A Recession Has Begun

We are in the beginning of a recession. The economy goes up and down on a regular swing but things are a bit different this time than in our past history. Before I discuss that further, I want you to read this thought provoking quote.

“A self-reliant nation is built upon a citizenry living in resource-producing and relatively self-reliant communities. Self-reliant tenable communities are composed of self-reliant households. And relatively self-reliant households are the basic building block of any culture that is viable over the long term without requiring war (stealing of resources) to sustain itself. No democratic civilization can last long if it is built upon a citizenry that consume more than they produce; that’s debt and debt is inherently unsustainable and ultimately undemocratic. If our goal is a peaceful, just society, self-reliance at the home and community levels must be a central focus of our lives.” (Ben Falk ‘The Resilient Farm and Homestead’)

Wars are about money and resources so  sustainable communities become imperative to  as a preventive. Think Germany in WWII. They were hurting economically so they turned to theft to solve their problem. They killed the Jews not because they were an inferior race but because they were statistically the most prosperous citizens and had the most to pillage from. Everything else said was an excuse to appease the people. They say, “Money makes the world go round.” but it also is a great source of contention.

At this time, Americans are swimming in debt. It is the case world-wide. “Credit cards, student loans, mortgages, car loans, personal loans: Most Americans have a combination of these sources of debt. And despite their best intentions, Americans are digging themselves deeper into a hole each year. The average American now has about $38,000 in personal debt, excluding home mortgages.” (CNBC 2019) It is a thousand dollars larger than last year and going up monthly.

I have been listening to financial experts for the last few months and the personal debt is what they feel is the driving force of the deterioration of our countries stability. Behind debt is a flawed set of values and habits. A nation is simply a reflection of the foundation which is families. Banks borrow money so we can borrow the borrowed money from the bank. A wave of debt simply washing from one place to the next. There is now nothing backing the debt except a confident, gullible society.

Compounding the debt problem is the Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964) which are retiring or will be retiring soon. Retirees historically cut back on their spending lowering the money in circulation. They don’t buy new vehicles, eat out as much, need new clothes for work, etc. This slows the economy. The problems within then surface.

In 2015, of the 75.4 million Baby Boomers, only 36.6% owned their own homes. Experts fear the down turn will cause them to downsize, unloading their homes in unison. Imagine the market housing crash.

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They all say trouble is in our future. What should we do? The consensus is GET OUT OF DEBT. Give yourself some resiliency. Income will decrease but debt payments don’t. I heard this week that Blue Cross Blue Shield (health insurance company) will hike rates over 60% in 2020 and Cigna will go up over 40%, to give 2 examples.  Ouch, that is going to hurt!

With rising costs and lowering income, the belts are going to have to tighten. Hopefully soon we will hear who bought the company Kirk works for. Our future will change for sure. It already has as income has continued to decrease over the past few years.

Rather than wait, I’d suggest you learn how to crash like a pilot does. They practice over and over because it saves lives. I’m not speaking of hording money but of changing habits and lifestyle. I believe that ” a bird in hand is worth two in the bush”. I’ve cut greatly the amount of commercial feeds and grain that I buy. They’ve proven animal’s are living far shorter lives by such a diet. Next I’m working on the barn cats. They eat too much commercial feed. Why not save organ meat from when one butchers livestock? I don’t like it.

I’m studying field plants. I’m thinking of adding chicory as I hear sheep like it and it lowers worm burdens. That’s worming cost savings. Sweet clover adds nitrogen and would help hold our sandy soil on our steeply sloped pasture. Bees like too and I want them once more in our future. I’ll be sulfuring too. Money spent on pastures increases the health of our animals and the number we can raise. I keep reminding myself that the turtle won the race – not the rabbit and so it will be a slow process. I’d better get started.

Meals is a big area we could save.  I just gave up on planning because of the instability of knowing when we would have the grandkids. I’ve thought long and hard and I’ve got a plan based on past knowledge.

The list goes on and on with most of our plans in the infancy stage with input high. That makes the going slow. Before we have to cinch another hole in our belt, I’m putting in place as much as I can. Habits don’t form over night and ideas don’t come all at once. A good plan is thought through its development over days, seasons, climate changes – weather and culturally, and its outcome years into the future. We’ve got a great deal of studying to do. We just listened to a show by an author who is heavily ingrained into intelligence gathering agencies. He has HIGH clearance. We will be reading his books. Friends involved in 9/11 told us a great deal that never hit the news. It would have changed opinions greatly. The news media today is about money and controlling public opinion. I miss Walter Cronkite. You have to look elsewhere for a clearer slant of the truth.

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The future is going to ride its course whether we are ready or not so let’s begin now to make changes so we won’t get pulled under by the tow. I’ve had to look abroad to see how other countries handle their laundry. An English ceiling clothes line is coming our way. Clothes dryers are high energy wasters and the norm here in America. We each have something to share. So as this world hands us lemons, let’s make lemonade together. It will help this bitter cup go down easier.

 

4 thoughts on “A Recession Has Begun

  1. Darla

    I have been worried for a while about another “Great Depression”. We can not be prepared for everything.
    I have planted about 20 fruit trees in my backyard. I have a garden, a small aquaponics tank that runs on solar panels.
    I am taking beekeeping classes in the spring.
    Every payday I buy beans, rice, salt & pasta. It will last for a long time. If the garden fails, we will have something.
    My family does not agree with me about the depression, but I know if something happens they will be at my house. I expect about 10-15 people.

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    1. I’ve listened to 15 economic experts in the last couple weeks, many from high name universities and so far in the past couple weeks everything they said would happen has. I also listened to a gentleman who has the highest clearance in the Pentagon. He has worked for many of the intelligence gathering agencies in America and keeps connections. He has written books and I’m going to read. He is not talking kindly about the future. They all say we are in the beginning of a recession and hang on. It won’t be like anything we’ve seen before. The stage is set and certain things are sure to play out. You sound much more prepared than we are. We are learning about boundaries though and are setting them so we can once more concentrate on preparing in earnest. I’ve studied and thought but not instigated enough. Kirk is now much more on board than ever before as he too is studying. The writing is on the wall. We just have to read it because whether or not we want to believe it, things are going to get ugly. Even traditionally neutral Sweden is preparing for war. They dropped from 700,000 in the military to 50,000 because they thought all was well but have started conscripting and initiated a Home Guard. Russia, its neighbor, has been rattling its sabers. They were safe before because they did not have anything others wanted. That has changed. They have sent a pamphlet to all its citizens how to prepare themselves.
      Mexico’s president just made a play, right out of the book “The Art of War”. The same basic one Putin did with the Ukraine before declaring war. It’s been used for centuries. A chess match is a foot around the world and as more and more countries struggle economically, the more likely war will raise its ugly head. We’d better watch ourselves. I’m now studying finance as part of our resiliency planning. The financial world is a great barometer and moves in a set pattern so can indicate what is to come. I’ve made a lot of past mistakes but tomorrow can be different. It has to be.

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  2. $38000 does sound high! I did a quick check (https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/jan/07/average-uk-household-debt-now-stands-at-record-15400) the equivalent level of debt in the UK is $18500, but that is per household, so I guess you can reduce that by nearly half. I guess if you borrow for substantial things like cars that would bump it up and now (in the UK) student loans. You can be resilient about your own spending habits, but we don’t live in a bubble. Always well to be prepared, and the changes you suggest will benefit you and the land long term anyway!
    They say that meat has a high cost of production, so you could consider swapping some more land for pulse production if that suited your climate, at least you wouldn’t have to worry about feeding them too if times get hard.

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    1. We have a small amount more of land we could use but not enough water, time, and energy. Water is greatly limited with a well and only 22 inches of rain. I’m experimenting with heavy mulch but it has really delayed the production of crops because of our cooler weather. I will need to cut way back. It did do an impressive job on water conservation. Most of our acreage is a steep sloped hill facing west where the weather comes from and away from the sun. That means livestock only. Boulders would inhibit digging to create terraces and the slope makes a backhoe use (if we could afford it) difficult, and destructive on equipment. I’m thinking instead of strip plantings of deep rooted plants that would form slight barriers to keep run off in check and washing of soil. Plus some cover cropping. Downspout collection will help a little and the pocket pond for water but it is going to be taxed with what crops we will have in, in the next couple years. Land in Wyoming is best suited for livestock with lack of water, poor soil, and hills or mountains. We are going to slim down the number of stock in each area. Just a few and I mean a few as in around a handful to sell in each area would be nice. The pasture will be critical. It needs used to its fullest as it is the largest area. Because of our super short growing season, all the crops have to be in within a couple weeks of each other. This means an extra large garden size and more water in a short period of time is needed. That is hard on a well. Vegetables make more sense except where they don’t grow well and water is very limited. Believe me, I’ve thought and thought on it. There is a reason why ranching is King in Wyoming. I also can not tolerate heat. Heat meaning a few days in a row that are 85 or above. My vitals dive bomb even when I’m in the cooler house. Gardening is a challenge. I can definitely see why you would suggest more gardening.

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