Danny Schechter: Israel’s PM Goes on US TV and GOP Financier will reap massive tax savings if Romney wins election …
When it comes to materialism, has any nation ever surpassed what we are seeing in the United States right now? We define our lives by how much stuff we have, to a large degree our personal and business relationships are defined by how much money we make, and even most of the important dates on our calendar are all about materialism. Just think about it. We throw outrageous birthday parties for our kids and we shower them with gifts. Most of our “holidays” have become highly materialistic, and the biggest holiday of all in our society, Christmas, is an absolute orgy of materialism. We make lists of the “wealthiest Americans” and we glorify their achievements. We spend most of our time either making money or spending it. Even the phrase “the American Dream” reveals how materialistic we are. When most people are asked what “the American Dream” is, they start talking about a house, a car, vacations, retirement, sending your kids to college, etc. The American Dream has become all about money and stuff. Sadly, no matter how big our homes are and no matter how many shiny new toys we accumulate, we never seem to be happy. We always want more, and we always seem to be willing to go into more debt to get it. We are the most materialistic society in the history of the world, and our endless greed is going to end up swallowing us alive.
When it comes to materialism in America, there are outrageous examples all around us, but one of my favorite examples is the “Rich Kids of Instagram“. It is a Tumblr blog of photos from Instagram of young Americans showing off how they are enjoying the vast wealth of their parents. The following is how the Washington Post describes the blog….
The controversial new Tumblr is a collection of snapshots from the photo-sharing site that depicts the children of wealth and privilege — summering in the Hamptons, lounging on yachts and posing by their luxury cars.
One does a back-flip out of a helicopter near St. Tropez. Others snap pictures of their restaurant bills — allegedly paying thousands of dollars for lobster, champagne and high-end liquor.
In the warm patina of the Instagram, the youngsters appear to be living over-the-top lifestyles — and enjoying every moment.
“Our everyday is better than your best day,” reads one caption, a bit tauntingly. And, “Do you have a horse in your backyard? Didn’t think so.”
But just because you have a horse on your property does that make your life better than the rest of our lives?
Of course not.
Wealth does not equal happiness.
Unfortunately, however, most Americans have totally bought into this lie.
Most Americans believe that more money equals a better life.
In response to “the Rich Kids of Instagram”, the Huffington Post recently put together a piece entitled “the Rich Cats of Instagram” that features photos of cats as they “model upscale accessories, lounge with bottles of champagne, sail on yachts and ponder life while relaxing atop piles of money.”
Of course a lot of those pictures are quite funny, but they also reveal a deep truth about our society.
We have spent our lives chasing after the almighty dollar thinking that it will make us happy. Study after study has shown that we tend to link wealth and happiness. The following is from a recent NBC News article about one of those studies….
Many parents already know older children can be materialistic. Some tweens not only want the latest games and clothes, but also think owning these things will bring them happiness, friends and popularity. And marketers are eager to get them to buy: Tweens spend $28 billion a year, not including the more than $200 billion their parents spend on them, according to market research company C+R Research.
But even though we have an incredibly high standard of living compared to most of the rest of the world, are most of us actually happy?
No way. In fact, Americans take more anti-depressants than anyone else on the planet.
It is really easy to get caught up in materialism though. Let me share an example from my own life.
Several months ago our old truck completely died. Instead of pouring thousands of more dollars into fixing it, we decided that we would get another used truck.
So the other day I stopped by a dealership while my wife was grabbing some things from Home Depot. The salesperson started showing me some of the used trucks on the lot, but after a while I suggested that he show me some of the new trucks that were sitting on the other side of the lot.
Before I knew it, I was sitting in the most expensive truck on the lot and he was showing me all of the cool features it had.
And I have to admit – for a few moments there I was really enamored with that truck. It was the coolest truck that I had ever seen in my life.
Of course my wife and I don’t need a truck like that. We only need to haul stuff around a few times a month. And we certainly do not need the amount of debt that it would take to buy such a truck.
But for a few moments there I really wanted it. The pull of materialism can be very strong.
So would that truck have “changed my life” or brought me lasting happiness?
Of course not.
It would have brought some thrills for the first couple of days, but after a while it would just be sitting in the garage taking up space just like any other truck would.
So did I end up buying a truck?
Not yet. But we need one soon. My wife has been without a truck for quite a few months now and she is getting impatient.
But whether we get a nice used truck or a used truck that has one foot in the grave, it really isn’t going to change our lives much.
In the end, our lives should not be defined by what we own or by how much money we have in the bank.
But how do we refer to ourselves in this day and age?
The American people are called “consumers” and the truth is that we consume far more than anyone else on the globe does.
Just look at our eating habits. Of all the major industrialized nations, America is the most obese.
The next time you go into a store, take note of how many people are overweight.
It has not always been this way. Back in 1962, only 13 percent of all Americans were obese.
But now overeating is a national sport. At this point, approximately 36 percent of all Americans are obese, and it is being projected that number will rise to 42 percent by 2030.
While we are gorging ourselves with food, what else do we like to do?
That’s right – we love to watch television. In fact, the average American watches 28 hours of television every single week.
We have become completely and totally addicted to entertainment, and we have become trained to be constantly “plugged in” to something.
Our lives have become all about constantly feeding our greed and our selfishness. In fact, that is a major reason for the breakdown of the family in America. We tend to view marriage as a temporary condition that can be quickly discarded when it no longer makes us happy.
Sadly, the United States has the highest divorce rate in the world by a very wide margin at this point.
In addition, more Americans than ever are putting off marriage these days. Young Americans are being told that “an education” and “a career” are more important. According to the Pew Research Center, only 51 percent of all American adults are currently married. Back in 1960, 72 percent of all adults in America were married.
As a result of these factors, we are an incredibly lonely nation. Today, the United States has the highest percentage of one person households on the entire globe.
In order to fill the void, the American people turn to things that will numb the pain. American use more legal drugs than anyone else on the planet and they also use more illegal drugs than anyone else on the planet.
We have more “stuff” than any other society in the history of the world has ever had, but it has not made us happy.
And how did we pay for all of this?
We paid for a lot of this with debt. In fact, we have accumulated the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world.
During my lifetime, the debt of the U.S. government has gotten more than 30 times larger. For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “27 Things That Every American Should Know About The National Debt“.
But the federal government is not the only one with a debt problem. The truth is that our entire society is absolutely drowning in debt.
Over the past 50 years, the total amount of debt in the U.S. has grown from less than a trillion dollars to nearly 55 trillion dollars….
We have used massive amounts of debt in an attempt to feed our endless greed and materialism and we have gotten ourselves into a whole lot of trouble.
This is one of the reasons why I write. I want people to understand how bad things have really gotten.
Thanks to our foolishness, our economy has been declining, it is going to continue to decline, and a massive economic collapse is coming.
Some people believe that this is a message of “doom and gloom”, but that is not the case at all.
Sticking our heads in the sand and pretending that somehow everything is going to be just fine is not going to do anyone any good.
Instead, I believe that warning people about the coming economic collapse is a message of hope.
There is hope in understanding what is happening, developing a plan to deal with it, and preparing yourself and your family for the storm that is coming.
It is the people that are ignoring all of the warnings that are going to be in real trouble.
Millions upon millions of people will be absolutely blindsided by what is coming. Many will give in to total despair once they realize that their prosperity is gone and they have done nothing to prepare for what they are now facing.
My hope is that the information that I write about will be shocking enough that it will wake people up and motivate them to get prepared so that they can handle the incredibly challenging years that are ahead.
And the truth is that our lives should not be about our money and our stuff anyway.
Your possessions are just temporary. None of them are going to last forever and you certainly cannot take them with you when you die.
Even though our economy has had some rough times, we still have a higher standard of living than 99 percent of the humans that have ever lived on this planet have had.
You would think that would be enough for us.
But it isn’t. We have hoarded our wealth and we have lived in luxury and self-indulgence.
When our debt-fueled prosperity disappears, most Americans are not going to know how to handle it.
Most Americans will believe that their lives are “over” at that point.
But those that are not caught up in materialism and that have prepared for what is ahead will understand that the next chapters of their lives can be the greatest chapters of all.
Delivered by The Daily Sheeple
Contributed by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse.
Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. …
The ongoing EU-China annual summit is to focus on strengthening trade ties and expanding China’s investment into the region ahead of the leadership handover in Beijing due this fall.Read Full Article at RT.com …
We have top men working on the ticket conspiracy. Top men
Anyone who wants to investigate just how London 2012 ticket sales were set up and run (or other mysteries of the recent Olympic and Paralympic Games) will have their chance: Blighty’s National Archives has agreed to house and publish all the digital records arising from the Games. Unfortunately, in many cases outsiders will have to wait 15 years to have a look.…
Do you want to know what QE3 is going to do to the price of gold and the price of silver? Well, you can read what the financial experts are saying below, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what is likely to happen. During QE3, the Federal Reserve will be introducing 40 billion new dollars that have been created out of nothing into the financial system each month. So there will be more dollars chasing roughly the same number of goods and services, and that means that more inflation is on the way. In an inflationary environment, investors tend to flock to hard assets such as gold and silver. And it is important to remember that a lot of the money from QE1 and QE2 ended up pumping up the prices of various financial assets. This included commodities such as gold and silver. The same thing is likely to happen again with QE3. In addition, investors now have an expectation that the Fed will continue printing money for the foreseeable future and that the U.S. dollar is going to steadily decline, and that expectation will also likely give further momentum to the upward movement of gold and silver. Of course when it comes to investing, there is never a “sure thing” and as the global financial system falls apart in the coming years we are likely to see wild swings in the financial markets. So there is definitely an opportunity when it comes to gold and silver, but anyone that wants to invest in gold and silver needs to be ready for a wild ride.
In a previous article, I compiled 10 quotes from experts about what QE3 is going to do to the U.S. economy. In this article, I have compiled 10 quotes from financial experts about the effect that QE3 will have on gold and silver. Hopefully you will find some nuggets of wisdom that you can use in these quotes from some top financial veterans….
#1 Citi analyst Tom Fitzpatrick
“When gold breaks above $1,790, many people will feel they have missed the boat, and they will go to silver instead. So silver should outperform gold. People have to remember that we are only at the midpoint of the gold/silver ratio of the last 45 years. So it is not inconceivable that we could still go lower in terms of that ratio.
If we see gold move to the $3,400 level, it is not inconceivable that we may see silver closer to $100. Investors have to remember that at the end of the 70s the gold price doubled in a mere five or six weeks. If 3 to 5 years down the line we see that the base policy of the developed world is to continue printing money, then the gloves are off in terms of what levels gold and silver could actually go to.”
#2 GATA’s Bill Murphy
“All I know is: the physical market, if you want to buy silver in size, is the most difficult in history. These are from my best sources.”
#3 Francisco Blanch, a global investment strategist with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, regarding his belief that gold is heading to $2400 an ounce….
“Given the new open-ended nature of QE3, the upward pressure on gold prices should continue until employment is strong enough to require a change in policy”
#4 Morgan Stanley Commodities Analyst Hussein Allidina
“We remain convinced that the interest rate outlook, the likelihood of continuing risk aversion because of the Eurozone debt crisis, and strong physical market fundamentals justify exposure to gold”
#5 Peter Schiff, CEO Of Euro Pacific Capital
“The dollar is vulnerable to a massive collapse . . . buy gold and silver.”
#6 Jim Rogers
“But I’m not selling any gold. If it goes down I hope I’m smart enough to buy more. If it goes down a lot I hope I’m smart enough to buy a lot”
#7 Deutsche Bank Analysts Daniel Brebner and Xiao Fu
“We would go further however, and argue that gold could be characterised as ‘good’ money as opposed to ‘bad’ money which would be represented by many of today’s fiat currencies. In describing gold as such we refer to Gresham’s Law – when a government overvalues one type of money and undervalues another, the undervalued money (good) will leave the country or disappear from circulation into hoards, while the overvalued money (bad) will flood into circulation.”
#8 Nick Barisheff, the CEO of Bullion Management Group Inc
“The message is that the era of high returns financial assets for both stocks and bonds, as Pimco’s Bill Gross has stated, is over, and gold is the primary go-to asset for wealth preservation. QE3 will only serve to accelerate this trend.”
#9 Pimco’s Bill Gross
“Gold can’t be reproduced. It could certainly be taken out of the ground in an increasing rate but there’s a limiting amount of gold.
And there has been an unlimited amount of paper money over the past 20 to 30 years and now – in this period of central bank expansion where it’s QE1 or QE2, or whether it’s the LTROs of the ECB or this potential new program … then central banks are at their leisure to basically print money.
Gold is a fixed commodity that has a considerable store of value that paper money has not….
When a central bank starts writing checks and printing money in the trillions of dollars, it’s best to have something tangible that can’t be reproduced, such as gold.”
#10 Marc Faber
“I think that the trend for gold prices will be steady, but the trend for the dollar and other currencies will be down. In other words, in dollar terms the price of gold will trend higher. How high it will go, you have to call Mr. Bernanke and at the Fed, there are other people actually that make Mr. Bernanke look like a hawk. So they are going to print money.”
Over the past several weeks (both before and after QE3 was announced) we have seen a significant rise in the price of gold and in the price of silver.
A lot of very wealthy people around the globe greatly benefited from this move.
In a previous article, I quoted an article from the Telegraph that discussed the enormous amounts of money that billionaires George Soros and John Paulson had been investing in gold earlier this year….
There was also news last week in an SEC filing that both George Soros and John Paulson had increased their investment in SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest publicly traded physical gold exchange traded fund (ETF).
Mr Soros upped his stake in the ETF to 884,400 shares from 319,550 and Mr Paulson bought 4.53m shares, bringing his stake to 21.3m.
At the current price of about $156 a share, these are new investments of about $88m of Mr Soros’ cash and more than $700m from Mr Paulson’s funds. These are significant positions.
And central banks all over the planet have also been hoarding gold.
According to the World Gold Council, global central banks added 157.5 metric tons of gold last quarter. That was the most gold that global central banks have ever added to their stockpiles during a single quarter.
Could it be possible that some folks knew ahead of time that QE3 was coming?
That is a very interesting question.
In any event, there is certainly a lot of hoarding of precious metals going on around the world, and without a doubt a lot of financial insiders are very bullish on gold and silver right now.
But in the financial world there is never a guarantee that something will happen.
For example, if there is a stock market crash in the coming months the price of gold and the price of silver are likely to fall dramatically.
Just take a look at this 5 year chart for silver. During the last financial crisis the price of silver dropped like a rock. In fact, it fell by more than 50 percent between late 2008 and early 2009.
So when the next stock market crash comes (and it is coming at some point) be prepared for gold and silver to take a tumble.
But how will the financial authorities respond to such a crash?
They will print even larger amounts of money of course.
And that will once again be very good for gold and silver.
So don’t let the ups and downs scare you too much.
Gold and silver are definitely in for a wild ride, but in the long-term I am extremely bullish on gold and silver. I believe that both are eventually headed into the stratosphere.
So what do you think is going to happen to gold and silver? Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….
Delivered by The Daily Sheeple
Contributed by Michael Snyder of The American Dream.
Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. …