comes on....
    [Forget about stable investments as long as rigid-workweek supply-side economics keeps labor in surplus and jobs in shortage and consumers starved for time and spending power. The non-war alternative? Balance-side economics with Timesizing.]

9/24/2003  surfin' those headlines from hell -
  1. [your "Outrage du Jour" -]
    How much is $87,000,000,000?, op ed ¼-page ad by *TomPaine.common sense via NYT, A27.
    [See original story on 9/08/2003.]
    Bush says Americans must sacrifice for Iraq. But he asks nothing from wealthy Americans, his best friends and biggest supporters. He's giving them huge tax breaks instead. $87B is a lot of money, but it's less that 5% of Bush's tax cuts, most of which benefit the wealthiest Americans.
    ...Need revenue?
    Repeal the Bush tax cuts.

  2. [then there's Snow's snowjob -]
    US [actually the pResidential jester] says budget deficit to shrink - [Treasury Sec.  John] Snow says gap will be halved by end of 2008, AP via Boston Globe, C2.
    [With whoppers like that, he's looking at the plummeting polls and gettin' desperate. He needs a good spanking from feisty Sen. Olympia Snowe.]

  3. [then there's Ashcroft's attempt to waste American judges' time -]
    Judges seek repeal of law on sentencing, by Linda Greenhouse, NYT, A17.
    WASHINGTON...- The 27 judges who make policy for the federal courts voted unanimously [yester]day to ask Congress to repeal a new law that curbs judges' discretion over criminal sentences and subjects judges judges who issue more lenient sentences to special scrutiny.
    [The Neo-Kon Stazi in the 'White' House gonna start midnight visits to judges' homes soon? This is how it started in the early 30s in der 3te Reich. Und die Kommunisten hatten's kontinuiert.]
    The action [was taken] by the Judicial Conference of the United States, which is led by Chief Justice William Rehnquist....
    [Nader was right. These neo-con screwballs are so far out of line that even NON-'neo' conservatives are finally waking up.]

9/23/2003  surfin' those headlines from hell - your "Outrage du Jour" - 9/20-22/2003  surfin' those headlines from hell -
  1. 9/22 Getting your dues: What you should know about VAT, by David Patton & Gareth Overton, WSJ, R2.
    Almost every country, particularly in Europe, places a value-added tax [VAT] on goods and services.... VAT[s] are usually built into prices, so consumers often are unaware that as much as 25% of their tab is a tax. That differs drastically from the U.S. system, where a visible sales tax is added at the cash register....
    [But both are equally stupid, since per "Milton Friedman's Law," you get less of what you tax, and this taxes the foundation of all markets, the consumer base dba domestic demand.]
    Consumers ultimately bear the cost of VAT, making it a consumption tax similar to sales taxes in the U.S....
    [And the result is, weakening consumer markets in almost every economy in the world, and desperate glances at the horizon in hopes the cavalry of export markets will ride over and rescue us. But then, every other economy has the same hopes, so maybe we should quit the vain hope and switch from sales taxes and VATs back to graduated income taxes or forward to fees for service, or both, while we're still categorized as a Developed Nation and before we salestax ourselves into the Third World. This taxing of consumption and subsidizing of production, taxing of employees and subsidizing of employers, is the most unstable aspect of supply-side economics. Not that demand-side economics, alias Keynesianism, is any better. It really is time we moved on to "balance side" economics, starting with an employment program designed to guarantee full employment and fully realized consumer market potential - on wartime prosperity levels without the war - by using the same technique war uses, without the waste of blowing up products and staff - namely, creating a perceived labor shortage that centrifuges the national income and gets it out of the black hole in the top income brackets and out to the middle and lower brackets where people have the time and need to spend it. And the burst in spending creates the famed "rising tide that floats all ships," ironically, even the wealthy's, because they now have something sustainable to invest in instead of one bubble and pyramid scheme after another.]

  2. [and speaking of punishing consumers -]
    9/22 Caught in the credit card vise - What looks like a crime but isn't?, op ed by Bob Herbert, NYT, A19.
    ...A new report, titled "Borrowing to Make Ends Meet," [is] by a nonpartisan public policy group called Demos: A Network for Ideas and Action.... "Between 1989 and 2001," the report said, The theme of the report is that while credit card use is frequently associated with frivolous consumption, the evidence seems to show that more and more Americans are using credit cards to bridge the difficult gap between household earnings and the cost of essential goods and services. Men and women struggling with such structural problems as job displacement, declining real wages and rising housing and healthcare costs have been relying on their credit cards as a way of warding off complete disaster.
    At the same time, credit card companies have leapt gleefully into an orgy of exploitation. How high can interest rates go? According to Tamara Draut, one of the authors of the study, all of the major credit card issuers are located in states that have no limits on the rate of interest they can charge. (The state where the credit-card holder resides is irrelevant.)....
    [and a related story -]
    9/21 Corporate greed wins again, letter to ed by Geri Spanek of Beacon Hill MA, Boston Globe, D10.
    What's next? Will banks start charging customers simply for the privilege of walking into a branch or an ATM lobby? [Will] the interests of the consumer [continue to] take a back seat to seemingly infinite corporate greed.
    [Let's narrow it further - "seemingly infinite CEO greed."]
    Or, maybe banks will use the additional revenue to maintain clean, safe ATM lobbies that have tamper-proof security cameras and customer service telephones? In your dreams!

  3. [and speaking of bubble and pyramid scheme -]
    9/22 Many are throwing caution back to the wind - Diving back into stocks, Abreast of the Market column by E.S. Browning, WSJ, C1.
    [Here we go a-ga-in!]

  4. [And what's the capability of American democracy to handle these or any important issues?]
    9/21 The nonvoters have it - Our biggest 'party' - 120m strong [120/280= 43%] - is increasingly responsible for who runs America - Why don't more Americans vote? by Martin Wattenberg, Boston Globe, D12.
    ...American elections are complex and anything but user-friendly. We ask Americans to vote too often and for too many things....
    [On the contrary, we ask Americans to vote far too seldom and on far too few real issues, and when we've got their will, we act on it too slowly or not at all. The majority of Americans wanted Gore, not Bush, but they voting 'system' of Floriduh forced Bush upon them. The majority of Americans want campaign finance reform, universal health insurance, gun control, immigration law enforcement, a limit on CEO acquisitiveness.... The fact that we do not have any of these things leads more and more people to conclude they're wasting their time on "politics" and they give up on it in disgust. As Al Smith said, the solution to the evils of democracy is more democracy. We should by now have convenient electronic democracy, we should be getting money completely out of politics and require the news media to treat candidates, equally, as news, not as sources of income. And as long as we have elections only once or twice a year requiring people to physically go to a polling station, we should declare election days a holiday and give people the day off to perform their civic duty. And we should celebrate those days.]

  5. 9/20 A bigger ozone hole, by Andew Revkin, NYT, A4.
    ...forms...each September over Antarctica...larger than North America...the legacy of decades of emission of freon and other ozone-eating synthetic chemicals....
    [So what? So...]
    raise[d] cancer rates.

9/19/2003  surfin' those headlines from hell - 9/18/2003  surfin' those headlines from hell - 9/17/2003  surfin' those headlines from hell -
  1. Senate Democrats, news blurb, WSJ, front page.
    ...failed in a 53-41 vote to block funding of a Bush initiative to research development of a new generation of nuclear weapons.
    [Didn't see this in the Times at all, and believe it or not, this is all there is in the Journal. But it's enough to say, Here we go again - a new Cold War, this time against the world. "Lord, what fools these mortals be." Meanwhile, how big a threat is our old nemesis?]
    Pro-Putin forces struggle to hold political ground - Benefits of growth elude many Russians, providing support for the opposition - Russia's rebound fails to trickle down, WSJ, A12.
    ["Rebound" fails to trickle down? Sound familiar?]

  2. Poor nations revolt at rigged trade talks, op ed by Robert Kuttner, Boston Globe, A19.
    [Note the evolutionary time gap between the rich and poor nations, as explored in Vol. II of the Millennium Orienteering Trilogy, The Football of Time.]
    What should we think of a developing country that The country would probably be read out of the World Trade Organization and blacklisted by the International Monetary Fund.
    Well, the country in question is the United States of America at earlier stages of our development.
    Other advanced economies, including France, Germany, Korea, and Japan, did much the same things. Mercifully, there was no IMF or WTO to retaliate. And it worked out pretty well.
    Now, however, we deny these tools to today's poor nations. We want them to (Actually, if the Bush budget deficit belonged to a developing nation, it would be scorned by the IMF.)
    [Thank God, because it's insane.]
    The hypocrisy of the rich countries finally came home to roost over the weekend when the world trade talks collapsed at Cancun. The Third World at last said: Enough!...
    [Thank God! Maybe now at last we can dispense with the export "solution" and look to rebuilding and activating the enormous unemployed potential of our own domestic consumer base. That would take centrifuging the national income at World War II levels, and that would take harnessing market forces by engineering a perceived labor shortage on WW2 levels, and that would simply take completely disincentivizing overtime and overwork except for purposes of spreading the bottlenecked skills, and adjusting the workweek downward so that the overtime-to-training&hiring process would cut in earlier in the workweek, hire our downsized, unemployed, welfare'd, disabled, homeless, incarcerated, early retired, forced part-time, 'self-employed,'....]

9/16/2003  surfin' those headlines from hell -

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