The Story of the Greater Recession of 2021

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Buyer Beware! Now the story of the wealthiest country in the world who lost everything and the one (two?) generation(s) who had no choice but to keep all Americans together.

New York, NY–

“The fundamentals of our economy are strong. They’re getting stronger.” — 2008 Presidential candidate Sen. John McCain.

A sentence uttered that along with the events of the financial collapse, ended the competitive portion of the 2008 Presidential election campaign. Oh, how far the country has fallen since those days….

This site has often analyzed through its different formats the culture war and generational politics. While we have differed often on if the so-called “culture war” we have been relatively unanimous in agreeing (often loudly) that the country and especially the Democratic Party needs serious generational change in its leadership and downward. I won’t get into the particulars of those arguments here.

Throughout some of the Obama years it looked like we were legally settling many of our long-standing culture war issues, which is ultimately where they should end up (freedom wins out across the board, etc.) but the events of this past week have thrown that into severe doubt, if not outright professionally wrong. Make no mistake that if President Trump nominates a reactionary “conservative” that waxes philosophic about originalism, landmark decisions like Roe are likely to be overturned or at the very least, severely chipped away at. If you live in a state that doesn’t have the abortion right codified on the books, as is the case in the “blue state” of New York, I’d start lobbying your state legislature now.

With the once seemingly dying “culture war” getting exacerbated with sheer fire and brimstone by the 2016 Trump campaign, his subsequent presidency, and perhaps most accurately, the internet, where do we go from here? When does the slow pace of generational change finally overwhelm our political system? When can we move on from this 50/50 everyone hates everyone, but civility only selectively applies nightmare? For one, I think this is the new “normal” for a long time, so for your own well-being, batten down the hatches and prepare for the long storm. Finally, let me propose a thesis that will get us all thinking about the economics and foreign policy issues that dominated the 2008 presidential campaign primaries and general election — not the Great Recession, but the upcoming Great(er) Recession of 2021 to… we’ll see.

In a previous article I alluded to the grave political mistake Democrats have made in conceding to the President and GOP that this is a good economy. It is foolish to concede this because not only is the economy not good, this is unfortunately the best it’ll be for some time. We’ve had unevenly distributed secular sluggish growth for nearly two decades now, which will only fuel billionaire and millionaire appetites for more corporate tax giveaways. See below.

US GDP (00-09)US GDP (10-17)

President Bush was the first modern day president to never preside over 4% annual growth in GDP.

President Obama was the first modern day president to never preside over 3% annual growth in GDP.

For comparison sake, below is our robust post-war period of relatively shared prosperity.

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Admittedly, much of it was made possible because the rest of the developed industrialized world had been devastated and war-torn.

A regression and slowing of the post-war growth was inevitable, but the structure and soundness of the American economy going from a middle-out economy to what we have today was not. It was preventable.

President Trump, despite his boasts, will also fail to preside over 3% annual growth whether he serves one term or two. See below.

The Greater Recession
2021….just after the 2020 Presidential election, because of course it is.

The only thing that I would amend is the guarantee that 2018 will be as strong or stronger than 2017, because this forecast did not account for the effects of the tariffs, which have especially hit the areas where his strongest supporters reside.

Make no mistake — the fundamentals of this economy are not strong and have not been strong for decades unless you’re a billionaire or a comfortable member of the new professional class aristocracy.

So what is the story behind these numbers and why will this recession be even greater?

These five things I think will happen:

  1. The Dodd-Frank partial repeal (of small-to-mid-sized bank lending ceilings) will continue to spur new real estate, housing, and mortgages (and by extension, mortgage-backed securities). The job market and unemployment being low will work in tandem with this. This is a good thing right?
  2. No. It’s just more short-sighted and short-term thinking. It’s more of the same: socializing the risks and costs, privatizing the gains. Risky lending has now returned under the law. And all those riskier mortgages will be concentrated throughout even fewer big banks this time (because contrary to popular belief, some did die and were not bailed out during the 07-09 Great Recession, while others merged, and my underlying assumption here is that two of the big five banks being critics and skeptics of the Trump “boom” economy see what I’m seeing and will therefore be appropriately cautious and less over-leveraged, at least in theory).
  3. At some point between now and 3 years from now, because they can, the powers that be will repeal Obama-era student loan reforms, which will have a far greater effect over time than the final trigger to the crash. Student loan debt, unlike mortgage loans, is not dischargeable. The student loan bail out that this country and at least two-generational cohorts need will be a decade too late. So the mortgages will be what people decide to unload, because what choice is there? It’s a no-brainer for them. They wouldn’t dare repeal these reforms you say? Yeah…. we keep saying that about a lot of things. The MO of this administration has more or less been to repeal anything Obama did. These relatively obscure reforms in comparison they’ll eventually get around to. After all, just another chance to “stick it to the libs” (liberal arts degrees in this case).
  4. Just like in 2006, when the housing market was a bubble that few would say would burst into pain, others said would be fine, while the vast majority argued for a soft landing somewhere in the middle, economic optimism was too high (just like today), and jobs (but not wages) plentiful, unemployment superficially low. What happened then? In 2006 the Federal Reserve raised interest rates. In 2018, the Fed raised rates to 1.75 up from 1.5 and signal two more raises will be coming. This will effect flex-rate mortgages, not nearly as common as fixed-rate mortgages but common enough to trigger the underlying problem in-tandem with the fundamental unsoundness of the U.S. economy and fiscal health of the country. With all of the repeat conditions in place and confidence surging too high, we’ll be in for a repeat. History is one damn thing after another, and it often rhymes, like poetry and the Star Wars saga.
  5. If the GOP still has majorities and is led by people philosophically disinclined to do anything. President Trump, not a candidate, but THE president, and also an economic illiterate, surrounded by self-interest, kleptocrats, and professionally wrong economic advisors, will dispense of the ridiculous myth that those who have had business success know things about the overall economy and economics. If in office, like President Bush before him, President Trump will actually be the most likely to do something just because we’ll be reeling and perhaps finally, his perpetual lying will run up against the reality of physics and economics for even his most diehard supporters. He’ll need Democratic votes to do anything, and time will tell whether the fall of ’08 W. Bush and Democratic-led bipartisan bailout effort will commence. If the GOP holds both houses of Congress, which is very well possible if ’18 is a disappointing midterm for Dems, and Trump is re-elected, may be their response will be pure-Hooverville. Who did respond, but too little, too late. Combined with the longer term automation problems that neither party has a plan for, wages not rising fast enough, if at all, and a still ineffective opposition party (but a slowly improving and learning grassroots movement outside the party desperate for reform) — we’ll enter a deep and painful Great Recession. The Great(er) Recession of 2021–?? With all of these predictions, it goes without saying that I hope I’ll be wrong. Why am I so certain?

Human nature mostly. Think of what housing entails, think of the chain of established relationships from buyer to broker to seller. From lender to developer to manufacturing to construction. Everyone is an optimist in that chain, wanting to make something happen for both themselves and their clients 

Real estate agents. Lenders. Salespeople. The dream of home ownership. The collision of self-interest. The pursuit of happiness if you will. And if it is not self -interest, it is forced consumerism.

Think of the history of the post-industrial age. Titanic. WWI. Great Depression. WWII. Every time there was a chorus of wild-eyed optimists excited for the future, and every time they were professionally and horrifically wrong.

Think to our own time, after the Cold War had ended and the Soviet Union was breaking up, one of the finest and most famous political scientists and political economists of our time had announced our great triumph. Liberal democracy has triumphed as the final stage of human organization. We’ve reached the “end of history.”

Think of 2016. Clinton will definitely win.

All of them very serious people, all of them very disastrously and professionally wrong.

A good economy they will say, don’t be so negative, etc.

But this isn’t a good economy. It’s a fictional one. Sluggish growth for nearly two decades now. Instead of the Great Depression, think the original Great Depression–the Long Depression.

I point to a quote from Gandhi about seven things that will destroy us to back up my assertion that this is a fictional economy.

The top one — Wealth without work.

GOP politicians love to wax philosophic about work but they cannot see fit to agree to a tax code that treats wealth-based and passive income the same as labor income. If you work you are taxed more than if you don’t work in this country. The GOP doesn’t value work, they value wealth. Citizens United has created few incentives for elected officials to put the interests of workers ahead of the interests of organized wealth and money. Only a government in D.C. that challenges concentrated wealth and money can stem this tide at this moment in our history.

The truth is that we’ve been doing wealth without work for some time, and it’s that truth that has continued to erode at our democracy, and as we’re seeing this week — our rights.

7 Things That Will Destroy UsAnd this is why housing and real estate is the key, and a middle-out economy essential. It’s entirely possible, as some believe, that all U.S. growth the past few decades can be accounted for through real estate, which itself has contributed to and driven increasing economic inequality, as the rapid rise in real estate values have created obscene levels of wealth in some major cities, sending homelessness levels to a crisis point, as well as creating an affordable housing crisis along with it, especially in the tech-hubs, while creating “sacrifice zones” elsewhere. Real estate is a great investment throughout human history, the most reliable one. But there is an ocean of difference between that 1985 home purchased in NYC, LA, Seattle, or San Francisco and Detroit, St. Louis, etc.

Rural America has not faired much better than the sacrifice zones, with some small towns disappearing off the map entirely. Family farms being sacrificed to corporate farming. Wall Street winning out over the concerns of Main Street time and again.

This unsoundness to the American economy isn’t a weather pattern. It’s been in our choices, in our policies and budgets, in our media and culture, and was warned about on the horizon by President Jimmy Carter, a crisis of confidence that lingers with us today and has been exacerbated, a speech that many still deride as the “malaise” speech. But President Carter was right. I’m not here to tell you what you want to hear. You have President Reagan or President Clinton for that, and while they were smiling and making you feel better, their policies were setting the stage for the current era in which we live.

President Trump may similarly make some people feel better that America is back and can be great again. But once again, his policies have doubled-down on exactly what got us here, have set the stage for making things worse in the long run, and his lack of adherence to democratic norms and traditions, combined with a consistent need to drum up increased fear and hatred within his base, make the next economic downturn a potential catalyst for even worse and unthinkable events. But we can do better, and we can go another way. If we can only summon the courage to stop lying to ourselves.

Ultimately, like the election of Trump itself — the fault is not in our stars, but in ourselves. 

AP Mass Shooting Template Accidentally Published

Above is the template picture to be replaced by the site of the shooting picture according to the accidentally published template —  this template picture is proof that most AP journalists are godless communists, that are planning to take your guns with their Star Trek quotes and hippie lifestyle.

Washington D.C. — At approximately noon today, an Associated Press journalist accidentally published the mass shooting in the United States template he had been working from for the past six years of his employment. Below is the text of that template.


In what has seemingly become a daily occurrence in the United States, the latest mass shooting took place at [insert: city or town name here] and while we are still waiting for information to come in, authorities report that the alleged shooter is [insert first-middle-last name of shooter here] and has been [insert: apprehended or shot and killed or in critical condition here]. It is unclear at this time whether he [keep male pronoun throughout, a damn good time-saving assumption Jason!!] acted alone or whether there were accomplices, but we will be staying on top of this as more reports come out.

[First-middle-last name] is a [insert: ethnic or racial background here] and had a history of [insert: “choose your own adventure”story hereif White, disturbed or had history of mental health issues, if Black or Hispanic, potential gang-related activities, if Muslim, obvious references or potential ties and speculation to current terrorist group threatening the new key Middle Eastern region, and if Asian, see white person societal excuse for mass killing and perhaps add stress-related family pressures].

Prominent [insert: Democratic politician here] said that (his or her) “heart goes out to the victims and their families, it is inconceivable that this senseless, tragic, and avoidable violence must continue in our country. I call on my colleagues of both parties to act on sensible and publicly supported gun violence legislation.”

Prominent [insert: Republican politician here] said that (his or younger his) “thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. I call upon my colleagues to not jump to hasty conclusions unless it ties into the wider ‘War on Terror’ rubric, and I also call on my colleagues of all faiths and denominations to pray in the House and Senate tomorrow.”

It is expected that the current round of conversations that we’ll hold nationally and publicly will result in a [insert: exact lay out of non-action and explanation of absolutely nothing changing] and this will be a hot-button issue on the campaign trail this fall, although [insert: statistic about how few people actually care about this when they vote to reaffirm the prevailing notion that nothing will change here.]


Millennials Will Destroy Everything You Love: Socialists of Fortune

Millennials were the chosen generation. It was said that they would destroy the old social order, not join it. They were to bring equality to the world, not leave it in darkness. This is Part One of one Millennial’s cynical take of the Leftist potential of his generation.

by Allan Branstiter

Group of young people using laptop and plotting the destruction of your hopes and dreams.
Group of Millennials using laptop and plotting the destruction of your hopes and dreams.

It’s 2016 and the importance of the Millennial vote in this election cycle has been the subject of many discussion, especially as it relates to the rise of Bernie Sanders. Pundits have pointed to Sanders’s strong support among Millennials to explain how a self-identified democratic socialist from a state of little consequence could emerge as a  legitimate threat to Hillary Clinton’s coronation as the Democratic presidential candidate. Prior to last year, most Americans knew Sanders as the crazy socialist who sometimes appeared on the Sunday morning political shows to decry the Democratic party’s failure to take legislation far enough to the left. How could this pinko, they think to themselves, challenge THE MOST POWERFUL POLITICAL MACHINE IN AMERICA for the presidency?

Their answer? Those dang moon-bat lefty Millennials are embracing socialism as their preferred alternative to the excesses of modern American capitalism. To many, our generation is seen as either refreshing upstarts who are injecting much needed energy into a tired political process, or ungrateful usurpers who do not appreciate the meaning of fortitude and hard work. I’m here to tell you that Millennials are neither the spiritual saviors of the American left, nor are they fully opposed to capitalism or social inequality. As a result, Democrats should not take their support for granted, and Republicans should not discount the appeal of conservatism among Millennials.

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The Law Bends Towards White Supremacy

The standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge ended yesterday. Many people asked why it was allowed to go on so long. The reasons have less to do with racist police, and more to do with how our laws use land to reinforce white supremacy.

by Allan Branstiter

Cowboy Dwane Ehmer, of Irrigon, Ore., a supporter of the group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, walks his horse Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, near Burns, Ore. The group has said repeatedly that local people should control federal lands, but critics say the lands are already managed to help everyone from ranchers to recreationalists. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Cowboy Dwane Ehmer, of Irrigon, Ore., a supporter of the group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, walks his horse Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, near Burns, Ore. The group has said repeatedly that local people should control federal lands, but critics say the lands are already managed to help everyone from ranchers to recreationalists. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

David Fry, the final holdout occupying the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Oregon, surrendered to federal authorities yesterday. Before he did so, negotiators asked him what he thought Jesus would do in his situation. With the creativity and political acumen of an Ayn Rand novel, he responded with a demand for pizza and marijuana, something about U.F.O.s, and criticism for a government condones both abortions and drone strikes. Finally, after weeks of pointless bluster, artifact-fingering, and laying down weird sumo wrestling challenges to Chris Christie, Fry ate one last cookie, muttered “Alrighty then,” and exited his tent. Ammon and Randy Bundy’s dumb revolution ended with an Ace Ventura quote.

It’s easy to make light of these sagebrush constitutional scholars because their understanding of the American legal code and its history inaccurate. The fact that the likes of Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly embraced, then rejected, then embraced, then rejected (maybe?) their cause also enhances its comedic value. As dumb as these protester lookwith their livefeeds, shipments of junk food, and Gadsden flags—as futile and pointless as LaVoy Finicum’s death for this cause appears—it has a very serious history.

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Conversations with the Ghost of America’s Future Past

America's Future Past

by Carson Starkey and Troy M. Olson

The following takes place during the hottest summer on record in the year 2028, breaking the previous record set all the way back in 2027.

On a lonely park bench, somewhere in between Main Street and Evergreen Terrace….


I suspect that President Rubio’s third round of tax cuts will be as popular as his first two. Who would’ve thought that voters would tolerate combined giveaways of seventeen trillion dollars over four years? And the Iran War? I mean, damn, fifteen trillion over ten years? Again, that seemed unthinkable after what should have been public relations catastrophes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But I suppose when we relied on such roundly unpopular candidates like Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo to oppose Republican policies, we got the outcomes that we deserved. I hope Presidential candidate Cory Booker and his Vice Presidential pick Mark Zuckerberg fare better.


Right. I keep thinking back to a bet I made with a longtime friend, he is a huge history buff and always thought my insistence that there would be a war with Iran was ridiculous because it lacked an appropriate and likely instigating event. But what was the Gulf of Tonkin? WMDs? It’s frustrating to see how incredibly bright people are not prepared rhetorically for what the powers that be want to actually do.

On the subject of Zuck, I think he would be a good strategic pick, although certainly a poor symbol and torch carrier for his generation. Or perhaps the perfect symbol? Simple electoral math tells us that adding up the Northeast and West Coast still gets you a loss. I do appreciate that he is more willing to espouse progressive values openly though. Booker has always been far too cautious. Afraid of offending people. It all started so promising for him with “Street Fight”.. sigh.


Well, Zuckerberg isn’t really a liberal. He gets in front of a reporter and spews meaningless word salad about innovation. He doesn’t really have a worldview. He has a set of opinions that he thinks are stylish at any given moment. And he believes deeply in “meritocracy” because America rewards people like him. Which is why he and Cory Booker sponsored lots of grift machine charter schools in Newark, New Jersey. Excuse my ferocious concept for Zuckerberg.


Agreed. I’m not saying Zuck is a great leader of people or anything. In fact, he is not particularly great at anything other than creating a multi-billion dollar company based around the principle that we should all be “peeping Tom’s.” That’s a hard sell, or maybe it’s not a hard sell at all… but credit where it is due.

I have personally observed one success story in charter schools, and it is pretty clear over the last few decades that one success story is all that grift needs to keep up the well-oiled machine running.


I sure wish that Democrats in the Senate had fought harder to oppose President Rubio’s nationwide privatization plan for metropolitan water supplies. I guess Dick Durbin and Chuck Schumer had other priorities than protecting people from lead poisoning. It is a damn shame that so many had to die.


Protecting people used to be the base level of governance and the state. I’m starting to think all those crazy anarcho-libertarian casuals from college were right. That being said, they are far too insufferable to give credit to. And of course, self-fulfilling prophecy.

Speaking of Schumer, it would be nice if the now-40 year old hipster class would show up during the primary. If we can’t get a progressive and advocate for working families elected in the state of NY the party is truly hopeless. Let the soul searching begin.


The hipster class talks a good game about social responsibility because they pay for useless shit at Whole Foods. At the same time, they were voting for Daley Jr., Rahm, Hillary, and Schumer. Ask them to pony up for infrastructure or housing integration, and they retreat to platitudes about freedom.


Right. We diagnosed the problem years ago. We need a better team, but what choice is there? We have no choice but to appreciate the last few white males that still vote for the Democratic Party. It speaks to the power of white privilege that even in their mathematical irrelevancy they still hold sway.


If only they could be appraised of their situation accurately. Illinois has produced some weird statewide results in the last two decades. Surface lefties in the Senate, but ultra-conservative Mayors and Governors.  Tammy Duckworth has become Durbin’s protege. They’ll have at least two more Republican Governors.


The sad reality of midterm leftist apathy.


And a Daley has reclaimed the city as rightful Irish property.


Ha. We could probably via political Dukes and Earls and economic royalists who fund them, make a map of the privatization of the United States. Replace Chicago with the “Realm of Daley”, etc.


So many errors. So little party building. Trusting Vice President Castro to take on immigration reform in 2017-18 was also a complete failure, but having that be plan-A, B, and C was the real failure. Too many articles and activists spouting off about “demographic inevitability” after the 2012 election.


All of this makes me think back to the final year of the Obama administration, if only we knew then how good we had it. And if only the political impacts of his Presidency did not blind millions of American leftists and young people to the importance of party building. Too much emphasis on the Presidency, at the expense of party building. In addition, an irrational belief that the other party saying crazy things will deliver you the Presidency in perpetuity when two-hundred plus years of American history says otherwise. All the wrong takeaways and lessons learned.



What you just read may scare you, I know it scares me.

However, there is still something we can collectively do about it.

We can change the future…. if we try.

Comparing Cars and Guns (Using Facts), Part 1 of 2

 by Troy M. Olson

For life saving technology with your help - Ralph Nader
For life saving technology with your help – Ralph Nader

The following was originally written in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and President Obama’s subsequent modest proposals to curb mass killings and violence in America in late 2012 (Note: the gun is the chief weapon of choice for violent crime in America period, and we’ll get to that. I don’t care about guns, but I’ve likely carried a gun for more hours in my life than most people reading this due to my time in the service. This article is about violence and unnecessary death and what we can do to stop it. What we can do to stop Americans from killing other Americans).

When we launched this website I considered making this one of the first posts, but decided to wait. The reason I waited is because there was no doubt in my mind, given the regularity of these violent, mass killings going on in our country, that the purpose for which it was written would have the opportunity to be timely again. I admit this freely, and with much regret, because that is itself an admission of defeat. Another sign of our collective failure to have a national conversation about public issues. 

This article, published in two parts operates under the premise that car accidents used to cause many, many deaths in this country.  And while they still do, regulation of their usage over the years despite more individuals driving cars has led to far fewer deaths while operating motor vehicles. Currently, we are facing record mass killings and violence in an era where overall crime and violent crime has been going down for decades. I thought the comparison was valid. Hopefully with sensible public policy, someday we can save some lives just like we did with the seat belt. 


As of 2010, the United States has the largest fleet of motor vehicles in the world, totaling 239.8 million.

The U.S. Department of Energy reports an ownership rate of 828 vehicles per 1,000.

In other words, we have a vehicle to person ratio of 1:1.3. For every one car in this country, we have a person and a third of a person. There is far more car ownership than gun ownership, as this analysis will later show.


Since the 1960s, consumer advocates like Ralph Nader (“Unsafe At Any Speed”) have led the movement to make cars safer and traveling in cars safer. Since then, the US Federal and State Governments have regulated automobiles far more heavily than they had before.

Deaths from car accidents peaked at over 50,000 decades ago. In 2011, they were down to 32,367.

Year                                                Car Deaths

2011                                                32,367

2010                                                32,885

2009                                                33,808

2008                                                37,261

2007                                                41,059

Considering that the ownership of just one car compared to one gun and the number of instances of usage it would appear as if firearms are far more dangerous than cars, which are much more heavily regulated, and the deaths associated with them, whether intentional, negligent, or accidental, are more frequent.


As of 2009, the United States has a population of 307 million people. Based on production data from firearm manufacturers, there are roughly 300 million firearms owned by civilians in the United States as of 2010. Of these, about 100 million are handguns.

The American Journal of Epidemiology reported that having a gun in your home makes you three times more likely to be the victim of a homicide and five times more likely to kill yourself. This study conclusively shows that gun owners are in far more danger than non-gun owners. A 300 percent increase in the risk of death by homicide illustrates the likelihood that someone in the house will “snap” and kill you. Whether it be a father, a mother, or a child; if you own a gun you are more likely to be the victim of a homicide within the confines of your own home.

The following are estimates of private firearm ownership in the U.S. as of 2010.

                                    Households with a Gun            Adults Owning a Gun           

Percentage                        40-45%                                    30-34%

Raw Number                    47-53 million                       70-80 million

A 2005 nationwide Gallup poll of 1,012 adults found the following levels of firearm ownership:

Category                        Percentage Owning a Firearm

Households                       42%

Individuals                        30%

Female                                13%

Male                                    47%

White                                  33%

Nonwhite                           18%

Republican                        41%

Independent                      27%

Democrat                           23%

In the same poll, gun owners stated they own firearms for the following reasons:

Protection Against Crime                        67%

Target Shooting                                         66%

Hunting                                                       41%


All homicides

Number of Deaths: 16,259

Deaths per 100,000 population: 5.3

Firearm homicides

Number of Deaths: 11,078

Deaths per 100,000 population: 3.6

In the United States, annual deaths resulting from firearms total (whether intentional homicide, negligent homicide, or accidental deaths):

2011: 32,163

2010: 31,672

2009: 31,347

Rate of ALL Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

2011: 10.3

2010: 10.26

2009: 10.22