Friday, February 26, 2010

Prepping Yields Liberty

How often do we say to ourselves, "That could never happen to me"? I'll be taken care of if anything bad happens"? For me, I'm probably as guilty as anyone since I fall into this master procrastinator mode of: "Yes, that really needs to be fixed, but I'll do that next week. If not, then I'll just get my dad to help me fix it." Then, the next week rolls around, and nothing has changed except I've come up with a few more excuses why I didn't get around to doing whatever I had planned on doing.
In 2008, my family was affected by the Iowa Floods in Cedar Rapids, IA. Since that time, I've drastically altered my thinking about what being "prepared" should mean for you and my family. In 2008, we were told by the city to consume and ration water since the city's water treatment plant was virtually out of order due to the flood waters and where the plant was located. I was in Boone, IA while my wife was here in Cedar Rapids all by herself, afraid and unsure if the deteriorating situation would continue to get worse. Luckily, our home was about 5 miles north of the river waters out of harms way. But, the city was in dire straights with tens of thousands homeless, helpless, and scared.

Over the passed few years since that event, I've taken the approach that WHEN the NEXT event happens, my family will be fully prepared for whatever crisis may come (financial crisis, natural disaster, etc). I fear another crisis is coming our way and that our nation hasn't even begun to realize the hardship that awaits us. Now, I won't go into why I believe this since many of my other blog posts tackle the fundamental problems that are baked into our economic cake.

No matter the probability or timing, I believe it never hurts to be prepared. What do I suggest you, your loved ones, and friends do? Prepare for the worst, hope for the best. People need to think outside of the box of "what happens if x, y, z occur?" I almost think one needs to "war game" all "what if" scenarios and reasonable ways to hedge each event. You need to put yourself into a defensive position so when a crisis does occur, you are able to look at the situation and say, "I can handle this." You turn the crisis into an annoyance or a simple inconvenience. Most importantly, you empower yourself to be in control of your own life and your own liberty so you can be in a position to both thrive and help others who are looking for someone like you to be thrown a lifeboat.

Some simple ways you can go about "prepping":

  1. Think about the "systems" you are involuntarily dependent on (school, job, water , energy, food, transportation) and create plans of how liberate yourself to become “voluntarily” associated with them.
  2. Think about what happens to all of the food in your local grocery store right before a blizzard. Research methods for alternative means of producing food for yourself or family like "Permaculture " or "Community Sharing Agriculture" (CSA).
  3. Think about your food supply that you have in your house. Could you last more than a week? 90 days? 3 months? 6 months? What TYPE of food could you feed your family with that can be stored and have a reasonably long shelf life? The rule I follow goes: "store what you eat and eat what you store."
  4. Think about alternative water sources (like a "Rainwater Hog") to water your plants, take a shower, water your garden, or be a backup source of drinking water for your house or residence.
  5. Think about your health and how dependent you are on medical care. Think of ways to lose weight, improve your biometric results (blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, etc).
  6. Think about protecting your homestead (alarm systems or even firearms) or your family. Obviously, living in a highly populated and urban area might pose a higher risk safety wise than more remote or suburban areas.
  7. Think about developing basic survival skills as taught by the Boy Scouts.
  8. Think about alternative means of currency like gold, silver, or other precious metals.
  9. Think about developing hunting skills and methods for harvesting wild game (squirrels, rabbits, pheasant, doves, deer, elk, etc).
  10. Think about buying some fishing or camping gear.
  11. Think about alternative means of income should you lose your job that you can barter with other people.
The above items I've mentioned are just a few things to consider no matter the likelihood of the future. Being "prepared" is a natural instinct that we do in our everyday life like saving up for retirement, putting away money for a vacation, saving an emergency fund for when our car breaks down, or just generally contributing to our rainy day fund. When the weatherman predicts there might be rain and you bring along your umbrella or wear a coat, you are preparing for an event that is likely to occur. Similarly, we must program our minds for the likely and unlikely when a degree of uncertainty exists in our future.

To me, prepping employs a very liberating mindset intentionally removing a degree of doubt should a detrimental event occur. For far too long, we have become a nation of dependents. When we remove that dependency, we experience degrees of freedom and liberty that have been ignored for far too long. Does freedom and liberty remove all forms of uncertainty? No, it certainly does not; but, in doing so a switch in our cognitive head is flipped and we remove the chains that have stunted our growth or limited our true potential. We must never voluntarily stymie our own potential just because we may prefer to be more risk averse. Becoming more self-reliant and self-sufficient reveals to us the power that comes from pure liberty and freedom.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Return to Constitutional Legal Tender



Congrats to South Carolina for reviving what the Constitution says about legal tender: "No State shall... make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts." However, thanks to the central planning of our money supply and interest rates set by our Central Bank (the Fed), it illegal to accept anything but fiat Federal Reserve Notes as legal tender. Any free society must have a sound and stable currency and the U.S. Dollar has been devalued from $20/oz of gold in 1913 to $1100/oz of gold in 2010.  Fantastic job Fed.

The founders knew the history of paper money and its consequences: inflation and devaluing of the currency through government manipulation. We can see over the horizon the amount of money printing that has already happened through Bernanke's helicopter monetary policies and pump priming. To think that hyperinflation is an actual possibility strikes me as fascinating, yet this scenario is absolutely on the radar screen. Anyone who has followed the actions and words of Ben Bernanke knows he wouldn't defend the dollar if his life depended on it. He wants a cheap dollar like all of the other Keynesians since that will allow the U.S. to pay off its debt obligations in devalued money.

Let us hope that the South Carolina legislature signs this bill into law and sends a message to the Federal Reserve, Congress, and the President that the States have dual sovereignty and have every right to protect themselves, their citizens, as well as the purchasing power of their goods and services produced in that state against fiat paper money.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dear Government - Breaking Windows Won't Work



With all due respect to the President and his economic egg-heads, these academic block heads have made things have only made matters worse and prolonged the inevitable. I beg and plead any of them to examine the great works by Henry Hazlitt, and especially his first few chapters of Economics in One Lesson. Maybe the New York Times can resurrect his works from when Hazlitt used to write for them, seeing as it would probably bump up their circulation (can't get any worse).

The President is surrounded by Keynesians academics who don't understand how capital theory works, how/why an economy expands, or even what actually creates asset bubbles that eventually pop through monetary policy. But, since they are not familiar with the Austrian Business Cycle Theory, these faux cconomists and bureaucrats will continue to spin lies about saving or creating jobs.

Essentially, they believe in breaking windows and pointing to the glazier who will be getting more business because of their window breaking policies. The present day "stimulus" is the exact application of the broken window parable and the logic behind it tells us why it won't work. You cannot take from one part of the economy in order to prop up another. You cannot have the government destroy or crowd out capital and then wonder why the private sector capital formation dissolves or goes somewhere else. I encourage folks to read about the “Broken Window Fallacy” made famous by Henry Hazlitt and Frederich Bastiat. The government is just breaking windows in order to “stimulate” the economy. It won’t work and never has.

A depression has NOT been averted, but rather postponed. The asset bubbles form through excessive drinking or getting hammered on monetary booze and alcohol. Then, the bust/recession/depression comes in the form of an economic hangover which is comparable to someone puking when they cannot continue drinking. What the President and the Keynesians economists advisors (Christina Romer, Jared Berstein, Larry Summer, Tim Geithner, et al) have done is try to cure us with “the hair of the dog” and keep us drunk instead of going through the necessary dehydration/withdrawal symptoms necessary to put us on firm footing. “Malinvestments” are still rampant in our economy and the bad debt has not been liquidated.

A second type of depression like we saw in the 1930s might have actually be more pleasant than what is coming our way. I believe our government has planted and even fertilized the seeds for a possible hyper-inflation or hyper-depression (high inflation with negative growth). That is possibly the most frightening thing of all. Will the President be honest if and when that event occurs or will it be more window breaking that our Keynesians turn to for help? You decide.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Truth About Medicare, Social Security, and Retirement



Thank you Gary North for your efforts to wake people up. It's raining and everyone needs to find an umbrella. Please watch this important video and forward it to others.

NeverSayRetire.com

Best Part of Super Bowl XLIV



Congrats to the N'awlan Saints!  But, this was the best moment EVER!  Yes, I'm a nerd.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Guns or Butter? - 2010 And Beyond...

Many people are excited about the Scott Brown win that has temporarily if not permanently stalled the health care bill from becoming law. I don't believe the Pelosi-Politburo propaganda that they can push/ram/shovel/pole vault anything through without a steep uphill climb. The house couldn't get 100 votes if it wanted to try and pass the Senate bill.  So, for that I am grateful that we have a bit more time before our country completely goes in the stink hole.  I still do believe it will be going that way no matter who controls the house, senate, or white house. Yes, I'm cynical, but I think I have some pretty good evidence to support the mechanic and economic reality.

I do not think there is anyone in Washington (save 1 or 2 people) or anyone currenty running for Congress (save a 2 or 3 people) who have the moral courage or gonads to make the truly hard decisions required for the job of protecting our liberty and natural rights, let alone balancing our budget. "Hard decisions" in my mind do NOT qualify as gimmicky spending freezes, cuts, or reductions in discretionary spending. Even if we found a majority of folks who abolished the Department of Ag, Energy, Nasa, Education, EPA, Labor, Transportation and so on.... that would not even be a pin prick to the budget (about 1/5th).

Let me put some things into perspective: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_United_States_federal_budget)

Total U.S. Gov't Tax Receipts = $2.381T (Revenue)

Total Non-Discretionary Funding (Soc Sec, Medicare/Medicaid, SCHIP, Interest on Debt) = $2.184T
Total Defense, VA, Justice, State Department, Treasury (Discretionary) = $831.3Billion
Total All Other Departments (Discretionary) = $536.7Billion

The old saying goes: the government can spend its tax receipts on "GUNS" (military/warfare state) or "BUTTER" (social welfare state). But, it cannot spend unlimited amounts on both simultaneously since we are dealing with scarcity of labor, materials, and capital to produce either "guns" or "butter".

So, the 1.4 trillion dollar (deficit) question I pose to all of my peers:
Exactly what, how, when, where are we going to cut out of the "sacred cows" to make us solvent?

Unlike all of the supposed GOP spending [chicken] hawks, reducing the size of government requires a chainsaw, machete, and bayonet instead of a scalpel or hatchet. Believe me, no one in Washington (save very few) are willing to do this.  Why is this?

So, I pose this question to anyone reading this to think outside of the box. No matter how many taxes Obama or Congress enact, the problem still remains: spending on "guns" or "butter" with scarce resources. Where do you cut and by how much? What group or constituency is going to be able to stand up and say, "Yes, you can cut our social security/Medicare benefits"?  And, who is going to be the messenger being elected on the basis of saying, "Umm...yeah those promises we made to you back in the 30s... we're not really good for them anymore"? And, who is going to have the moral courage to draw down our forces and/or remove our military from foreign entanglements in 150+ countries when China (or the banks) stops buying our debt? If our dollar/currency goes in the tank with Helicopter Ben Bernanke dumping cash out of the sky, how do we even fund our military, our nation, or anything really?

I have searched long and hard to figure out how to answer these questions since all roads lead to bad. The only good part is that we all are in control of our own destiny and are sovereign individuals who (hopefully) love liberty and love our country. I've learned enough having just turned "30" to realize that nothing and nobody in Washington will ever change my path in life. My destiny and path to prosperity starts with myself, my family, and my faith in knowing what is the highest moral virtue.