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The ‘Take This Job and Shove It’ Recession

This article was originally published by Charles Hugh Smith at Of Two Minds Blog. 

So hey there Corporate America, the Fed, and your neo-feudal cronies: take this job and shove it. This time it really is different, but not in the way the Wall Street shucksters are claiming.

Conventional economists, politicos, and pundits are completely clueless about the unraveling that’s gathering momentum beneath the superficial surface of “reflation” because they don’t yet grasp we’re entering an unprecedented new type of recession: a ‘Take This Job and Shove It’ recession which is unlike any previous downturn.

Long-time readers know I’ve addressed the emergent class structure and systemic decay of the socio-economic order for many years. Just as a quick refresher, here are a few of the dozens of essays I’ve written on these topics:

America’s Nine Classes: The New Class Hierarchy 4/29/14

The Managerial/ Professional Class Is Burning Out 3/28/16

America’s Metastasizing Class Wars 8/27/20

This Is How It Ends: All That Is Solid Melts Into Air 9/10/20

This Is Why Inflation Will Rip Everyone’s Face-Off 9/17/20

What the chattering class of apologists, toadies, lackeys, factotums, and apparatchiks missed about the pandemic lockdown was the tidal change in perceptions of work and life enabled by a withdrawal from the deranging frenzy of work: once people had time to reflect on their lives, mortality, goals, identity, and the soaring costs and dwindling rewards of their efforts to “get ahead” via slaving away in a dead-end job/career, the tune that began to haunt their subconscious ruminations was Johnny Paycheck’s timeless classic, Take This Job And Shove It (2:31).

Whether anyone in the halls of power cares to notice or not, a mass withdrawal from the workforce is underway. What’s remarkable about this swelling exodus is that it isn’t confined to one class of workers: low-wage workers are jumping ship en masse, but so are mid-level white-collar workers and well-paid but overworked technocrats in the top 10%.

As the professional apologists frantically spew rah-rah PR about the “recovery” (you mean we’re all addicts and are now “recovering”?), the workforce is finally awakening to the emptiness of the PR: the rewards of the economy have flowed to two classes: the Financial Aristocracy (a.k.a. the New Nobility in our neo-feudal economy), the top 0.1% who now own more wealth than the bottom 80% of American households, and speculators, from the scammers on Wall Street to the daytraders gambling their stimmy payments.

The reality that wages have stagnated for the past 50 years is finally sinking in, and people are responding accordingly. By any realistic measure, most workers have lost ground when the purchasing power of their wages in the 1980s is compared to what their earnings buy now in healthcare, childcare, rent, higher education, property taxes, etc.

The erosion of labor’s value has been catastrophic for the bottom 60%. As I recently noted, I was making $12 an hour in 1985, an OK wage but nothing special, and after 36 years of inflation, many workers are still earning $12 an hour–or less. Measured in purchasing power, wages have declined since the early 1970s.

Take a glance at the chart below of wage’s share of the economy and observe it’s been in a downtrend since the early 1970s.

Meanwhile, the cost of big-ticket expenses such as healthcare, childcare, rent/housing, and higher education have tripled. Even high-earners such as physicians have lost ground, as their salaries in 1985 bought far more goods and services than their salaries do today.

Young high-earners have been flocking to the FIRE movement for years: financial independence, retire early is the upper-middle-class way of saying Take This Job And Shove It, as the goal is to save enough earnings by scrimping and saving to exit the workforce for good while still in your early 30s.

Lower-wage workers are finding other workarounds. Much to the consternation of employers, many are milking the extended unemployment payments. But beneath the radar, others have carved out informal-economy niches or found ways to slash their living costs–for example, constructing a micro-home on a cheap plot of rural land and saying goodbye to McMansion dreams and $2,000 a month rents for tiny apartments in decaying urban cores.

Even highly paid people are realizing that the meager rewards of slaving away to make Corporate America another couple trillion in profits isn’t worth their life. As desperate employers offer overworked technocrats bonuses to keep them slaving away, the workers are plowing the bonuses into bets they hope will pay off and fund their escape from neo-feudal serfdom sooner than planned.

While the apologists, toadies, lackeys, factotums, and apparatchiks serve their neo-feudal lords for pennies tossed in the sawdust, the most productive workers are melting away. Nobody dares mention the number of physicians and nurses who are leaving America’s sick-care system; once again, the pandemic served as a catalyst for action to be taken on long-simmering frustrations.

YOLO (you only live once) isn’t just about making risky bets in bubblicious markets–it’s about deciding to do something else with your life other than make Corporate America another couple trillion in profits or keep your small business afloat as taxes, fees, penalties, surcharges, rent, and every other expense soars.

The pandemic posed a question few had time to ponder: what’s the point? What no financial analyst dares confess is the corporate profits they cheer every quarter have come at a cost that many Americans will soon be unable to bear. Millions of highly experienced, essential employees are either planning to quit, retire, cut their hours or switch to lower-stress jobs.

It isn’t easy to escape the clutches of the Corporate-State neo-feudal system; the costs (tangible and intangible) of self-employment have been rising steadily for decades:

The Troubling Decline of Financial Independence in America (August 28, 2015)

The Fading American Dream of Working for Yourself (October 2015)

Social Mobility between classes has decayed, and people are finally beginning to grasp this. After you do all the right things–borrow a fortune to get a college degree, build your resume with low-paying jobs working ridiculous hours, etc., you eventually realize you’re a precariat just like everyone else. Maybe a better-paid precariat, or maybe a poorly-paid precariat, but this is all the Financial Mobility you’re ever going to get.

The Top 0.1% winners in this system are protected by the Federal Reserve, while the losers are strip-mined by crushing taxes. Even if they don’t understand the exact mechanisms of the Federal Reserve’s bag of tricks, they now understand the rich get richer and the state protects them from the precariats and serfs doing all the work.

The Federal Reserve can conjure up trillions of dollars out of thin air to further enrich the nation’s parasitic elite, but they can’t print experienced, motivated workers or people with entrepreneurial skills.

The danger to the state is not who rebels but who opts out. Outright rebellion suits the state, as it can turn its monopoly on force on the citizenry. But when those keeping everything glued together have had enough and find a way to quit, the entire system starts unraveling in ways the state is powerless to stop.

If the Technocrat Caste opts out, the private sector loses its tax donkeys and managerial expertise. If what remains of the middle class opts out, what’s left of America’s civic glue disappears.

If the working poor opt-out, the scut work required to provide the upper classes with their comforts will not get done. (Hey, Mr. State Bureaucrat and Mr. Financier, here’s a saw and a knife. Butcher your own meat.)

There’s only so much inequality and unfairness a workforce can bear, and America is well past that point. To those who claim “people can’t afford to quit,” just watch. Those who’ve had enough are finding ways to opt-out. There’s plenty of woodwork to disappear into.

So hey there Corporate America, the Fed, and your neo-feudal cronies: take this job and shove it. This time it really is different, but not in the way the Wall Street shucksters are claiming.

So take this job and shove it, I ain’t working here no more. I’m stepping off the rat-race merry-go-round, thank you very much. You can find some other sucker to do your dirty work and BS work, all for the greater glory and wealth of your New Nobility shareholders. I’m outta here. So I won’t get rich, that dream died a long time ago. What I’m interested in now is getting my life back and getting the heck out of Dodge as things unravel.

Of related interest:

My book Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy is a primer for those seeking sustainable self-employment in the nooks and crannies of the economy.

If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via

The post The ‘Take This Job and Shove It’ Recession first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You.

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Elon Musk scoffs at number of MBAs running corporate America: ‘Get out there on the g**damn front line’ and ‘show employees that you care’

Elon Musk, Tesla and SpaceX CEO, said recently that there are too many business school grads — and not enough innovative entrepreneurs — who are running American companies.

The billionaire also said that far too many number-crunchers run American companies and are more concerned about their bottom lines rather than focusing on what really matters: their product and, as a result, the satisfaction of their customers.

What are the details?

During last week’s Wall Street Journal CEO summit, Musk — who recently moved from California to Texassaid, “I think there might be too many MBAs running companies. There’s the MBA-ization of America, which I think is maybe not that great. … There should be more focus on the product itself, less time on board meetings, less time on financials.”

He added, “A company has no value in itself. It only has value to the degree that it is [an] effective allocator of resources to create business services that are of a greater value than the costs of the inputs.”

Musk explained that he, too, understands how stifling the board room can be and said that he feels a far greater benefit when he’s connecting on the factory floor or engaging in the creative process in mulling over his designs.

“When I have spent too much time in a conference room, that’s when things have gone awry, and when I go spend time on the factory floor or really using the cars, thinking about the rockets, that’s where things have gone better,” he reasoned.

In his stirring remarks, Musk also urged business CEOs to “get out there on the goddamn front line and show them that you care, and that you’re not just in some plush office somewhere.”

The 49-year-old billionaire — and one of the world’s five richest men — doesn’t have a graduate degree.

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This article was contributed by Tom Beck of Portfolio Wealth Global. 

In 2008, I went on a rafting trip on Colorado’s Green River. It was exhilarating and combined calm waters with LEVEL-4 rapids. We spent a total of four days on the river bank where guides would prepare our meals. When we approached these LEVEL-4 rapids, the guides would dock the rafts and walk to a nearby scoping point, in order to get a visual and to discuss how to row through the TREACHEROUS WATERS.

On one such occasion, my brother and I rowed AS HARD AS we could, since guides told us to pass a giant boulder from the right, but as hard as we tried, the current pulled us left. We escaped unharmed, fortunately, but it was a CLOSE CALL.

One of the guides, though, got stuck in a swirl; for over a minute, he fought the SUCTION MOTION of the waters, while the rest of the guides were YELLING AT HIM, motivating him to push his hardest. He escaped but was traumatized by the ordeal.

As you can see, the Federal Reserve saw the swirl that came at us in March this year, and it offered a line, sent a rescue boat and all but tried to whisk us out of danger, by simply ensuring stocks can’t GO DOWN!


What comes next has a lot to do with the chart below. As you can see, the dollar index MOVES IN TANDEM with the DEFICIT/GDP ratio.

When the economy is slower and accumulates more debt than the growth of Corporate America can provide for, the dollar weakens.

We’re entering exactly that kind of period. The markets are at all-time highs, but that doesn’t really reflect GDP growth; it can’t, since unemployment is SO HIGH.


Silver’s ONE-DAY puke, which happened this week, is not indicative of any change in the landscape, in our view.

In fact, it only serves to show how much correlation there is between the dollar and silver.

Therefore, when you see this happening again, remember that big picture, which is that the dollar is in a BEAR MARKET.


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This article was contributed by James Davis at Future Money Trends.

Put your political opinions aside; just from a FINANCIAL POINT OF VIEW, if Joe Biden is elected president, the era of LOWER TAXES could be over!

Since the early 1990s, Corporate America, as measured by the S&P 500, has received HIGHER VALUATION MULTIPLES than at any other time in history.

Part of the reason has been that it was able to BLOCK UNIONS from protesting worker wages, while another reason has been technological breakthroughs, which have birthed PROFITABILITY SURGES, but the chief reason has been lower EFFECTIVE tax rates.



As you can see, since 1988, when the PEAK RATE was achieved, the taxes paid have DROPPED BY 50%, if not more. This is making corporations much more valuable. If this is the end of this era, though, as Biden’s tax proposal lays out, the value of America’s top businesses will be, BY DEFINITION, smaller.

For about two years, my contacts in the industry have been explaining to me that TAX CUTS are reaching peak sentiment right now.

Politicians actually want to show THEY MEAN BUSINESS by raising corporate taxes and other taxes on the rich, such as capital gains and dividends. In fact, the ULTRA-RICH are in favor of these policies as well.

Several billionaires have OUTRIGHT SAID that they don’t mind working six months for the government (another way of saying they are willing to pay 50% of their income).

The trends are in place for politicians to REFORM TAXES on the rich. In fact, these riots and protests are partly because the unemployment rates for young Americans, especially POOR ONES that haven’t finished high school or gone to college, are GENERATIONALLY-HIGH.

When the U.S. was an industrial powerhouse after the second World War, college degrees weren’t a MAKE-OR-BREAK for career choices since plenty of middle-class workers didn’t have degrees, but the U.S. economy is now TECH-ORIENTED and, if you’re not academically-educated, many doors ARE BLOCKED for you.

Tens of millions of people, even if they are WELL-INTENDED, hard-working, and aspirational, are stuck as employers lack open-mindedness to give them a chance.



As you can see, the February panic leading up to the TURMOIL WEEK, when President Trump formed the task force and began to take the pandemic seriously, RESURRECTED Biden’s presidential hopes.

After that period, the riots came, which have TURNED THE TABLES on Donald Trump, but the market DOESN’T BUY it yet.

The “U”-TURN has been completed; a global pandemic and the MOST COMPREHENSIVE civil riots, looting, burglaries, and violence since the 1960s and the Rodney King crisis are all it took to switch the minds of the SWING VOTERS, but there we have it.

Whether these are PERMANENT or emotionally-infused changes of heart remain TO BE SEEN.

What it means for sure is that the RACE IS TIGHT, which is how I like it.

It puts tremendous pressure on the current administration to PRODUCE RESULTS and show voters that they’ve got things UNDER CONTROL, and that is what politicians should do: win the voters over, not EXPLOIT THEIR WEAKNESSES.



If I’m President Trump, I’m thinking of all the ways I could get unemployment numbers BACK TO CLIMBING, which might mean infrastructure work OR government projects.

This all translates to more spending, so expect additional inflationary forces to come next.

You want to be VERY ATTENTIVE to the markets these next few days; if the index doesn’t go up by 5% and pierce through a new all-time high, the momentum will be down.

EXCLUSIVE REPORTS, Featured In This Article and in Others, Which Are Considered ESSENTIAL READING:
1. Gold Investing – DOWNLOAD HERE!
2. Trump’s War with Mainstream Media – DOWNLOAD HERE!
3. Covid-19 Round2 Sell-Off Playbook – DOWNLOAD HERE!
4. Why The Dollar Is Dead – DOWNLOAD HERE!
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This article was contributed by Lior Gantz of the Wealth Research Group.

The WTI oil benchmark, which is the price gauge that matters in America, CRASHED yesterday to MINUS $40/barrel, right before the futures expiration time. Today, the price is right above ZERO and the problem is STORAGE SPACE.

You can’t make this stuff up; CLOSING DOWN an economy has proven itself to be FAR MORE disastrous than previously thought.

Don’t even look at the market in order TO UNDERSTAND what’s going on; there’s a major DISCREPANCY between the situation on the ground and the valuations of Corporate America businesses.

Check out the price of WTI going BELOW -$37:


Howard Marks, the billionaire hedge fund manager behind Oaktree Capital and a person I greatly appreciate in terms of market hunches, SPECIFICALLY in times of distress, has said that the purpose of investing is to make a FEW GOOD TRADES, not one PERFECT trade.

Oil prices, measured by WTI (West Texas Intermediate) are reflecting a TRULY existential crisis.

It was the BIGGEST-EVER daily crash at over 300%.

This means that either a wave of defaults is coming or the banks will have to restructure thousands of loans, or it means the GOVERNMENT will have to come together to STOP THIS.

Either way, we are VERY CLOSE to a bottom, but since we can only know when it hits AFTER THE FACT, I’m making moves right now.

Millions of AMERICANS have lost the single source of income they rely on to make ends meet.

This is turning into a GIANT WEALTH TRANSFER, and the amount of EXPLAINING that governments will have to do in order to make this right is ENORMOUS.

In times like these, you must FORTIFY your psyche with the right thoughts.

I’m starting my day by writing everything that has made me stronger throughout my life, PROVING TO MYSELF that I know how to stand up to tyranny, crises, and situations that are out of my control.

My daily routine always begins with going over my PRIMARY LIFE PRINCIPLES.

Gratitude is the ONLY correct mental attitude that can put everything else in perspective.

Everything in life is a lesson, not a test. Right now, there’s suffering the world over and you can see that GREAT LEADERSHIP is a scarce commodity.

You need to focus on WRITING DOWN your current challenges and think them through. Crises birth ideas, insights, and new beliefs.

While we lie down on feathered cushions, we learn nothing. It’s only when we’re slapped that our mind kicks into OVERDRIVE.

I’m not wasting any energy on non-essentials. The COVID-19 pandemic has RAMIFICATIONS for all of us and we ought to be asking the following:

  1. Is there anything I should be concerned with physically? Am I in a high-risk group? Am I sleeping, eating, drinking, and exercising properly?
  2. How is my mental attitude? Do I have immediate goals that I’m presently pursuing? Am I evolving in compassion, patience, tolerance, and generosity when the globe is going through a TERRIBLE RESET?
  3. What’s my financial position? What expenses can be trimmed down? How can I generate more income? Can I do FAR MORE than I’m doing? Go radical with a life and death mentality.

None of us have EVER BEEN THROUGH a scenario where making money is nearly illegal. This is going to end up being DISRUPTIVE in ways we can’t even imagine, but if you keep COMPOSED, you can come out energized, strong, and READY on the other side.

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And Then Came the Lawsuits: Pandemic in a Litigious Society

This article was originally published by Charles Hugh Smith at Of Two Minds Blog.

This is the upside of hyper-litigiousness: prevention is prioritized as the most effective means of limiting future liability.

Never mind prevention or vaccines; the big question is “who can we sue after this blows over to rake in millions of dollars?” Yes, this is pathetic, tragic, perverse and evil, but that’s the reality in a hyper-litigious society like the U.S.

Many people are struck by the apparent over-reaction of Corporate America to the Covid-19 threat, but this is the only rational response in a hyper-litigious society: the number one priority in a hyper-litigious society is to limit liability. Everything–and yes, we mean everything–flows from this obsessive concern with limiting future liability.

Imagine the lawsuit brought by an employee of Corporate America who could have worked from home but was ordered by her employer to come to the workplace, and who was subsequently infected by the virus.

The corporation’s defense team would naturally claim there was no evidence the employee caught the virus at work, but alas, one employee in the building was confirmed as a carrier of Covid-19, so that defense won’t work: the employee could have been infected by this other employee in the workplace, and lacking any solid evidence to the contrary, it’s clear the company failed to protect its employees from exposure to the virus by forcing employees to work in a virus-infected workplace when they could have worked from home.

By forcing an employee who could have worked from home to come to the office, the company is liable for damages. Multiply this case by thousands, and it’s easy to see why Corporate America has proactively moved so aggressively to a “work at home” policy and why corporate legal, HR and risk management teams are quickly issuing press releases and internal memos stressing all the measures the company is taking to lower the risks for employees and customers.

Future court cases will likely come down to basic tests, such as: did the corporation act promptly, prudently and in good faith? Did it pursue its preventative policies rigorously, or in a piecemeal, slapdash manner? Did the management quickly correct flawed execution, or did management fail to provide the necessary oversight, accountability and problem-solving to address the flawed execution of preventative measures? Did the company follow accepted industry protocols and standards? Did it make every available practical effort to reduce the risks to employees and customers?

If the measures are practical, coherent and applied consistently, this is a good thing. In prevention against a highly contagious virus, half-measures and window-dressing will not be effective: the execution of preventative measures must be 100%.

Thus it would be prudent to instruct all employees to wear masks, wash their hands often, conduct digital-online meetings, limit company gatherings, hire crews to regularly disinfect company facilities, etc. Companies that fail to impose and promote preventative policies and execute preventative measures uniformly will be opening Pandora’s Door to lawsuits that could stretch on for years.

This is the upside of hyper-litigiousness: prevention is prioritized as the most effective means of limiting future liability. The downside–extortionist lawsuits seeking quick out-of-court settlements as the cheaper way out of costly litigation–is an ugly reality of conducting commerce in America. But the upside–practical preventative policies that impose “social distancing” and high standards of personal hygiene and the regular disinfecting of common areas–could have a profound impact in lowering the spread of the virus.