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Money has been called the "last taboo" by those aiming for it to fall. Before that was talk about sex. And, indeed, if evidence is to be believed, taboos are largely about talk, under the false assumption that, if we don't talk about it, it doesn't exist?

We could say that the twentieth and twenty-first century have largely been characterized by falling taboos. I used the word "tumbling" in the title to this post, because it's alliterative and because tumble implies perhaps a little more human intervention than something surrendering to gravity's call.

Oddly enough, if money is the last taboo and we uncover all its secrets in the twenty-first century, then the concept will only have lasted three hundred years--at least in the English language, which the word "taboo" only entered after 1717, when it was discovered somewhere out in the Pacific.

As with sexual matters, the purpose behind not talking about money matters is to give those in the know an advantage, if only the advantage of surprise and that discovery of a theft (of virtue or the purse) is delayed until after the perpetrator has escaped. That money, a tangible object, is subject to being rendered a secret or sacrosanct comes as a bit of a surprise, until we consider that the concept of numbers is rather specialized. Numeracy, like literacy, is an acquired talent. So, its acquisition can be denied and frequently is.

Lots of people don't like numbers. So, having them hidden may not even bother. Which is why I'm going to call some to your attention today.

The numbers I'm going to show you are routinely published on a monthly basis by the research arm of the Federal Reserve, the institution to which Congress has delegated the management of our currency while the Congress critters go on pretending they have nothing to do with it.
Actually, the charts are by years, quarters and the last month, which in this case is July and was published in September -- i.e. a month late.

Before I show you the tables, let me just note that there's a good reason ordinary folk are confused by the numbers. Even though, as in this instance, the numbers are categorized as "consumer credit," that's a misnomer based on the fact that money is always considered from the perspective of the people who have taken charge. "Consumer credit" is bankster speak for what ordinary folk owe them. In a sense, it expresses a moral stance--the attitude that "we have given them money and rendered them creditable." Never mind that all dollars are belong to us, the citizens of the United States, upon whose good faith and credit their value depends.

So, when the title of a chart says "Consumer Credit Outstanding," what it means is that this what ordinary folk formally owe on their honor--i.e. it's not backed by any real property that's been pledged.

What I'd call to your attention is that in June and July of this year, people used their credit cards less. That means the banks and other financial institutions are collecting less interest and fewer fees.

The second chart elaborates on who's holding our debt. I'd call your attention to the difference between that the Federal Government held in 2008 and what it holds now. The difference is about $460 billion, or slightly less than half a trillion, and represents the federal government taking over the higher education loan program. Concommitantly, look at the "pools of securitized assets," which has shrunk by more than $550 billion. That, too, looks like a good sign, but probably does not make insurance gurus happy.

The third chart pictures dollars flowing in and out. We can see, for example, that credit unions are continuing to increase their share of business, and non-financial businesses are barely hanging on, as far as holding on to money is concerned.

The rest of the chart breaks out the fixed loans versus revolving debt (credit) and we all know that the interest rate on the latter is always higher.

There's another chart which breaks out the terms of credit, but I'll leave that as a teaser to get you to go to the site and bookmark it for future review.

Another thing to keep in mind here is that we're only talking about $2.8 trillion certified and officially recorded debt. People owe each other much more than that. Never mind the $2 trillion that's in the shadow economy and not getting into the charts. All of which tells us that numbers provide good information, but it's all relative -- i.e. depends on your perspective and who's counting. Some people don't like to count and when they render an account, they just make stuff up. Numbers are hard.

Funny that Papa Cruz started out in math and then ended up a preacher man. And his son is really opposed to rendering.

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