The national news seems to have the same themes every day now- the budget debate in Washington, who may run in the next presidential election, gas prices, radiation from Japan’s nuclear reactors, and wars on foreign soils with a smattering of violent crimes. It’s easy to get immune to what should be shocking news.
The dollar figures they throw around in Washington are too gargantuan to comprehend. No matter who is elected, the same old stuff seems to happen anyway- financial mismanagement, cronyism, and public posturing. There is little I can do about gas prices except try to drive less. The radiation risk seems small to me over here, though my heart goes out to the Japanese. And we’ve been at war somewhere in that region of the world for so many years that it’s par for the course now.
So why should I care about any of that?
The truth is that it WILL start to affect us.
An Economic Crisis
The shameful state of our economy is not just a problem for politicians. They’ve been playing shell games for years, but the “smoke and mirrors” tricks are being exposed. It’s simply not possible to print unlimited amounts of fiat money and not pay the consequences.
It doesn’t matter what euphemism you give it (TARP, “quantitative easing,” or “incentive program”), it’s still trying to pay debts with worthless paper and that can’t get us out of the hole we are in. Eventually, other nations are going to refuse to play along or investors are going to realize they’ve been had and it will fall apart. That will affect you whether you own a single stock or T-bill. The effect will be cascading.
Who we send to Washington to “straighten things out” should be of great concern to us. Anyone not committed to reigning in big government and making painful cuts will only further our problems. I wonder if it’s not too late to fix it anyway.
Gas prices drive the prices of many other things. Every item you buy at your local grocery store is trucked an average of 1500 miles. The ubiquitous plastic packaging on what you buy is largely made from petroleum products. Our dependence on oil for most of our civilized world is something most never think about.
The radiation seeping out of those Japanese reactors is getting into the ocean, is affecting animals, and showing up in food now. But I heard just this morning that 60% of the US population is within 50 miles of a nuclear reactor. Think it couldn’t happen here? Some of those reactors are on fault lines too. Radiation can travel a pretty good distance on the wind. What would you do?
Foreign wars are so far-removed from me. And Americans would never act like that! Right? Of what interest is all that to me? Hmmm… I thought it was amazing how rowdy the protests got over teacher tenure in several states recently. I wouldn’t want to see how people may act if basic groceries doubled in price or welfare checks started to bounce.
Then what do I do?
Stop Worrying And Start Preparing
Prepare! Do whatever you can, small steps at a time if your budget is tight, but DO SOMETHING! Get extra food and water. Grow a garden this summer. Pick up next year’s sized clothing for your children while they are on clearance this year, or better yet, frequent thrift stores for fantastic finds on everything from clothes to cast iron pans.
Anything you do to reduce your dependence on “the system” will help you in the long run, even if the world is forever a rosy place. You will still have gained some new skills, sharpened your thinking, saved some money, and gotten the satisfaction that comes from providing for yourself.