What do we need to do in order to prepare for the coming economic collapse? Are there practical steps that we can take right now that will help us and our families survive the economic depression that is approaching? As the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, I get asked these kinds of questions a lot. Once people become convinced that an economic collapse is coming, they want to know what they should do. And so in this article I am going to share some key pieces of advice from some of the top experts in the entire country. If you are not convinced that economic disaster is on the way, this article might not be for you. Instead, I would encourage you to go to my website where you will find more than 1,200 articles that set out the case for the coming economic collapse in excruciating detail. For those of you that are interested in getting prepared, I apologize in advance for the outline format of this article. To examine each of these points in detail would take an entire book. In fact, I am the co-author of a book that will soon be published that discusses many of these things in great depth. But you don’t have to wait for a book to get prepared. Mostly, it comes down to common sense. In this article, I share 89 common sense tips that will help you get prepared for the coming economic depression. Hopefully a lot of people will find these to be very helpful.
This first set of tips are 11 things that I strongly encourage my readers to do…
#1 Have An Emergency Fund – This is so important that I wrote an entire article about this recently.
#2 Don’t Put All Of Your Eggs Into One Basket – In addition to having an emergency fund, you will also want to have gold, silver and other hard assets. It is also a very good idea to keep a limited amount of cash at home in case you can’t access an ATM during a major emergency of some sort.
#3 Reduce Your Expenses And Get Out Of Debt – During a time of crisis you want to be as “lean and mean” as possible. If you simplify your life and reduce your debt load now, you will be in much better shape when the next economic depression does arrive.
#4 Move Your Money Away From Unsafe Investments – When the financial world falls apart, you don’t want your finances to be exposed. Markets tend to go down much faster than they go up, and during the next great financial crisis millions of Americans that have their life savings in stocks and bonds are going to get totally wiped out.
#5 Store Food And Supplies – Your dollars will never stretch farther than they do right now. You probably will not need emergency food and supplies in the short-term, but the truth is that none of us ever knows when a major emergency will strike. During 2014, my wife and I felt more of an urgency to stock up then ever before, and I hope that people are using this brief period of relative stability to do what they can to get prepared.
#6 Learn To Grow Your Own Food – Anything that you can do to become more independent of the system is a good thing. This includes growing your own food. And the truth is that some of the most expensive items in the grocery store these days are fresh fruits and vegetables.
#7 Defending Yourself And Your Family – As our world become increasingly unstable, people are going to become a lot more desperate. And desperate people do desperate things. You are going to need to have a plan for that.
#8 Move Away From The Big Cities If Possible – For a lot of people that are dependent on their current jobs, this is simply not possible right now. But if it is possible for you, this is something that I strongly recommend that you think about. Being stuck in the middle of a major city is not going to be a good place to be in the years ahead.
#9 Be Ready To Bug Out – There may come a time when you are forced to evacuate from your current location. This may happen with very short notice. If this ever does happen to you, the key will be to be prepared for it.
#10 Build A Community – Your neighbors and close friends can be an invaluable resource. A cord of multiple threads is not easily broken, and if you have people that you can depend upon during a crisis that can make a world of difference.
#11 Have A Back-Up Plan And Be Flexible – Mike Tyson once aptly observed that everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. The years ahead are going to require a great deal of flexibility, and you may find that the plans that you have made need to be altered. So don’t get fixated on just one approach.
When there is a major emergency, some of the most simple items suddenly become some of the most important.
The following are 11 items that I recommend that every household have on hand…
– an axe
– a can opener
– battery-powered radio
– extra batteries
– lighters or matches
– fire extinguisher
– sewing kit
– duct tape
And here are about a dozen more key items that should be on your list from Survival Mom…
- Lightsticks. You can pick up one of these every time you wander into a Home Depot. They don’t need batteries and can be hung around the neck with a string making it easier to spot everyone in your party when it gets dark. An alternative is the UVPaqlite, which never needs batteries.
- Wool socks and sweaters. People have literally frozen to death wearing their layers of cotton knit tees and hoodies. For true survival conditions, nothing beats wool.
- Upholstery needles and thread. What if a sleeping bag or tent rips and you have no way of mending it?
- Roll of quarters. Handy for phone calls, although payphones aren’t as common as they used to be, and laundromats, but if you put it in a sock and wield it like a sling, you have a handy-dandy weapon! If the quarters are pre-1965 and 90% silver, you have a whole new type of currency.
- Pencils. Forget the pens. They can run out of ink and freeze in cold weather. With a pocket knife, you’ll always have a sharp pencil.
- Super glue. Professional hockey players always have this on hand to seal up small cuts, and the glue itself is harmless. Unless you get it in your eye, like I did. But that’s a story for a different type of post!
- Rubber bands. String just doesn’t cut it when what you really need is a rubber band
- Tampons in a cardboard tube. Did you know a tampon can be fit snugly into a bullet wound? Guys on the battlefield carry these with them. Just be aware that the blood in the wound will begin to clot. Leave it to a medical professional to remove the tampon from the wound. They’re also good for kindling.
- Paracord belt. It’s an accessory and survival tool in one!
- Waterproof wrist watch. Makes perfect sense. I had just never thought of it.
- Animal repellant trash bags. Use these when you’re camping and animals will stay the heck away from your trash.
- Safety pins.
- Dental floss. Besides helping to keep your teeth clean, it makes sturdy thread for mending.
But don’t just get focused on acquiring things.
Some of the most important elements of preparation involve things that we need to do for ourselves.
Acclaimed survival expert James Wesley Rawles has put together a “personal list” of things that everyone should think about before a crisis strikes. A lot of these things are topics that “preppers” never seem to write about…
Prescription and nonprescription medications.
Keep dentistry up to date.
Any elective surgery that you’ve been postponing
Work off that gut.
Stay in shape.
Back strength and health—particularly important, given the heavy manual tasks required for self-sufficiency.
Educate yourself on survival topics, and practice them. For example, even if you don’t presently live at your retreat, you should plant a vegetable garden every year. It is better to learn through experience and make mistakes now, when the loss of crop is an annoyance rather than a crucial event.
“Comfort” items to help get through high stress times. (Books, games, CDs, chocolates, etc.)
If you have a serious illness or disease, that is going to need to be one of your top priorities when making preparations for the coming crisis.
This next tip comes from an excellent article that Dave Hodges published recently…
If you or your family has a chronic health condition, it is critical that you have 6 months to a year in medicine. Also, you should research natural alternatives to treatment for health conditions in case you are not able to meet this goal due to the inability to obtain prescriptions. Don’t forget to obtain some pain medication and antibiotics in case of unforeseen emergencies.
Probably one of the most popular topics for preppers to write about is food storage.
But those that are new to prepping are often very confused about how to get started.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. If you start out by focusing on staples that you eat all the time, you should be in great shape. The following are some recommendations about food storage that Pat Henry of the Prepper Journal has shared…
- Rice – First off, buy a 50lb. bag of rice. These contain 504 servings and I don’t know too many people who won’t eat rice. It is simple to cook and stores for years if you keep it cool and dry. This bag at Sam’s costs about $19 now.
- Beans – Next buy a bag of dry beans. This will check off the Beans part of your Beans, Bullets and Band-Aids list. A good size bag is about $5 and makes 126 servings. Buy two if you think your family would like them.
- Canned meat – Cans are great for fruits and vegetables and anyone can find something they will eat. For canned meat, I recommend tuna or chicken because it tastes a heck of a lot better than Spam and you can easily mix that into your rice. For the meat you will need approximately 35 cans. Each can has about 3 servings and this will be the most costly, but they last over a year usually and your family probably eats chicken or tuna on a semi-regular basis anyway so restocking this should be simple.
- Canned Vegetables – you will need about 40 cans of vegetables and again this can be whatever your family will eat. Expect to pay around a dollar each so $40 for veggies to last your family a month.
- Canned Fruit – again, simple fruits that your family will eat. These can even be fruit cocktail if that is the safest thing. At Costco they have the #10 cans of fruit like pears or apple slices and each of these has 25 servings. 5 of these will cost about $25 and give your family their daily dose of fruit.
- Oatmeal – Good old-fashioned oatmeal is simple to cook and store. A normal container has 30 servings each so purchase about 4 of these and your family won’t starve for breakfast. At $2 each that is about $8 for breakfast for a month for a family of four. Could you exchange Pop-tarts? Maybe, but I find oatmeal more filling and less likely to be snacked on.
- Honey- Honey is a miracle food really as it will never go bad if you keep it dry and cool. Honey will last you forever and Sam’s has large containers that hold 108 servings. You can use this in place of sugar to satisfy the sweet tooth. Honey even has medicinal properties and you can use this to add some flavor to your oatmeal for breakfast.
- Salt – Same as honey, salt will never go bad if you keep it dry and helps the flavor of anything. You can buy a big box of salt for around $1 and that will last your whole family a month easily.
- Vitamins – I recommend getting some multivitamins to augment your nutrition in the case of a disaster or emergency. Granted, rice and beans aren’t the best and you won’t be getting as many nutrients from canned fruit and vegetables so the vitamins help to fill in the gaps and keep you healthy. One big bottle costs about $8. You will need to get a kids version too if you have children small enough that they can’t or won’t swallow a big multivitamin.
And as I mentioned above, another key to getting prepared is self-defense. If you make all the preparations in the world, but somebody comes along and steals them from you, they won’t end up doing you any good.
The following are some basic tips about home security from prepping expert Todd Sepulveda…
Front Door – Your front door is a layer. But it shouldn’t be your only layer. Besides reinforcing the strike plate with 2 inch screws, you should have a solid deadbolt. Another layer could be a storm door with a lock or even burglar bars. A good latch is valuable too! If you want to add even more layers, utilizing a security door bar is a good idea. But you don’t only want to make sure that your front door is securely layered. Take some time to layer all the doors in your home.
Windows – Every window has a lock. But you can add a layer by including sliding window locks for about $5. Other options would include tint or blinds, which would make it harder for someone to look inside your house.
Burglar Alarm – A burglar alarm is a serious layer. Alarms can be monitored by an alarm company or they can be self-monitored. Self-monitored systems have greatly advanced and will even allow you to view your home on your smartphone.
Dogs – A dog or dogs can be a great layer, especially if they bark. My dogs alert me the minute someone is in the front of the yard. They run and bark at the door and don’t stop until I open it. Outside dogs are a layer to your perimeter. A big dog on the other side of the fence will make any criminal think twice.
Outside Lights – Lights that are mounted on the outside of your home, especially ones that are triggered by motion sensors are a must! Roaches run when you turn on the lights! Someone who is watching your house will not want to approach it if they know the lights are going to draw attention to them.
Outside Landscaping – Bushes can be a layer around windows. It is important that you don’t create an environment that will create a hiding place for someone to lay in waiting. Make sure that the bushes you choose to plant are thorny and cause a lot of discomfort if someone wants to go through them.
Personal Defense – A firearm is a layer that you would want to have if needed. If you want to use something that is not so deadly, you can always pick up a can of ColdSteel Inferno to spray in someone’s face. Having a few of these cans hidden in different parts of the house is a good idea.
Safe Room – A safe room would be a last ditch layer. Some people are putting them into their homes. If this is a scenario you want to take, you should research the necessary components for a “safe” safe room.
Neighborhood Watch – Although a Neighborhood Watch isn’t just focused on your home, it is a layer that could cause the bad guys to go looking in a different neighborhood altogether. Neighborhoods that have a Neighborhood Watch usually post signs in the entrances of their neighborhood.
Neighbors – Even if you don’t have a Neighborhood Watch, you should get to know your neighbors, especially those pesky ones that stay in everyone’s business…because they are going to keep a lookout! You gotta take some bad with the good!
Street Lights – Sticking with your neighborhood, it would be a good idea to immediately report any street lights that are out to the city or county that manages them. Again, light causes the roaches to run for cover!
Signs – Don’t underestimate the power of a cheap sign. A sign on a fence that reads “Beware of Dog” or a Security company sign on the front lawn somewhere will cause the bad guys to think twice before attempting to break into your house.
If you do need to leave your home during a crisis, you should have a “bug out bag” ready for each member of your family.
The following are 7 key items that Survival Cache recommends including in each bug out bag…
5. First Aid Kit
6. Basic Gear
Finally, it is important to remember that nobody is perfect and that everyone makes mistakes.
The following are 14 common mistakes that Backdoor Survival says a lot of preppers make…
1. Failure to inventory stored food supplies
2. Failure to perform a risk analysis and prepping for the most likely disruptive events first
3. Preparing mostly to bug out rather than bugging in
4. Failure to evacuate at just the right time
5. Having the gear but not knowing how to use it
6. Underestimating other humans as a threat
7. Spending your entire budget on gear instead of on food, water, and medical supplies
8. Lacking the knowledge to properly store your food supplies
9. Buying gear and supplies while ignoring the need to develop skills
10. Relying only on yourself and ignoring like-minded members of your community
11. Just because someone else does something does not mean that you should do it to
12. Falling victim to prepper procrastination
13. Obsessing about being behind the curve-ball
14. Forgetting that there is a life beyond prepping
Are there any additions that you would make to this list of tips?
Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…
Will 2015 be a year of financial crashes, economic chaos and the start of the next great worldwide depression? Over the past couple of years, we have all watched as global financial bubbles have gotten larger and larger. Despite predictions that they could burst at any time, they have just continued to expand. But just like we witnessed in 2001 and 2008, all financial bubbles come to an end at some point, and when they do implode the pain can be extreme. Personally, I am entirely convinced that the financial markets are more primed for a financial collapse now than they have been at any other time since the last crisis happened nearly seven years ago. And I am certainly not alone. At this point, the warning cries have become a deafening roar as a whole host of prominent voices have stepped forward to sound the alarm. The following are 11 predictions of economic disaster in 2015 from top experts all over the globe…
#1 Bill Fleckenstein: “They are trying to make the stock market go up and drag the economy along with it. It’s not going to work. There’s going to be a big accident. When people realize that it’s all a charade, the dollar will tank, the stock market will tank, and hopefully bond markets will tank. Gold will rally in that period of time because it’s done what it’s done because people have assumed complete infallibility on the part of the central bankers.”
#2 John Ficenec: “In the US, Professor Robert Shiller’s cyclically adjusted price earnings ratio – or Shiller CAPE – for the S&P 500 is currently at 27.2, some 64pc above the historic average of 16.6. On only three occasions since 1882 has it been higher – in 1929, 2000 and 2007.”
#3 Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, one of the most respected economic journalists on the entire planet: “The eurozone will be in deflation by February, forlornly trying to ignite its damp wood by rubbing stones. Real interest rates will ratchet higher. The debt load will continue to rise at a faster pace than nominal GDP across Club Med. The region will sink deeper into a compound interest trap.”
#4 The Jerome Levy Forecasting Center, which correctly predicted the bursting of the subprime mortgage bubble in 2007: “Clearly the direction of most of the recent global economic news suggests movement toward a 2015 downturn.”
#5 Paul Craig Roberts: “At any time the Western house of cards could collapse. It (the financial system) is a house of cards. There are no economic fundamentals that support stock prices — the Dow Jones. There are no economic fundamentals that support the strong dollar…”
#6 David Tice: “I have the same kind of feel in ’98 and ’99; also ’05 and ’06. This is going to end badly. I have every confidence in the world.”
#7 Liz Capo McCormick and Susanne Walker: “Get ready for a disastrous year for U.S. government bonds. That’s the message forecasters on Wall Street are sending.”
#8 Phoenix Capital Research: “Just about everything will be hit as well. Most of the ‘recovery’ of the last five years has been fueled by cheap borrowed Dollars. Now that the US Dollar has broken out of a multi-year range, you’re going to see more and more ‘risk assets’ (read: projects or investments fueled by borrowed Dollars) blow up. Oil is just the beginning, not a standalone story.
If things really pick up steam, there’s over $9 TRILLION worth of potential explosions waiting in the wings. Imagine if the entire economies of both Germany and Japan exploded and you’ve got a decent idea of the size of the potential impact on the financial system.”
#9 Rob Kirby: “What this breakdown in the crude oil price is going to spawn another financial crisis. It will be tied to the junk debt that has been issued to finance the shale oil plays in North America. It is reported to be in the area of half a trillion dollars worth of junk debt that is held largely on the books of large financial institutions in the western world. When these bonds start to fail, they will jeopardize the future of these financial institutions. I do believe that will be the signal for the Fed to come riding to the rescue with QE4. I also think QE4 is likely going to be accompanied by bank bail-ins because we all know all western world countries have adopted bail-in legislation in their most recent budgets. The financial elites are engineering the excuse for their next round of money printing . . . and they will be confiscating money out of savings accounts and pension accounts. That’s what I think is coming in the very near future.”
#10 John Ing: “The 2008 collapse was just a dress rehearsal compared to what the world is going to face this time around. This time we have governments which are even more highly leveraged than the private sector was.
So this time the collapse will be on a scale that is many magnitudes greater than what the world witnessed in 2008.”
#11 Gerald Celente: “What does the word confidence mean? Break it down. In this case confidence = con men and con game. That’s all it is. So people will lose confidence in the con men because they have already shown their cards. It’s a Ponzi scheme. So the con game is running out and they don’t have any more cards to play.
What are they going to do? They can’t raise interest rates. We saw what happened in the beginning of December when the equity markets started to unravel. So it will be a loss of confidence in the con game and the con game is soon coming to an end. That is when you are going to see panic on Wall Street and around the world.”
If you have been following my website, you know that I have been pointing to 2015 for quite some time now.
For example, in my article entitled “The Seven Year Cycle Of Economic Crashes That Everyone Is Talking About“, I discussed the pattern of financial crashes that we have witnessed every seven years that goes all the way back to the Great Depression. The last two major stock market crashes began in 2001 and 2008, and now here we are seven years later.
Will the same pattern hold up once again?
In addition, there are many other economic cycles that seem to indicate that we are due for a major economic downturn. I discussed quite a few of these theories in my article entitled “If Economic Cycle Theorists Are Correct, 2015 To 2020 Will Be Pure Hell For The United States“.
But just like in 2000 and 2007, there are a whole host of doubters that are fully convinced that the party can continue indefinitely. Even though our economic fundamentals continue to get worse, our debt levels continue to grow and every objective measurement shows that Wall Street is more reckless and more vulnerable to collapse than ever before, they mock the idea that a financial collapse is imminent.
So let’s see what happens in 2015.
I have a feeling that it is going to be an extremely “interesting” year.
The parallels between the false prosperity of 2007 and the false prosperity of 2014 are rather striking. If we go back and look at the numbers in the fall of 2007, we find that the Dow set an all-time high in October, margin debt on Wall Street had spiked to record levels, the unemployment rate was below 5 percent and Americans were getting ready to spend a record amount of money that Christmas season. But then the very next year the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression shook the entire planet and everyone wondered why most people never saw it coming. Well, now a similar pattern is unfolding right before our eyes. The Dow and the S&P 500 both hit record highs on Monday, margin debt on Wall Street is hovering near record levels, the unemployment rate has ticked down a little bit and Americans are getting ready to spend more than 600 billion dollars this Christmas season. The truth is that the economy seems pretty stable for the moment, and most people cannot even imagine that an economic collapse is coming. So why are so many really smart people forecasting economic disaster in the near future?
For example, just consider what the Jerome Levy Forecasting Center is saying. This is an organization with a tremendous economic forecasting record that goes all the way back to the Great Depression. In fact, it predicted ahead of time the financial trouble and the recession that would happen in 2008. Well, now this company is forecasting that there is a 65 percent chance that there will be a global recession by the end of next year…
In 1929, a businessman and economist by the name of Jerome Levy didn’t like what he saw in his analysis of corporate profits. He sold his stocks before the October crash.
Almost eight decades later, the consultancy company that bears his name declared “the next recession will be caused by the deflating housing bubble.” By February 2007, it predicted problems in the subprime-mortgage market would spread “to virtually all financial markets.” In October 2007, it saw imminent recession — the slump began two months later.
The Jerome Levy Forecasting Center, based in Mount Kisco, New York, and run by Jerome’s grandson David, is again more worried than its peers. Its half-dozen analysts attach a 65 percent probability of a worldwide recession forcing a contraction in the U.S. by the end of next year.
Could they be wrong?
It’s certainly possible.
But I wouldn’t bet against them.
John Hussman is another expert that is warning of financial disaster on the horizon. He believes that we are experiencing a massive stock market bubble right now and that stocks are approximately double the value that they should be…
If you look at corporate profits and especially corporate profit margins, they’re one of the most cyclical and mean-reverting series in economics. Right now, we have corporate profits that are close to about 11% of GDP, but if you look at that series you will find that corporate profits as a share of GDP have always dropped back to about 5.5% or below in every single economic cycle including recent decades, including not only the financial crisis but 2002 and every other economic cycle we have been in.
Right now stocks as a multiple of last year’s expected earnings may look only modestly over valued or modestly richly valued. Really if you look at the measures of valuation that are most correlated to the returns that stocks deliver over time say over seven years or over the next 10 years the S&P 500 in our estimation is about double the level of valuation that would give investors a normal rate of return.
Could you imagine the chaos that would ensue if stocks really did drop by 50 percent?
Well, Hussman says that this is precisely what must happen in order for stock prices to return to historical norms…
Right now, like I say, we are looking at stocks that have been pressed to long-term expected returns that are really dismal. But more important than that, in every market cycle that we’ve seen with the mild exception of 2002, we’ve seen stocks price revert back to normal rates of return. In order to get to that point from here, we would have to have equities drop by about half.
If that does happen, it will make the crisis of 2008 look like a Sunday picnic.
Meanwhile, other very prominent thinkers are also warning that an economic nightmare is rapidly approaching.
Economic cycle theorist Martin Armstrong foresees major economic problems in 2015 which will ultimately lead to “civil unrest” in 2016…
It looks more and more like a serious political uprising will erupt by 2016 once the economy turns down. That is the magic ingredient. Turn the economy down and you get civil unrest and revolution.
And of course there are a whole lot of other economic cycle theorists that are forecasting that we are about to experience a massive economic downturn as well. For much more on this, please see this article and this article.
What is truly frightening is that we have never even come close to recovering from the last economic crisis. One poll that was taken just prior to the recent election found that only 28 percent of Americans said that their families were doing better financially. In addition, here are some more survey numbers about how Americans are feeling about the economy…
According to voter exit polls conducted by CNN, 78% said they are worried about the economy, with 69% saying that, in their view, economic conditions are not good. 65% responded that the country is on the wrong track vs. only 31% who believed that it is headed in the right direction.
Even though we are repeating so many of the same patterns that we experienced back in 2007, we are doing so with a fundamentally weaker economy. The last crisis did a tremendous amount of permanent damage to us. For an extensive look at this, please see my previous article entitled “12 Charts That Show The Permanent Damage That Has Been Done To The U.S. Economy“.
And there are lots of signs that much of the planet is already entering another major economic slowdown. In a recent article, Brandon Smith summarized some of these. He says that we are currently witnessing “the last gasp of the global economy“…
Global exports, and thus consumer demand, are plunging. Germany, the only pillar left to prop up the failing European Union, has experienced a severe decline in exports not seen since 2009.
China, the largest exporter and importer in the world, and Chinese companies, have been caught in a number of instances using fraudulent invoices to artificially inflate their own export numbers, in some cases reporting 50% more exported goods than had actually existed.
China’s manufacturing has also declined for the past five months, exposing the nature of its inflated export stats and indicating a global slowdown.
The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of global shipping rates for raw goods, and thus a measure of demand for shipping, continues to drag along near historic lows.
The U.S. consumer (the only economic asset the U.S. has besides the dollar’s world reserve status), has seen declines in spending as well as wages.
In the meantime, long term jobless Americans continue to fall off welfare rolls by the millions, making unemployment numbers look good, but the overall future picture look terrible as participation rates dissolve into the ether of government statistics.
How is such poverty being hidden? Foodstamps. Plain and simple. Nearly 50 million Americans now subsist on food stamp programs today, and this number shows no signs of dropping. In states like Illinois, two people sign up for food assistance for every citizen that happens to find a job.
From time to time, I get accused of “spreading fear” and of being obsessed with “doom and gloom”.
But that is not the case at all.
I actually want our economy to stay stable for as long as possible. Many Americans don’t realize this, but even the poorest of us live in luxury compared to much of the rest of the world. It would be wonderful if we could all live out our lives in peace and quiet and safety.
Unfortunately, it is simply not going to happen.
And it does not take an expert to see what is coming.
Anyone with half a brain should be able to see the economic disaster that is approaching.
There is hope in understanding what is happening and there is hope in getting prepared. Millions of Americans that are willingly blind to our problems are going to have their lives absolutely destroyed when they get blindsided by the coming crisis. So please use this brief period of relative stability to get prepared and to warn others.
Once this false bubble of hope runs out, all of our lives are going to dramatically change.
Did you know that we buy about a half a trillion dollars more stuff from the rest of the world than they buy from us? The U.S. balance of trade is not only mind-blowingly bad – it is the worst in the world. It is being projected that the U.S. trade deficit for 2011 will be 558.2 billion dollars. That would be an increase of more than 11 percent from last year. As I have written about previously, the United States is the worst in the world at a lot of things, but as far as the economic well-being of our nation is concerned, our balance of trade is particularly important. Every single month, far more money goes out of this country than comes into it. Tax revenues are significantly reduced as all of this money gets sucked out of our communities. The federal government, state governments and local governments borrow gigantic piles of money to try to make up the difference, but all of this borrowing just makes our debt problems a whole lot worse. In the end, no amount of government debt is going to be able to cover over the fact that our national economic pie is shrinking. We are continually consuming far more wealth than we produce, and that is a recipe for economic disaster.
The “current account balance” is one key indicator of how a country is doing economically. The following is how the CIA World Factbook defines “current account balance”….
This entry records a country’s net trade in goods and services, plus net earnings from rents, interest, profits, and dividends, and net transfer payments (such as pension funds and worker remittances) to and from the rest of the world during the period specified.
If someone were to ask you what countries in the world have strong, thriving economies right now, what countries would you think of?
Would countries like China, Germany, Russia and Saudi Arabia come to mind?
Well, all of those nations have huge positive current account balances. In fact, China has the best current account balance in the world at +$305 billion.
So who is on the other end of the scale?
The following information comes directly from a CIA World Factbook chart….
190 Turkey $ -48,420,000,000
191 Canada $ -48,500,000,000
192 India $ -51,780,000,000
193 France $ -54,400,000,000
194 United Kingdom $ -56,190,000,000
195 Spain $ -63,650,000,000
196 Italy $ -67,940,000,000
197 United States $ -470,200,000,000
The United States is rated dead last at number 197.
Just take a close look at those numbers for a minute.
The U.S. had a current account balance of negative 470 billion dollars in 2010. That figure was almost 7 times worse than the next worst country (Italy).
Not only does the United States have the worst current account balance in the entire world, the truth is that no other country is even in the same ballpark as us.
We are bleeding wealth so fast that it is hard to even describe it.
But perhaps a real life example can help put this all into perspective.
One 22-year-old Saudi Arabian student has a collection of sports cars that is worth more than 12 million dollars. Reportedly, his collection includes at least three Lamborghinis, five Ferraris and five Porsches.
And guess who paid for it?
Every month, billions of dollars go out of the United States to help pay for the insane lifestyles of the ultra-wealthy oil barons of the Middle East.
Meanwhile, dozens of major U.S. cities are degenerating into hellholes.
Once upon a time, Detroit was one of the greatest industrial cities that the world has ever seen. It was the envy of the entire globe.
But now Detroit is an utter nightmare….
*An analysis of census figures found that 48.5% of all men living in Detroit from age 20 to age 64 did not have a job in 2008.
*If you can believe it, the median price of a home in Detroit is now just $6000.
*Only 25 percent of students in Detroit graduate from high school.
So what happened to Detroit?
Well, just as has been happening in so many other U.S. cities, industry has been leaving at an astounding pace.
As I have written about previously, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day were shut down in the United States during 2010.
Overall, the U.S. has lost a total of more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.
This country is bleeding middle class jobs profusely, and neither major political party seems to care.
American family budgets are being stretched tighter and tighter these days. There are not nearly enough good jobs to go around and yet the cost of everything just seems to keep going up.
Many families are going into massive amounts of debt in an attempt to make ends meet. According to a recent CNN article, credit card use in the United States is experiencing a major upswing once again….
Purchases made with credit cards rose 8.2% in the first quarter of 2011, 9% in the second quarter and 10.6% in the third quarter, according to First Data.
Of course American consumers were out in force on Black Friday once again this year. They gleefully filled up their carts with cheap plastic crap made overseas, and many racked up huge credit card balances in the process.
But most of us never stop to think about those that make all of these cheap plastic products for us.
Thanks to the globalization of the economy, big corporations and corrupt governments can make stuff in countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages and then ship their products into the United States for free.
It is important for all of us to learn what actually happens to these people that are working so hard for slave labor wages. The following comes from a recent article in the Guardian….
At the Hung Hing factory the researcher found that the 8,000 workers put in up to 100 hours of overtime a month, far in excess of the legal maximum. Workers say they have to sign a document agreeing to work additional overtime on top of the legal maximum. The basic wage was £132 a month (up to £250 with maximum overtime payments) but wages were paid up to three weeks late.
Workers complained of inadequate training with the factory machines and last year one worker died when he fell into a machine. They said there were frequent injuries and concerns over the chemicals used. There were also complaints about the standard of the dormitories, where water for washing and flushing toilets is turned off at 10pm.
How in the world are American workers supposed to “compete” for jobs at those wage levels?
As I have written about previously, Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton University is warning that 40 million more U.S. jobs could be sent offshore over the next two decades if nothing is done to stop this.
But instead, our “representatives” in Congress just keep pushing more “free trade” agreements as the answer to our problems. Congress has passed new free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, and the Obama administration has made “the NAFTA of the Pacific” a very high priority.
Well, if “free trade” is supposed to create so many jobs, then why was last decade the worst decade for the creation of jobs since the Great Depression?
If you can believe it, zero jobs were created between 1999 and 2009. The following comes from an article in Washington Monthly….
“If any single number captures the state of the American economy over the last decade, it is zero. That was the net gain in jobs between 1999 and 2009—nada, nil, zip. By painful contrast, from the 1940s through the 1990s, recessions came and went, but no decade ended without at least a 20 percent increase in the number of jobs.”
But our leaders don’t care about us. In fact, even the members of Obama’s “jobs panel” have been shipping jobs out of the United States at a very rapid pace.
The U.S. has run a negative balance of trade with the rest of the globe every single year since 1976. During that time, the U.S. has run up a total trade deficit of more than 7.5 trillion dollars with the rest of the planet.
That 7.5 trillion dollars could have gone to support U.S. workers and U.S. businesses.
But it didn’t. Instead, it went out of the country and it made foreigners wealthier as our own cities slowly rotted.
Now we are actually passing laws that encourage wealthy foreigners to come in and buy up pieces of the United States.
For example, there is actually a bill in Congress that would automatically give residence visas to any foreigners that are willing to spend at least half a million dollars to buy houses inside the United States.
The idea behind the bill is that this will get the housing market moving again.
There aren’t enough Americans with good jobs to buy houses, so we have now decided to beg foreigners to buy them.
How bizarre is that?
Until our horrendous balance of trade is fixed, the employment situation in this country is going to continue to get worse.
Any politician that tries to sell you on a “jobs plan” that does not address our balance of trade is either totally incompetent or is straight out lying to you.
The economic infrastructure of America is crumbling a little bit more every single day. If something dramatic is not done, we will continue to bleed businesses, bleed jobs and bleed wealth.
Please share this information with as many people as you can. The American people need to understand what is happening to the economy. We need to work to wake up as many people as we can before it is too late.
If you think the U.S. economy is bad now, just wait for a few months. Things are about to become absolutely nightmarish. None of the long-term economic trends that are hollowing out our economy have been addressed and more bad economic news seems to come out virtually every single day. Now there is constant talk of the “next recession” in the mainstream media. But did the last recession ever truly end? The number of good jobs continues to decline, more stores are closing, incomes continue to go down, credit card debt and student loan debt are soaring, the housing market resembles a corpse, the number of Americans living in poverty continues to rise and government debt is at unprecedented levels. We are losing blood fast, and almost all of our leaders are either too corrupt or too incompetent to be able to do anything about it. The U.S. economy really and truly is about to go into the toilet, and if something is not done very quickly we are going to experience a complete and total economic disaster in this nation.
Americans have been promised over and over that this economic downturn is just “temporary” and that things will return to normal soon. During this upcoming election cycle, the Democrats will swear that they have all the answers and that if we just elect them everything will be okay. The Republicans will also swear that they have all the answers and that if we just elect them everything will be okay.
Well, both sides are lying. The economic plans of both major political parties are a joke. Neither of them can restore economic prosperity to this nation.
Our politicians could delay the coming economic collapse by borrowing gigantic piles of money and pumping all of that cash into the economy. But stealing from our children and our grandchildren is not exactly sound economic policy.
Yes, the U.S. economy is in bad shape right now, but things are about to get even worse. The long-term problems that are destroying our economy have not been fixed, and the leaks in our ship are going to continue to grow.
The following are 30 signs that the U.S. economy is about to go into the toilet….
#1 An increasing number of unemployed Americans have become so desperate that they have started to look for work overseas. For example, the number of Americans that are submitting applications for temporary work visas in Canada has approximately doubled since 2008. Other Americans are willing to learn foreign languages and travel to the other side of the world if that is what it takes to land a decent job. Just consider the following quote from a recent USA Today report….
Job placement firms are reporting a surge in American worker interest in booming economies such as Hong Kong, Singapore, China and, increasingly, India. Hunt Partners, an executive search firm, estimates that it’s getting 50% to 100% more unsolicited résumés from Americans looking for Asia-based positions today than before the recession.
#2 When Barack Obama first took office, the official U.S. unemployment rate was 7.6 percent. Today it is 9.1 percent.
#3 The number of Americans that are concerned that they will lose their jobs continues to hover near record highs. According to Gallup, 30 percent of all employed Americans are worried that they will soon be laid off.
#4 After three straight years of very high unemployment, you can feel frustration and desperation in the air almost everywhere that you go. Many unemployed Americans are now at the end of their ropes. The following is from a testimonial that was recently posted on The Atlantic….
The most difficult part of the job search is:
1. that I don’t live near a factory or outsource outlet in China, India, or Malaysia.
2. trying not to appear desperate for a job when I am, in fact, quite desperate for a job.
3. that I am subject to everyone’s advice on how to get a job, but no real job leads.
4. that I am reminded that having a good job is not an entitlement.
5. that when I become depressed from my job search, I’m told told to cheer up or else give a bad vibe to prospective employers … yet when I become happy through non-search related activities, I am reminded that I should be looking for work
7. that when I confide to friends and family that I have “given up” to pursue more fruitful interests, it elicits a crushing look of disbelief, disappointment, and disgust
8. waiting for permission to give up.
#5 The percentage of American men that are employed continues to plummet. In July, only 63.5 percent of all men in the United States had a job. Since 1948, that number has only been lower one time (63.3 percent in December 2009).
#6 Back in the 1950s, manufacturing accounted for about 28 percent of U.S. GDP. Last year, it accounted for just 11.7 percent. Meanwhile, manufacturing now accounts for about 25 percent of GDP in China and they now actually have more factory production each year than we do. Sadly, Barack Obama is pushing for even more trade agreements that will send millions more of our jobs overseas.
#7 The percentage of Americans that are working low paying jobs continues to relentlessly march upwards. Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs. Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.
#8 According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, after you add in all short-term discouraged workers, all long-term discouraged workers and all Americans that are working part-time because they cannot find full-time employment, the real unemployment rate should be approximately 23 percent.
#9 We are starting to see another huge wave of store closings and layoffs. For example, the parent company of Payless stores has announced that it will be permanently closing 475 stores. Borders is in the process of closing every single one of its 399 stores. Also, Bank of America has just announced that it will be closing about 600 branches, and that could result in the loss of about 30,000 good jobs.
#10 Median household income has fallen for three years in a row.
#11 Americans are really starting to rack up consumer debt once again. According to Time Magazine, U.S. consumers are on pace to collectively add 54 billion dollars in credit card debt in 2011.
#12 Student loan defaults are rising very sharply. Just consider the following excerpt from a recent New York Times article….
The share of federal student loan defaults rose sharply last year, especially at for-profit colleges and universities, where 15 percent of borrowers defaulted in the first two years of repayment, up from 11.6 percent the previous year.
#13 According to a chart in The Economist, whenever the number of newspaper articles in the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal that mention the word “recession” goes over 1,500 in a particular quarter, the U.S. economy almost always goes into a recession.
#14 The U.S. housing crash just continues to get worse. The index of home builder sentiment put out by the National Association of Home Builders fell once again during the month of September. With such a glut of unsold foreclosed homes on the market, it is making things really hard of home builders. Things have gotten so bad that even the U.S. government now owns nearly a quarter of a million foreclosed homes. The impact of this housing nightmare on families has been absolutely devastating. Just check out what a recent Time Magazine article had to say about what has been going on in California….
The impact on children has been brutal: since 2007, 7% of the state’s children have had a foreclosure process started on their homes, the fourth-highest level in the nation, according to a study released this month by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
#15 Many believe that due to much tighter lending standards, it is now harder to be approved for a mortgage than at any other time since World War II. This is absolutely crushing the housing market.
#16 Most Americans don’t seem to expect housing prices to recover for an extended period of time. One recent survey found that 54 percent of Americans believe that there will not be a housing recovery until “2014 or later“.
#17 The combined debt of the largest GSEs (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Sallie Mae) has increased from 3.2 trillion in 2008 to a whopping 6.4 trillion in 2011. If that debt goes bad, U.S. taxpayers will be left holding the bill.
#18 There are now nearly 50 million Americans that do not have health insurance, and the percentage of Americans covered by employer-based health plans has fallen for 11 years in a row. Meanwhile, Americans now spend about 3 times as much on health care as they did back in 1990.
#19 The Postal Service has publicly announced that it is “on the verge” of financial collapse.
#20 The number of small businesses continues to fall. I recently noted this fact on The American Dream Blog….
The number of “self-employed” Americans continues to rapidly shrink. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.6 million Americans were self-employed back in December 2006. Today, that number has shrunk to 14.5 million. Even though we have 14 million unemployed people in this country and jobs are incredibly difficult to come by, the number of people trying to work for themselves continues to decrease because the environment for small businesses in this country has become so incredibly toxic.
#21 American consumers have become tremendously pessimistic. According to one recent survey, 61 percent of all Americans believe that they will not return to their “pre-recession” lifestyles until at least 2014. According to a different recent survey, 39 percent of Americans actually believe that the U.S. economy has now entered a “permanent decline”.
#22 Many U.S. investors certainly seem to believe that trouble is coming. According to CNN, last month the number of bets against the S&P 500 was the highest that we have seen in about a year.
#23 The number of U.S. households that are “doubling up” continues to grow. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of combined households has increased by 10.7 percent since 2007.
#24 When Barack Obama moved into the White House, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States was $1.83. Today it is $3.58.
#25 The number of Americans living in poverty grew by 2.6 million last year. That was the largest increase since the U.S. government began calculating poverty figures back in 1959.
#26 Back in the year 2000, 11.3% of all Americans were living in poverty. Today, 15.1% of all Americans are living in poverty.
#27 On Barack Obama’s first day on the job, there were about 32 million Americans on food stamps. Today, there are more than 45 million Americans on food stamps.
#28 If there is a financial collapse in Europe, that will definitely plunge us into another recession. Right now, things do not look promising. At this point, headlines all over the world are proclaiming that Greece is dangerously close to defaulting.
#29 At some point soon, investors all over the globe may decide that it is time to start dumping U.S. government debt. For example, Chinese officials are now openly talking about the need to “liquidate” their holdings of U.S. Treasuries.
#30 The U.S. national debt continues to explode in size and spiral out of control. According to Professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff, the U.S. “fiscal gap” increased by about 6 trillion dollars last year. In fact, Kotlikoff makes a compelling argument that Greece is actually in better shape financially than the United States is.
Do you now understand how much trouble we are in?
The long-term trends that are destroying us continue to get worse.
The United States is steamrolling directly toward an economic collapse.
When this economy hits bottom and splatters all over the place, it is not going to be easy to fix.
The America that we know today is going to be wiped out by a gigantic mountain of debt and by the consequences of decades of really bad decisions.
We were handed the keys to the greatest economic machine in the history of the world and we have wrecked it.
So prepare for really, really hard times ahead.
The era of endless prosperity is ending.
Next comes the pain.
It is not just the United States that is headed for an economic collapse. The truth is that the entire world is heading for a massive economic meltdown and the people of earth need to be warned about the coming economic disaster that is going to sweep the globe. The current world financial system is based on debt, and there are alarming signs that the gigantic global debt bubble is getting ready to burst. In addition, global prices for the key resources that the major economies of the planet depend on are rising very rapidly. Despite all of our advanced technology, the truth is that human civilization simply cannot function without oil and food. But now the price of oil and the price of food are both increasing dramatically. So how is the current global economy supposed to keep functioning properly if it soon costs much more to ship products between continents? How are the billions of people that are just barely surviving today supposed to feed themselves if the price of food goes up another 30 or 40 percent? For decades, most of the major economies around the globe have been able to take for granted that massive amounts of cheap oil and massive amounts of cheap food will always be there. So what happens when that paradigm changes?
At last check, the price of U.S. crude was over 104 dollars a barrel and the price of Brent crude was over 115 dollars a barrel. Many analysts fear that if the crisis in Libya escalates or if the chaos in the Middle East spreads that we could see the all-time record of 147 dollars a barrel broken by the end of the year. That would be absolutely disastrous for the global economy.
But it isn’t just the chaos in the Middle East that is driving oil prices. The truth is that oil prices have been moving upwards for months. The recent revolutions in the Middle East have only accelerated the trend.
Let’s just hope that the “day of rage” being called for in Saudi Arabia later this month does not turn into a full-blown revolution like we have seen in other Middle Eastern countries. The Saudis keep a pretty tight grip on their people, but at this point anything is possible. A true revolution in Saudi Arabia would send oil prices into unprecedented territory very quickly.
But even without all of the trouble in the Middle East the world was already heading for an oil crunch. The global demand for oil is rising at a very vigorous pace. For example, last year Chinese demand for oil increased by almost 1 million barrels per day. That is absolutely staggering. The Chinese are now buying more new cars every year than Americans are, and so Chinese demand for oil is only going to continue to increase.
Much could be done to increase the global supply of oil, but so far our politicians and the major oil company executives are sitting on their hands. They seem to like the increasing oil prices.
So for now it looks like oil prices will continue to rise and this is going to result in much higher prices at the gas pump.
Already, ABC News is reporting that regular unleaded gasoline is going for $5.29 a gallon at one gas station in Orlando, Florida.
The U.S. economy in particular is vulnerable to rising oil prices because our entire economic system is designed around cheap gasoline. If the price of gas goes up to 5 or 6 dollars a gallon and it stays there it is going to have a catastrophic effect on the U.S. economy.
Just remember what happened back in 2008. The price of oil hit an all-time high of $147 a barrel and then a few months later the entire financial system had a major meltdown.
Well, as the price of oil rises it is going to create a whole lot of imbalances in the global financial system once again.
This is definitely a situation that we should all be watching.
But it is not just the price of oil that could cause a global economic disaster.
The global price of food could potentially be even more concerning. As you read this, there are about 3 billion people around the globe that live on the equivalent of 2 dollars a day or less. Those people cannot afford for food prices to go up much.
But global food prices are rising. According to the United Nations, the global price of food has risen for 8 consecutive months. Last month, the global price of food set a brand new all-time record high. Many are starting to fear that we could actually be in the early stages of a major global food crisis.
The price of just about every major agricultural commodity has been absolutely soaring during the past year….
*The price of corn has doubled over the last six months.
*The price of wheat has more than doubled over the past year.
*The price of soybeans is up about 50% since last June.
*The price of cotton has more than doubled over the past year.
*The commodity price of orange juice has doubled since 2009.
*The price of sugar is the highest it has been in 30 years.
Unfortunately, the production of food in most countries around the world is very highly dependent on oil, so as oil goes up in price this is going to make the food crisis even worse.
Hold on to your hats folks.
Also, as I have written about previously, the world is facing some very serious problems when it comes to water. Due to the greed of the global elite, there is not nearly enough fresh water to go around. The following are some very disturbing facts about the global water situation….
*Worldwide demand for fresh water tripled during the last century, and is now doubling every 21 years.
*According to USAID, one-third of all humans will face severe or chronic water shortages by the year 2025.
*Of the 60 million people added to the world’s cities every year, the vast majority of them live in impoverished slums and shanty-towns with no sanitation facilities whatsoever.
*It is estimated that 75 percent of India’s surface water is now contaminated by human and agricultural waste.
*Not only that, but according to a UN study on sanitation, far more people in India have access to a mobile phone than to a toilet.
*In northern China, the water table is dropping one meter per year due to overpumping.
These days, one of the trendy things to do is to call water “the oil of the 21st century”, but unfortunately that is not a completely inaccurate statement. Fresh, clean water is something that we all need, but right now world supplies are getting tight.
Our politicians and the global elite could be doing something about this if they really wanted to, but right now they seem perfectly fine with what is happening.
On top of everything else, the sovereign debt crisis is worse than it has ever been before.
All of the major global central banks have been feverishly printing money in an attempt to “paper over” this crisis, but it is not going to work.
Most Americans don’t realize it, but right now the continent of Europe is a financial basket case. Greece and Ireland would have imploded already if they had not been bailed out, and now Portugal is on the verge of collapse. The interest rate on Portugal’s 10-year notes has now been above 7% for about 3 weeks, and most analysts believe that it is only a matter of time before they are forced to accept a bailout.
Sadly, if the entire global economy experiences a slowdown because of rising oil prices, we could see half a dozen European nations default on their debts if they are not bailed out.
For now the Germans seem fine with bailing out the weak sisters that are all around them, but that isn’t going to last forever.
A day or reckoning is coming for Europe, and when it arrives the reverberations are going to be felt all across the face of the earth. The euro is on very shaky ground already, and whether or not it can survive the coming crisis is an open question.
Of course there are some very serious concerns about Asia as well. The national debt of Japan is now well over 200% of GDP and nobody seems to have a solution for their problems. Up to this point, Japan has been able to borrow massive amounts of money at extremely low interest rates from their own people, but that isn’t going to last forever either.
As I have written about so many times before, the biggest debt problem of all is the United States. Barack Obama is projecting that the federal budget deficit for this fiscal year will be a new all-time record 1.65 trillion dollars. It is expected that the total U.S. national debt will surpass the 15 trillion dollar mark by the end of the fiscal year.
Shouldn’t we have some sort of celebration when that happens?
15 trillion dollars is quite an achievement.
Most Americans cannot even conceive of a debt that large. If the federal government began right at this moment to repay the U.S. national debt at a rate of one dollar per second, it would take over 440,000 years to pay off the national debt.
But the United States is not alone. The truth is that wherever you look, there is a sea of red ink covering the planet.
The current global financial system is entirely based on debt. If the total amount of debt does not continually expand, the system will crash. If somehow a way was found to keep this system going perpetually (which is impossible), the size of global debt would keep on increasing infinitely.
Now the World Economic Forum says that we need to grow the total amount of debt by another 100 trillion dollars over the next ten years to “support” the anticipated amount of “economic growth” around the world that they expect to see.
The entire global financial system is a gigantic Ponzi scheme. It is designed to keep everyone enslaved to perpetual debt. If at some point the debt spiral gets interrupted in some significant way, we are going to witness an economic disaster that is going to make what happened in 2008 look like a Sunday picnic.
The more research that one does on the current global economic situation, the more clear it becomes that we are absolutely doomed.
So people of earth you had better get ready.
An economic disaster is coming.
Does your family have an economic disaster plan? If not, why not? By now, most people know that very hard economic times are coming. No, America is not going to turn into a post-apocalyptic war zone where motorcycle gangs ravage the populace next week, but the truth is that it doesn’t take a genius to understand that the U.S. economic system (and indeed the entire world economic system) is in the process of dying. For decades we have lived far beyond our means by borrowing insane amounts of money, but the party is ending and now many of us are going to get to experience what it means to live below our means. The golden days of the U.S. economic machine are gone, and now we are moving into a time when we are going to reap the fruit of the incredibly foolish economic policies of the past hundred years. Meanwhile, the two major political parties will continue to play the American people against each other. The Democrats will insist that everything will be great if we just give them control. The Republicans will insist that everything will be great if we just give them control. But the truth is that both political parties have had numerous chances over the past 50 years, and each of them have blown them badly. Both parties have had a hand in piling up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world, both parties have been complicit in shipping our jobs and our factories off to China and to dozens of third world nations, both parties have dramatically expanded the size of government and the welfare state when they were in control, and both parties have continually handed more power to the big banks and to the Federal Reserve. We built an entire economy based on paper money and a gigantic spiral of debt and now the wheels are starting to come off and people are starting to panic. We are truly going to pay the price for decades of foolish decisions.
Not that an economic collapse is the only reason to have a family disaster plan. We live at a time when it seems like the whole world is going crazy. You never know when or where the next oil spill, hurricane, earthquake, volcano, pandemic or terror event is going to strike.
So the reality is that it is imperative that we all have a disaster plan that sets out exactly how we are going to provide food, water, shelter and security for our families in the event of a major disaster or emergency.
So exactly what should such a disaster plan entail?
If you have not done so already, please read the following two articles that we previously published on this theme….
1) 20 Things You Will Need To Survive When The Economy Collapses And The Next Great Depression Begins
2) What To Do
Both of those articles lay out some of the basic principles of emergency preparedness.
But there is so much to know about emergency preparation beyond just the basics.
Over the last couple of months, the readers of this column have shared some amazing information on this topic, and we have compiled some of the very best of those tips below….
As a long time hiker and back country lover I have had a bit of experience in rustic living. From Tents in the Rockies and Sierras to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and an old trapper’s cabin in Alaska I have pretty much lived in that way most of my life.
Survival depends on a lot of things, not just how much grub you got or how many bottles of water are stashed away. If all roads are blocked your stocked RV is suddenly going to be a liability not an asset.With roads blocked by earthquake or check points the ability to travel cross country will be reduced to foot transportation, unless you plan to tote your pick-up over the mountains think lighter….
If it all goes up the first thing you must do is realize that this is not a camping trip, you come home from a camping trip, you won’t have a home to come to if it all goes up. You are going to have to find food and water as you go and in the case of food you will most likely have to kill it and clean it. Man bites dog will have a whole new meaning.
That is where the best survival tool will be most welcome. The nice thing about this tool is it takes up no room and it doesn’t weigh an oz. Become knowledgeable.learn about water and how to test it, find it and save it. learn how to preserve foods by drying or smoking. learn what plants in your area can be eaten or used for medicine.
You get the idea here, the more ya know the longer you will live. One of the places I have spent some time hiking is the Idaho and Utah boarder area and parts of the old Boozeman Trail. one of the remarkable things you see on the Trail is tons of cast Iron cook stoves, nickel trimmed Parlor stoves, furniture, house hold goods, sinks etc. that litter the ground. All tossed off overloaded wagons, from about the middle part of the Trail tapering off to just a few items the farther west they got. Take to much you have to throw it away.
A good make pro back pack, a good sleeping bag/ground pad, light tent, fire making items, [ I recommend a mag and steel striker. ]a good hand axe, a good hunting knife, a pro grade compass, [Learn how to use it.} Food, freeze dried is best very lite and can carry many days of food. Limit clothes as appropriate for the weather and how much you can carry. Water, what you can carry and treatment tablets for new sources if in doubt. Other wise boil it for ten mins.
Things like sewing kits are nice but won’t kill ya if you don’t have one. Judge your wants balanced against your needs, in the case of candles and radios and such, they are heavy hard to secure and take up lots of room. In the case of candles I’ve had them melt all over the inside of my back pack not a fun thing.
Keep it light and essential,you may have to relocate in a big hurry. Now, do you see why community is a good idea? You can survive one man alone, but in a group is easier, safer and more productive and more fun. Here’s hoping all your trips are camping trips and may you always come home.
Food: If you are about to go on a long “hike” like for a couple of weeks… seriously fatten up. Talk to anyone who has done ranger school. They lose 20-45lbs in only 63 days. Most fatten up just before going. If you only have one meal/ day, then eat in the morning and eat small amounts throughout the day (like a candy or cracker) and keep drinking water. Surprise salt is important, dont go low sodium in food especially if you are consuming a lot of water. On the move, Eat the most perishable first, eat based solely off the energy you are expending. If you open it consume it, or you will have unwanted pests/animals. In bear country, hang it from a high limb away from where you sleep. If you cant brush your teeth, chew gum, or chew soft twigs.
Gerber or Leatherman is better than a Swiss knife, and BTW Butch I pack heat, so good luck and don’t let the laser sight on your forehead deter you.
Gasoline doesnt store for very long, and know the difference between diesel and gas (I know this is basic, but some people cant tell except for what it says at the pump). And also know that Syphoning gas from new autos is impossible, so don’t try, remove it from the fuel line/filter under the car.
Have a small tool kit/box, with basic tools.
If you are on the move, the right Clothing is extremely important…. Get loose fitting clothing that you can easily layer, have about 3 layers or more (depending on your local climate). One layered set should be enough, but you NEED extra socks, 2-3 pair (or more) of heavy cushioned socks are ESSENTIAL if you are on the move. Change your socks every day, even if you cannot wash them. A week could turn into a month. Dont pack underwear, b/c after a week it will be gone anyway (Most infantry soldiers go without in the field) and is just extra weight. Think of going for a long hunting trip when packing this up, and remember its always colder than you think even in the summer especially when you cannot go indoors anywhere. Pack gloves and ski type hats. At a minimum, keep your feet and shoes dry. If they get wet, walk it out, & change socks more frequently. In the cold, Keep your shoes/boots next to you when you sleep to keep them warm and be ready if you need to move out quickly. Dont be unpacked, take out what you need and leave the rest packed. You may have to take off quickly. (Pack everything you want to keep dry in gallon-sized ziplocks)
Don’t rely on a store first aid kits, buy a medium sized tool bag and get a good first aid “trauma” list(most stuff you can get at walmart). But also consider learning how to start an IV and get a few. Also, address all knicks and cuts, even the small ones. Infections can put you under, ESPECIALLY ON YOUR FEET/LEGS.
Water: If you have bleach, you can use that to purify water. One drop per Quart. Be careful, if you use too much then you will have a bad case of buttmud.
Fire: can be started with 2 D-cell batteries and steel wool, but invest in a magnesium stick that you can use with a knife.
If Money is worthless, have things to bargin with & you will be better off. Consider gold coins, you can always cut off chucks to use as payment. CAUTION: To much of something valuable will make you a target, so consider things that are valuable other than Gold.
A NON-digital watch is helpful, and can be used for navigation… plz dont ask, google it or get a survival book (which is also good) – I use the SAS survival book
MAPS!!!!! Hello, a good map of your area where you intend on going is very helpful, especially of your immediate area (topographic) and will help you locate water. It is impossible to hand carry your water needs, know your sources along your route. Keep a good small atlas with your kit, may have to leave a contaminated area and may have to travel on the roads or beside the roads. You can easily use a good atlas to terrain navigate in lieu of a good topo map. Know the state evacuation routes, then plan an alternative b/c they will be packed.
Set up “rally” points that everyone knows and will link up or leave messages if safe and no communications exist.
Flashlight: invest in an efficient LED headlamp, that way you have both hands free.
The AXE is not required: You need only a good Knife, like a K-bar…dont buy a cheap hollow survival knife (they will break), buy a regular good 5-8in blade that is heavy and durable. You can use the knife with a piece of wood or log to hammer the knife like an axe for firewood….but your call. Remember, you may have to carry it.
If you have a friend in Spec ops or is a Ranger, Seal, etc… ask them for tips or advice… we train in this type of thing.
There are other things people can do; must do: Build up a network of support. Get to know your neighbors and be certain all of you support one another. I live in a small development of about 90 homes. We are closed off from the main highway and, even in these relatively ‘good’ times, we always rely on one another for various things (i.e. snow ploughing, lawn mowing, etc.). Make a plan with your family, if they’re not nearby, so that in tough times you’re not alone. Develop a skill. Learn how to make bread, for instance, from flour on a wood stove. Become an expert ‘handyman,’ the ability to repair things will be an important skill. Plan for the worst, hope for the best. In either case, you’ll be prepared.
You’d be surprised at how little work it takes to have a seed turn into dinner. It’s almost as if that was what the seed was designed to do. Even people in apartments can cut their food down quite a bit with herbs, tomatoes, and the like in the windows. 1/4 acre can feed a family of more than four, and that’s worth spending a few minutes a day if you ask me.
A couple of useful items: Clorox. Very cheap. Can purify water and also handy for sterilizing anything. Saving a pile of old newspapers is another good cheap item — useful for starting a fire and, hey— better than nothing, using as toilet paper. More expensive — a couple of handfuls of silver coins in case no one wants US paper dollars.
Also, look at yard sales and thrift shops. If you really need a couple of cheap shirts, instead of buying cheap ones made in India, recycle what is already in your community, putting some money into your neighbors’ pockets.
Try to buy food locally. It’s more expensive, but if you are careful, you can find a few affordable items. If you live in the city, talk to your local council and try to get projects going that allow community vegetable patches on vacant land. In some areas this is already happening. Grow herbs in your kitchen. When you are down to beans and rice, it is amazing how a little bit of fresh herbs can spice up your life. YOu have a sunny window in your house? Start growing something easy like zucchini.
Learn how to repair – anything. You won’t get rich, but you might eventually make a decent living. Most of us are getting poorer and are going to want what we have to last longer. I remember as a kid in a small town there was a shoe repair shop, an electrical repair shop, a furniture repair shop, etc. Now they have all disappeared because most of us have gotten use to throwing things out and buying new. My guess is that the market for repairs is only going to grow.
Have you got a sewing machine? Buy up cheap clothing/fabrics from a thrift shop and turn them into quilts, stuffed animals, bags, interesting clothes for kids. This Xmas lots of people are going to be looking for cheap gifts for their children. You won’t be making much per hour, but at least you might be making something
Go dumpster diving. Especially if you live in a private college town, you will be amazed at how much perfectly good clothing and furniture gets dumped every year. In a small town that I visit every summer, one thrift shop fills a complete dumpster with clothes every week – almost all of it in near perfect condition. The dumpsters near dorms are overflowing at the end of terms.
Boycott. Don’t buy from/do business with companies that send all their jobs overseas.
If you live in a place with a community college and if you have a bit of money, learn a trade. Community colleges tend to be relatively cheap and they give you good skills. And if you have a kid of college age, ask them if they really want that degree in 18th century literature badly enough to starve.
Finally – get involved and become political. A lot of people know that they are not happy, but they are not sure what to do and are waiting around for other people to come up with the solutions. Start thinking about something that is important to you locally, regionally or nationally and figure out a way to be part of the solution. One reason we are in such a mess is because we all tuned out a bit and let the bigshots call all the shots – and they created a world that works great for them, but at our expense.
Every once in a while, I see these “survivalist” cans of Costa Rican canned green coffee beans. Ok, so I pay about $80 bucks (not to mention some paying for some hefty shipping charges). I thought to myself-why can’t I do it (in the spirit of DIY). Ok, it can be easily done. First, purchase GREEN coffee beans. Second, seal them in a good container. I use a half gallon Ball canning jar WITH an oxygen absorber. A half gallon jar will hold about 2.5 pounds of beans and I use one or two 500CC oxygen absorbers-just to make sure no oxygen exists afterwards. Thrid, Seal the jar with a new canning jar lid. Keep out of light. No moisture (dry beans and glass sealed jar), no oxygen (absorber does that), no light, and keep in cool storage (room temp or cooler); and the coffee is good to go for years!
I will tell you that a swiss army knife wont cut it, you need a good beefy knife like a K-Bar fighting knife something you can use to pound, dig, chop, and even kill with if nessesary, a SOG is another good choice, remember you get what you pay for. Also read and study up time I believe is short a good manual is Emergency Preparedness and Survival Guide from Backwoods Home magazine is a very good book to have along with all the military survival manuals you can get your hands on, arm up with a Good rifle a good sidearm and plenty of ammo, enough food for a year and good luck. Praying Helps moreso than most would believe, God Bless.
Knowledge is the store of value that “neither moth nor flame can corrupt or destoy” They can’t take that from you.
Store enough food to make it through a year from ANY point in the agricultural cycle. Start growing food now, so you can learn how it works. A farmer doesn’t become a farmer after one or two seasons, you must get everything wrong before you know how to do it right, and that takes time and experience. Start now, its July…plant greens in August and have salads through November just to get some experience.
Basically, you will find that it breaks down like this…If you can’t grow it, mine it, trade for it, or kill for it; you are not going to have it, and if you are not prepared to do all four of those, you are in danger.
There exists a critical tipping point, a point of mass despair and anger that will capitulate our way of life. This is NOT like the 30’s. In that era, we were set up to live autonomously, so long as we could keep the mortgator at bay (with a shotgun) we are not like that anymore. Americans especially are not prepared for what is coming. We are too integrated. Most have neither the means or opportunity to live autonomously, they only have fear as the motive when they run out of food or are kicked out of their homes. Very dangerous, they are forced to crime. In the 30’s, people were bummed that they had to return to the agrarian lifestyle of their ancestors on the family farm instead of “making it” in the city, we don’t have that option today. People will riot hard and more and more police are laid off every day.
One day, the power will go out and not return. The day that happens, the poles will be felled for the wood, and the copper stripped for trade. Then, the infrastructure is gone. Remember that sight, as the defining momonet of the descent.
The two of us have a tiller, a grubbing hoe and some smaller hoes. Each spring we hire a tractor to prepare the garden. Get soil tested through gov’t. or ag school for knowledge of correct soil amendments (lime, fertilizer etc.) Bugs will take care of themselves for the most part, though some hand work may be necessary. Diseases will need to be worked around (different varieties of plants) We don’t use poisons.
We work about an hour a day in the spring, 4-5 days a week on about 1/2 acre, less as the year goes along. We grow two crops, the fall garden is usually small. Our biggest chore is weeds. The two of us could live off of this if we had to. We have about 20 fig trees and lots of other fruit trees. Yes, we are blessed. But there is something we can all do to supplement the bounty nature gives.
City folk, think small. You will be amazed at what some diligence and patience will do when joined to a willing hand and some knowledge. By the way, the sweetest meal you will ever eat is the one you grow yourself.
Lots of you talk about slavery. The best way out is to get rich. The best way to get rich is slowly. If you are profligate forget it. But if you save some of everything you get and through nothing away that has any possible worth, you will start finding ways to save a penny here and there.
And community is the long term key to subsistence. Even the hard-headedest persons I know take notice when the fruits of frugality are exposed. I can’t fix a motor and my mechanic neighbor can’t grow corn. I have gone out of my way to make him a friend.
We Americans are resourceful when not anesthetized by superfluity. Despise nothing. Make every object the subject of evaluation. A lot of something adds up to a little of anything.
Those of us who are preparing for what now seems to be at our door will be ready. Not only preparing with water, food, fuel, matches, seasonal clothing and whatever else is needed, we will be the few who do survive and will remember the rest of you who did not ‘believe’.
There is no shame in getting ready for any event, especially when it comes on suddenly. Those caught by surprise are the ones who will suffer the most. If you think because you have guns and ammo that you will come and take away what you feel you need and deserve, how?
Without water after two days you will be delirious to the point you can’t think straight. After five days of beans and bacon bits you’ll wish you had stocked up on toilet paper. When you come staggering up with gun in hand, do you really think you’ll be able to pull off this ‘robbery’ and take what you can, how?
Will you have a shopping cart or a little red wagon? Maybe the back of your pickup would work but where will you get the gas? How can you carry anything with guns in hand, don’t you think there will be others waiting who will then take advantage of you?
Those who think the ‘community’ idea won’t work are those who can’t get along with or won’t trust other people. How can you stay awake and alert for 24/7, you, the wife and kids against what odds? Think about it, trusting family, neighbors and friends in a small group will be the only way to get through this unless they bomb us into eternity.
A small group can provide many things, sharing in the expense of preparing and putting things away in the best, safest location you can find. Those living in a city, large town or even in a development, you need to have a plan of escape to quickly get to a safer location.
So what do you think of the tips shared by the readers? Do you have any additional disaster plan tips to share? Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below….
There are quite a few U.S. cities that are complete and utter economic disaster zones in 2010 (Detroit for example), but there is something about the demise of Las Vegas that is absolutely stunning. In recent decades, Las Vegas has become a symbol for the over-the-top affluence and decadence of America. But now it is a microcosm of the economic nightmare that has gripped the entire nation. When the subprime mortgage crisis stuck, no major U.S. city was more devastated than Las Vegas. When the recession went from bad to worse, Americans decided that they really didn’t need to gamble so much and casino revenues plummeted. Suddenly unemployment started to increase dramatically in Vegas and even today it continues to soar. Like so many other cities that are highly dependent on tourism and entertainment, Las Vegas has gone from boom to bust. Local officials are hoping that the worst will soon be over, but the truth is that the worst is yet to come. As the U.S. economy continues to unravel, average Americans will be spending what little money they do have to put a roof over their heads and to feed their families. The truth is that the glory days of Las Vegas are over and they are not coming back.
Already, the number of unemployed in Las Vegas is reaching unprecedented levels. Unemployment rates for the state of Nevada and for the city of Las Vegas both set new records during the month of April. In Las Vegas the unemployment rate in April was 14.2%. For the entire state the unemployment rate was 13.7%.
Of course those are just the “official” numbers. We all know that the “real” unemployment numbers are much higher.
For example, the “official” unemployment figure is about 14 percent in the state of Michigan right now. But if you actually believe that 86 percent of able-bodied workers in the state of Michigan are employed, then perhaps you would be interested in an offer to purchase the Golden Gate Bridge as well.
Elliott Parker, an economist at the University of Nevada, Reno says that the record-setting unemployment numbers in Nevada are just part of a larger trend….
“Nevada has been losing jobs since March 2008, and we are continuing to do so.”
But where the state of Nevada and the city of Las Vegas have really been hammered is in the housing industry.
It is estimated that a whopping 65 percent of all homes in the state of Nevada are underwater.
Let that sink in for a bit.
65 percent of all home owners with a mortgage in the state of Nevada owe more than their homes are worth.
Talk about an implosion.
Nationally, the number of homes that are “underwater” is about 24 percent. That is an all-time record for the entire nation, but it doesn’t come anywhere close to the nightmare that is unfolding in Nevada and in Las Vegas.
And the number of foreclosures taking place in Nevada is absolutely breathtaking.
According to RealtyTrac, Nevada is still ranked number one for foreclosure filings. In fact, one out of every 79 Nevada homes received a foreclosure filing in the month of May alone.
Nevada’s foreclosure rate is now five times the national average.
By just about any measure, the economy of Nevada is a complete and total disaster.
A reader recently sent an email describing the economic horror that is unfolding in Las Vegas. No matter what you may think about the city, the truth is that it is sad to see any great U.S. city fall to pieces like this….
“Las Vegas is a goner. The homeless population is out of control. The real estate is far worse than I have seen in the media (no surprise there). The towers of condos are ninety five percent vacant with zero activity. The streets and parks are in decline. Local governments are busy making cuts and fighting unions. When I ride the streets they are deserted, a big change from 2006. The major casino companies have all but moved the casinos out of Nevada. Rooms and restaurants have been closing for years, even while they finished the new projects. The entire town is a skeleton staff providing substandard service and decaying properties. I still work for one of the majors which is in bankruptcy. When the next wave hits there is nowhere to cut. It will be a game of dominoes with the Wynn properties the only ones left standing. I see the ninety nine cent breakfast making a comeback. The bullet train a day late and a few billion dollars short.”
So is there any hope for Las Vegas?
Well, if the U.S. economy gets back up off of the operating table and roars back to life there is little doubt that millions of Americans would once again soon be flying there to gamble away their discretionary income.
But the truth is that any “revival” that is going to happen in Vegas is going to be very short-lived.
The U.S. economy as a whole is caught in a death spiral, and we are about to see a repeat of the housing crash that devastated Las Vegas so badly the first time around.
No, there really isn’t any way that the death of Las Vegas can be avoided. Just like the U.S. economy as a whole, it is inevitably doomed. The numbers don’t lie.
The grand total of all government, corporate and consumer debt in the United States is now equal to 360 percent of GDP. That is a far greater level than the U.S. ever approached during the Great Depression.
The entire U.S. economy is a house of cards built on a gigantic pile of debt and paper money, and it is only a matter of time until it all comes crashing down.
But of course that isn’t stopping the U.S. government from spending even more money and getting us all into even more debt.
According to a recent Treasury Department report to Congress, the U.S. national debt will top $13.6 trillion this year and climb to an estimated $19.6 trillion by 2015.
But as many of you who have experienced this on a personal level know, getting into continually increasing amounts of debt never ends well.
So do any of you have a tale to tell about the city where you live? Do you find yourself caught in the middle of an economic nightmare? Feel free to leave a comment telling us what is happening in your area of the United States….
A number of readers have chimed in with some very insightful comments. A sampling is below….
I lived here in Vegas from 1998-2006 and moved back at the beginning of 2010. I worked in Corporate Finance for one of the largest casino operators up until I retired.
The article is spot on. Compared to its heyday in 2005-2006, Las Vegas today is an economic disaster zone. The condo I sold in 2006 for $172,500 now goes for $48,900 – a 72% haircut.
It’s not getting any better. Real estate prices are resuming their descent, now that the $8,000 homebuyer tax bribe is gone.
The so-called economic recovery is for wealthy people only. Everyday people just keep getting the shaft. Obama is just another Republican with a ‘D’ after his name.
I’m glad I was smart enough to rent a place instead of buying one. I’m getting the hell out of this hellhole when my lease is up at year-end.
I am born and raised Vegas. When I say I was raised in Vegas I don’t mean a casino. I mean the middle of the dessert 30 miles north from the strip with the lizards and tumbleweeds. Vegas and I have a love hate relationship. I have seen this the growth in this town blow up in my face and now it is imploding just like an old worn out casino. It has been a crazy ride but due to the economy I will most likely be leaving Las Vegas soon. Growing up in this town has been interesting and leaving it will be bittersweet.
I lived in vegas in 2006 and have been back to visit many times. I was there recently for the first time after the economy imploded in late 2008—That town is a shell of it’s former self.
On any given night there are half the people on the strip that there used to be. The service even in the 5-star hotels has declined. You can see the lack of morale, sucked from the faces of the wokrers.
I loved this town in its hay day. Right now, it’s pretty sad.
Vegas was, and is, easy to understand. I’m in the musical equipment business– audio– and we go to Trade Shows.
These are held all over the world, but let’s contrast just two places, Los Angeles and Vegas:
If you go to Los Angeles, you will visit with the worlds best engineering talent, and a solidly-grounded people that are there to PRODUCE something OF VALUE. You have small manufacturers, Farm and Ranch people, Oil people, the film industry and plenty of unspoiled, honest, clean-living young people who work hard, and then play hard. Many are Surfers, etc., and are a breath of Fresh Air.
In short, a business convention or trade show in this city is a TREAT.
Now, let’s look at Las Vegas. Everything that’s big there is built around money manipulation and power. No one gives a damn about anybody else. Got a brilliant idea? One that Los Angelinos would want to encourage you to develop and succeed at? NOT in Vegas! Any Casino in town handles more money than that in a microsecond. Besides– who are YOU? YOU don’t matter. Vegas gets all the big shows and all the big stuff– so YOU DON’T COUNT.
Want to hold a convention in a DECENT CITY– say L.A., or Denver? SORRY– Vegas will move right in– bribe the show principals and it WILL be held in Vegas. Look at what happened to the National Finals Rodeo– Oklahoma City was GREAT, but VEGAS has STOLEN it.
Vegas deserves the worst that can happen to it– GOOD RIDDANCE!
LV was built by losers. I’ve lived in & near LV since ‘89, watched it grow cancerously, and now the tumor is shrinking… good riddance indeed to a grand delusion. This city is not electrified by the dam — it is fed with coal-generated power from Moapa. Fake Lake Mead is dying too ( and the city is fed by one old pipeline that can break down at any time … There is no primary industry here, just gambling and military — everyone here (except me, of course ) is living the Big Lie. The place is a death trap… stay away!
I recently went back to visit my old neighborhood (moved out of vegas and sold my house in summer of ‘08) and talked with a few of my neighbors. Apparently its so bad they dont even park their cars on the streets anymore because “these damn people siphon gas out of your gas tank”. No lie. And this is a nice gated neighborhood in Henderson….