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The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Sunday, January 3, 2010, 4:01 PM

On Christmas Eve, while nobody was supposed to be watching, the Treasury Department lifted the bailout ceiling on Fannie and Freddie from an already appalling $400 billion to an unlimited amount.

In 2007, I denounced the entire bailout as little more than a looting operation.  I appreciate that some consider the bailouts as necessary to prevent a wholesale liquidation/collapse of the entire economy, and I even share some sympathy with that view.  However, I humbly submit that similar actions could have been taken without enormously enriching the very same parties that either caused the disaster or unwisely invested their money with the companies that did.  Both sets of participants deserved to learn a very expensive lesson, not get bailed out at enormous expense to future taxpayers and national prosperity.

In 2008, I warned that the Fannie and Freddie bailouts were going to cost a lot more money than was claimed by the government, despite the fact that the then-director of the Congressional Budget Office, Peter Orszag, firmly declared that there was only a 5% chance that taxpayers could lose more than $25 billion.

Here's a blast from the past, just so that we can keep track of these things.  This article is from July 23rd, 2008.

Cost of Loan Bailout, If Needed, Could Be $25 Billion

WASHINGTON — The proposed government rescue of the nation’s two mortgage finance giants will appear on the federal budget as a $25 billion cost to taxpayers, the independent Congressional Budget Office said on Tuesday even though officials conceded that there was no way of really knowing what, if anything, a bailout would cost.

The budget office said there was a better than even chance that the rescue package would not be needed before the end of 2009 and would not cost taxpayers any money.

But the office also estimated a 5 percent chance that the mortgage companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, could lose $100 billion, which would cost taxpayers far more than $25 billion.

[…] the director of the budget office, Peter R. Orszag, predicted that “a significant chance, probably better than 50 percent, that the proposed new Treasury authority would not be used before it expired at the end of December 2009.”

Mr. Orszag, at a briefing with reporters, acknowledged that pinpointing the eventual cost of the package was impossible. “There is very significant uncertainty involved here,” he said.

"Significant uncertainty?"  Not to me, there wasn't.  I was completely sure that these CBO estimates were laughably low and completely out of line with every known bit of housing data at that point.  Foreclosures were already higher than the CBO baselines and were trending downwards, and losses were already far higher in private mortgage pools than the worst-case estimates for the Fannie (FNM) and Freddie (FRE) pools.

I'm sorry, but any analysis that begins with the proposition that the government is vastly better at the mortgage business than private industry is simply not credible, especially given that together FNM and FRE are half the entire market.

Two weeks later, in September 2008, I wrote this:

…$250 billion is pretty much my floor on the costs [of the Fannie and Freddie bailouts]. I happen to think that we’ll experience something closer to a 10% to 15% default rate [on GSE mortgage pools], which would yield a $500 billion to $750 billion loss estimate.

These estimates are reasonably close to the truth as we know it today.  How did I do it?  How did I manage such stunning accuracy where the CBO failed so badly?

Easy.  I made the assumption that the FNM/FRE portfolios would experience the same loss rates as private portfolios and used a calculator, the FRE & FNM balance sheets, and two minutes of my time to develop a reasonably good answer.  With a team of analysts and the actual portfolio information, I could have gotten much, much closer.

On Christmas Eve, the time when the most incendiary news is buried deep to avoid detection, this is what happened:

On Christmas Eve, when most Americans' minds were on other things, the Treasury Department announced that it was removing the $400 billion cap from what the administration believes will be necessary to keep Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac solvent. This action confirms that the decade-long congressional failure to more closely regulate these two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) will rank for U.S. taxpayers as one of the worst policy disasters in our history.

Where the director of the CBO stated that there was a 5% chance that the total cost would be in the vicinity of $25 billion, we are now faced with an exposure large enough to force the stealthy removal of a $400 billion cap on Christmas Eve.

One more time, we might ask how an outside analyst like me, using publicly available data, could be so much more accurate than the government itself, with its vast teams of analysts and better data?

The answer, unfortunately, is that my numbers are constructed from evidence and math, while the government's numbers are regularly fashioned for political advantage.  These numbers often have no basis in reality; nearly everybody knows it.  Yet the NYTimes continues to breathlessly report the ersatz numbers (as they did above), failing to ever circle back on the errors once the numbers are proven to be dangerously wrong.

For example, the most recent full-length article in the New York Times about Peter Orszag goes into great depth about his deep policy experience, budgetary skills, family life, and workout habits, but not his stunning inability to spot a multi-hundred-billion-dollar black hole (obviously in sight at the time of this article) that so many in the blogosphere immediately saw.

In a culture where we worship power, but apparently not the ability to get to within the nearest few hundred billion as a budget director, I suppose this is not much of a surprise.  Still, it tells us something about our chances of being faithfully guided to safe shores by our promising young leadership.  They're not good.

In this long sordid tale, marked by the constant use of fuzzy numbers that overstate our economic health and understate our fiscal losses, we find little to bolster our confidence in either our existing processes or rules.  Once again I call for honest numbers as the only meaningful way to gain a true picture of our state of health, so that we can more readily assess the scope of the problem and craft acceptable responses.

I will also note here that without the massive subsidization of the US housing market by the government through Fannie and Freddie, it is unlikely that the enormous housing bubble would have developed to the extent that it did.  I see that there's some pressure now to assign blame to loose underwriting standards in the subprime markets, but one cannot ignore the $4 trillion growth in the balance sheets of FNM and FRE.  They provided an unending wall of fresh liquidity, without which the bubble never would have attained its deathly heights.

Instead of now squandering an additional half trillion dollars on blown mortgages - all just paper losses attached to depreciating assets - our nation could have afforded to completely revamp our electrical grid, install wind and solar power to an enormous degree, and put solar water collectors on nearly every rooftop, thereby greatly helping our future prospects while providing productive jobs today.

But we're not doing that, and most likely we'll never be able to, because we chose instead to provide ourselves with a housing bubble, an endless stream of bogus loss estimates, and the protection of the investment portfolios of the very richest people in the land.

If I were an incumbent in office, I’d be very, very worried about keeping my job.

The way out of this remains the same:  The losses for this fiasco need to be assumed by those who made the bad decisions.  Otherwise there's no justice, no fairness, and no opportunity to learn a good lesson from a bad time.  Moral hazard is corrosive, not just because it fosters future mistakes, but because it undermines the rule of law by making it clear that there's a different set of rules in play, depending on who you are.

I am practically desperate at this point to see my nation and my government stop wasting money trying to resurrect already-destroyed capital and begin investing in the energy and educational infrastructure that we really need.

I am going to spend 2010 working as hard as I can to continue spreading the message about our true predicament and the solutions and actions that could help us build a better future.  Let's work on this together.

Otherwise, the Christmas Eve taxpayer massacre will simply be the opening salvo to another lost decade.  A decade that I am not willing to lose.

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48 Comments

tomadkins's picture
tomadkins
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 9 2009
Posts: 31
Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Hi, Chris,

Welcome back.

I've been on this site for about 6 months.  Member for 3. 

As I understand it, there is NO plan for a "way out".  Seems to me that there is more talk and blather, more posturing...but the general direction and momentum are mainly "stay the course".

As I've seen on this site, the course, ain't pretty.  Not by a long shot.  Most of the members of Congress are part of the problem.  They are looking for re-election.  They are NOT looking out for the "everyman". 

Yes, I believe that when the elections arrive this year, there will be taxpayer activism. 

But the question:  even though I expect plenty of push-back by the populace, the effect will be...what? 

We've had years to build up a head of steam in the wrong directions.  And we've been shoveling in more coal to make the steam hotter.  And still going in the wrong directions. (I calculated how long a Trillion dollars would be if they were all connected end to end:  you could fly at the speed of sound for over 14 YEARS non-stop before you got to the end... 1 Trillion) 

Yes, every shovel makes a difference.  Yet it seems that the momentum of this juggernaut has passed (?) many points of no return. 

I've taken action for God, gold, guns.  I've begun to take action for self-survival away from the city with some land, garden, well, arrays, lake for protein, etc.

Yes, I've embraced a start towards community of like-minded people.

Anywhere out of the city seems to be a better option.

Yes, better to light a single candle than curse the darkness.

So the question:  how do we communicate these circumstances to the masses?  One to one works...but it may be too slow.  What outlet is the best to inform and educate? 

Honestly, there are times when I'm talking to others about these things and I feel as I might as well be talking to myself.  Many people are too absorbed in their day-to-day activities to concern themselves with other causes.  Even though these folks can be an integral part of change for the better, their interia has become a way of life.  The time that it takes someone to be exposed, learn, embrace...allows for the greater momentum to keep pushing us toward the World Bank, etc.

Lead on, faithful scout.

T

Jeff Borsuk's picture
Jeff Borsuk
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 25 2008
Posts: 150
Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

I am going to spend 2010 working as hard as I can to continue to spread the message about our true predicament and the solutions and actions that could help us build a better future. Let's work on this together.

I'm in. This is ridiculous. My son is going to ask me 10 or 20 or 30 years from now, "Dad, if you knew this was going on why didn't you do something more about it?" I'm already embarassed by my answer!

Chris, what can we do starting now? I have a sense of this being too big to do anything about it, but it is too big to NOT do something about it!

Let me know! please!

Jeff

horstfam's picture
horstfam
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 6 2008
Posts: 71
Re: Large audience techniques

Tom,

Great comment. I agree 100%. In trying to reach a larger audience, would there be a way to do an "info-mercial" type of thing? Maybe buy air time (yeah, I know, lots of money) and broadcast the critical points. 

It might be good to publish a book, too. A lot of people will read a book rather than a watch an online video. And it would certainly be easy and convenient to give away. And when it hits #1 on the "NY Times Bestseller" list, that would garner some more awareness for sure.

Any other large-scale ideas?

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2296
Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

I'd donate if there was an effort to do an infomercial.
If it only reached a few thousand people, it'd still be a success.

The real effect is going to be revealed when the leadership changes from the incompetent incumbents to  those who step up to clean up the mess.

I'd view it as an investment in America's future. 

Thanks again for great information Dr. Martenson. 
Cheers,

Aaron 

Jim H's picture
Jim H
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 8 2009
Posts: 1464
Re: Large audience techniques

I am in too....

What about a simple bumper sticker?...  We need a slogan for the movement.. like the Ron Paul campaign (which I was not part of... it was only in the last year that I truly accepted the "red pill").  Like other posters here... I have had my frustrations talking to others about the truth... they either gloss over, or, like my own brother, tell me I am crazy (he wanted to hang up the phone on me).  That's just a measure of how well trained the masses are by the corp owned media machine that rule our culture.  

I would put a bumper sticker on my car;

"It's going to blow up... ask me how"

"The green paper is not what you think"

"Gold is honest, and I am too"

The movement needs a quick, catchy trapdoor in... other ideas?

signalfire's picture
signalfire
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: May 18 2009
Posts: 34
Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Nope, an infomercial will not work. The masses have the information clearly available to them if they want to step out of their comfort zones. They don't care and they will not care until there is no food in the stores.  The powers that control the media will not allow it in any event. That's what 'expensive' means.. Tens of thousands of dollars have been spent on ads and nothing changes. The wars and outright thievery by a certain class continues.

The Revolutionary War was reportedly won with only ~20% of the people of the time even agreeing to the points of contention; most people were out of touch communication wise; almost all were just trying to survive another day. Only a few landowners and malcontents actually sat down and discussed the issues and decided to 'hang separately or together'...

There is another way and it is gaining momentum as we speak: Zeitgeist. I encourage everyone to take a look at Zeitgeist.com;  there is a movie that first appeared about 2 years ago and has now gone viral with over 50 million views worldwide and over 200 local and international chapters; an Addendum that focuses on where to go next, and some stunningly prescient and revolutionary (in a peaceful sense) videos and PDF files of information to read, think and reflect upon. I've been doing research into this now for several months and I'm finding it hard to come up with counterpoints to convince myself 'it can't work...'    It's a new system of a resource based economy and ultimately wants to do away with money and jobs per se. Yeah, I know.  Hard to fathom.  But the present system has PROVEN itself corrupt, bereft of new ideas other than new scams, and lacking in the most fundamental understanding of math and sustainability on a finite planet.

Thank you Chris for all you do.  I  hope you investigate Zeitgeist thoroughly and let us know what you think.  Your input would be very important, either as critic or contributor! 

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
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Posts: 2296
Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

"Reality is Fake" would be my bid haha

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2296
Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Signalfire,

Strongly suggest you have more than 6 posts before you start peddling zeitgeist, which is comprised of some pretty dirty misinformation, bad chronology and shameless inferences. If you're one of the collaborators, I don't need to explain it to you - you know what they are.

This site is to further Dr. Martenson's efforts, not zeitgeists.

Please, it's sort of an unspoken rule to contribute accordingly.

Cheers,

Aaron

joemanc's picture
joemanc
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 16 2008
Posts: 834
We the U.S. Mortgage Market?

Quote:
I see that there's some pressure now to assign blame to loose underwriting standards in the subprime markets but one cannot ignore the $4 trillion growth in the balance sheets of FNM and FRE. They provided an unending wall of fresh liquidity without which the bubble never would have attained its deathly heights.

How much of this latest bailout is for covering the GSE's losses? Or is it for covering losses AND for the GSE's to become the mortgage market? As you pointed in a report a while back, the FED IS the mortgage market. The banks sure as heck are not going to start to buying up mortgages, they are still insolvent. With the FED purchases of MBS's due to end in the spring(supposedly), does that mean we the U.S. taxpayer are now we the U.S. taxpayer mortgage company? If that's the case, then it sounds to me that the U.S. government has figured out how to reflate the housing bubble. Wow. I feel sick to my stomach.

signalfire's picture
signalfire
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: May 18 2009
Posts: 34
Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

I don't see how 'having more than 6 posts' (I've been a long time reader, does that count??) would change my posting here. Zeitgeist is NOT "full of pretty dirty misinformation, bad chronology and shameless inferences" ..  all the negative misinformation I have so far run across has been just that, misinformation. It all gets addressed in Peter Joseph's weekly radio addresses if you want to open your mind long enough to listen and think.  Or please fill me in on your specific complaints, i would love to hear something besides third party rumor mongering.

If the best Chris' followers can do is suggest an informercial or a 'best seller' I'm sorry but that has already been done ad infinitum.  IT HASN'T WORKED!  We are up against something much bigger than any of us.  Is that not completely clear???  The only way around this beast is to ignore it and set up a completely new economic system, so large that it is active in all countries, not just one here and one there, which can be overthrown by military action.

I'm sorry if stepped on an 'unspoken' ban on possible solutions.  Maybe some of Chris' followers have yet to hear about Zeitgeist and would truly be interested.  No, I'm not a collaborator.  (???)  I've been studying it and it seems like the best way to move forward that i have yet seen put out there and i obviously have a lot of company.

Aaron, your post smacks of the kind of thing Karl Rove is famous for.  What's your suggestion for a fix?  More lies? More pushing for people to not look at every possible solution?  Do you speak for Chris, who I truly appreciate and admire? Or are you a disinfo plant for the 'anti Zeitgeist' crowd (there's always a few...)

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2296
Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Signalfire,

A long time reader wouldn't have to ask those questions.
Go read, post a lot less.

You'll find in short order that:
1. Dr. Martenson has no "followers" who "suggest" anything. This is a circle of educated, intelligent people who share his ideas, values and value the knowledge and research he's shared with us.
2. Suggestions for fixes are erroneous, as no one is listening.
3. I actually *am* a "zeitgeist disinformation plant", and I've been here in secret waiting for you to show up for over a year! My chance at last, blown by your wily cunning!

Everything about your last post summarizes why I would have nothing to do with Zeitgeist.
There are sensible, sane people out there with an Anti-American Agenda.
I watched Zeitgeist, and with a couple quick google references, found some flat out misleading information had been presented, based on half-truths, inferences and word of mouth. This is not the place for that, and I think a "long time member" would have enough respect to know that.

If you choose to believe infomercials are impractical, perhaps you should consider that the content you present is just flat out unappealing because of its zealous mispresentation of information. Such is not the case with the Crash Course, which draws interest and attention from the seminars and from word of mouth. It's not based on conjectural, political or dogmatic suppositions, but rather Facts, Educated Opinions and Well founded Beliefs. 

This mix is appealing, as it's information that can be easily referenced, places no partisan blame and cuts directly to understanding the nature of the collapse - which is eminent.  

Karl Rove... I wish I could say "I've been called worse".
Those are fightin' words, fella, and I'd ask you kindly to refrain from saying anything behind the safety of that monitor you would elect to withhold in person. 

This is the wrong venue to pick an "e-fight". If you have any issues you'd like to take up with me, lets not pollute an important, informative thread by the host of this site. PM me.

Cheers.

Aaron

VeganD's picture
VeganD
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 18 2008
Posts: 580
Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Forgive me for brainstorming

re: bumpersticker-"bailouts robbed our children's future-now what?"

re: elections-The backlash against incumbents has started in my neighborhood.  Our Democratic county executive of 12 years was summarily ousted by a Republican and it really looks like it was done just to get someone new into office in hopes of making some change.  I know I voted for him too and I am not a registered republican and I remember thinking I wanted to get the old guy out even though he really isn't so bad.....

re: educating the public-I have participated in a few social movements over the years in minor ways.  Each organization I worked with had a Fact Sheet. With hard data to get your attention.  We could come up with something like that to use in any medium to get across the hard facts ("25 billion to fix Fannie and Freddie, now up to  3/4 trillion...."). Or maybe there is one on the site already.  I find such things compelling.

The other thing I am thinking is that people respond better to the "last" crisis. Look at what happened after 9/11. Perhaps the focus should be as much on the damage already as on the impending disaster. In specific concrete terms. 

Honestly, I still do not understand what it means to have trillions in debt. Something in my brain won't allow it to compute.  I have asked my closest friends to help me plan for a currency crisis and they say buy PM's and move to the country.  The rest think I am too depressing or that I am getting brain washed by fear mongering.

Nacci's picture
Nacci
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 22 2009
Posts: 194
Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Aaron, I believe the unwritten rule on this site is that we, as members, speak our mind freely.  "More than 6 posts before you start peddling Zeitgeist" ....??.  I am proud to see Signalfire not take that lying down, that is the type of spirit I respect.

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2296
Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Nacci, 

Speaking his mind would be different than regurgitating the work of others, wouldn't it?
 
If Signalfire was sharing information that he himself had collected and analyzed, his post count would be irrelavant.
When someone shows up on a forum and instantly tries to sell something, circulate links to their "what-have-you" or undermine the efforts being made on behalf of the host site, it's slightly rude.

It's good to see respect is earned through internet bravado, rather than a record of good dialogue!
Cheers,

Aaron 

signalfire's picture
signalfire
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: May 18 2009
Posts: 34
Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Thank you, Nacci.

Aaron is young and foolish.  I'm still waiting for an HONEST, FACT BASED refutation of Zeitgeist.  I actually would love to see where he's going wrong.  To me although it sounds vaguely (okay, not so vaguely) utopian, I'm also having trouble finding fault with it.

I DON'T rely for my 'opinions' on a Wikipedia-like article slamming something new.  Geebers, we're in big trouble here and bumpersticker slogans aren't gonna fix things.

And Aaron, just for your info, I'm not a 'he'; I'm a 56-year-old gramma and I've been watching this crap going down now for many more decades than you have been alive, if your picture is correct. I get my info from hundreds of sources, not a few here and there and I've learned to be VERY leery of other's unfounded opinions stated as fact.

Headless's picture
Headless
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 28 2008
Posts: 363
Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Chris,

I thought the U.N. was the big time, but the title of this article is what people are going to always remember you for!

Absolutely brilliant! There are 538 cowards sitting in their homes (in the study, under the covers, at the dinner table), their faces blank, but twisted in terror, an ocassional twitch of the eye, the lip, first one cheek then the other, spittle dripping from the corners of their mouths, knowing they are going to have TO DEAL WITH THAT TITLE AND WHAT IT REPRESENTS!

Respectfully,

Headless

P.S. I'm now going to read the article...

JAG's picture
JAG
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 26 2008
Posts: 2489
Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Sometimes I think this site is hopeless.

Time after time I see a member of this community propose a plan of action or solution only to be shot-down by someone else. Its like a contest of who can be more negative, or should I say "realistic".  

Did Dr. M. author the Crash Course or the Crash Curse?

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2296
Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Signalfire,

Ma'am, strong suggestion, start at the link provided. Then, do your own research.
This Foolish young man did about the same work I did, only I didn't care enough to catalog the inconsistencies, exaggerations and inferences. Nor did I bother wasting my time debunking this junk for as long as he did.

http://conspiracyscience.com/articles/zeitgeist/
http://conspiracyscience.com/articles/zeitgeist/part-one/
http://conspiracyscience.com/articles/zeitgeist/part-two/

 
I
ronically, your methodology was described exactly in his opening statement. 
Further still on the road of irony is that you're saying that you don't get your information from Wikipedia-esque garbage... yet you believe Zeitgeist without having done a proper, evidential investigation...

You might call this cognitive dissonance: Holding two simultaneous, contradictory thoughts in your head - that nothing on the internet is credible except what you believe, and anything you believe on the internet is credible.

With luck, this will clue in readers to the fact that I'm not just being a jerk, and I've had this argument more times than I care to rehash with many-a-dogmatic Zeitgeist believers. Bring on the ......tology!
"And if you don't believe it, well, we'll just sue you, slander you and try and make you feel like less of a person!" 

Cheers,

Aaron

signalfire's picture
signalfire
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: May 18 2009
Posts: 34
Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Jag, the hopelessness you feel is a byproduct of the ineffectiveness of lack of true action.  We have all become very good at reading, posting and some of us, like Chris, arithmetic.  ACTING on what appears to be the truth of the matter is nearly impossible. The regulators have forsaken their duties; the 'government' is a pack of thieves with a few marginalized (Kucinich) truthtellers.  There's 100's of millions of guns in this country and apparently billions of rounds of ammunition but no where is a 'revolution or else' threatened.  We are afraid of the people we pay to govern us.  They own the standing armies, they own the bigger guns, they 'know best' or at least they are still hiding behind that fairy tale.

Other threads have posited the possibility that this country is unsalvageable.  I think it's even worse, I think the world wide economic system as it has come to be in existence is a mathematical impossibility to continue much longer. What's next?  Resource wars?  Well, we already have them.  Mass starvation?  Ditto but it hides in 'other countries' for the most part.  The future is almost too frightening to contemplate. I'm glad I'll only be around a few more decades but I fear for the generations coming up next.

Contrary to Aaron's take on things, I am not trying to sell anyone on any particular idea or course of action. Just putting it out there for everyone to consider.  I had occasion a few weeks ago to meet Michael Ruppert of 'Crossing the Rubicon' fame. (and yes, he's a controversial figure also). It astonished me when I asked him his opinion of Zeitgeist and he told me he had never heard of it!  HE'S IN THE MOVIE!!!

Figured based on that fascinating tidbit that many more have not heard of it and would like to look into it. Hopefully, with a more open mind than Aaron has.

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2296
Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Ma'am, I'm going to politely ask that you stop slandering me.

Before you ask, here are the references:

If the best Chris' followers can do is suggest an informercial or a 'best seller' I'm sorry but that has already been done ad infinitum.  
Aaron, your post smacks of the kind of thing Karl Rove is famous for...Or are you a disinfo plant for the 'anti Zeitgeist' crowd (there's always a few...)
Aaron is young and foolish. 
I DON'T rely for my 'opinions' on a Wikipedia-like article slamming something new.  Geebers, we're in big trouble here and bumpersticker slogans aren't gonna fix things.
And Aaron, just for your info, I'm not a 'he'; I'm a 56-year-old gramma and I've been watching this crap going down now for many more decades than you have been alive, if your picture is correct. I get my info from hundreds of sources, not a few here and there and I've learned to be VERY leery of other's unfounded opinions stated as fact.
Contrary to Aaron's take on things, I am not trying to sell anyone on any particular idea or course of action. Just putting it out there for everyone to consider.
Figured based on that fascinating tidbit that many more have not heard of it and would like to look into it. Hopefully, with a more open mind than Aaron has.

-If the best Chris' followers can do is suggest an informercial or a 'best seller' I'm sorry but that has already been done ad infinitum.  

-Aaron, your post smacks of the kind of thing Karl Rove is famous for...Or are you a disinfo plant for the 'anti Zeitgeist' crowd (there's always a few...)
-Aaron is young and foolish. 
-I DON'T rely for my 'opinions' on a Wikipedia-like article slamming something new.  Geebers, we're in big trouble here and bumpersticker slogans aren't gonna fix things.
-And Aaron, just for your info, I'm not a 'he'; I'm a 56-year-old gramma and I've been watching this crap going down now for many more decades than you have been alive, if your picture is correct. I get my info from hundreds of sources, not a few here and there and I've learned to be VERY leery of other's unfounded opinions stated as fact.
-Contrary to Aaron's take on things, I am not trying to sell anyone on any particular idea or course of action. Just putting it out there for everyone to consider.
-Figured based on that fascinating tidbit that many more have not heard of it and would like to look into it. Hopefully, with a more open mind than Aaron has.

Aaron

Headless's picture
Headless
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Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

The Real Solution:

Every member of congress needs to be voted out. Every one of them.

Then we can start with whatever is left of America.

Peter Schiff has 15,000 volunteers for his campaign already. What if we had 15,000 in every state across America; each one of those volunteers was standing on a prominent corner with a sign and a bullhorn: "Re-elect No one! Re-elect No one! Re-elect No-one!"

I'd call it "Revolution 538."

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signalfire
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Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Sigh..

Aaron, I've seen those 'debunking' sites.  Amazing isn't it?  The authors manage to debunk EVERYTHING!  Trouble is, they give only their opinion. No facts, no references, no educated responses, just juvenile posts, strangely repetitive no matter what it is they're objecting to.  I encourage everyone to check out both the debunking AND the original zeitgeist information and THINK FOR THEMSELVES. Can millions of people be wrong?  Sure.  They are now, look around. But throwing out something new because it disagrees with your sense of the world might possibly be an error.  Methinks Peter Joseph stepped on your religious feelings; he gets that a lot. Or is it his take on 9-11 that you find unsettling?  Sorry, but if prayers worked, we would not be in the situation we are now, and if the government would stop lying to us about EVERYTHING, we wouldn't have to wonder what happened on 9-11 either.

The truth takes time to discover.  You won't find it ready made on a 'debunking' site.

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A. M.
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Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Ma'am, did you read the information, or simply dismiss it because it wasn't what you wanted to hear?

Sigh..

Aaron, I've seen those 'debunking' sites.  Amazing isn't it?  

-No facts, no references, no educated responses, just juvenile posts, strangely repetitive no matter what it is they're objecting to.  I encourage everyone to check out both the debunking AND the original zeitgeist information and THINK FOR THEMSELVES.

-Can millions of people be wrong?
  Sure.  They are now, look around.

-But t
hrowing out something new because it disagrees with your sense of the world might possibly be an error

-Methinks Peter Joseph stepped on your religious feelings; he gets that a lot. Or is it his take on 9-11 that you find unsettling?  Sorry, but if prayers worked, we would not be in the situation we are now,

The truth takes time to discover.  You won't find it ready made on a 'debunking' site.

Please review your comment and ask yourself: "Is this rude/insulting/true?"
Especially with regards to facts presented. The first paragraph of the site I linked to specifically addresses the topic you say they do not. 

Headless,

I agree 100%. With a fresh start in congress, we could really made some headway.
That said, do not overlook the importance of acting on the local level!

Ask tough questions of your elected officials. Be active. Find out if they believe in/understand seperation of the Judicial and Executive branches of the government. Ask if they understand the concepts of exponential growth, and the depletion of arible land in favor for development.

The recovery will start on a local level, so that's where I choose to devote my time. The Federal problem is, as Signalfire says, bigger than any one of us.

Cheers,

Aaron

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Moderator Jason
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Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

We would prefer that blog comments be limited to the subject matter of the blog.  No more comments relating to Zeitgeist please.

If either Aaron or signalfire would care to create a new thread for debate and discussion of the Zeitgeist movement, please do so and I will move all the relevant comments to the new thread.  Otherwise they will be removed.  Remember that if you intend to discuss global conspiracy theories, the new thread must be located in the Controversial Topics folder.

On a different note, I want to emphasize that this website encourages civil discussion of all topics relating to the 3 E's.  We always welcome new users, and whatever new ideas they bring with them.  We will not tolerate intellectual bullying  - we expect kindness, civility, and respectfulness from everybody.

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A. M.
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Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Hey Jason,

I'm a all for having every post I've made save the ones relevant to the topic at hand removed.
There isn't much reason to deviate from this topic, which was my original point. Sorry to have dragged it out.

Cheers,

Aaron

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emhswm
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Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

when was the last time Orzag was right ??

-----------------------

"Today’s Wall Street Journal discusses a 2002 paper declaring that "on the basis of historical experience, the risk to the government from a potential default on GSE debt is effectively zero." It’s authors were  Jonathan Orzag, Peter Orszag and Joseph Stiglitz, who had won the Nobel prize in economics the year before."

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-joseph-stiglitz-blew-it-on-fannie-and-freddie-2009-12

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Damnthematrix
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Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Removed after realising moderator intervention

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Damnthematrix
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Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Headless wrote:

The Real Solution:

Every member of congress needs to be voted out. Every one of them.

Then we can start with whatever is left of America.

Peter Schiff has 15,000 volunteers for his campaign already. What if we had 15,000 in every state across America; each one of those volunteers was standing on a prominent corner with a sign and a bullhorn: "Re-elect No one! Re-elect No one! Re-elect No-one!"

I'd call it "Revolution 538."

Yep......  I totally agree, nothing short of a revolution is required, the Matrix is broken well beyond repair.

We need a blank slate.  I still maintain that as the debts incurred can never ever be repaid, they should simply be canceled.  We're already seeing debt destruction, cancelation is merely total destruction, I see no point in stretching the process painfully more than necessary!

A campaign to bring people together to stop servicing their debts would bring TPTB to their knees, the whole thing could be unwound within a week quite likely.....  I really don't know why there is so much reluctance on the part of everyone here to get this.....

Which part of "the debts incurred can never ever be repaid" don't you understand?

Mike

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Headless
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Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Aaron,

Completely agree with "the recovery will start on a local level," but I think the "targets" are other than whom you suggest: I think it's the People that we need to shake up, stir up and get pissed off—they’re 90% along that road . The local politicians are, for the most part, the zygotes (term used intentionally) that await a more sinister birth, an emergence to be All That They Can See! And what can they "see?" That crime pays! It pays big! And thus, the cute little cuddly local pols will surely evolve as desired, achieving their ultimate Alien-like forms; life forms so foreign to My and your family values, that they will not even recognize Us as being  of their world once they're in. Example: 90+% of Americans Say No! to Bailout. Result?

  • Goldman Sachs Has Record Year!
  • 1000s Across the Nation Commit Suicide! (One of my friends on Christmas Day...)

So we need to set an example for the embryonic egomaniacs; we need to enable proper role models to rise through the ranks; We Need to "Kill" (Reelect Not One! of) the current political Idols!

Need I even mention that for congress to ignore 90% of Americans (on the bailout)  there has to be an extraordinarily good reason? What might that reason be? I say that a reasonable hypothesis (testable with a new congress) is that nearly every Washington politician has such frightening skeletons in his/her closet, that he/she could do none other than was demanded of them by their masters? They, the DC politicians, are, in all probability compromised in multiple ways. They are almost all, with the probability approaching 1, criminals. If we elect an entirely new 538, we can go after them! We can go after Bush, Cheney, Rice, Paulson, Geithner, Bernanke, All of Wall Street, The SEC, and we can END THE FED in a heartbeat.

Revolution 538! The way to save what's left of America. At a minimum, could it be a bad thing to discover the Truth, to remove all doubt in the mind of a confused nation, to at least discover whether we are the victims of our own imaginations? Would it be an insurmountable tragedy  to start over with the Ideals of The Founders of the Republic , via insuring that honest men and women assume positions of power?

What, I ask, is the cost of such a proposal? The jobs of 538 highly suspect individuals--as opposed to the future quality of life of a Nation of Families and a World of Could-be Friends.

Is there even a choice as to what need s to be done?

Revolution 538.

H.

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Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

We the people, even those of us that aren't as astute as you Chris, can see the blatant theft taking place by our government. If I were an incumbant, I'd start worring about a lot more than keeping my job if I wasn't speaking out against this madness. People will only stand for so much dishonesty and being lied to and stolen from.

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DWShultz
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Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Chris, 

I don't post often, but I read all the time. We are running out of time, and fast. Robert Kiyosaki wrote a great little blurb that sums up exactly what should happen this year; 

http://finance.yahoo.com/expert/article/richricher/211091;_ylt=AttELkhtw0gvouv3jiU8pzy7YWsA;_ylu=X3oDMTFma2gzcjViBHBvcwM0BHNlYwNleHBlcnRPcGluaW9uRHluYW1pYwRzbGsDMjAxMHRoZWJlc3Rv

(whether you like him or not, his paraphrasing on the housing bubble is spot on.)

Maybe we need to publicize solutions to start reaching more of a critical mass. That's always appealing to read. 

-Doug

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belli
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Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

If you want to make an effective stand,  you will need to marshall power, arguably that is closer than you think.  The following link (link) sketches out such a plan, (basis):

"And what, we asked ourselves, would happen if lots of people around America decided to do the same thing? Our money has been used to make the system worse -- what ifwe used it to make the system better?".  I've come across several similar ideas over the past week, the implications to reserve requirements  can be debated.  However, the practicality can be estimated by polling the users/subscribers of this site and backing into estimations.

The problem with the current composition of our society, for better or worse is we are a plural people.  To act effectively you need to find a common abstraction, central to all groups, that is appropriate for the task.  The simple process of moving ones bank account may be such an abstraction.  

Judging from the tone of the article and various comments,  time is a factor.  Given the latency of the political process, that option seems distant. Education on the issue,  while mandatory tends to find political solutions that evolve plans of action over time.  Again the the simple notion of relocating ones deposits seems worth discussion and some time spent with a spreadsheet.

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kineneb
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Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

un-lurking...  There are rational solutions, but I just do not see The Powers That Be actually using them. They have too much invested in the system as it is now.  Short of a Jubilee, I don't see how the debt issue can be resolved.  From what I have read, there is more debt outstanding in the derivatives market than there is world GDP. (I think I got that right, I am a musician, not an economist.) 

We have military bases all over the globe, some 700+ according to Chalmers Johnson's books, which are sucking out masive amounts of money. Add to that two, maybe three impossible-to-win "conflicts".  We have have military overextension and internal corruption; this sounds altogether too much like Rome in its final years.

I have tried to get the word about the Crash Course out. I burned two DVDs and gave them as holiday gifts to a friend.  Chris, you will be happy to know that one disc will be passed on to a sustainable living group in Davis, CA., and they will probably be showing it (in sections) there.  If we all give two DVDs to a friend, one for them to watch, and the other to be passed on, this will at least help. I wish I could donate, but have been in one of the families to declare medical bankruptcy, there is nothing left now.

Lastly, my homemade bumper sticker is blunt. It reads, "Torches and Pitchforks."

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rhare
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Re: Large audience techniques

Any other large-scale ideas?

I think contacting many of those who are likely to challenge the incumbants.  Get them to include the Crash Course in their message to help spread the word. 

I sent an e-mail to the Campaign for Liberty people last year suggesting a combined marketing effort - Crash Course DVD in a Campaign for Liberty mailer.  But no one responded.  Next time I'm in Alexandria I think I will wander down to their offices and bring it up again.  Perhaps there are other organizations with similar goals that would be open to a combined message.

For me, I give DVDs  to everyone.  I also carry business cards with the crash course web site on them to hand out when I don't have DVDs. I take time out to talk to business owners of places I frequent and many are pretty savy about the economic problems but most have not thought about the other 2 E's. 

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Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Hello

Great article and I love the part about using a calculator to estimate the 500-750 billion. Most likely the number will top 2 or 3 trillion all said and done. I personally think the government will eventually confiscate all mortgages and in a sense "forgive" them with "strings and conditions" attached.

I am a new member as of 20 minutes ago.

Someone recommended this site in the blogs following a zerohedge.com article. I get really good sourcing in these blogs.

I have shared the crash course with 5 people thus far and it has left most of them in a bit of a fog. For me the crash course solidified my current sentiment about the future. I thought the section about energy was fantastic in fact it completely changed my thinking about the value of natural resources.

I think my biggest realization, over the weekend, is that our cash holdings are likely to be set to zero in the next few years or so - maybe sooner. I'm now strongly convicted that I'll need to convert everything to tradeable/barterable assets. I'm struggling with the level of necessary paranoia at the moment.

I just want to thank Chris for his crash course and I'll be checking in everyday for the articles.

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Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Thanks for the link Doug.

It was good to be reminded of the upcoming mortgage adjustments.

I thought you might enjoy sharing the - usdebtclock.org - with others as well. Young folks like it because it has lots of motion. Scares the crap out of everyone else.

Paul

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Xanb
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Re: Would you tell a lie to save the world?

Would you tell a lie to save the world?

After all governments and reporters tell lies too, sometimes unintentional due to incomplete or skewed data.

This is how it goes: by publishing data showing that the world is how you would like it to be. Example: tell people that more and more people are aware about a certain problem, or are acting towards a certain goal. The lie doesn’t have to be big. Because most of the people don’t care about or cannot grasp numbers it is enough to use vague and powerful words like “fastest growing”. Fore example an increase from 1 person to 3 persons means that the number tripled or is a 200% increase ;)

There are several reasons why people will follow this trends:

-         The well known fact that social scientists encounter when they publish a study. The study will influence society and future studies will show different data.

-         Most of the people want to be part of the group. If they are told that their group has certain beliefs, they will have them too.

-         Identity is an important factor in Western culture and psychology. If people are told for example, that most of their fellows think that consumption is bad for you and the planet, they will identify themselves as anti-consumerists too. A trivial example would be fashion.

-         At the personal level, identity works pretty much the same. If you tell somebody repeatedly that he or she is in a certain way (good or bad), eventually they will become like that.

-         Studies showed that at least 17% of the people will believe anything you tell them

Also, it seems that people in a crowd or group tend to not react to emergencies unless they are appointed to. Another significant fact is that if the other people in the group look calm, individuals react less to emergencies. In our case, because the emergency is not easy to spot and understand, panic is not useful. Instead, you could use the image of a forecaster of the future. People are very interested in knowing their future as long as it is not very dark.

Most people are not necessarily rational, especially in a world full of information. The brain is more and more busy coping with the ocean of information rather than processing it properly. Therefore, for a message to get through, it has to be short, simple and powerful, like commercials.

I truly respect and admire the work of Dr. Martenson but his message targets rational people like us, his readers. In my opinion the easiest target is the young generation. They have a tendency toward idealism and change and after all, they are the near future. To influence them, one has to speak their language. Maybe a good song with good lyrics and video will do it. Youtube is a powerful tool.

What would be the message? It is a hard question that I’ve been trying to answer for the last couple of years. I don’t think exponential function is catchy for the vast majority. The message has to involve feelings (most people have them and they are harder to resist than to rational thoughts). It shouldn’t suggest survivalist type of living. It should give precise tasks for precise categories of people.

A good start for finding solutions are materials about sustainability. An eye opening book is “Limits to Growth: 30 years update” and also has good solutions. Another useful reading is “Sustainable Urbanism” by Douglas Farr. It gives you an idea where our cities are, some frightening statistics, and what has to be done.

Unfortunately I am not very good at details, I am more of a big picture type of person. So I can come up only with general messages. Hope this helps and you will find efficient messages to save the world.

Xan

What would you do if you received a message from the future? I have seen the future. Humans were technologically enhanced and they could reach the stars. They told me they want to be saved.

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brjohnson789
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Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Welcome paul.

I'm struggling with the level of necessary paranoia at the moment. 

At some point Chris put something out there like this; chances of a complete collapse in the next week are very small, < 1%.  But over time, that gets bigger...how big, I don't know.  There are some steps you can take immediately that will help in a collapse that won't totally turn your life upside down.  But to be really prepared, it could take a few months.   Don't worry about a collapse so quickly, but start making the preparations.  Even if a total collapse never happens, many of the things you can do to prepare will not make you that worse off; sort of like house insurance.  You pay a little bit each month for the fire that would wipe you out.  You're not that paranoid then about a fire; as long as you can get out alive you'll be a little worse off but not terribly. 

Ready's picture
Ready
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Posts: 897
Re: Would you tell a lie to save the world?

Xanb wrote:

-         Studies showed that at least 17% of the people will believe anything you tell them

I believe you.

Xanb wrote:

What would you do if you received a message from the future? I have seen the future. Humans were technologically enhanced and they could reach the stars. They told me they want to be saved.

Is this the truth?

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Davos
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Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Good read, thanks Chris

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Xanb
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Re: Would you tell a lie to save the world?

Ready: Is this the truth?

Would you believe me if my answer is yes? Smile

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Ready
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Posts: 897
Re: Would you tell a lie to save the world?

Xanb wrote:

Would you believe me if my answer is yes? Smile

Being clearly in the 17% who believe anything you tell them, of course.

On the other hand, the other 83% of folks on this site may think such a statement either a joke or a serious hit to your credibility. Since you ended with a smiley face, should they assume the former?

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Xanb
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Re: Would you tell a lie to save the world?

Ready,

Actually time and space are not what they used to be. Check the latest findings in physics. Obviously, information will be easier to send through time than to send objects, but this is only a theory so far. It doesn’t exclude the possibility that people in the future will send messages in their past. Then it is up to the recipient to believe it or not, right? Sharing with other people his beliefs is another story. After all, his credibility is at stake. Wink

Coming back to Earth, that was an example of message. Why would a message from the future be less popular than “The secret”, or UFOs, or conspiracy theories, or vampires? I think it will be more popular because it can give people hope and a goal. Without them you cannot move masses.

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JAG
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Posts: 2489
Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Rog,

they always seem to flock to you, LOL.

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
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Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2296
Re: The Christmas Eve Taxpayer Massacre

Thats because Rog is the man.

Cheers!

Aaron

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