In 2007 I began writing The Market Ticker due to the outrageous conduct of various branches in the Administration and portions of the Capital Markets. Endemic fraud in the financial system that had generated unbridled and outrageous credit creation threatened the collapse of our entire economic system.
The consequence of this should have been thousands of indictments, prosecutions and imprisonments -- of banking executives, of members of Congress, of various executive branch officers in various agencies and more. The banking system should have been forced to match assets to liabilities and either put up the margin to back their bets or liquidate them -- and if that forced them out of business and collapsed asset prices by 90%, so be it.
Instead our government took the easy way out. It doubled down on the fraudulent models of the past.
But the models of the past were unsustainable and no amount of gaming arithmetic changes the outcome. Indeed, the laws of mathematics state that the longer you allow an exponential system to run away from you, the worse the correction to reality you must sustain is.
From 2007 to 2013 the government has grown from $2.7 trillion to $3.68 trillion, a 36% increase. Marketable federal debt has gone from $4.96 trillion to $12 trillion, up 120% (that is, more than a clean double.)
At the same time median family income has dropped from $56,000 to $52,000 in 2013 dollars (that is, adjusted for "inflation"), a roughly 7% decrease.
Oh, and that's before taxes.
Everyone talks about there being a "tsunami" of incoming inflation to be expected. The real tsunami is government spending and debt and it already happened. In real-dollar terms the federal government alone is taking from you nearly twice as much today as it was in 2007 and 80% of the minimum-wage-earner's buying power has been destroyed from 1980 to today.
And this is before Obamacare really kicks in.
Then there are the outrageous actions of our government in Benghazi. What we are covering up there has not yet been determined with accuracy, but we don't need the fine details to understand the essence of the act. That our tax money was funding terrorists and other bad guys in some form or fashion, and that we were probably providing them weapons is unfortunately pretty-much beyond dispute.
Never mind the outrageous and unconstitutional acts of the NSA in spying on people.
But perhaps the most-outrageous of all has been Obamacare and the medical "industry", which has used the power of government to utterly destroy any pretext of a fair and free market, creating a system where your medical care costs five times or more what it should. That, incidentally, means that you should be able to pay cash for what your deductible is on your insurance (including Medicare!) were that outrageously corrupt system to be exposed to the white-hot light of either the market, prosecution under the Sherman Act or both. Instead of making strides to resolve that outrage, no matter how small, Obama and Congress have doubled down with signature legislation embodying in statute the utter financial rape of our entire society and both sides of the aisle in Congress not only allowed it to happen but continue to allow it to proceed to this very day.
I've been a contributor to the government in the form of taxes my entire adult life. I've written plenty of checks to the IRS, some of which gave me writer's cramp. Never have I claimed a federal or state benefit check -- no food stamps, no welfare, no medicaid, nothing. But I have been poor enough to qualify earlier on in my life -- I was simply too proud to do it, and found some how, some way to not.
I have tolerated running a company in a state where an employee that was fired for not showing up for work was able to collect unemployment, along with several others fired for cause. I paid the increased rate of tax for what were bogus claims on my account and which drove up my tax rates. I complained, but I paid. I have put up with the ignobility of never actually owning real estate, having to rent it every single year from the State and County governments, even though claiming that you have "ownership" of something that you then must pay to keep is an abject fraud. I have been "promised" both Social Security and Medicare even though it is mathematically impossible for me to ever receive them, and have paid taxes to support those programs for decades, while those who made the promises knowing they're false have never faced indictment, prosecution or imprisonment. I have watched our government reach its hands down the crotch of sick 80+ year old leukemia patients claiming they might be "terrorists" while at the same time a man who states openly he attacked other Americans and killed them on a military base in the service of Islam is called an incident of "workplace violence" and those injured or killed are denied just recognition of being harmed in combat against a self-declared terrorist and/or taking heroic action to save others from same.
We all have our point at which we simply refuse to consent. A few, like Joe Stack, take that refusal and turn it into acts of violence. Singularly such acts are futile and amount to nothing more than martyrdom at best and a waste of human capital at worst.
But others, like myself, are unwilling to waste our lives. One can recognize there is a non-violent means of refusal that no government can counteract or put a stop to. It is far more effective and personally-satisfying than active, violent resistance, especially when the latter is singular and most of America is busy watching Dancing With The Stars, unworthy of anything more than being sheep to provide warmth for the "leaders" and occasionally a plate full of mutton.
Some of us have entrepreneurial ideas that might change the world. But the drivers for entrepreneurs are more complex than simply the satisfaction of seeing something we imagine come to fruition. For some it's simply the acquisition of wealth to the exclusion of everything else, but if I wanted to make that my focus in life I'd choose to be a bankster and figure out how to rip people off and get away with it. After all it's far easier to abuse leverage to rob people than it is to build things, in today's environment the odds of going to prison for doing it are somewhere between slim and none, and Slim left the bar an hour ago.
At the end of the day you have to be able to sleep with yourself every night. And unfortunately there can come a point where the cost-to-benefit ratio is simply all out of whack. I've been blessed with both industry and luck; via both I was able to answer the "do you have enough?" question in the affirmative close to twenty years ago. My motivating factors left the realm of making sure I could eat at that point and now the balance has unfortunately shifted to where what I do every day is work rather than joy.
In no small part this shift is due to the zombie-like activity of many in this nation, including in places and among parts of the population where you'd think it would not be present.
I refuse to continue to silently accede to, and actively fund through my drive to acquire that measured in and rewarded by "wealth", the rampant theft and fraud that has and continues to take place in the economic sector, especially in the banking and health care areas of our economy. None of this could ever exist except through the insertion of the guns of government up the noses of the American people.
I can no longer live with being one of the better sources of funding for these abuses. This decision did not come lightly, easily or quickly. But I'm convinced it's the right choice as things stand today.
In short, if you want it in two words, it's this: I'm done.
I choose instead of either active participation through funding of our government's BS or violence to peacefully withdraw my consent. To refuse to labor. To make do with less -- a lot less. I choose to reduce my voluntary contribution to the tax hoard that is misspent or forms the foundation against which our government borrows, giving the proceeds to those who think that doping it up is a grand past-time or shoveling guns, missiles and money to terrorists while groping our grannies, using the very existence of the terrorists we gave the guns and missiles to as justification for what any civilized society would call sexual assault.
The portion of that which I earn by my efforts that I am able to retain in real terms shrinks by the day, and I have concluded that the balance of benefits and harms, especially the harms done to others using my tax dollars, is no longer acceptable to me.
My decision will not change until America changes. Until it wakes up. Until the people demand and the government of this county, this state and this nation recognize everyone's fundamental rights -- that shall not be infringed means what it says, that shall pass no law means what it says and all branches of government stop using taxpayer dollars to arm terrorists, maintain and promote medical monopolies, promote and empower banking cartels while excusing violence and fraud, both financial and corporeal, committed against the people of this nation by those entities and the agents of government itself.
I have seen enough frauds committed by and with the active involvement of government to become convinced that this is what, in the main, my tax dollars are buying. Whether it be Angela Corey's apparent intentional withholding of evidence from George Zimmerman's counsel (and now her firing of one of the people who tried to do the right thing), the rip-off of pension funds and the taxpayer through both looting of the funds and ridiculously over-promised rates of return or the literal thousands of citizens that have had their homes foreclosed upon through blatantly fraudulent process and perjured documents, enough is enough.
I will not accept mere political promises as they are rubber checks without a penalty for being fraudulently issued and over the last 20 years they have always bounced. I instead demand action, indictments, prosecutions, break-ups of monopolies, impeachments, business closures, the end of deficit spending and reform. These are not discussion points, they are demands. They are demands that I have every right to make because it is with the fruits of my hand and mind that this government has foisted upon the American people these frauds, costs and harms. I have written too many large checks to the IRS over the years only to see this crap not only continue but accelerate in the harm done to our nation -- and especially our youth.
I hope, pray for and encourage others to also peacefully withdraw their consent. If enough of us who are the producers in this nation do so then government will have no choice but to bow to our will or collapse. My decision in this regard, if ratified by concurrence of just a small percentage of the population, represents what I believe is the only remaining lawful and peaceful way to accomplish that goal.
If there are an insufficient number of others willing to also participate then my personal conviction that it is unacceptable to fund the screwing of others, whether it be financially or through actual acts of violence, will be demonstrated to be that of a tiny minority.
I accept that this is not only possible, it's likely.
But should that be the case then this nation does not deserve to survive as a Constitutional Republic -- and in the end, it will not, becoming something much darker, uglier and unworthy of any of my support.
There is only one way to know which of the two possibilities is true -- and that is to act, and see who also acts. To lead not through exhortation (or worse, extortion) but rather by example. To see who chooses to not only continue to consent but actively supports the murder of others, physical violence served upon those who simply wish to enjoy their unalienable rights and the financial rape of our own citizens en-masse -- especially our children and young adults.
If and when things change I will reconsider my position and lower my middle finger.
But not before.
I therefore choose to reduce the ability of our government to tax my income to as close to an effective zero as I can reasonably achieve in keeping with what I enjoy doing, which is putting before the people a chronology of lies, frauds and scams in the hope that others wake up.
But I will do so on my terms, not someone else's.
Therefore, Tickerforum's donor program has been closed, effective today. Existing gold donor privileges will remain active through their expiration date -- or 12/31, the latest a quarterly donor could expect them to remain active (and the longest donation formally permitted since mid-2010.) Those who set up recurring donations have had their profiles canceled at PayPal.
For those who wish to comment and discuss politically-related topics the politics areas will remain fully-accessible for the present time.
The formerly-anticipated newsletter, coding for which is in fact complete and ready to go, will not be launched. My personal activity in the markets and otherwise, including entrepreneurship, will for nearly all intents and purposes cease by the end of the year.
The Market Ticker will continue to operate in an advertising-supported format but other than macro-level economic reports (e.g. the payroll report, Z1, etc) you will find the balance shifts toward less market-related material and more politically-related material -- simply because I have withdrawn from market-related activity beyond the macro level. There will be fewer articles, and many days with none at all -- a rarity up until now. Old articles will disappear from public view, a change recently implemented and one now filtering through the various Internet archives as they "refresh" their links.
Finally, for those who argue that I should become more involved in political pursuits, no matter what they may be, I will answer your question in advance and save you the time you'd otherwise use to solicit me for such purposes: No.
On a net basis this should reduce my "income footprint" to be within the "Screw You Uncle Sam" range. The comment capacity on The Ticker will be commensurately reduced, as I have observed that for the most part those who are not donors to the system comprise the vast majority of inane (or worse) comments. But for those who can form a cogent opinion and use logic, your input to the discussion will still be possible.
The activities that I choose to undertake in the entrepreneurship area will all be of a long-term capital gain in nature, where the government is able to garner little of what I come up with, and then only on my schedule, not theirs -- a schedule that may well be "never" if I so choose and there is no reform.
It is time for those of us who care to direct our energies in a different way, and I know of no better means of laying that forward than through personal example.
For whatever you deem it to be worth, here's my example.