http://lewrockwell.com/orig13/nielson2.1.1.html (Graphs don't format) We see two things in the chart above on average American wages. First we see how (in real dollars) wages for the average U.S. worker have been falling steadily for more than 40 years. Those wages have now fallen by more than 50%, all the way down to the same levels as during the Great Depression. And we see how the U.S. government’s lies about inflation have almost entirely concealed this relentless collapse in wages. How convenient. Meanwhile, we see the percentage of Americans who are actually working also plummeting downward, to a 30-year low. The collapse in wages has been accompanied by a collapse in employment levels. Combined, it translates into a collapse in consumer purchasing power of well in excess of 50%. The great Economic Myth (naturally perpetuated by the U.S. government) is that "the world can’t live without" the American Consumer. The truth is that the rest of the world has been gradually learning how to live without the American consumer for the past 40 years, as the American consumer is literally less than half what he used to be. The real-and-obvious question instead is how will the U.S.’s consumer economy be able to survive the Death of the U.S. Consumer? The relentless campaign by the U.S. government to transform its own Middle Class into the Working Poor has been an unmitigated success. Using the numbers of the Corporate Media itself, only about 10% of the U.S. population presently qualify as "middle class", now actually a smaller segment of the total population than the wealthy Americans who tower oppressively above them. The purpose of destroying wage-levels for U.S. workers has been to drive those wages so low that American serfs will be able to "compete" with the wages of Asian serfs…while they manufacture toys and consumables for the wealthy. This is the "prosperity" which the Corporate Oligarchs promised us when they rammed "globalization" down our throats. They had the gall to call it "free trade", when the only thing "free" about it was their ride – on our backs. However, this transformation comes at a terrible cost. Deprived of income, the Working Poor have been forced to use ever-increasing amounts of debt in a foolish quest to sustain an unsustainable level of consumption: mimicking the policies and attitude of the U.S. government itself. The result is the ultimate retail "perfect storm": consumers with small-and-falling incomes; loaded up with so much debt that they are incapable of borrowing any more; and with much/most of those incomes permanently going to pay interest to the Debt Parasites (i.e. banks). Perpetual debt-slavery. Of course the "collapse" to which I’m referring didn’t just start last month, or even last year. It began in earnest with the Crash of ’08, and has continued unabated since then. The propaganda-concocted "recovery" of government and media has been nothing but a cruel hoax, designed to placate the growing suffering of the Working Poor, and goad them into more overspending with the malicious lies that "things are getting better". The truth is the exact opposite. During every month of this sham-recovery, the real rate of inflation (as provided by John Williams of Shadowstats.com) has exceeded the percentage increase in retail sales (which are always unadjusted for inflation). Translation: every month of this "recovery" U.S. retailers have been selling less and less goods. This leads to another extremely obvious question: how can a consumer economy claim to be experiencing a "recovery" when it sells less and less goods each month, to consumers with ever-smaller incomes (and ever-larger debts)? This scenario become still more absurd when we note that rising costs of raw materials have put extreme pressure on retail profit margins. Selling less and less goods for less and less incremental profit is not a formula for retail success. Rather it is a prescription for annihilation, and this is precisely what we see before us. U.S. mall-vacancy rates have soared to all-time highs, and stubbornly refused to budge from those levels. Concurrently, margin-starved retailers are closing their storefronts and opting for more and more on-line commerce. In other words, they’re closing stores which generate significant numbers of jobs and tax revenues in favor of on-line operations which provide little of either. It is a self-reinforcing downward spiral which can only end in total economic disintegration. And we’re told that this collapse in sales, profit margins, employment, and tax revenues can all be taking place while the U.S. economy "recovers". This brings us (at last) to the actual numbers currently being peddled by this propaganda-machine. On Monday it was announced that U.S. retail sales had fallen by 0.5% in the month of June, and that this was the third month in a row that sales had (officially) fallen. For a consumer economy, this sounds bad enough even when we only contemplate the official propaganda. However, it’s only when we translate these numbers that we can truly appreciate the approaching U.S. economic holocaust. As noted previously, retail sales numbers are never adjusted for inflation. Living in a permanent era of high inflation, this makes absolutely no sense at all if you’re attempting to distribute information with this statistic, but makes wonderful sense if you’re a propaganda-machine with the sole goal of deceiving people every day of their lives.