Geopolitical Tensions Are Designed To Distract The Public From Economic Decline

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,

Tracking geopolitical and fiscal developments over the past several years is a bit like watching a slow motion train wreck; you know exactly what the consequences of the events will be, you try to warn people as much as possible, but, ultimately, you cannot reverse the disaster. The disaster has for all intents and purposes already happened. What we are witnessing is the aftermath as a forgone conclusion.

This is why whenever someone asks me as an economic and political analyst "when the collapse is going to happen," I have to shake my head in bewilderment. The "collapse" is here now. It is done. It is a historical fact. It's just that not many people have the eyes to see it yet, primarily because they are hyper-focused on all the wrong things.

For many centuries now, elitists in power have understood the value of geopolitical distraction as a tool for controlling the masses. If you examine the underlying motivations behind the majority of wars between nations regardless of the era, you will in most cases discover that the power brokers on both sides tend to be rather friendly with each other. In fact, monarchies and oligarchies are historically notorious for fabricating diplomatic tensions and conflicts in order to force populations back under their control.  That is to say, wars and other man-made conflicts give the citizenry something to react to, instead of hunting down the establishment cabal like they should.

One of the greatest illusions of human progress is the notion that most conflicts happen at random; that there are two sides and that those sides are fighting over ideological differences. In truth, most conflicts have nothing to do with ideological differences between governments and financial oligarchs. The REAL target of these conflicts is the people — or, to be more precise, the psychology of the people. Conflicts are often engineered in order to affect a particular change within the minds of the masses or to distract them from other dangers or solutions.

These scenarios are taken at face value by many because, unfortunately, most people have short attention spans. If an observer in 2007 was to be transported 10 years into the future, in 2017 they would find a world in dramatic and horrifying decline. The shock would be overwhelming. Ask an observer today what they think of the state of the world and they might not see much to be concerned about. The human mind becomes easily acclimated to crisis over time. We are resilient in this way, but also weak, because we forget the way things should be in order to deal with the way things are.

We only seem to take drastic actions to improve our situation after we have already hit rock bottom. The year of 2017 has so far been host to some extreme accelerations in crisis and collapse, and rock bottom is not looking too far away anymore.

Four trigger points around the globe concern me greatly, not because I think they will necessarily lead to a disaster any greater than the one we are already living in, but because they have the potential to effectively distract the public from more serious concerns. I am of course talking about the powder keg issues of Syria, North Korea, China vs. India, as well as Russia.

First, let's be clear, the ongoing destabilization of our economy should be the primary concern of every person on the planet, most particularly those in the West. We are living within the husk of a dead fiscal system, reanimated with the voodoo of central bank stimulus, but only for a limited time. Economic decline is the greatest threat to cultural longevity as well as to human freedom. Even nuclear war could not hold a candle to the terror of financial disaster, because at least in a nuclear war the slate is wiped clean for establishment elites as well as the normal population. At least, in the event of nuclear war, the elites face anarchy just like we do.

In an economic crisis, the establishment maintains a certain level of control and thus its arsenal of toys – Including biometric surveillance grids, standing military support in the form of martial law, as well as the delusion among the populace that things "might go back to the way they were before" given enough time and patience.

There will be no nuclear war.  Perhaps a limited nuclear event, but not a global exchange. There will be no moment of apocalypse as it is commonly displayed in Hollywood films. However, we WILL witness lesser conflicts as a means to turn our gaze away from the economy itself.

To give a quick summary of the economy so far from an American perspective, I must first remind readers of the constant misinformation that is often used by government institutions and central banks in order to hide negative data.

For example, recovery proponents will sometimes cite the supposed "decline" in the number of people registered for food stamp (SNAP) benefits from the 47 million peak in 2013 to 42 million recipients today. Yet, they rarely mention the fact that much of this decline is directly attributed to states now enforcing work requirements instead of simply handing out SNAP cards like Mardi Gras beads.

They also still, for some reason, like to cite the decline in the unemployment rate to 4.4 percent while continuing to ignore the fact that 95 million working age Americans are no longer counted as unemployed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They argue that this is an entirely acceptable condition, even though it is unprecedented, because "home surveys" from the BLS claim that most of these people "do not really want to work." These utterly ambiguous surveys leave open ended data to be interpreted essentially however the BLS wants to interpret it. Meaning, if they want to label millions of people as "disinterested" in employment, they can and will regardless of whether this is true or not.

Retail store closures have tripled so far this year, with 8,600 stores projected to close in total in 2017. This far surpasses the previous record of 6,163 stores in 2008 at the onset of the credit crisis.

This incredible implosion in brick and mortar business is often blamed on the rise of internet retail, or the "Amazon effect." This is yet another lie. Total e-commerce sales only accounted for 8.5 percent of total U.S. retail sales in the first quarter of 2017 according to the commerce department. This means that internet retail is nowhere near large enough to account for the considerable loss in standard retail business. Thus, we must look to the stagnation in consumer spending to explain the situation.

Auto sales continue their steady decline in 2017 as the short lived boom now faces death as ARM-style loans turn over and new buyers become scarce.

U.S. home ownership rates have collapsed since 2007. More households are renting than at any time in the past 50 years.

U.S. household debt has now hit levels not seen since 2008, just before the credit crisis.

Those looking for government spending to save the day should probably look elsewhere. Nearly 75 percent of every tax dollar goes towards non-productive spending on the part of government.

I could go on and on — it is simply undeniable that nearly every sector of the U.S. economy is in steady decline compared to pre-2008 levels. This instability in the fundamentals will eventually weigh down and crash stock markets, bond markets, currency markets, etc. Such markets are the last vestige of the U.S. economy still giving the appearance of health.

So, there will come a time, probably sooner rather than later, when the piper will have to be paid and someone will have to take the blame for our fiscal non-recovery. The international banks and central banks are certainly not going to volunteer for this even though they are the real perpetrators behind our incessant financial rot. But how do they avoid accepting responsibility?

First, by setting the stage for another scapegoat. As I warned for months before the 2016 election, Donald Trump is the perfect target for a redirection of blame for a market crash. He has even been avidly attempting to take credit for the current market bubble, making it easier for the banks to lay blame in his lap when the entire edifice crumbles.

Second, by warping public focus away from the economic collapse altogether and presenting them with a seemingly more dire threat.

In Syria, this has developed into potential conflict with the Syrian government, Iran and Russia. The establishment could at any moment initiate an attempt at regime change. Not necessarily with the intent to actually unseat Bashar al-Assad, but with the intent to create as much chaos as is necessary to terrify the unwitting citizenry.  While Donald Trump has been recently credited with "ending the regime change program" in Syria by ending the CIA training and funding pipeline to "moderate rebels", this by no means equals an end to the plan to unseat Assad.  ISIS has moved west into Europe, and now direct action against Assad by western governments is more probable.  The Turkish government recently leaked the locations of multiple US bases within Syria, indicating that troops will remain on the ground and that the fractured country will continue on the same path of instability.

The next and most likely scenario for distraction is North Korea. With North Korea's latest ICBM missile test, the perceived threat to the U.S. is now complete. The idea of North Korea striking the heart of America with a nuclear weapon is enough for many people to rationalize U.S. strike operations. That said, an invasion on the part of the U.S. makes little sense. Any strike by North Korea would be met with immediate nuclear annihilation; meaning a ground invasion to "prevent" an attack is unnecessary and might actually provoke a nuclear response rather than defuse one. Of course, it is likely that the goal in North Korea is not to prevent a nuclear event, but to once again catalyze chaos and confusion while the global economy and more importantly the U.S. economy sinks further into oblivion.

The US government has just issued a travel ban to North Korea starting September 1st.  They have asked all Americans already visiting the country to leave immediately.

Next, Russian tensions are reaching a new level, as the U.S. Senate has passed new sanctions based on nothing but fabricated hearsay, and Donald Trump proves me right once again with his signature on the same sanctions, calling the legislation "flawed" while at the same time displaying overt cooperation with the establishment agenda. The Russian response has so far been to expel hundreds of U.S. diplomats from their country, and warn that the sanctions constitute the beginning of a "trade war".

My readers know well that according to the evidence I view the East/West conflict to be farcical and theatrical, but this does not mean there will not be real-world consequences to the "little people" caught in the engineered crossfire. I believe this will culminate not in a shooting war, but in an economic war. While the international financiers constructed our bubble economy and will benefit from its failure, it will be eastern nations (and Trump) that receive much of the blame for the destruction of these bubbles.

Finally, an uncomfortable level of discord has been sparked the past month between India and China, both nuclear powers, over a border dispute in a remote valley connecting India to its ally, Bhutan.  My feeling is that this is leading to diplomatic breakdown, but not necessarily an open war.  Unfortunately, the trigger point stands ready to be exploited by globalists any time they need greater distraction.  And, to be sure, a war between two of the world's largest economies would wreak absolute havoc and provide an excellent diversion for a fiscal crash already set in motion by international banks.

I do not see the timing of heightened geopolitical tensions in 2017 as coincidental. It appears to me that these events are perfectly organized with maximum distraction in mind as we hit the top of perhaps the most massive stock and bond bubbles in modern history. The effectiveness of the smoke and mirrors will depend on the ability of liberty proponents to keep our analytical teeth sunk into the jugular of the establishment elite, as well as our ability to remind the public that these conspirators are the true criminals behind our national and international pain. The more extreme the geopolitical disaster, the more frightened people will become and the harder it will be for us to do our job. Knowing the level of difficulty involved in preventing the terror and madness of the mob, it is not a struggle I look forward to in the slightest.

July Payrolls Preview: Smooth Sailing But Watch Out For Cars

At 8:30am on Friday, the BLS is expected to announce that in July the US created 180K jobs, down from 222K in June though still in line with the 6-month average of 180K, with the biggest downside risk a slowdown in durable manufacturing payrolls as auto production slumped.

Sellside expectations:

  • UBS: 175K
  • Barclays: 175K
  • HSBC: 175K
  • SocGen: 180K
  • TD Securities: 190K
  • Goldman Sachs: 190K
  • Oxford Economics: 195K
  • Fathom Consulting: 210K
  • RBC: 220K

The unemployment rate is expected to decline to cycle lows of 4.3% from 4.4%, although the main focus will be on average hourly earnings which are forecast to slow to 2.4% Y/Y from 2.5% last month, up 0.3% sequentially, for an indication whether wage growth is finally picking up (which judging by yesterday’s Amazon job fair which showed tens of thousands of people lining up desperate for minium wage jobs, is not happening).

As RanSquawk notes, overall job growth has remained solid, despite a number of Fed officials forecasting a bigger slowdown as the US is very close to full employment. Most Fed officials have stated that the Fed is pretty much there in regards to their employment mandate, but Kashkari and Brainard have both been more cautious with Brainard saying that she is not confident that the Phillips curve can be counted on to return inflation to target and that there remains a question about whether an unemployment rate of 4.4% still meant there was slack left in the labour market.

As mentioned above, average hourly earnings will be one of the key data points to watch as wage growth has been subdued and shown no signs of surging above 3% recently, a level consistently seen pre-crisis. However, even if earnings come in softer than expected, it’s not expected to alter the course of the Fed anytime soon: the US central bank has signalled that an announcement on the beginning of balance sheet reduction will likely come in September, with one more rate hike pencilled in for December. With at least one more payrolls report before that meeting, plus more data on inflation, this report could be one that doesn’t alter the outlook a great deal. In other words, any traders waiting for tomorrow to start their vacations, can do so one day early.

Sectoral employment and wages:

Labor Supply:

The participation rate has been inching up. Slow wage growth also hints at less labor market tightness than the low unemployment rate would seem to suggest. The past year’s slower outflows from the labor force are consistent with that increasing supply. Through the end of last year, re-employment rates for the longterm unemployed were rising fairly rapidly—a renewed source of supply—but that improvement appears to have stalled.

Possible Reporting Quirks:

The July pay period ended on the 15th and the month also had two fewer workdays relative to June, both of which should boost seasonally-adjusted wage growth at the margin. On the negative side, Goldman notes the possibility of mean-reversion in the construction and information industries following above-trend wage growth in recent months. While wage growth has disappointed this year across multiple measures, it is likely that much of this weakness has been concentrated at the high-end, whereas wage growth in the bottom-half of the income distribution appears relatively high due to minimum wage increases and appears to be accelerating. To the extent that wage growth is more persistent in the lower and middle tiers of the income distribution, this would suggest scope for resilience in aggregate wage growth going forward.

Recent Labor Market Indicators:

Jobless claims continue to remain near a 44-year low with the four-week average at just 241,750. The headline figure has remained below 300K – a traditional indicator of an improving labour market – for over 2 years, the longest streak since the early 1970s. The most recent employment components of the dual ISM reports have shown employment growth continuing in July, albeit at a slower pace than June. The manufacturing survey showed employment dropping to 55.2 from 57.2 with the non-manufacturing survey dropping to 53.6 from 55.8. Nevertheless, both were still over the 50.0 threshold, indicating expansion.
The July ADP employment report was slightly weaker than expected but still strong at 178K. The figure bodes well from Friday’s official release but the correlation between the two reports is not one to usually write home about, RBC notes that it does a better job of predicting the official figure in July, “especially since the methodology shift back in 2012”.

Factors for a stronger report:

  • Service sector surveys. Service-sector employment surveys were mixed in July but remained at generally high levels. While the ISM non-manufacturing employment component fell 2.2pt to 53.6, our overall non-manufacturing employment tracker edged up 0.1pt to 54.8, a two-year high. This reflected gains in the Markit, New York Fed, and Richmond Fed employment subindices that were partially offset by a drop in the Dallas Fed and ISM Non-Manufacturing measures. Encouragingly, the Conference Board labor market differential – the difference between the percent of respondents saying jobs are plentiful and those saying jobs are hard to get –strengthened 2.5pt to 16.1, a 16-year high.
  • Evolving July seasonality. July nonfarm payrolls have risen by over 200k in each of the last three years (in both the first and final vintages), and growth has exceeded the 6-month average in both of the last two years. While one cannot rule out coincidence, there is a possibility that payrolls seasonality is evolving towards increased net hiring in July. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, nonfarm employment typically declines by one million jobs or more in July, reflecting the departure of public and private education employees at the end of the school-year. Continued sharp seasonal declines in these categories each July have masked what appears to be a pickup in net hiring in private payrolls ex-education services (see left panel of Exhibit 1). So far, the nonfarm payrolls seasonal adjustment factors have appeared to lag this evolution, suggesting scope for solid seasonally adjusted job growth in tomorrow’s report.

Factors for a weaker report:

  • In its modestly negative preview, UBS – which expects a payroll number of 165K – notes that in June local government and healthcare payrolls rose unusually quickly, and retail jobs swung from falling to rising. The Swiss bank doubts those gains were repeated, and allows for some slowing in durable manufacturing payrolls as auto production declined. It also expects that with softer factory employment, average hourly earnings probably rose only 0.1%m/m, slowing 0.2pt to 2.3%. Furthermore, UBS notes that among the indicators of labor supply: —participation, labor market flows, and slow wage growth—hint that the jobs market is not as tight as the unemployment rate suggests. In turn, the pace of payrolls, faster or slower, is more likely an indication of changes in labor demand than supply.
  • initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits edged modestly higher, averaging 244k during the four weeks between the June and July payroll survey periods, up from 243k during the June payroll month and the cycle low of 241k in the May period. Additionally, continuing claims rose by 20k from survey week to survey week, similar to the 21k increase in the weeks leading up to the June payroll period.
  • Job availability. The Conference Board’s Help Wanted Online (HWOL) report showed a 3.3% pullback in July online job postings – its largest drop in five months. We place limited weight on this indicator at the moment, in light of research by Fed economists that suggests the HWOL ad count has been depressed by higher prices for online job ads. However, we note the possibility that the drop reflects a legitimate pull-back in labor demand.
  • Sharp slowdown in the auto sector: The manufacturing softness probably extended into July, and auto production cuts are an ongoing risk. Production cutbacks in auto manufacturing in July probably resulted in temporary layoffs as well as some drag on average hourly earnings.

Neutral factors:

  • Manufacturing sector surveys. While headline manufacturing sector surveys softened on net in July, the employment components generally held up well. The ISM manufacturing employment component pulled back 2pt from elevated levels (-2.0pt to 55.2), and other survey data were mixed, with sequential increases in Markit, Richmond Fed, and Dallas Fed employment subindices, but declines in the Chicago PMI, Philly Fed, and Empire Fed employment measures. Our overall manufacturing employment tracker edged down 0.3pt to 55.7, the lowest since February but still well above the 2016 average of 49.4. Manufacturing payroll employment edged up 1k in July and has increased 9k on average over the last six months.
  • ADP. The payroll processing firm ADP reported a 178k increase in private payroll employment in July. While this was 12k below consensus expectations, the pace of June growth was revised up by 33k, providing mixed signals for tomorrow’s employment report. While large surprises in the ADP report have tended to predict the subsequent nonfarm payroll surprise, a 12k miss is probably not large enough to qualify. Moreover, this relationship may have deteriorated since ADP’s methodological revamp last October as shown in Exhibit 2, which plots each ADP surprise (vs. consensus based on first-reported ADP) against the subsequent nonfarm payrolls surprise.

Market Reaction

As is often the case with the employment report, a knee-jerk reaction is often observed following the headline figure. If a miss is seen then initial USD weakness could be observed with treasuries picking up and vice-versa on a stronger-than-expected headline. However, as the market digests the report, you often see a retracement depending on the other components of the report

What the Banks Are Saying

  • BARCLAYS (EXP. 175K): We expect nonfarm payrolls to rise 175k, with a 170k increase in private payrolls. July will be the first “clean” reading on labor markets since April, as the timing of the May survey week and the return of college-aged workers to the labor force, in our view, distorted May and June payrolls. The average gain in payrolls in 2017 has been 179k, and our forecast assumes this trend rate of hiring continued in July. Elsewhere in the report, we expect the unemployment rate to decline one-tenth, to 4.3%, and average hourly earnings to rise 0.3% m/m and 2.4% y/y. Finally, we expect no change in average weekly hours at 34.5.
  • CAPITAL ECONOMICS (EXP. 222K): We estimate that overall non-farm payrolls followed the 222,000 gain in June with another healthy 200,000 increase in July. The downward trend in initial jobless claims shows little signs of abating, while the recent strength of temporary help employment is also a positive sign. In addition, the employment index of the Markit Composite PMI rose to a seven-month high in July. Another strong month of employment growth should have been enough to push the unemployment rate back down to 4.3% in July, and the surveys suggest it will fall even lower. Meanwhile, although we have pencilled in a stronger 0.3% m/m gain in average hourly earnings, base effects probably dragged the annual growth rate back down to 2.4%. But if the unemployment rate does continue to fall, wage growth should come under some renewed upward pressure before long.
  • FATHOM CONSULTING (EXP. 210K): We expect next Friday’s employment report to show that 210,000 net new nonfarm payrolls were added in July. This is slightly higher than the consensus estimate of a gain of 180,000. We forecast a 0.3% increase in average hourly earnings in July, but given the 0.4% gain in average hourly earnings in July last year, this would be consistent with the annual rate of earnings growth slipping from 2.5% to 2.4%. Such meagre earnings growth is linked to low productivity growth: with employees’ output per hour growing very slowly, workers are finding it hard to negotiate higher wages, despite the low unemployment rate.
  • GOLDMAN SACHS (EXP. 190K): We have argued that the US economy will soon move past full employment, and that the funds rate needs to rise in order to prevent an overheating that would be difficult to reverse without a recession. But the recent weakness in the inflation and wage data poses a challenge to our view. After all, full employment is typically defined as the level of resource utilization that generates wage and price pressures consistent with the Fed’s target. So the shortfall could mean that current estimates of a near-zero output and employment gap will prove wrong. Nevertheless, our conviction that we are at full employment is relatively high. First, other labor market indicators—including job openings, quits, reported skill shortages, and household assessments of job availability—are if anything indicative of an even stronger labor market than the official unemployment rate. Several of these indicators also cast doubt on the notion that labor force participation remains cyclically depressed, as does the fact that the participation rate is now slightly higher than the projection from a remarkably prescient 2006 Fed staff study. Second, we do not view the recent price and wage data as a “red flag” indicating additional slack. Core price inflation is only loosely related to labor market slack as the “price Phillips curve” is quite flat. The “wage Phillips curve” is steeper, making it in principle more suitable for backing out slack. But the recent slowdown has come mostly in areas where wage growth is statistically somewhat less sensitive to labor market slack. Moreover, surveys of wage growth have continued to accelerate and now imply a 3% pace, close to the maximum rate that we think is sustainable in the longer term. Based on this, we expect wage growth to rebound before long. In the near term, Fed officials will not need to take a strong view on these issues. Balance sheet runoff in September/October seems very likely barring a major market shock, while a September rate hike is very unlikely. So the next big date is the December meeting, when the committee needs to decide whether to resume the hikes. At least based on our analysis of the labor market, the answer is likely to be yes.
  • HSBC (EXP. 175K): The average monthly increase in nonfarm payrolls in the first half of 2017 was 180,000. Retail employment growth has slowed this year, but many other key industries continue to create jobs at a steady pace. We forecast nonfarm payrolls increased by 175,000 in July. Wage growth has picked up only modestly in recent years, even as the unemployment rate has continued to fall. We forecast a 0.3% m-o-m rise in average hourly earnings in July. The year-on-year rate could slip to 2.4%, down from 2.5% in June. We forecast the unemployment rate fell to 4.3% in July from 4.4% in June.
  • OXFORD ECONOMICS (EXP. 195K): We have July Payroll rising 195,000 on the heels of a 222,000 gain in June. Our July forecast is just above average monthly payroll growth in the 6-months ending June (+180,000). We have the July unemployment rate dipping back down to 4.3% after rising to 4.4% in June. We also see average hourly earnings in July rising 0.3% after rising by 0.2% in June.
  • RBC (EXP. 220K): Following a relatively weak start to the year (which, again, was inconsistent with nearly every other labor market metric), we expect payroll growth to remain on the firm side near-term. Accordingly, we look for headline and private NFP prints of 220K and 205K for July, respectively. This pace of payroll growth would be more than enough to elicit a sharp decline in the unemployment rate (assuming we got commensurate gains in the Household survey), but we are cognizant that with sentiment on the labor backdrop at 16-year highs (look at the Conference Board’s labor differential sitting at +16.1%), we could see some firming in the labor force beyond normal population growth (i.e., from folks coming back in from the sidelines). So we are penciling in just a modest downturn in unemployment, to 4.3% from 4.4% prior.
  • TD SECURITIES (EXP. 190K): We expect a solid 190k print, taking into account risk for a sharp pullback in government jobs as labor market indicators on balance point to a 200k+ gain. A lower unemployment rate (4.3% vs 4.4%) and solid 0.3% gain on avg hourly earnings should garner a hawkish market reaction, though due to base effects in the latter, the y/y pace on wage growth should be little changed to lower.
  • UBS (EXP. 175K): We continue to forecast headline payrolls up 175k in Friday’s employment report (consensus 180k) and private payrolls up 165k (consensus 180k). We project slightly softer average hourly earnings growth (+0.1%m/m vs consensus 0.3%), and the unemployment rate falling 0.1pt to 4.3% (consensus 4.3%). ADP reported private payrolls up 178k in July, little different from the consensus forecast for private payrolls in Friday’s employment report (180k) or our own forecast (165k). Services payrolls continued to rise on trend, but payrolls for goods-producing industries decelerated sharply, with some slowing in construction and natural resources and a decline in factory payrolls. In our forecast for BLS payrolls, we have incorporated a drag from the auto sector, where summer shutdowns appear more extensive than usual. At the margin, the ADP report supports that drag. ADP manufacturing payrolls fell 4k in July versus +17k per month on average in H1. That said, it’s hard to take too much from the ADP report. On average, ADP’s initial estimate of private payrolls has overstated the BLS estimate by 50k per month this year, but in June it instead understated by 29k. The large errors, and the low probability of guessing when they switch from positive to negative, make ADP fairly unreliable as an indicator for the BLS measure.

‘Inconvenient’ – Al Gore’s Home Devours 34 Times More Electricity Than Average U.S. Household

Authored by Drew Johnson via The Daily Caller,

On Friday, Al Gore’s sequel to “An Inconvenient Truth” – “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” – arrives in movie theaters across the country. But there’s another inconvenient sequel worth noting and, like most sequels, this one is even worse than the original.

Gore’s hypocritical home energy use and “do as I say not as I do” lifestyle has plunged to embarrassing new depths.

In just this past year, Gore burned through enough energy to power the typical American household for more than 21 years, according to a new report by the National Center for Public Policy Research.

The former vice president consumed 230,889 kilowatt hours (kWh) at his Nashville residence, which includes his home, pool and driveway entry gate electricity meters.

 

A typical family uses an average of 10,812 kWh of electricity per year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

It gets worse.

Last September alone, Gore devoured 30,993 kWh of electricity. That’s enough to power 34 average American homes for a month. Over the last 12 months, Gore used more electricity just heating his outdoor swimming pool than six typical homes use in a year.

The National Center for Public Policy Research obtained the environmentalist’s energy-usage information from individuals at the Nashville Electric Service, the utility that provides electricity to Gore’s home and much of Middle Tennessee.

In 2007, the day after Gore won an Academy Award for “An Inconvenient Truth,” I revealed Gore’s hypocritically high electric bills. In some months, I discovered, his residence gobbled up to 20 times more electricity than the average American household.

When Gore’s inconvenient truth became public knowledge, he promised to change his ways and gave his property a green makeover. Gore added 33 solar panels at a princely price tag of approximately $60,000. He also upgraded the home’s windows and ductwork, replaced the insulation, put in a driveway rainwater collection system, and installed a geothermal heating system.

The Nobel laureate also heroically went to the trouble of replacing his incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones.

In total, the renovations are estimated to cost well over $250,000.

But the home’s green facelift wasn’t enough to offset Gore’s colossal energy consumption.

Despite spending more than a quarter-million dollars on making his home more environmentally friendly, his energy consumption is higher than ever.

Those 33 solar panels generate about 12,000 kWh of electricity a year – way more than enough energy to power a typical American household. Gore is such an enormous energy hog, however, that his gigantic rooftop solar array produces just 5.7 percent of the electricity he uses in his home, or enough to power his home for a measly 21 days a year.

Gore also claims that his environmental sins are washed clean because he contributes to Green Power Switch, a scheme in which customers can donate extra money beyond the cost of their power bill to support green energy efforts. The money goes to the Tennessee Velley Authority (TVA), the source of NES’ electricity, to fund renewable energy projects.

Gore even told the “TODAY Show” that his home uses 100 percent renewable energy, but that is an outright lie.

Just because Gore donates to the Green Power Switch program doesn’t mean he receives green energy at his home. Gore gets the same electricity every other Nashville resident receives – 87 percent of which comes from nuclear, coal and natural gas power plants. About 10 percent of Gore’s electricity comes from the TVA’s environmentally devastating dams. Only a puny 3 percent comes from renewable sources such as solar and wind.

Not counting the $432 a month Gore spends on his Green Power Switch indulgences, the green extremist shells out about $22,000 a year to pay his electric bills.

Spending more than $1,800 a month on an energy bill would sink most Americans, but it’s pocket change to Gore. He has manipulated environmental concerns into a big business. When his term as vice president ended in 2001, Gore’s net worth was less than $2 million. Today, Gore is worth an estimated $300 million.

Gore apologists argue that his large home is the reason for his massive energy consumption. That’s not true, either.

According to Energy Vanguard, a company devoted to making homes more energy efficient, a residence that uses less than 10 kWh of electricity per square foot each year is considered “efficient.”  Homes that gulp down more than 20 kWh of electricity per square foot each year are labeled “energy hogs.” Gore’s house consumed 22.9 kWh per square foot in the past 12 months making him a huge energy hog by any measure.

Astonishingly, Gore also owns at least two other homes – a penthouse in San Francisco and a farmhouse in Carthage, Tennessee – so his carbon footprint is even larger than it appears.

The former veep has become a prophet of environmentalism, a religion he helped create. But he is a false prophet. He appears to exploit his followers for recognition and money, and it’s unclear whether he actually believes a word he says.

Al Gore is happy to talk the talk, but has proven completely unwilling to walk the walk when it comes to living a green lifestyle – and that should make every person question the messenger as well as the message.