In Part 1 of this article I discussed the catalyst spark which ignited this Fourth Turning and the seemingly delayed regeneracy. In Part 2 I pondered possible Grey Champion prophet generation leaders who could arise during the regeneracy. In Part 3 I will focus on the economic channel of distress which is likely to be the primary driving force in the next phase of this Crisis.
There are very few people left on this earth who lived through the last Fourth Turning (1929 – 1946). The passing of older generations is a key component in the recurring cycles which propel the world through the seemingly chaotic episodes that paint portraits on the canvas of history. The current alignment of generations is driving this Crisis and will continue to give impetus to the future direction of this Fourth Turning. The alignment during a Fourth Turning is always the same: Old Artists (Silent) die, Prophets (Boomers) enter elderhood, Nomads (Gen X) enter midlife, Heroes (Millennials) enter young adulthood—and a new generation of child Artists (Gen Y) is born. This is an era in which America’s institutional life is torn down and rebuilt from the ground up—always in response to a perceived threat to the nation’s very survival.
The Fourth Turning: An... Best Price: $1.87 Buy New $5.41 (as of 04:55 EDT - Details) For those who understand the theory, there is the potential for impatience and anticipating dire circumstances before the mood of the country turns in response to the 2nd or 3rd perilous incident after the initial catalyst. Neil Howe anticipates the climax of this Crisis arriving in the 2022 to 2025 time frame, with the final resolution happening between 2026 and 2029. Any acceleration in these time frames would likely be catastrophic, bloody, and possibly tragic for mankind. As presented by Strauss and Howe, this Crisis will continue to be driven by the core elements of debt, civic decay, and global disorder, with the volcanic eruption traveling along channels of distress and aggravating problems ignored, neglected, or denied for the last thirty years. Let’s examine the channels of distress which will surely sway the direction of this Crisis.
Channels of Distress
“In retrospect, the spark might seem as ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as trivial as a Tea Party. The catalyst will unfold according to a basic Crisis dynamic that underlies all of these scenarios: An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding responses and further emergencies. The core elements of these scenarios (debt, civic decay, global disorder) will matter more than the details, which the catalyst will juxtapose and connect in some unknowable way. If foreign societies are also entering a Fourth Turning, this could accelerate the chain reaction. At home and abroad, these events will reflect the tearing of the civic fabric at points of extreme vulnerability – problem areas where America will have neglected, denied, or delayed needed action.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe
Despite incessant corporate fascist propaganda, disguised as positive government economic data, the economic distress for the majority of Americans and majority of the world is soul crushing. The nine charts in the visual below demolish any happy talk about a recovering economy and return to normalcy. They portray a crisis level economic condition. The financial stress on average American families is at punishing levels, masked by the prodigious amount of debt doled out by the government and their Wall Street co-conspirators.
Millennials are buried under $1.3 trillion of student loan debt, with $500 billion of it doled out by the Federal government since 2009 as a ploy to reduce the reported unemployment rate and artificially stimulate spending, to provide the appearance of economic recovery. The falsity of the supposed recovery is borne out in a labor participation rate that is the lowest since 1977, with participation amongst 25 to 54 year olds the lowest in history. With real median household incomes stuck at 1989 levels and far below 2007 peak levels, the stress on middle class families to just pay their monthly bills is intense. Scarlet Letters: The E... Best Price: $2.56 Buy New $5.74 (as of 06:50 EDT - Details)
The 2008 Wall Street created fraudulent subprime mortgage debacle which led to millions of foreclosures, non-existent wage growth, young families enslaved in student loan debt, and the Wall Street hedge fund engineered 30% increase in home prices, has resulted in home ownership falling to historic lows and still falling. This is the result of ownership policies, programs and schemes pushed by Democrat and Republican politicians and executed by greedy Wall Street institutions, generating hundreds of billions in fees, interest and profits.
Clearly there is no distress among the .1%, as they summer at their Hamptons beach estates gorging on caviar and toasting their financial brilliance (free Fed money) with $1,000 bottles of Dom Perignone, and bid NYC penthouse real estate prices to astronomical levels. But, as the government apparatchiks at the BLS, BEA, and Census Bureau have reported positive economic data month after month since 2009, the number of people on food stamps has grown from 34 million to 46 million over this same time frame. As the middle class and poor have gotten poorer, the .1% and particularly the .01% have accelerated their capture of the national wealth.
The distress of the lower classes is self-evident and confirmed by a poverty rate of 14.8%, up from 12.5% in 2007, while the middle class has borne the brunt of an Obamacare plan written by paid lobbyists for the health insurance industry, Big Pharma, and hospital corporations. The promised $2,500 per family savings have not materialized, as health insurance premiums have increased by double digits for the last five years and small businesses have stopped covering employees. In reality, since 2008, average family premiums have climbed a total of $4,865. Even the few million Americans added to the health insurance roles are stuck with limited choices and deductibles of $5,000. More people were kicked out of existing employer healthcare plans than were newly added.
The two charts which reveal the true level of economic distress are the Federal Debt and Money Printing charts. We’ve accumulated more debt as a nation in the last seven years ($8 trillion) than we did in the first 219 years of this once proud Republic. We continue to add $1.6 billion per day to our $18.3 trillion national debt. This doesn’t even take into consideration the $200 trillion of unfunded liabilities being left to future generations. The Secret Club That R... Best Price: $2.23 Buy New $28.91 (as of 11:30 EDT - Details)
The Fed has printed $3.5 trillion out of thin air in the last six years while keeping interest rates anchored at 0% for their Wall Street owners, with the net impact of punishing senior citizens and other risk averse savers while further enriching their gambling casino owners who dictate the monetary policy for the world. As widowed grandmothers across the land have seen their life sustaining interest income evaporate, even the downwardly manipulated CPI has risen 14% since 2008. Using a real inflation measure, most Americans have seen their daily living expenses rise by more than 30% since 2008, but Yellen and her cronies yammer about deflationary fears.
Economic distress intensifies by the day for average American household as their real income has been falling for 15 years, while the cost of food, energy, healthcare, education, rent, housing, and vehicles have soared. Government imposed property taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, fees, and tolls have risen exponentially over this time frame as the parasite sucks the host dry. Millions of households have been lured into debt by the Wall Street debt machine and their corporate media mouthpieces as consumer debt has grown from $1.5 trillion to $3.4 trillion since 2000, and mortgage debt has grown from $6.5 trillion to $13.5 trillion.
The extreme distress felt by households has been caused by their foolish choice to try and maintain their lifestyles by replacing declining income with debt. They are now enslaved by the chains of $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, $1.1 trillion of auto loan debt, $1 trillion of credit card debt, and $13.5 trillion of mortgage loan debt. Has keeping up with the Joneses been worth it? The stress of meeting the monthly obligations with declining income has become unbearable for many.