Posts Tagged ‘preparation’

Economic matters

November 3, 2008

Everyone knows something is coming

We can all feel it. No one really knows what it is. One thing seems certain though that whatever the dark cloud that now hangs over us it has some huge economic component to it. I read something a few weeks ago on The Urban Survival website http://www.urbansurvival.com/week.htm about how the official unemployment number as reported is artificially low. The writer over there had a much simpler method of just asking your friends and family. In my circle the number of people laid off in the past year is over 15%. Ask what around do you come up with?

My anecdotal test which resulted in a 15% give or take unemployment rate, ties out nicely to a chart I saw on the Shadow Stat website, http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data.

Shadow Stats Unemploy

Shadow Stats Unemploy

You see that true unemployment is 200%+ the “official” rate.

Realistically we may have what a year at the most before all of our lives are different than we ever could have imagined before 9/11. Can’t you smell it in the air?

I agree with the Department of Homeland Security Homeland Security Advisory Council Administration Transition Task Force Report that the most vulnerable time for our country is, “is 30 days prior to, as recent history has shown, and through six months after the change in administrations.” http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/hsac_ATTF_Report.pdf.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the markets lock up not too far in the future. At some point I figure something has got to give with our currency. I mean how long will be able to keep printing what amounts to worthless paper and sell it in the marketplace.

Fed & Treasury Totl Money Supply

Fed & Treasury Totl Money Supply

http://www.nowandfutures.com/key_stats.html

The other issue is the eventual inflation that will come about by this expansion of the money supply.

Our debt is already becoming unserviceable. We’re spending around $450,000,000,000.00 (Billion) a year just on interest. It’s simply unsustainable. At some point the purchasers of our debt will realize this and the big sell off begins. We then become like Iceland. No seller will ship goods to the US for any amount of our worthless paper.  I don’t have much optimism for our short-term economic outlook (five years).  Oh sure, there will be ups and downs, but our trend is negative.

it would be a mistake to assume that the availability of cheap imports will continue on indefinitely. Don’t count on the endless international supply chain to stay operative forever.

I think the thing to do is to prepare the best we can. You see it on all of the   website, tangibles.  Buy a little extra food every time you go shopping. Try to pay down your debt, or at the very least don’t allow your debt load to increase. Anyone in the markets may want to develop an investment strategy that leans towards asset preservation. Be good to figure out how to get a second income stream flowing if possible. Have enough cash around in case you can’t use you debit, credit or ATM cards.

Make sure you have enough food and water to hide out at home for a week or more. All the regular stuff for a storm: batteries, radio, flashlight, canned goods, water, can opener, candles, first aid kit, extra prescription medicines, maybe a firearm and ammunition, a generator if you can afford one, an assortment of small bills, an alternative way to cook, a personal hygiene kit, sleeping bags, water filter, toys for your kids, etc. You know the routine by now.  Learn a new skill.  Watch what you spend.  Get to know your neighbors.

I’m a big fan of getting any imported stuff that you normally use sooner rather than later.  I need to buy another pair of jeans or two and a pair of sneakers.   It’s a better investment than the stock market.

What’s missing….

October 29, 2008

It’s easy to think about what we should prepare for. As I wrote in a previous post we need to prepare for those things most likely to occur and those things that are easy to prepare for. To that end I’d like to recommend a list of stuff of some people don’t think of. Mind you I don’t expect to be running through the streets slinging an AK over my shoulder like Mosul or Lebanon. I just don’t see that happening in the US, at least not in the near future. Holed up in my house shooting at the Zombie Golden Horde through gunslits in my walls, not likely.

Do you have:

Water purification or filter. You need this. This has to be number one on your list. You also need redundancy here. Have a minimum of 2-3 filters of the same type and five replacement filters. I would not want to trust just one filter no matter what.  Without water you are a worm on the hot summer pavement.

Toilet paper. How much do you use every week? Do you have enough for six months. You need this stuff.

Batteries. One of the first things to disappear and easy to trade. Get alkaline, rechargeables and lithium. Brand names don’t matter. They’re all made in the same factories and labeled later. Avoid heavy duty. Get alkaline.

Ammunition. Personally I think it’s better to have fewer guns and a better understanding of the ones do you have with ample, more than enough in your wildest dreams, ammunition. Or reloading supplies.

Firearms. No need to mention, but don’t go all gun nutty on me at the expense of not having a way to get or clean potable water and enough food. You can’t eat a gun. Also, make sure you have enough Hoppe’s No. 9, oil and patches. Maybe some replacement parts.

HBA. Health and beauty aids. You need this stuff. I mean toothpaste, tooth brushes, lots of soap, hand sanitizer, shampoo, razor blades, feminine products, and so on. Baby wipes are great. Go look at your medicine cabinet and under your bathroom sink. You need more of this stuff. If it really goes to Hell in a hand basket staying clean and tidy means that you have a better chance to stay healthy. Nothing will make you sicker quicker than having dirty hands. Sheets, pillowcases, towels and blankets, blankets, blankets.

Kitchen knives. I know we all like knives, but make sure you have a bunch of good ones that hold a good edge and are easy to sharpen. You should be able to get good kitchen knives for $5-$20 each. I think $20 is a lot for one knife. Avoid wooden handles and look for a full tang. NEVER leave you kitchen knives to sit in a wet sink over night. Clean your knives as soon as possible and dry them off.

Sharpening stones, irons, diamond stones. A dull knife is a danger to the user. You gotta keep your knives sharp. I sharpen mine just about every time I use them.

Paper towels, napkins, paper plates, plastic cutlery. It may be tough to run a dishwasher or heat water to wash dishes. Disposable is good. Tin foil, plastic wrap, wax paper, bags, bags, bags, zip lock, foldable, kitchen bags, big trash bags. Dishwashing detergent, SOS pads, sponges. Look around your house. This is what you’ll need.

Solar battery chargers. I like these. You can get good ones for $20-$30. Get a few extra for trading just in case.

Lots of food. I liked canned. Some people like storing grain. I like to store what I eat every day. I don’t grind grain so I hope I don’t have to start now. Oils. Store vegetable and olive oils. You need fats. Another great think to store is seeds for sprouting. Here in the cold north I can’t grow greens in the winter, but I can sprout seeds in a cold dark closet and make a mini salad. Sprouts are great, offer a lot of protein, roughage and micronutrients. Vinegar is great stuff to store – white, red wine and cider.

First aid supplies. You need to have a super kit. You need antibiotics and pain relievers in it, sutures, scalpels, razors, all kinds of gauze and bandaids and so on. Aspirin, Ibuprofen. You can go through this stuff quickly so make sure you have much more then you ever anticipate needing.

Spices. I like black pepper so I store a lot of it. Also, store other herbs and spices. Lots of salt. Get a few one pound containers just for trading. Ketchup, mustard, mayo, bbq sauce, teriyaki, etc. All of this stuff makes food more palatable.

Bleach. This stuff is great for cleaning and purifying. You can mix it with water and sterilize surfaces.

Books. Have all kinds of books for entertainment but also how to books: how to can, how to set a broken limb, how to fix a toothache, nature guides for edible plants, trees and wildlife in your neck of the woods.

Maps. You can’t have too many maps for you area and where you could possibly have to travel to. Get as detailed as possible including USGS topo maps. Learn how to read em too.

Passport. Just get it. Get it now. You never know. Millions of people never thought they would have to flee where they live. Go ask the Georgians, the Rwandans, the Cambodians and so on. If it happens there it can happen here. Wildflower is right on here. Prepare.

Get copies of all your “stuff” on a memory stick/jump drive. Scan all of your credit cards, driver’s license, debit card, birth certificate, vaccination certificates, marriage license, divorce decree, health insurance cards, insurance policies, the deed to your house, titles to your cars, anything in your wallet or file cabinet that may be important. Scan them onto a memory stick and keep that stick handy.

Ammunition. I know I mentioned ammunition above, but it’s a big one. Great investment. Better then the stock market.

Lanterns, candles, flashlights. You need light. Nothing will make you. Depressed faster than sitting around in the dark. Get a variety of them. Get the grind up kind, the shake kind, LEDs last a long time, get regular bulbed lights. Coleman lanterns, oil lamps and candles. You can’t have enough ways to shed light on your life.

A way to stay warm. What are you gonna do if the oil truck don’t come around, electricity goes out or the natural gas lines stop? You need a way to stay warm. The temperature of a house starts to drop right away. Being cold hour upon hour and day upon day will beat you down. Have you ever had cold feet for 12 hours? It grinds you down. Woodstove, inserts, propane heaters, etc.

Miscellaneous hardware supplies. Kits to fix your toilet, nails, screws, wire of assorted sizes, rope of assorted sizes, glues, epoxies, extra roof shingles, roofing cement. Is there anything in your house that you fix every month or every six months? Get more of it. I like to have some plywood and other assorted lumber just in case. Do you have a tarp large enough to cover your roof if it springs a leak?

Ask yourself what you get that’s imported from overseas. Sneakers, shoes, rubber boots, hunting boots and other footwear. Most of our clothing is now imported. Get long underwear, a few more pairs of jeans, bras and panties, rain gear, winter jackets, hats n’ gloves. Any special foods you like that are imported? Get em now. If it can happen in Iceland it can happen here.

Vitamins. If your nutrition goes to Hell at least you can supplement it with vitamins. I also like to have fish oil capsules.

A way to cook. If you have an electric stove get a small propane stove or white gas or both. If you have a gas stove get an electric hot plate, propane or white gas or all of the above. A hot meal does wonders for morale. If things really go south, cooking a hot meal for your neighbors will make you king of the neighborhood.

Stuff to bug out with if you need to. Tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads and other camping gear.

Cutting boards.

Light bulbs.

Extension cords.

Vegetable and herb seeds. Soil amendments. Lime is great it sweetens your soil and is good for a latrine should you have to dig one.

Canning supplies. Do you like pickles? Food dehydrator.

Fire extinguishers and CO detectors, smoke alarms (battery powered). When I travel I bring a smoke alarm with me. You have a much greater chance of dying in a house fire then shooting it out with someone. Prepare appropriately. No more guns for you until you get detectors all over your house.

Fuel. A variety of fuels. If you store gas use a stabilizer. Store some propane tanks large and small (for trading). Store cans of white gas, which has gotten really expensive. Kerosene?

Heavy duty cooking gear. I love cast iron. Are you prepared to cook over a fire? Get a Dutch Oven and some cast iron skillets.

Cash. You gotta keep some cash in your place in case there is a bank holiday or the power goes out.

Ways to carry stuff. Buckets, barrels, wheel barrels, wagons, bags, packs, suitcases. I love the heavy canvas bags with handles on them. When I was growing tomatoes commercially I used to say that a farmer’s best friend was a five gallon bucket.

Hand tools. Saws, axes, screwdrivers, mauls, hand drills, shovels, rakes, spades.

Masks.  Get some masks to wear in the event of a flu pandemic, bird flu or some other crisis.  Remember the pictures of the people running down from the towers on 9/11 with soot all over their faces?  I like the N100’s.  Be careful if you buy surplus gas masks.  They need to fit correctly and the canisters need to still be good.

Forgot: wine, beer, liquor or whatever else soothes your mind and eases your body.

Look around your house. What you see is what you need. What you use every day is what you need to store. I know that guns and dehydrated foods are sexy, but store the stuff that you use. So you may have ten years worth of dried beef stroganoff stored, but can you shave your face, wash your dishes or wipe your butt?

Take it easy.