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OUR GRANDPARENTS WERE SMARTER THAN WE ARE

There was a time when the average person was fairly resilient and resourceful. Men and women had a fair amount of knowledge about how to deal with unforeseen circumstances that they may encounter. They knew “stuff happens” and weren’t completely helpless when it did. They didn’t have the luxury of a cell phone, a credit card, and a convenience store on every corner. They also tried very hard not to spend unnecessarily, and the best way to accomplish that was to be able to fix things; reuse repurpose recycle. Knowledge alone was not enough, so they also carried a few basic accoutrements to aid in said endeavor. Your great grandmother didn’t view her purse a fashion statement designed to carry some overpriced designer sunglasses.

There was also the way they looked at life – the way they thought and approached life. There was no one to bail them out of their bad choices; they were accountable for the outcomes of their decisions.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, Put some away for a rainy day, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, Patience is a virtue, Waste not, want not; Have you no shame?; Have you no honor?; Shame on you

Being resilient means a return to accountability. It means if you don’t work, you don’t eat. If you squander what you have, you will then go without. It means the perpetual adolescence is over, it is time to grow up and act like an adult. Our parents and grandparents provided for their families, they didn’t rely on the government or their own parents to provide for their needs. They took action. They knew that sitting around watching other people live their own lives was not living. They also knew that they were entitled to little beyond their right to self-determination.

04/02/13 Tuesday – ACTIONS TAKEN TOWARD RESILIENCE

An Update – I should make note that I no longer have a spouse to contend with when making decisions regarding my prepping. She got tired of struggling so she moved out (like the struggle going on is somehow my fault). I am, however, still saddled with serious money and time constraints.

– Last Wednesday I had my saliva gland removed – a surgery I have been putting off for years. Start getting all medical procedures handled before it becomes too cost prohibitive, before insurance starts covering even less and less than they do now, or while you still have insurance at all. The future of health care is uncertain, insurance is not getting any better, and neither is getting any cheaper.

– The second week of March (3/10/13?) I sent off my completed application for a Virginia non-resident Concealed Carry Permit. It took me several weeks to get it completed. One day I took the training course and requested the application (it has to come through the mail, but you can make the request via email). I had to take a day off work to get my fingerprints done. Once I had saved up all the fees I would need for processing I got my money order and passport photos. You can get passport photos at CVS, btw, so I got my money order and passport photos at the same time.

– Yesterday I ordered 4 more Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable batteries. As I replace dead batteries with rechargeable I find that I have more things utilizing batteries than I realized. Recharging is far less expensive, and far more convenient, than buying new batteries. I also don’t have to worry about running out or there being a run on the stores during a power outage. I can run the charger off of my inverter.

– I also bought some spare batteries for my glucose meters

– Saturday my 9 year old and I started our lacto-fermented pickles. This is a good prepping skill for gardeners, and lacto-fermented food is very good for you.

– The last Saturday of March I bought a tomato plant, peppermint plant, and basil plant. I put the mint and basil in the ground where they won’t get that much of the Texas sun. I’m experimenting right now because I don’t know what the best places in my yard are for the various things I want to grow. In a couple of weeks I will buy another tomato, basil, and mint plant and then I will plant them in a different location. I want the tomato plants to go into the ground at the same time so late planting can be ruled out as a cause of failure.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF SUSTAINABILITY

Sustainability=Resilience, Resilience=Sustainability

“those with great wealth have captured the for-sale machinery of governance, and “persuaded” the Central State to carve out quasi-monopolies and cartels that enable artificially high premiums. They also buy subsidies, exceptions and tax breaks for their income streams.” “The financial and political Aristocracy will continue to do more of what’s failed because they have no alternative model that leaves their power and wealth intact.” – Charles Hugh Smith

Quit thinking in terms of total collapse, and start focusing on personal independence.  Become resilient and become free from the artificially high costs that dependence on the current systems enables.  The reason people resist becoming resilient is because they worship convenience.  We have become over-dependent on single source systems, and dependence is not liberty!  Liberty is one of the foundational and fundamental pillars of America.  It is intrinsic in the definition of America.  America is supposed to be the land of the free, and I for one don’t want to be enslaved.

SPEAKING OF TAXES AND INFLATION

Tax

Tax (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

I few months ago I asked myself the question “What happens if gas prices start spiking at the same time taxes are spiking?” Well as it turns out, gas is climbing and so are taxes. Debbie Bruister, a mother of four, received a $1,160 raise this school year- about $97 a month, before taxes and other deductions – but the elimination of the payroll tax break shrunk her and her husband’s paychecks by more than $270 a month. They’re paying $3.51 a gallon whereas they were paying less than $3 per gallon in 2012. –http://finance.yahoo.com/news/middle-class-expenses-grow-faster-111900178.html In Virginia, the governor has managed to raise taxes and gasoline prices in one fell swoop by enacting a new wholesale tax on gas paid by distributors, which you know is going to affect the price at the pump. Glad I bought that 4 cylinder Civic.

So below I listed a few inevitable outcomes to gas and taxes spiking at the same time just off the top of my head:

– Increased food costs

– Break down in various supply chains

– Less disposable income – decrease in non-essential spending

Corporate profits begin getting squeezed

Less profits means smaller (or no) raises for employees

Leading to even less disposable income, and the cycle starts feeding on itself

– Becomes more expensive to drive to work

– People (teens mostly I’d imagine) begin stealing gas

– People begin to struggle paying bills

– Loans become harder to get

All of the above can lead to civil disorder, or at the very least people becoming far more uptight and stressed out.

As people have less and less buying power, they will begin losing confidence in the dollar, and as this happens people and countries will stop investing in US Bonds. If that happens then the government will have as much trouble servicing its debt as the individual is having, but that is another topic entirely.

THE REAL THREAT TO BE PREPPING FOR

I have finally had my “Aha” moment in regards to the most likely disaster we need to be prepping for,: taxes and inflation.  These are the greatest

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan

danger we are facing, and even though they aren’t going to lead to anarchy and complete societal breakdown, they will lead to increases in crime and violence, and shortages of many of the things we take for granted.  While the systems people have become helpless without will still be in place and functioning, we the people will not get as much utility from them as we once did.

Taxes are about to become the biggest crisis we face.  Our taxes are on the rise because local, state, and federal governments are going broke through their refusal to do what we the people are required to do (budget, live within our means).

This is going to pull more and more money out of our pockets and out of the monetary system, leaving fewer dollars for us to spend.  The top tax rate in France is now 75%.  75%!!!  Ouch!  Not only are we going to have fewer and fewer dollars to spend, the dollars we do have are buying less than they used to.

“the question of how the increase in Social Security taxes would affect the poorest workers did not seem to garner much debate on either side of the aisle.

“I don’t see any reason to consider supporting its extension,” said Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary, in testimony last year. Even Nancy Pelosi, a reliable liberal who leads the Democratic minority in the House of Representatives, was for letting it expire.

If you wanted to design a policy to squeeze the spending of lower- and middle-income households, raising the payroll tax is the way to do it,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomic Advisors. “It’s very regressive.”

Retailing analysts and economists say high-end earners will largely be spared.

“I wouldn’t expect it to have much of an effect on BMW consumption,” said Richard H. Thaler, a professor of behavioral science and economics at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. “The people who will notice it the most are the ones making the least.”

When asked how their financial situation had changed in January, 32 percent of people with incomes below $75,000 said their pay had dropped, compared with 13 percent who said it had increased. By contrast, 38 percent of people earning more than $75,000 said their wages had gone up last month, and 23 percent said they had gone down. “ – http://finance.yahoo.com/news/higher-payroll-tax-pinches-those-174834511.html

As people spend less, prices will continue to increase as businesses struggle to maintain profit margins.  This will lead to people buying fewer items and a vicious cycle begins.  Also, less buying power means a diminished ability to repay loans. So if a bank or lender doesn’t have faith in your ability to repay a loan, they aren’t going to make the loan.  That means you are going to have a really difficult time replacing a car that breaks down, which could lead to losing your job.

Couple tax increases with the continual rise in inflation and the erosion of the dollar’s buying power and you are looking at a situation in which the working class is basically becoming indentured servants.

One of the steps to take in order to be resilient when this happens, I MUST HAVE DEPENDABLE TRANSPORTATION NOW!  The time is coming when we are not going to be able to afford a replacement.  Back in early December I took my cash savings and bought a used Honda Civic 5 speed for $2600.  With proper maintenance I should be able to get at least another 100,000 miles out of it, and it has a 4 cylinder engine so it gets good gas mileage.  I saw it as having more value than the cash I was sitting on.  I am now attempting to replenish my cash.  Saving $50 per week should replace it in about a year.  I think it is vital to be sitting on cash as we approach the coming crisis.  I also think it is wise to have a portion of that cash in silver because silver is going to start to appreciate in value at some point.  You don’t want it all in silver though because you don’t want to be in a situation where you can’t get it converted back into dollars in time to take advantage of a great deal.

An important note about taxes: the very rich don’t really care at what rate they are taxed at in this country because the tax laws were written by them.  As long as they know what rate they will be charged, the can have their accountants, planners and advisors plan for it and adjust accordingly.  These sophisticated tax planners have nearly 4 million words of tax code to help them in their tax avoidance.  74,000 pages seems to be excessive and wreaks of special interest.  Wasn’t Romney’s tax return over 375 pages long?  He paid a rate of between 13.5% and 14.1%.  Sounds low to me, but my tax return has less than 10 pages.  For the sake of disclosure, I am not an Obama fanboy, I did not vote for him.  I voted for Gary Johnson.

OPT OUT

02/01/13

Secede as an individual. Quit supporting the corporate mindset that you so despise and which is stealing your wealth, free time, family time, and quality of life. Disempower the systems that are oppressing you. Empower yourself. Be resilient, not dependant. Without even realizing it we support and enforce our own slavery/oppression. We actively participate in keeping the systems that make us miserable going. We are miserable and we facilitate it. Lead your own life! Don’t get me wrong, I think you should absolutely support those advancing the causes you believe in, but don’t stop there. Use some of that support to make a difference yourself. Think about the kind of person it took to shape and tame this country. You are born of that stock, those were your ancestors. You have that same blood in you.

We need to support things that matter. We need to support things that add value to our lives on the individual (personal) level. We need to support things that will support us.

02/01/13 ACTION

– Bought 5 ounces of silver from the TSPMint which just came online. I didn’t really need more silver at this point, but they are working in conjunction with AOCS and I wanted to show my support for both TSP and AOCS. I want to enable them to keep getting the message out.