Sadly I think 2012 is going to be a continuation of the economic slide in the US and Europe which will put pressures on more and more people financially. So we are going to continue the conversation on ways we can be more frugal, be more self reliant, and things we can do to actually improve our lives. I know many people seem to pimp this economic disaster as a doom and gloom sort of thing and if you listen to them they will have you hunkered down in your basement or bunker with tons of "stuff" they told you to buy. In the end your wallet will be a lot lighter, you won't know much more about how to take care of yourself or provide for you or your family, and frankly your likely to be depressed and scared out of your mind. Let me just say there are times to just tune out, and go learn something, do something, and enjoy the adventure. We can have fun at this "hobby" of ours and in the process help our friends, families and communities. So fasten your seat belts cause it is sure to be a wild ride in 2012.
The Hope and Change Peddlers
So it is yet another election cycle. I know lots of people don't pay any attention until the general election. Sadly this election cycle may turn out to be one of the most important to happen in a long time. Why? Because sadly the next Congress, Senate, and President will likely be facing the most difficult period of time in the history of our nation. So whoever gets elected is going to be walking into a disaster of epic proportions. Sadly looking at the current field of candidates most of the insiders and establishment candidates once again talk in grand terms of hope and change and yet you dig into their web sites and plans and it just doesn't add up. These folks are either EXTREMELY bad with a calculator, or they are blatantly misleading people. Attempts to prod people for clues as to why they are not challenging the plans offered by these people and the answer appears to be more complex than anyone wants to admit. First off most people don't appear to have the attention span of more than 30 seconds(just barely enough time to comprehend a political ad). So the idea they would dig into a candidates plan which might be pages, up to hundreds of pages long is unthinkable. Secondly it appears that most people don't know what the revenue is to the US government, nor do they appear to understand the current budget or how much is allocated. So if a candidate is out there talking about trimming around the edges this sounds reasonable to the average "30 second" attention span voter who doesn't want to rock the boat or make waves(nothing extreme mind you). The problem is the numbers are huge, the problems are monstrous, and minor tweaking isn't gonna even scratch the surface here. The hope and change candidates are banking on our ignorance, and our attention span to get elected. Point blank that is the straight scoop.
I could start dumping some of the numbers and facts here on the blog so that you can get the idea just how bad the situation is, but honestly I don't want to bore you to tears. I would say that it is in your best interest to understand just how skewed and out of touch our spending is and how it relates to the real revenues, the makeup of the expenses to the Federal government, how the rising interest rates for government debt will affect our ability to pay the bills, and just how out of touch we are with the rest of the world. This isn't a bash US blog, but one day we have to wake up and balance the budget, pay down our debts, and cleanup our books.
So for starters the current administration just announced budget cuts to military spending. Now let me just state right out of the gate I am a military veteran and I am very pro-defense. I will however state I am a realist, and looking at the size and scope of the economic issues we have and considering the total US military spending budget compared to the rest of the world our spending is really way out of control. We spend more on military spending than the next 10 largest national military budgets in the world COMBINED! We have troops in 149 nations, and playing the worlds police and in this so called "war on terror". This is just not sustainable. The so called conservatives today who seem to be in favor of attacking anyone who doesn't agree with us and have never seen a war they didn't want are screaming bloody murder about any proposed cuts and say as a percentage of GDP our spending is at extremely low levels on a historical basis. It would be nice if it were that simple. The growth of the national debt is increasing the debt servicing costs dramatically. Increased borrowing(ie stealing) from programs like Social Security and other programs only multiplies the leverage against the system. The payroll tax fight that is going on just accelerates the bankruptcy of the Social Security system as it steals the revenue into Social Security so that people can keep a few extra dollars in their pockets today. So you have entitlements that are putting more pressure on the budget, debt service(even with Fed rates at historically low rates) is growing, and our willingness to spend trillions more than we take in even after factoring all of that into the equation. So there is a huge disconnect here. Your social programs become unfunded liabilities when you take that money, leave a pile of worthless IOU's and spend that on garbage to try and keep this ponzi scheme economic system running. So when they talk about 1.4-1.6 trillion dollar debts they are not even including the money they stole from the entitlement programs and other sources of revenue that is specific for other programs. The deficit figures are pure fantasy and frankly time is running out. Once the Federal Reserve is forced to start raising interest rates due to inflation(which is dramatically understated to hide the printing press express that is under way) the US government will not be able to pay it's bills.
So what is up with the proposed military cuts from the current administration? They aren't cuts at all. Just like the budget battle that happened in November where they said that the super committee would have to agree to cuts or automatic cuts would take place... Guess what folks? None of this sky is falling cutting they were screaming about were cuts! They were decreases in the amount of the annual increases over 10 years! Not a single penny has been cut from any budget. NOT ONE! The military spending cuts they are talking about? Not cuts at all, they are reducing the rate of increase and when it is all said and done the spending levels will still be above what they were when George W. Bush left office. No spending cuts. So don't get caught up in the nonsense in the media and listening to the fear peddlers. Right now if they don't really start making cuts we are facing a far bigger threat than those being hyped and used to fear monger people into taking insane actions to propel us into yet another war, which could be used to escalate it on a global scale. There are those who actually think that a global war is just what we need to propel the global economy out of this funk we are in... No I didn't make that up. Rand Corporation prepared a talk with the Pentagon a couple of years ago briefing just that scenario. So there are very powerful people who really believe this is a possible "solution" to this global problem created by banks and corrupt governments. So let's look at the spending.
So the spending cuts is classic double speak. These are "not the droids your looking for" when in fact it is the droids we were looking for... We say we are cutting spending when we are increasing spending. We say we are bringing our troops home, but we are still deployed all over the globe. We say we are fighting for privacy, civil rights, and freedom and they are doing exactly the opposite. We have good reason to question the hope and change peddlers and any election coming up appears to be offering more of the same "continuation of government" and locking in support for the global banks and corrupt governments that are at the heart of it all.
So their solutions to all of this is to print money, no matter what with the fiat money system based on paper the scheme only works if it inflates. This current crop of "small government conservatives" have never cut anything, never balanced a budget without raising taxes, fees, and other creative gimmicks. Yet they tell you how conservative, how hard core business people they are, how they are executives that know how to handle these problems. Nice spin doctoring if you ask me. It doesn't matter if they have an R or a D after the name your going to get the same results. They are all bought and paid for by the same money interests who are vested in this fiat money ponzi scheme.
The money masters trick to keep everyone playing along with this group of clowns is to inflate slowly so you don't know your being robbed from, that your savings, and your work is worth-less than it was and that there is more to funny money to cover the outstanding money supply demands from the creation of debt, notes, and funny money insurance policies to back up the bad bets. So there will be no spending cuts unless you get people elected that can see the system is propping up bad bets, bad governments, bad banks, and bad corporations. It is a bailout on a global scale to try and save the system and the answer to their prayers is the printing press and the ability to continue to enslave the planet in debt.
What can you do?
Sorry for all the doom and gloom talk, but the more you look at the numbers, and the details the more you understand the scope of the problem and why the establishment is out selling snake oil and people are buying it. What we have to do is get a laser like focus on things we can do something about.
1. Pay off your debts.
- If your in debt pay them down or pay them off as quickly as you can.
2. Get your emergency cash together and in your possession.
- If there are runs on the banks you will need emergency money, and you need to have it someplace you can get to it outside of the financial system.
3. Build your savings.
- If you don't have money in savings for a rainy day then start building up your savings. In an unstable economy like we are in we don't know from one day to the next if our jobs will exist, or if our income will be able to cover the bills.
4. Put a little money each month in precious metals.
- Buy a silver eagle or some precious metals every month in whatever amount you can afford. Keep them in your possession. As inflation goes crazy with the printing presses your precious metals will be a good place to store weath.
5. Invest in tangible things you need.
- Food, water, self defense, first aid, tools, barter items, seeds etc are all tangible items that you will need and can use to feed and take care of your family. You can also use these things as barter items for things you need. The cost of these things will go up with inflation and can be hard to obtain. So start building your food storage system at home.
6. Invest in yourself, skills to help you.
- New skills which are really "old skills" could make the difference between life and death, between starving and having something, and the ability to help yourself, your family, friends, and neighbors. Gardening, mechanical, electrical, metal working, tasks that require hands on and the ability to improvise with local available resources to provide a good, service, or skill that will be essential.
If your one of the many unlucky people who have already lost your job and are trying to figure out how to make ends meet there are things you can do that can help you prep even when it looks like you have no options. The barter economy is alive and growing. Learn to use Craigslist and other sites and places for free stuff. I have seen several good articles now talking about the global barter economy called "System D". And we are seeing people posting great articles on how they are making ends meet even when they are no longer employed and are figuring out how to improvise and come up with creative solutions.
Remember as much as we would like to be able to rely only on ourselves we really do need family, friends, neighbors, and community in order to be able to fill in the gaps where we are lacking. Anyone trying to make it alone will probably find themselves buried in the size and scope of the things you need to learn and do. So don't try to be a super hero, but we all can do our part.
I don't want to sound like a self help guru, but if we take the appropriate steps we can start to deliver some hope and change for ourselves, families, friends, and neighbors. The con artists walking around offering solutions is like listening to the arsonist offering his services as a fire fighter. Just don't buy the nonsense. We have to pay attention to what is going on, but just don't get sucked up into the mess. Let's keep our nose to the grind stone and continue to learn the skills and things that can really make our lives better. Many of these things take practice, time, and experience to become good at them so if you haven't started working on these things now is the time to get it in gear. The more you do, the more you learn... It is easy to be an arm chair commando, but once you begin to do some of the things you will see, and hear talked about it will help you put things into perspective.
The New Year:
Well for 2012 year The Be Prepared Channel will pick up where we dropped the ball last year in my gardening series. I will show you what worked and what didn't last year, and will show you the changes we will be making this year in the garden plan. Also this year we will be focusing more on preserving our hard word from the garden by doing some canning and dehydrating from the garden as we expand our skill set into new areas and we focus on expanding our current food production capabilities on our postage stamp in suburbia. We have a few other little projects that I hope we can get to this year with some solar panels and a grid tie inverter as we start to experiment with producing a little power that we can use to reduce our electricity demand. Depending on our success and time permitting we will possibly play with some more solar projects. So we will see what we have time to do. Also this year will be a year of better organization for my food plan, and preps and I hope to be able to show you how I organize some of the things we have and how it works as I work on freeing up some space and get things in a better configuration for daily use and rotation. So that will be a big project this year as my space is very limited here in my urban homestead. So we will be looking at ways to maximize our use of space.
Well if you made it this far I don't know if your a glutton for punishment or if your truely just as insane as I am, but I thank you for you time. I will try to offer up more interesting fact filled articles and how to pieces so that you can use this info to help with your own homestead adventures. Learning old school skills from past generations could very well be the key to our future being bright, prosperous, and successful so we will continue down this path to the goal frugal self sustaining living in 2012.