It’s Here: The Stealth Collapse of the American Economy

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The Economic Collapse….people envision bank runs, life WROL (without rule of law), piles of worthless currency, rampant homelessness, and breathless news reports on CNN and the network channels (if you happen to still have access to a television, that is). They imagine a grim, gray world, devoid of entertainment, with unwashed citizens digging desperately through the trash.

Because of this apocalyptic image, the idea of an economic collapse seems pretty far-fetched to most people. After all, we still see cars in every driveway, lights in every window at night, children going to school and parents going to work.  Everything’s fine, right?  The economic collapse is only a conspiracy theory, cooked up by those crazy libertarians and right-wingers, right?

Sadly, no. It’s a fact and it’s all around us, right now.  The economic collapse has occurred quietly and stealthily.  In fact, many people probably think that it has only happened to them, as job losses occur, utilities get cut off, and the pantry gets more sparse.  They don’t talk about it because poverty is a humiliating state – they suffer quietly, not realizing that the next-door neighbor is probably in the exact same situation.  They don’t realize that they aren’t alone.

Less than half of America is employed right now.

Despite the deceptively whitewashed claims of the Job Report that say that things are looking up,  Breitbart released an article on July 5 refuting their optimistic assertions.  While there are technically “more” jobs, this is because positions that used to be full time are now part time – meaning that two or more people hold what used to be one job.

According to the article, only 47% of Americans are employed full time. In an age where most families require two parents to work full time in order to make ends meet, this is a devastating economic blow.

The administration is careful not to divulge the entire story, instead playing with numbers and percentages to portray growth instead of dismal decline.

If today the same proportion of Americans worked as just a decade ago, there would be almost 9 million more people working. Just in the last year, almost 2 million Americans have left the labor force. With a majority of the population not holding a full-time job, it isn’t surprising that economic growth has been so weak.

In June, the number of Americans who wanted to work full-time, but were forced into part-time jobs because of the economy, jumped 352,000 to over 8 million.

The Jobs’ Report is increasingly measuring only a part of the American economy. While Friday’s report was better than expected, it only measures those who are working or actively looking for work. There is a growing number of Americans slipping through the cracks of the job market.  (source)

Meanwhile, as income drops, expenses increase.

Consumer spending is on the uptick, a sign that the government likes to say is positive. However, people are forced to pay more to get less, just to maintain a basic standard of living with food, utilities, and gasoline.  People aren’t spending money on goods – they are spending it on essential items and services.

Fuel:  The price of transportation has gone up dramatically. The price of gasoline has risen a staggering 294% over the past 10 years.  That’s right – 294%!!!! This, of course, affects anything that must be transported, which is, well….pretty much anything.  If your food comes from another country or continent, you can add high fuel prices to the cost of that item.  If your television was made in a factory on the other side of the globe, tack on some extra transit charges.  This one item – the price of fuel, is the catalyst that is making the price of everything else increase.

Food: Furthermore, if you are  a commuter, the price of getting back and forth to work is higher. So again – you are paying more for the basic essential supplies you need to live your life in your current fashion.

The price of food is climbing, and doing so rapidly.  Significant increases have occurred over the past two years, particularly in truly healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as organic products.  Deceptively, package sizes are getting smaller (or are staying the same size but containing less food).  The price, however, remains the same as before, in an attempt to trick consumers into believing that prices are not actually rising.  Apparently, 12 ounces is the new pound and 3 quarts is the new gallon.

Utilities:  Utility rates are climbing, making it increasingly difficult for struggling families to keep the lights on and the temperatures pleasant.

The Commerce Department said consumer spending advanced 0.2 percent last month after a 0.7 percent rise in February.

The increase, which beat economists expectations for a flat reading, was driven by higher spending on services as outlays on utilities posted a second straight month of hefty gains. Spending on goods, a key measure of underlying demand, fell.

“Utilities made up a pretty decent chunk of spending,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “When you extract from that, spending was less than impressive in March. The economy is slowing.”  (source)

The prices of electricity are rising dramatically.  Customers have been warned that they will face increases.  Smart meters have been installed nearly everywhere.  Many places are instituting time-of-day pricing, making it only affordable to do your laundry in the middle of the night.

Part of the reason Americans are facing higher prices is President Obama’s War on Coal.  (In his own words he promised to bankrupt the coal industry.)  If Obama can’t close down power producers through the front door, he does it through the back door, via the EPA.  Even though the climate change theory through CO2 emissions has been completely debunked, the EPA is still passing draconian laws to reduce our “carbon footprint” and thus raise the prices on power.   Obama has shut down 8 coal mines across 3 states, and he and his buddies at the EPA have plans to scale back production at over 200 coal-powered plants via a regulatory assault.

A welfare state

More than half of all Americans receive some form of government benefit: food stamps, supplements, health care, to name a few.  We are in big trouble because the people who work for a living are being outnumbered by those who vote for a living. Politicians buy votes with giveaways and freebies. (Who can forget the notorious Obamaphone video?)

Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse Blog wrote last year, “A recent Forbes article by Bill Wilson estimates that over 165 million Americans are government dependents to at least some degree….”

New research from Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee Jeff Sessions (R-AL) reveals that this reality may already be here, with more than 107 million Americans on some form of means-tested government welfare.

Add to that 46 million seniors collecting Medicare (subtracting out about 10 million on Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, and other senior-eligible programs already included in Sessions’ means-tested chart) and 22 million government employees at the federal, state, and local level — and suddenly, over 165 million people, a clear majority of the 308 million Americans counted by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2010, are at least partially dependents of the state.

The late Margaret Thatcher warned, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”  That is what we’re seeing right now – our insurmountable debt is multiplying faster than Bernanke can print $100 dollar bills, and eventually, this bubble won’t be able to hold anymore and it will pop.  That is the point at which the stealth collapse becomes big, real, and undeniable.

Surviving the stealth collapse

The goal for most of us is to maintain our independence while the powers that be try to return us to serfdom through limiting our access to affordable necessities.  You simply cannot rely on anyone else to bail you out of this (Silly peasant, government bailouts are just for billionaires!)  You must change your lifestyle and meet this head-on, using strategies like the following.  Stop looking for a dramatic news report to tell you that the collapse has arrived – it’s here.  Figure out how you’re going to survive it.

Cut your expenses.  Create your own austerity plan to reduce your expenses as much as possible.  This is not caving to the pressure – this is a way to assert your independence, by making your own cuts instead of government mandated ones.

Learn to provide for many of your necessities alone.  Grow food, join a co-op, raise chickens and rabbits.  Even a small salad garden in a kitchen window can help you to offset high food prices. Learn to sew, mend, repair, preserve, and build.  Decrease your dependence on consumer goods and services.  Embrace your frugal side and opt to be cheap by choice.

Reduce your dependence on the power grid.  Use rain barrels to collect water, direct the gray water from your washing machines to reservoirs, hang your clothes to dry, and use solar lighting whenever possible.  The less you depend on public utilities, the lower your bills will be, which could mean the difference between having some services or being totally without them.

Find other ways to stay warm.  This can be difficult if you rent but it can still be done.  Consider making modifications to allow for the use of portable wood heaters, look into different types of camping heaters and make your plans and purchase your supplies well before you need them.  Learn how to safely store fuel for these secondary devices. Invest in battery operated C0 monitors (and extra batteries). Get sleeping bags with a warmth rating for low temperatures, consider a small tent where you and family members can sleep in your living room to pool body heat, and stock up on cold weather clothing like hats, fingerless gloves, long underwear and heavy sweaters. Find ways to insulate and separate one main living area off from the rest of the house by closing doors, hanging curtains in doorways, etc.

Watch the prices of your utilities.  As the prices begin to rise, more and more people will be unable to pay their bills and eventually their power will be shut off.  Check your bill each month and as prices increase, use less power. Redefine necessities.  You can hand wash your clothing, cook on a woodstove or outdoor grill and can foods to preserve them instead of relying on a large chest freezer. None of these are the way things are commonly done these days, but if you can manage to keep power on for the most basic necessities, like running the pump for your well, running a refrigerator, and maybe powering up a laptop, you’ll be living in luxury in comparison to those who have no power, no heat and no running water.

Prep, prep and then prep some more.  The end of the American way of life is upon us.  Stock up on beans, bullets and band-aids. If you’re new to the idea of prepping, check out some sites like Ready Nutrition (especially the 52 Weeks to Preparedness Series), Survival Blog, Survival Sherpa, Prepper Website, Lew Rockwell, and SHTFplan. The clock is ticking, so buy as much as you can, while you can.  Despite what many veteran preppers may tell you, it’s NOT too late!

Stop looking for a huge, life-changing calamity.  In reality, the economic collapse is the culmination of many small events, rising prices,  lower (or lost) incomes, and the deliberate erosion of our self-sufficiency by those who would control us.

About the author:

Please feel free to share any information from this site in part or in full, giving credit to the author and including a link to this website and the following bio.

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca

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31 Comments  to  It’s Here: The Stealth Collapse of the American Economy

  1. Don’t fool yourself about the symptoms that are described here. This is all about the end result of scientific societies and the hubris of Western scientific exceptionalism, which professes a solution to every problem. This is what results from pragmatic societies. Nothing is sacred. And social engineering does not take into account the infinite complexity of reality, which will always spoil the best laid plans of mice and men.

    Well, take a look around, folks. This is the scientific solution. The core of humanity has rotted and all the rest is slowly being poisoned.

    And you all thought you were going to be living in a world with flying cars and the chance to take a spaceship to Andromeda.

    • Keith Glass says:

      And the sad thing is, if we HAD continued the Manned Spaceflight program after Apollo, we’d HAVE Lunar Colonies, maybe even an L-5 Colony or three, and SOME of us could keep building. . .

  2. ruffseasahead says:

    I agree. There have been economic/employment problems for many years in the US. They were called “panics.” Today we call them “Depressions,” although they may be renamed to [in]voluntary “Bank Bail-in,” or simply “The Crisis.” When Cuba found itself stranded by Russia, causing a shortage of just about everything, they called it “The Special Period.”

    A financial crisis is not fun. “The Panic of [18]’93 was the worst economic depression the United States had ever experienced at the time.” (Wikipedia) Even for those who were “self-sufficient,” such as Laura Ingalls Wilder, it was understood that cutting expenditures was as important as earning money. This also meant personal discipline. This concept is lost on too many people today. This translates to a choice of poverty or debt. Poverty is not fun, but debt is a very hard task master.

    While there is a small percentage of the population who are not, overall, we are a nation of wimps. We expect others to do for us rather than do for ourselves. They fail to understand that when you do not do for yourself, there may be someone to do for you, but what they will do for you will be to their advantage.

    Your list is very good. Unfortunately, few will take the call. For those who do, not only will they be able to function in hard times, but by making and doing, they will be able, through skill, to have a greater satisfaction and quality of their life. This is something that cannot be purchased.

  3. Kimo says:

    For some it has been stealth, to others we have watched for years. If there ever was a time to listen to the voices of those telling you to prepare its now. All is speeding up fast, we face war, desbilization, and to top it all off, an earth event that may put an end to all of us.
    can it get worse? yes.
    Daisy and the two above see it, and have the courage to think of it, and ACT.
    ACT now, prepare, there is much much more to this puzzle than most know.
    To Daisy, 4 more military transports arrived, placed at the 5000 ft level. common sense. Satalite high band equiptment is in place. The spraying the last two days is so thick we are under ac, hard to breath.

  4. yental says:

    A very relevant and astute observation. I have seen it, you have seen it, and many other preppers have seen it. “IT” being the collapse that has already begun.

    And yet there is still a consistent “naysayer contingency” that is oblivious to “current events”. This “group” will not give up THEIR position of eternal optimism and the “maybe IT HAPPENS 10 years from now” mentality that is continuing to feed THE BEAST.

    BUT…I am happy to report that “the awakening” is occurring in spite of the “naysayer community”. In no small part because of “sites” and “bloggers” (aka, actual journalist) just like you. :)

  5. Caretaker says:

    Really libertarians and right wingers? Having watched the conspiracy movement, from the early nineties rags to the digital progression, I would argue the stealth collapse has been covered by truth sayers from both the “left” and “right” with the most compelling stuff coming from the apoliticals sitting down and projecting the cycles with economic data. Self sufficiency includes preparation, but prepping is not sustainable. The huge divide is not left and right, but urban versus rural. The only free energy, the only renewable things are living or once were. Just as the EPA can’t get around entropy neither can we. More plants, more animals, more earthworks for rainwater harvesting, a properly functioning ozone layer, a modicum of safety in the air will help my fourth or fifth generation through increased biomass. As we continue to waste the low hanging non renewables on 1 year warranties, christmas lights, fireworks, rolling concrete over everything, plastic baubles… while destroying the ecosystems (yeah, straight at w.virgina mining practices) our future generations have a more and more bleak future with fewer and fewer living things. The term sustainability has been co-opted,but advocating prepping and fanning political polarization is not a solution to a failure of leadership for a century.

  6. Lance the Permie says:

    Staying warmer for far less….thermal mass rocket stoves, well, rock,. Heat your space with twigs!
    http://www.richsoil.com/rocket-stove-mass-heater.jsp

    Step it up people. Stop ‘hunkering down’ and out design the bastards at the top with HUMAN ingenuity! Get thee all to a permaculture design course. Cheers. The less I make the richer I feel. Time is more important then money.

    • Iguana One says:

      Staying Warm? You east coasters have to stay warm in winter. That costs plenty! Try living in the West like AZ for instance. 125 degrees last week, 118 today all of July over 110 degrees!
      Staying cool is expensive as staying warm. I save plenty of $ not having to stay warm. Believe you me.
      Staying cool costs just as much as staying warm here in the West.
      If there was no electricity for A/C units? Well, I’d have to exodus to the North. Hence: a tent in the North for Summer. And a tent in the southwest for winter. Simple eh?

  7. Facebook Page says:

    Well written. Thought out and facts cheched. Change of scenery is doing you good.

  8. Tib says:

    ‘Even though the climate change theory through CO2 emissions has been completely debunked, the EPA is still passing draconian laws to reduce our “carbon footprint”’

    You lost your credibility right there, Daisy. It’s a shame, because you got so many other things right.

    • Raxna says:

      tip plz do some research as Daisy is correct. a single volcanic eruption puts more CO2 into the atmosphere then the human species produces in a single year and how many eruptions take place over the world in a given year? the melt of the northern caps and permafrost is releasing even more CO2 then a volcanic eruption produces and is ongoing daily non-stop. that only 2 examples and there are others. this is what killed the so called human carbon footprint thats doing the damage. it was all a lie made to push the carbon tax and force everyone in the world to pay it. when you look at the numbers we are putting less the 1% of the CO2 into the atmosphere that is occurring naturally

      • Noelle says:

        Actually, Tib is right and both Daisy and Raxna are incorrect. If you read the article that I posted a link to below, written by scientists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and Published by the United States Geological Survey, you will see that “not only does volcanic CO2 NOT dwarf that of human activity, it actually comprises less than 1 percent of that value”. Volcanoes pump out 200 million tonnes of CO2 per year; global fossil fuel CO2 emissions pump out 26.8 billion tonnes per year….. it’s basic math people.

        http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/volcanowatch/archive/2007/07_02_15.html

      • Cindy says:

        Raxna,you made one correct statement. You said that the melting of the permafrost is releasing even more CO2 than a volcanic eruption and is ongoing, non-stopping. (Actually, its not at the moment releasing more green house gases than we are by burning fossil fuels… I think that’s what you were implying?) Anyhow, you were correct in that in the near future, the melting of the permafrost will release much more GH gases than we humans are by burning fossil fuels. (It releases methane gas, which is 23 times worse than CO2). And that is the problem– when the permafrost starts defrosting in earnest, at that point, we lose all opportunity to stop catastrophic climate change. It will be out of our hands, because you cannot refreeze the permafrost! But ask yourself, how come the permafrost is melting? What does permafrost mean? It USED to be permafrost, but the last few years it has been melting–because about 8 billion humans, driving billions of cars, which release COs, and heat and cool their homes using fossil fuels… that’s how it all started. It is no longer frozen! Its no longer “permafrost”– you know, “permanently frozen”. If we don’t find a way to address the climate problem, it will be hell on earth in the near future– most people won’t survive. There are so many feedback mechanisms, where it “feeds” on itself, getting worse and worse and worst problem of all is the permafrost and the frozen clathrates in the oceans. These are the Jokers in the climate change problem that keeps climate scientists awake at night– really scarey stuff!

    • Cindy says:

      tib– I ABSOLUTELY AGREE. For anyone interested in Truth, visit climateprogress.org or— realclimate.com (written by real climate scientists) or read books. The first book I ever read on the subject was “Carbon Wars”, written by a geologist (oil man) who later changed his vocation when he realized the reality of climate change. There are numerous books written by Jim Hansen, the world’s foremost climate scientist. Then there’s my favorite, “Climate Wars”. There’s “Boiling Point” (old book) tells how the fossil fuel industry made it their goal to spread disinformation. (The author was a writer for prominent newspaper who did NOT believe in GW in the beginning, but after research realized it was real). I could go on and on. Even National Geographic has EXCELLENT reports about GW. Basically, the information is there if one chooses to research/ read about it. Its so extremely important– THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE our children and grandchildren will ever face– that to NOT research it, is unforgivable. Or look up Tim DeChristopher.

  9. Claymation says:

    Hey Daisy, A lot of what we are seeing with the increase of food and energy prices is directly related to the weakness of currencies around the planet. People like to fall into the trap of saying hey look how much more expensive my groceries are this year then five or ten years ago. When the reality is that you are buying less with more money. Sure some prices remain stable. Did ever try to eat a TV, PC or a pair of jeans..lol.. pretty unsatisfying. Inflation will be a beast when it finally comes home to rest. We can already see glimpses around the world. Argentina has frozen prices on 500 food items and is now outlawing the hoarding of bread making materials by flour and wheat producers. Children digging through the trash in Greece to eat as well as parents in huge numbers dropping their kids off at state run orphanariums, due to their inability to take care of them. Here in the USA we have quietly started to see the homeless population grow rapidly, mostly in urban areas hiding is easier. Snap programs have taken the place of soup lines and kitchen. Can you imagine over 40 million Americans lining up at soup kitchens 3 times a day. Yep, this country is collapsing, Financially, Culturally, Morally, and politically. We’re doomed! Peace Clay

  10. drk says:

    On preserving foods, I prefer fermenting or drying to canning, and freezing, also root cellaring requires no energy use. I pack vegetables in a canning jar along with spices then add 1 TBLS salt per quart, add water to within an inch of the top of the jar. screw the lid on. Ready to eat in 14 days. will keep a year

  11. drk says:

    I almost forgot this won’t work with city water. The chemical content of city water causes the product to spoil.

    • yental says:

      The chemical content of “city water” causes the contents to “spoil”. What a surprise…Imagine what the same “chemical content” does to the “gray matter” between our ears.

      Come to think of it, I have seen a proliferation of “spoiled children”. I’m sure that is nothing more than a “social coincidence”. City tap water, it is good for producing “what ails ya”. Conversely, getting off of “city tap water” is good for eliminating “what ails ya”.

  12. Mark Opie says:

    Good work – Thanks for posting B-)

  13. Jamie says:

    I’ve found some good tips on this site (thanks!) but was quite surprised to read the opinions related to the environment in this article posted on a website called “The Organic Prepper!” I challenge you Daisy (and any other readers who care about issues such as organic food, health, the environment, and our future) to watch the outstanding movies “Do the Math” (YouTube @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fY-8OUuJ9Ms and also “Revolution” (recently in theatres) and do some further research and then see if you still have the same opinions on the fossil fuel industry, global warming etc!

  14. EnDGamE says:

    serves you white devils right ,you have caused the most global atrocities and immoralities no way! the republicans are never going to win and anyone with white skin which is a siner(ot all) will have to get your ankles ready because we are going to place a chain and ball around them pasty legs which have somehow travelled to our lands (north America) asias land you people didn’t know north America belonged to asia did you? it belongs to natives Russians and everyone in asia and soon I cant wait we will have to force you to surrender to us whether you like it or not! we OWN YOU! you belong to us and you will do exactly what we say! if you try to resist then you will get hurt thrown in torture or placed in jail . I don’t believe in killing I believe in m aking you live to suffer instead you aint getting out that easy.and while you in jail we will be breeding until we become a monarchy once again!.at one point you white aliens breeded while stealing our land ow we will show you how its done HAHAHAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. EnDGamE says:

    sinner (not all)now typo) I aint racist I believe some whites will be with us actually just not you! you will be doing what other whites tell you to do as well Asians and other non whites and since you white guys are so racist and sexist we will place the opposite gender to tell you what to do which will have male guards watching to make sure you don’t try to disobey your orders.oh ya and HAHAHHAAAA!!! merry Christmas! lol!

  16. EnDGamE says:

    hahahahahahaaaAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!those who disobey will be given anesthesia and knocked out, take to a corrections bay!you will under law plea and then be given a chip which will be installed inside your body,after we take you to the trauma room and put you to sleep after you get strapped to a surgeon bed.if you a first offender you get a new judicial system which will make a final conclusion and I will be the judge if I look at you 99.9% will all be guilty and I will drop a titantron showing the 5 step procedure and what the chip will do to you. if you rebel then we will let you know what will happen.keep in mind once a offender then always you will be moitored under the chip we mount into your body.

  17. EnDGamE says:

    excuse me! (monitored typo) have fun white girls and boys and remember to always be good little boys and girls HAHAHAHAAAAAAA!!!!!!8-):P:P:P:P:P:P:p———-:(,,,,,,,

  18. As America approaches the fiscal cliff commencing January 1, 2013, an assessment of the historical effectiveness of the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) monetary policy is critical to understanding the gravity of this imminent financial crisis. Government debt together with the Fed’s creation of money has kept the U.S. economy from collapsing to this point, but all American’s must ask themselves if they are truly better off today or if the problems were only escalating problems to monstrous proportions, and deferring them to future generations.

  19. Cindy says:

    I didn’t realize Obama had done so much to reduce CO2 emissions! I didn’t vote last time– was disgusted how he threw our civil rights under the bus! However, since he at least has made great strides in reducing climate change, I will vote next election after all… democrat, of course.

    “Theory of anthropogenic climate change (caused by humans) debunked?” Ha, ha, ha! Unbelievable. Wishful thinking. The science is even more certain than before.. about 98% of TOP climate scientist ALL know that its caused by burning fossil fuels. There is no longer any doubt at all among top climate scientist. True, a few meteorologist (not climate scientists) paid off by the fossil fuel industry may disagree. However, that does not erase the FACTS.

  20. Cindy says:

    CORRECTION: climateprogress.org USED to be a good website, which provided lots of useful information. However, I stopped visiting the website because nowday it just looks like an advertising page. I don’t like the website much anymore.

    • cave horse says:

      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/12/06/filter-bubbles-and-the-climate-wars/

      “Some people are so steeped in tribalism that they won’t even venture outside of their comfort zone to see what the other side is saying, and when offered information by ‘outsiders’, flatly refuse to even consider it or even become combative towards anyone that suggests it. They tend to prefer being surrounded only by people they like and content that they agree with, and consider giving attention to any other views as ‘false balance’. Joe Romm and his Climate Progress blog is a good example of this, which is why he has such few comments these days.”

  21. JoeAmerica says:

    It not really a collapse it a natural adjustment to dramatic lifestyle changes. The destruction of the family is one very obvious one. Huge increases in government dependance as a result. This wins elections – as ancient Rome decayed it was bread and circuses time, today its various forms of welfare and politically correct mass media entertainment. More importantly is men are strongly disincentivized to be productive. Politically correct primary education has declared war on young boys. Primary school really is often more or less a waste time as drug induced political correctness is not an income producing job skill.

    Wage deflation, price inflation and 8 years of falling employment equals green shoots America.

    What have I seen lately here in California? More homeless and feral pets roaming the streets.

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