A Timely Question

With the economic downturn still in the news while a fresh wave of “saying he’s inevitable makes it true” passes through the opinion world, one question comes to mind: How does a family prepare for a Great Depression? Keeping in mind that I’m an optimist on religious grounds, that particular trajectory carries fair odds with an Obama presidency.
With no technological revolutions on the horizon, we’re surely not in for a rapid economic recovery — do the media what it will to declare that the sun has risen in a giant, shining O. The Democrat executive and Democrat legislature can be relied upon to respond by giving away money to people who’ll use it to pay down debt or waste it and to increase government spending as a form of economic stimulus. To pay for this renewed attempt at socialism, they’ll borrow money and raise taxes on wealth and productivity. Consequently, the rich will sit on their wallets, and the productive will wallow in a lack of opportunity.
The silver lining is that the ruling regime of the United States of America will be so weak that our enemies will waste no time coalescing and pushing the world toward some brink or another, ultimately spurring the American people to rally the West toward a war-driven economic boom.
But again: How ought a family to prepare for such a future?
ADDENDUM:
On a related note, I wonder whether the Saturday Night Live folks realize how close to a cultural divide they are when they give the following line to Tina Fey/Sarah Palin:

We don’t know if this climate change whoseywhatsit is manmade or if it’s just a natural part of the end of days.

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observer
observer
13 years ago

First of all, stop obsessing about things totally beyond your control, it’s pointless and it makes you miserable which detracts from the enjoyment of life and family that you deserve. There’s not much a carpenter from Tiverton can do about global deleveraging. If the truth be known, there’s not all that much the Secretary of the Treasury can do, that’s kind of the problem. We all just have to wait it out. Try and minimize or stay out of debt. Don’t be fooled by these low interest rates, eventually the liquidity flooding in to the financial system will result in inflation and higher rates, but that is in no way imminent. The immediate problem is deflation. I hope you can continue to get work. As someone in construction, you must be used to some seasonal or occasional downtime, I hope it’s not too much. Don’t spend to much time listening to the so called experts. More people lost money today being short the market than long it. There was a vicious 500 point Dow rally in about 75 minutes this afternoon, just after all the experts were predicting the end was near. I’m not predicting any quick solutions, we will face a quarter or two of weak and volatile markets but the sun will come up tomorrow. This is in no way a depression. If you want to fret about it becoming one, go ahead but you are only cheating yourself.

David
David
13 years ago

You said ” The silver lining is that the ruling regime of the United States of America will be so weak that our enemies will waste no time coalescing and pushing the world toward some brink or another, ultimately spurring the American people to rally the West toward a war-driven economic boom.”
You should read some Cormac McCarthy. Try Blood Meridian.

Justin Katz
13 years ago

Who’s obsessing, and who’s miserable? Me, I’m of the “son will come up” school (that’s not a typo), whatever happens geopolitically.

Tom W
Tom W
13 years ago

1) Invest in some gold and tangible asset mutual funds (e.g., T. Rowe Price New Era): with tens of trillions of unfunded liabilities hitting in the next few decades, the United States is already technically bankrupt – it just needs a tipping point, and a Marxist President (Obama) could well provide it. The Barney Frank Bailout is just a preview. But most likely they’ll try to avoid a 1930’s deflation and opt for repudiating the public and private debt with devalued dollars, i.e., they’ll run the printing presses Weimar like. Say hello to hyper-inflation. Along similar lines, try to invest in some Asian (China / India) oriented mutual funds – the mismanagement of our country by our politicians, increasingly uncompetitive workforce (thank you NEA), and the increasing socialization of our economy, means that we are in long term decline and those economies are ascendant. 2) A good shotgun in the house couldn’t hurt: property crimes are likely to go up as the economy goes down. 3) Have no debt, if you can manage it. (Though in a hyper-inflationary environment there’s something to be said for acquiring tangible assets with debt and repaying the debt / loan with devalued dollars). 4) Move to a Sunbelt state if you can – family support costs are lower (taxes and housing) and job prospects will continue to be better there than here. On a macro level, lower energy costs and a more business friendly political culture means that economically those states will continue to fare better there than the Northeast states, which are also saddled with unmaintained / decaying infrastructure that they can’t afford to fix, and higher legacy costs due to public sector unionization (e.g., RI multi-billion dollar unfunded pension liabilities). All this as the tax base will continue to shrink. As a… Read more »

Tom W
Tom W
13 years ago
Eric Blair
Eric Blair
13 years ago

But again: How ought a family to prepare for such a future?
Enlist.

Tom the Redhunter
13 years ago

Atlas Shrugged comes to mind.
If Barry’s going to demagogue for 4 years and tax us all to death why not?

Will
13 years ago

Justin,
Congratulations on making it onto Instapundit.com! What will you do with your newfound fame? 😉
“JUSTIN KATZ WONDERS IF, AND HOW, HE SHOULD prepare for an Obama presidency.
posted at 10:10 PM by Glenn Reynolds”
Hopefully, this only ends up being a hypothetical question. Obviously, America’s enemies would be very pleased by the prospect of Obama bin Biden being elected, so of course, to the extent it puts our country in more danger, I am quite worried about the prospect.
However, from the purely political point of view, whomever wins is likely to inherit an even more craptacular economy than presently come January 20th, so basically, we are now witnessing a contest between who will be the next Jimmy Carter for 4 years. On the “bright side,” I suspect that should Obama win, it will greatly increase the prospects of the GOP retaking the House and/or Senate in 2010. I also think the “winner” will end up being a one-termer, regardless of party.
All that being said, I will say what I have oft said before, “Never underestimate the ability of the Democrat nominee for President to blow a a ‘sure to win’ election.”

JeremyR
JeremyR
13 years ago

For one, buy ammunition for your guns now, while you can. The price is high enough thanks to the cost of the metal in them, but I’m sure that will be one of the first things he’ll tax

Somebody #57
Somebody #57
13 years ago

Buy lots of guns and learn how to use them. Buy lots of ammo too.

J Richardson
J Richardson
13 years ago

Don’t just buy ammo – buy as many of the standard capacity mags that you think you’ll ever need and then some more.
I don’t know the gun laws in RI but if legal now, buy your AR-15 or AK’s while the getting is still good. Ammo for the AK-74 and its variants (5.45×39) is almost dirt cheap right now. Many places have sealed cans of 1040 rounds for $115 or so.
Check out James Wesley Rawles’s blog http://www.survivalblog.com for more prepardedness tips.

MarkJ
MarkJ
13 years ago

Bad news: There may be a “President Obama” in our future.
Good news: Obama’s congressional honeymoon will likely be nasty, brutish and short. Does anybody think that Pelosi, Reid, Frank, and the other usual suspects will indefinitely defer to a backbenching pretty-boy who got lucky? Me neither.
Even better news: By January 2010, “The One” will have performed the superhuman feat of pissing off even his most bug-eyed supporters. Especially after he tells them, “Uhhh, remember all that, ummm, stuff I promised you during the campaign? Ummm, uhhh, forget about it.”
Wacky news: Given current economic trends, look for the increasing emergence of “Obamavilles” in the next couple of years.
I’m hoping McCain/Palin win. I really do. However, even if Obama wins in November, within a year or so, Obama Skywalker will be telling his angry wife every night that he wished to hell he’d LOST…before he sulks off to sleep on the couch.
And George W. Bush, kicked back at his ranch, will be laughing his ass off as he deals another round of Texas Hold’em…
“‘Bama, yuh li’l pissant, I’ll bet ya thought bein’ Prezident was jes like commun’ty organizin’, didn’tcha? Ya always were all hat an’ no cattle!”

Brown Line
Brown Line
13 years ago

“I suspect that should Obama win, it will greatly increase the prospects of the GOP retaking the House and/or Senate in 2010.”
I’m not so sure. What we’re seeing is a political perfect storm: a confluence of media narcissism, hard-left plotting, and Chicago-style corruption. These forces will not rest until the entire country is one huge Cook County: the government totally submissive to the Party, and the Party totally submissive to the Boss. That how Boss Daley runs his fiefdom, and that’s how The One will run the country, if he can.

Thom X
Thom X
13 years ago

For myself, I am looking to the hills.
—-
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. ( Psalm 121:1-2)

Anthony
Anthony
13 years ago

It wasn’t that long ago that America’s demise was being predicted because Japan was going to buy up the entire country. Before that, Jimmy Carter was telling us to carpool and before that, we were all going to be the victims of mutually assured destruction in a nuclear war with the Soviets.
Our economy is still in better shape than it was in the late 70’s. Much of the panic and downturn in the markets is being caused by uncertainty—not by an identifiable or quantifiable factors.
Chinese and Indian growth has been fueled because they were filling the material wants and needs of western countries. As demand goes down, well you can guess the rest.
I believe that there are many U.S. companies that are fundamentally good companies and are undervalued right now because of fear.
I also agree with the debt reduction piece. Americans have leveraged themselves to the hilt. Spending helps fuel the economy and that’s a good thing. Spending beyond one’s means leads to risk that aren’t good for anyone. It needs to be brought under control.
It’s also difficult to argue with the premise that job prospects will be better in the sun belt states. Eventually, RI will have to be brought in line with the rest of the world, but it may be a slow and difficult process.

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen
13 years ago

Guns and ammo are nice to have, but they won’t pay the mortgage and you can’t eat them. For my grandparents, the depression was the defining time of their life. They always saved leftovers, tin cans, jars, twine, foil anything that could be reused for something. A few other things I learned from them… You need a year’s worth of food, long term nitrogen packed, flour mills and food canning equipment. You’ll want to put in a garden and get as self sufficient as you can. Hopefully, you have a job Obama will support — teacher, policeman, firefighter or nurse. Those are always the jobs he mentions in his speeches that we should aspire to and “public service” jobs will always get paid, since the government will print money to support them. If you happen to be an investment banker, business owner, rancher or anyone else who produces wealth, get ready to head for the soup kitchen. Obama won’t be writing you any checks. Think about what the Cultural Revolution did to these kinds of people in China — that’s what the Big O has in mind for you. If you have a big mortgage, you should sell your house tomorrow and move into something you can pay off that has low property taxes. Rent for a while as the real estate prices decline another 50 pct. Then go make a low ball cash offer with the money you socked away in gold or US treasuries. Plan to wear the clothes you have for the next 4 or 5 years. Unscrew half the lightbulbs in your house to save electricity. Get to know your neighbors, you can share tools, skills, extras from your garden and dvds you no longer can afford to rent. No one will have any cash, you’d… Read more »

K T Cat
13 years ago

I think you should stop panicking. Jimmy Carter had a supportive congress and mucked things up, but not enough for the cities to burn and the Republic to fall.
A victory by your political opponents is not the end of the world.
Unless, of course, your political opponent is Bushitlerhalliburtoncheney in which case it’s perfectly OK for you to lose all mental stability and run about screaming at the top of your lungs.
😉

bobby b
bobby b
13 years ago

1. Practice trying to find something humorous in every situation you encounter. Use some of the more awful scenarios that pop up as exercises. If you can train yourself to find something that amuses you in, say, Chavez’s latest nine-hour speech, BO’s four-year stint will be less painful.
2. Start saving money now. But don’t save it all as dollars. Save some of it – maybe a third? – as gold, or cigarettes, or high-quality whiskey, or small diamonds, or dried smelt. Paradigm changes such as what an Obama presidency promises usually involve the New flushing out the assets of the Old, and they don’t do this by searching your house – they do it by devaluing the material form in which most people have sought to save wealth.
If you and many others hide currency, you’ll find that massive inflation will render your mattress-treasure worthless. If you buy real estate, suddenly property will belong to “the people.” If you own stocks, the value of your companies will suddenly tank, while others will mysteriously rise. You want to own things that people will want, and will be willing to exchange other valuable things for, and that you can keep and protect, through thick and thin. Guns, sadly, are a wonderful investment property during times when others are buying gold.

Ken
Ken
13 years ago

Justin, Should you be worrying about preparing your family for a Great Depression? There will be no Great Depression because of checks and balances currently in place but what you will have NO MATTER WHO GETS ELECTED is a protracted long recession. RI already is in a recession so it will be very bad and long lasting in the Ocean State. Get use to it! I was laid off in RI 6 times over my working career! With planning you should know how to create a victory garden and root cellar, canning your fruits and vegetables, keep chickens for eggs and meat, lots of one pot casseroles make stone soup, sock rugs, sew your own clothes, learn to live without TV/cable/computers and lower the house heat. Learn to layer clothing in the winter. Make hand sewn family designed quilts for all the beds. As an elementary school youngster my home duties were to maintain the coal fired steam heating system in the house thus providing heat and hot water for the two story house, family and ash to spread on the walkways, driveway during winter. I also was responsible for keeping the kitchen kerosene stove full of fuel, sweeping down the rear stairwell and maintaining the garden and chicken coop besides walking 1 mile to public school for morning session, return home for lunch mid-day, returning to afternoon public school session, returning home, doing my homework, and enjoying creative playtime with my neighborhood friends. Such was RI life in the late 40s and 50s. My primary entertainment at night was a Cub Scout crystal cat-whisker battery radio kit and listening to radio stations. My father and mother lived through the Great Depression and I’ve lived through all of the succeeding recessions in RI till my retirement to Hawaii. The last… Read more »

nofreelunch
nofreelunch
13 years ago

Don’t look at the polls. They’re BS. The democratic party is bably split. McCain will win in a landslide.

Tom W
Tom W
13 years ago

“A democracy cannot survive as a permanent form of government. It can last only until its citizens discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. ” – Lord Thomas McCauley, May 23, 1857
He called it.
We started this “beginning of the end” under FDR and his “New Deal” … and may well see the finality under Comrade President Obama.
Shall we call his agenda the “Last Dance?”

justareader
justareader
13 years ago

I don’t like many of the suggestions you’ve gotten. It seems to me that your question was: “If there’s going to be a Depression, how do I prepare now to get my family to the other side of it.” And I think that the answer is to be as self-reliant as possible. That means eliminating unnecessary expenses now, while the Depression is still a few months off, to conserve cash. It means planning where your Victory Garden is going to be planted next year and what veggies need to go into it. I’ve recently refreshed my learning of how to dress game in the field; not because I believe there won’t be food, but because I think it will be expensive and hunting is one way to lower that expense. I’ve recently upgraded my preparation skills. You remember … the things you learned in Boy Scouts. There may be disruptions of services. Do you know how to do simple things – like make water safe to drink? Build a fire without matches? Have you tried to do them to make sure you really, really know how? What about other basic skills that it just makes good sense to have? If you had to leave your house in 5 minutes and be gone for 3 days, what would you take with you? Could you survive that long living in your car with your family? There are lots of things that you can do now that improve your preparation for the unknowable. Doing the sensible ones that can’t hurt (such as knowing how to pitch a tent) will at a minimum take your mind off of things you cannot control, and better yet, will begin to get you to think in a self-reliant way to figure out where you’re going to be… Read more »

Tom W
Tom W
13 years ago
rhody
rhody
13 years ago

Just turn the page and don’t give a damn about the economy anymore, like McCain’s minions say.

Brian Macker
Brian Macker
13 years ago

There is no such thing as a war driven economic boom. Sending potential employees overseas to be shot full of holes, and dropping resources in the form of bombs on enemy cities does not an economy make.
Neither produces any good or service that our citizens can use and drains resources from the system.
Are you actually adding the Iraq and Afghanistan expenses to the income column of your mental books? Come-on, it’s a dead weight loss.

Phil
Phil
13 years ago

Armageddon outta here.

Greg
Greg
13 years ago

Me? I’m hoping for the rapture. I can’t wait until you Bible thumpers are gone. Without the religious zealots of the world the rest of us can learn to get along.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
13 years ago

David-read ANYTHING by Cormac McCarthy-he can’t write a bad book.I read ’em all and am waiting for the next one.
Greg-I get a little tired of religious wars-you’d have thought the Thirty Years War and the Crusades would’ve worn that out,but no such luck
Ammunition will be a tax target of Obama-Ted Kennedy was already heading that way when illness intervened.
Being armed is a good idea even in the best of times.And it is your RIGHT in spite of Obama,Steven Brown,Kennedy,or David Cicilline.

Anthony
Anthony
13 years ago

I think the posts about a depression are overblown, although there’s no question that we’re in a recession.
Mr. Mad Money Jim Cramer is suggesting anyone who needs their money within the next 5 years should pull their money out of the stock market.
Obama’s tax plan calls for a heavy increase in the capital gains tax, so if you’ve held stock for decades and have made a profit, it might make sense to cash out if he should somehow manage to win. I suspect the baby boomer generation will be affected the most.
If you’re still 10+ years away from needing money that is in the stock market, I think this is a buying opportunity.

Ted
Ted
13 years ago

Yes, this is a real worry, because only with a Republican president will there be responsible management of the economy…BWAH HAH HAHAHA…knew I couldn’t type that without laughing….

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
13 years ago

Yeah, the Republicans have screwed up – they’ve strayed far from the Reagan principles of low taxes and small government.
They went native in the Democrat plantation of Washington, D.C.
But let’s not ignore the ACORN / Barney Frank / Chris Dodd / Bill Clinton-Franklin Raines underlying responsibility for the subprime collapse.
The subprime bomb ignited during the Bush administration, but it was built and the fuse lit by the Democrats.
Speaking of building bombs – economic and otherwise – no doubt William Ayers has given his Marxist protege Barack Hussein Obama lessons. No wonder Hussein has gone to such lengths to hide his college records, law school records (who did pay for his Occidental and Columbia and Harvard education????) and every other paper trail.
You think the economy is bad now, just wait until our semi-free market economy becomes a command economy under Pelosi, Reid and Barack Hugo Chavez Obama.
The Jimmy Carter era of malaise is going to look like a cake walk.

David
David
13 years ago

My grandmother got through the great depression by gardening. She converted half her back yard into a vegetable garden. She grew enough to feed her extended family for most of the year. As things got better she converted most of her garden from vegetables to flowers. She always had one of the best gardens in town. Grandpa fortunately had marketable skills (printer, typesetter, plumber, carpenter, farmer) that allowed him to get work most of the time. Most of his work was low paying and temporary, but it brought in enough for them to get by until times got better. Grandma saved EVERYTHING. Reused anything she could in any way she could think to reuse it. She learned to do with what she had, or do without. She became a good trader. One arrangement that started during the depression had her trading vegetables for eggs and milk with a local farmer. This arrangement lasted for over 50 years. Shortly after the depression ended and Grandpa had regular work, they changed from vegetables to flowers. For over 30 years she would trade a large bouquet of fresh flowers from her garden once a week in exchange for 1-3 dozen eggs and a couple bottles (yes – glass bottles) of milk, depending on whether or not she had family visiting that week. During the winter when flowers didn’t bloom, she traded bake goods – cookies, bread, etc for the eggs and milk. Learn how to garden in your area, learn how to reuse things. Be willing to work – hard. Get to know people in your area who you can trade with, or work with or for. Stop worrying and just do whatever it takes to get by. BTW – Grandpa slept every night of his adult life with a shotgun beside his… Read more »

fay
fay
13 years ago

Amazing. The first ever global depression will go down in history horribly misunderstood. What a pathetic bunch of ignorant fools we have become. Consumer junkie credit card morons. Perfect little victims. Say that reminds me. Don’t believe one optimistic word from any public figure about the economy or humanity in general. They are all part of the problem. Its like a game of Monopoly. In America, the richest 1% now hold ALMOST 1/2 OF ALL UNITED STATES WEALTH. Unlike ‘lesser’ estimates, this includes all stocks, bonds, cash, offshore accounts, and material assets held by America’s richest 1%. Even that filthy pig Oprah acknowledged that it was at about 50% in 2006. Naturally, she put her own ‘humanitarian’ spin on it. Calling attention to her own ‘good will’. WHAT A DISGUSTING HYPOCRITE SLOB. THE RICHEST ONE PERCENT HAVE LITERALLY MADE WORLD PROSPERITY ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE. Don’t fall for any of their ‘humanitarian’ CRAP. ITS A SHAM. THESE PEOPLE ARE CAUSING THE SAME PROBLEMS THEY PRETEND TO CARE ABOUT. Ask any professor of economics. Money does not grow on trees. The government can’t just print up more on a whim. At any given time, there is a relative limit to the wealth within ANY economy of ANY size. So when too much wealth accumulates at the top, the middle class slip further into debt and the lower class further into poverty. A similar rule applies worldwide. The world’s richest 1% now own over 40% of ALL WORLD WEALTH. This is EVEN AFTER you account for all of this ‘good will’ ‘humanitarian’ BS from celebrities and executives. ITS A SHAM. As they get richer and richer, less wealth is left circulating beneath them. This is the single greatest underlying cause for the current US recession. The middle class can no longer afford to sustain… Read more »

Ken
Ken
13 years ago

Fay,
Well said in so many words.
You are the second to point the finger at China.
There was a commentary printed in our newspaper editorial page Oct 7, 08; “Don’t blame Bush-McCain deregulation Real roots of financial crisis lie in a flawed response to China”
By Sebastian Mallaby (is a fellow for International Economics with the Council of Foreign Relations. He wrote this commentary for the Washington Post)
Link to Commentary:
http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/20081007/OPINION03/810070314/1110/OPINIONFRONT

Tom W
Tom W
13 years ago

Prepare for the Worst
http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=14015
“Indeed, one of the insights of the book is that a major factor already tanking the stock market and leading foreign capital to flee America is the threat of the economic policies promised by Obama …
“This list of economic body blows explains why, for the first time in years, hot capital is escaping over the borders out of the United States and flowing into China, India, Europe, and even Japan….[S]tarting in late 2007, foreigners started pulling their money out of the United States, and Americans started investing more abroad. Global investors are losing confidence in the U.S. The result is a falling stock market and a collapse of the dollar.”

Fred
Fred
13 years ago

The sad thing is that economically I don’t see John McCain doing much different than Obama; he’ll just give away a few billion less and ultimately cave and raise taxes to a level just a bit below where Obama would.
We can hope…

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