Category Archive: Employment

Thousands Drop off Food Stamp Rolls in Georgia After State Implements Work Requirements

Thousands of people have dropped off the food stamp rolls in Georgia as a result of the state implementing work requirements for food stamp recipients.

More than half of the 11,779 people enrolled for food stamps in 21 counties, an estimated 7,251 people, have dropped out of the food stamp program—a drop of 62 percent, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Georgia first rolled out its work requirements for the food stamp program in three counties in January 2016. Since then, the state has expanded work requirements in an additional 21 counties, giving people in those 21 counties until April 1, 2017 to find a job or lose food stamp benefits.

Those who receive benefits must work at least 20 hours a week, be enrolled in state-approved job training, or volunteer for a state-approved non-profit or charity.

State officials say the plan is to extend the work requirements to all 159 counties in Georgia by 2019 and implement work requirements in 60 more counties, starting in 2018.

“The greater good is people being employed, being productive and contributing to the state,” said Bobby Cagle, director of Georgia’s Division of Family and Children Services.

Views on the work mandate are mixed in the state, with some seeing the requirement as a way to get more people into the workforce and less dependent on government handouts, while others say it is an unfair measure that targets the disabled who cannot hold down a job due to their impairments.

Brandon Hanick, who represents the progressive advocacy group Better Georgia, says people with mental health problems, limited education, and the physically disabled would have trouble trying to provide proof of their inability to meet the work requirements.

“It’s cruel,” Hanick said. “We’re talking about one of the most basic needs — the need for food.”

State Rep. Greg Morris (R-Vidalia), on the other hand, says that the decrease in food stamp recipients means that the work requirements are helping people become less dependent on government handouts.

“This is about protecting taxpayer dollars from abuse, and taking people off the cycle of dependency,” Morris said. The big drop in numbers, he added, “shows how tax dollars are abused when it comes to entitlements.”

Over the past year, the number of able-bodied food stamp recipients without children in Georgia decreased from 111,000 to 89,500, a 19 percent decrease, the AJC reported.

According to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics for FY 2017, 42,906,253 Americans are enrolled in the food stamp program—a 2.9 percent decrease from FY 2016, when 44,219,363 Americans received food stamps.

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

via: breitbart

 


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The Top 5 Reasons I “Prepare”

 

I was about to write something like this when friends at homesteaddreamer hit it right on the head.

This is the orginal post below, but stop over at homesteaddreamer for much more information on “Working toward a more self sufficient life”.

 

 


Picture by David Kent, © 2006

Hollywood has turned the word “prepper” into a laughable term that conjures up images of some whack job in a bunker with gas masks. The reality of it could not be further from the truth. As with anything, there are the extremists out there who take things over the top. The current fad is to capitalize on those types to entertain the masses (“Doomsday Preppers” anyone?). Anyone who knows me or has followed me for more than a month, already knows I am not anything like what is portrayed on television. The Mister and I consider it “self-regulated insurance.” Some are taken back when they hear me say I consider myself a morphed version of a homesteader and a prepper (most do not understand that they are one in the same for the most part). I generally just tell people that I am turning into my grandma (which is true) and they accept it as something more palatable, more ‘normal.’ For those rare people who are not put off by the word prepper or think I am crazy to think in these terms of being ready for some unforeseen event, I tell them my top 5 reasons the husband and I have gone over to this more self reliant lifestyle. They are given in order of importance;

1. Loss of job. Any one can lose their job at any time. Most people reading this (myself included) simply do not have the means to be able to put back 3 months of bills into a savings account. They live by the seat of their pants – paycheck to paycheck. Having supplies such as an extra 20# bag of rice (bought on sale!) or pack of toilet paper will make getting through a job loss easier in many ways. There is a comfort knowing that even if you do not have money coming in, you have some food set back that will not go bad anytime soon. You will still be able to feed your family and keep clean while you figure out the rest. I can personally attest to this – when I was finishing college I was not working and our budget was so tight that a vice grip would be jealous. I had the pantry filled with extras like rice, beans, flour, sugar, etc. and other staples. The freezer was pretty full because of a meat sale I was able to take advantage of and we made it through. All actual money we had went to rent and bills and we ate the stores I had set back. I learned some great new recipes, too!


2. Break in the Supply Chain. Living on an island means everything is shipped in by barge, ferry, or plane. We rely completely upon these ‘just in time’ systems for absolutely everything. Should some catastrophe happen in the ‘lower 48,’ our supplies here would surely be affected. A large earthquake or storm system could slow or even stop supplies moving across the country. The likelihood of supplies actually making it here when the places they are being shipped through also need the same supplies is small – maybe even non existent – until regular lines are restored. Any government aid would also be very slow in making it here, if at all. Should the supply chain become interrupted, people in Southeast Alaska would be on their own in more than one way.

3. Natural Disasters. Thankfully, the area I live in does not have many natural disasters, or even disaster threats. Wildfires and floods or mudslides simply do not happen often here. We have some good storms in Autumn and Spring with sustained winds over 5o MPH and gusts in the 80 MPH range. We are used to these and do not have to worry much about damage to homes or infrastructure. The natural disasters I worry most about would be earthquakes and the tsunamis that follow. We are surrounded by little islands on all sides that would break up some of the tsunami waves however, the initial ‘draining’ of the sea and then it rushing back in would cause significant damage by itself. We are a coastal fishing town – such an event could wipe out salmon stocks if the tsunami hit during spawning season. Fishing boats would be damaged and sink from banging around in the docks or from a rock on the sea floor as the waves rushed out, then back in. We may not see an actual tsunami hit the island I live on, but there would be a ripple effect felt across the region.

4. Economic Collapse. No two ways about it, our country is in trouble financially speaking. Anyone who knows anything of how economics works can see the truth of it. I have great concerns about how it will all shake out in the end and we are consciously working on getting ourselves completely out of debt. That being said, I put this lower on my list because there really is not much I can do about it other than what I already am. If there was indeed an economic collapse, many people think that they simply will not have to pay bills and that is just unrealistic. The rent man and bank will still want their money for the roof over your head and if you don’t have it, you may find yourself out in the cold. Having stuff set back to eat, drink, keep warm with, and keep hygiene up with help immensely as you will not have to buy these things and what funds you do have can be put toward keeping the roof over your head.


5. All the ‘Other Stuff’. Yup, I worry about EMPs or solar flares wiping out the grid. I worry about asteroids smacking the Earth. I worry about terrorists, dirty bombs, chemical warfare, etc. The fact is, ALL of these are possible but that does not mean I am sitting there hiding in my little cocoon waiting for it all to go down. I do what I can to prepare; having the supplies and SKILLS  to not only make it, but to also thrive afterward. The skills can actually be very fun to try out. For example; camping is a wonderful activity to help teach yourself and your family how to deal without running water, electricity, and wood heat. Do you know how to start a fire with damp wood? How about putting up a tarp that you can take down without leaving any rope in the trees? Can you identify edible plants in your area? All of these simple activities add up to a lot of powerful knowledge that can literally save you if needed but you learned them by ‘playing’ in the woods. It is all about perspective!

Here is a wonderful little interactive PDF you can use to help get started by breaking things down into manageable chunks. Not sure what scenario to use? I recommend people plan for a job loss first to get used to the form and then go from there. I hope this helps some of the nay-sayers see that being ‘prepared’ is a really smart idea (your grandparents called it ‘normal’) and not just for the whack jobs who are convinced that the whole world is only one event away from total annihilation.

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

Via: homesteaddreamer


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Going Under: Over One Million Lose Unemployment Benefits – Will Hit Five Million By End of 2014

Earlier this year government benefits for nutritional assistance were reduced after the expiration of emergency legislation that was enacted following the 2008 financial collapse. Nearly all of the 48 million people receiving food stamp distributions were affected. The move led to warnings from food pantries and recipients around the country who said that the $40 billion in cuts would leave many American families without the ability to put food on dinner tables across America. According to Feed America, the roughly $29 per family that would no longer appear on their EBT cards will amount to about 1.5 billion meals in 2014.

But that was just the beginning.

Because the government now claims that we are in a period of economic growth we will see more cuts to emergency assistance over the course of the next year.

And it starts today.

As of midnight Saturday some 1.3 million Americans who lost their jobs in the last two years and were left with no choice but to collect unemployment benefits due to the worst jobs market since the Great Depression have now seen their benefits expire.

Long-term unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans expired Saturday after Congress failed to pass an extension. Reinstating those benefits is expected to be one of the first priorities for congressional Democrats in the new year.

“Extending unemployment insurance is the right thing to do for millions of Americans who are trying to support their families,” Democratic National Committee chairwoman and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a statement Saturday. “What makes matters worse, the loss of benefits comes just a few days after the holidays.”

CNN


This morning, the President placed separate telephone calls to Senator Jack Reed and Senator Dean Heller to offer his support for their proposal to extend emergency unemployment benefits for three months,” White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.

“The President said his administration would, as it has for several weeks now, push Congress to act promptly and in bipartisan fashion to address this urgent economic priority.”

Obama says the abrupt cut-off in cash assistance during the holidays will hurt economic growth and jobs.

Fox News

Here’s the kicker. By the end of 2014 the number of Americans who will lose access to long-term unemployment benefits will be five times higher:

 

By July, another 1.9 million people will get the boot from extended benefits. By the end of 2014, 1.6 million more will be kicked off, totaling about 5 million Americans.

Bloomberg

Five millions Americans will be losing access to what essentially amounts to their paycheck. And we’re not talking about a $29 cut to food stamps. We’re talking about a mortgage payment, a healthcare payment, and funds to pay for essential utilities.

All of it will be vaporized by the end of the year. This will affect not just those five million people, but their dependents as well, which amounts to at least an additional 5 – 10 million people.

Congress and the President propose to extend these benefits for another three months, and most would suggest that this will avert the emergency.

That notion is laughable.

What happens after we kick the can down the road for another three months? Will President Obama somehow magically create 1.3 million shovel-ready jobs?

The problem is that there are no meaningful jobs available. So you can extend these benefits for six months, or even two more years, and we’ll be right back where we started once they expire – perhaps even worse off as prices for everything from food to utilities to health care rise unabated.

When a DHS Insider warned recently of a crisis of unprecedented magnitude within the United States he noted that we are in the midst of a long-term economic collapse.

Given what is transpiring around us, can anyone honestly say that our economy is actually recovering?

President Obama claims that failing to extend the unemployment benefits for these 1.3 million people will hurt economic growth and jobs. He has just broadcast the severity of the situation we face.

It should be clear that without government intervention and backroom machinations the entire system will come unglued. Stocks would crash, millions would be starving in the streets, and the violence that the Department of Homeland Security and US military have been preparing for would take hold across the streets of America.

That may sound sensational, but consider that just one week ahead of the cut to food stamp benefits of $29 per family the Department of Homeland Security spent $80 million to beef up security in New York City with the expectation that those who lost their benefits would start rioting. They know that we are rapidly approaching a breaking point, otherwise why would they be preparing for it?

The government has no choice but to keep pumping out money and emergency assistance, whether that be to people who have lost their jobs or the banks that provide the lending. The second (literally) that they pull back on the monetary, financial and economic intervention we will see a catastrophe that few can imagine.

It’s coming.

If you’re paying attention you can’t go a day without seeing the signs.

The only question is: Are you prepared for when it happens?

 

 Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

Via: shtfplan


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How to Survive a Personal Economic Collapse

This guide has been contributed by Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper.

With all that is being written about the national economic collapse, people seem to be waiting for some huge event.

However, for many North Americans, the collapse is here. This isn’t relegated to only lower income neighborhoods.  As an article from a Cinncinnati new station stated, “Hunger doesn’t know a zipcode.”

For many people who were formerly financially comfortable, the economic collapse has already happened, in the form of a job loss, hours that have been cut back due to Obamacare requirements for employers, an exorbitant medical bill or other crushing debt, or simply an inflation rate that has outstripped your pay increases.  Despite all of the warnings, many people are still going to be absolutely blindsided.

For many families, personal finances have reached a catastrophic level – they are left to make terrible choices:

  • Which utility can I live without?
  • Should I walk away from my mortgage?
  • Should I eat something so I can work harder or should I skip meals so my kids have food?
  • Should I use the grocery money to take my child to the doctor or should I wait and hope he/she improves without medical intervention?
  • Do I risk the IRS-enforced penalties by forgoing enrollment in Obamacare or should I skip that whole grocery shopping thing so I can pay the monthly premiums and enormous deductibles in order to stay in the government’s good graces?

These are the kind of decisions that people across the nation are grappling with every day.

I’m talking about good people, hardworking men and women who have always been employed and paid their bills. A personal financial crisis does not just strike those stereotypical “welfare queens” with the long manicured nails, Gucci knock-off purse, and a grocery cart full of EBT-funded lobster.

I’m talking about the person next door, who seems to have it all together. I’m talking about that quiet family that sits two rows in front of you at church. I’m talking about that two-income family with two children and a car in the driveway that takes them to work and school 5 days a week. I’m talking about people just like you and me.

What is a personal economic collapse?

A personal economic collapse is a little different than the major crises you see all over Europe right now, where huge segments of the population can’t feed their children or stay employed. It is a crisis that just hits your family due to a given set of circumstances.  (In actuality North Americans are on the brink of the kind of collapse that is occurring in Europe, but because of easy access to credit and a buy-now, pay-later society, many of us still have the appearance of prosperity.)

Here are some signs that you may be in the midst of a personal economic collapse:

  • You can only afford to pay the minimum payment on most of your bills.
  • The same dollar amount you used to spend on groceries doesn’t buy enough food to feed your family for the week.
  • You can’t afford to go to the doctor when you’re sick.
  • You are taking dangerous steps to “stretch” needed medications because you can’t afford the prescriptions.
  • Your utility bills are past due and your power is in danger of being cut off.
  • You skip meals in order to save money or to have enough food for your kids.
  • You’ve lost your job or had your hours cut.
  • You have lost property due to foreclosure or repossession (such as your home or your vehicle).

Surviving the crisis

Times are tough but you can survive this.

1.) First you have to see exactly where you are.

It’s time for a brutally honest assessment of your finances.  If you use your debit card or credit card for most expenditures, you’ll easily be able to see what you’re spending and bringing in.

Print off your bank account statements for the past 2 months.  On a piece of paper, track where your money is going.  List the following

  • Rent/Mortgage
  • Utilities
  • Car payments
  • Vehicle operating expenses (fuel, repairs)
  • Insurances
  • Credit card and other debt payments
  • Telephone/Cell phone
  • Cable/Satellite
  • Internet
  • Extracurricular activities for the kids
  • Extracurricular activities for the adults
  • Dining out
  • Groceries
  • School expenses
  • Clothing
  • Recreational spending
  • Gifts
  • Miscellaneous (anything that doesn’t fall into the above categories gets it’s own category or goes here)

Don’t say to yourself, “Well, I usually don’t spend $400 on clothing so that isn’t realistic.”  If you spent it, then it’s realistic.  You are averaging together two months, which should account for those less common expenses.  Brutal honesty isn’t fun, but it’s vital for this exercise.

So….what do you see when you look at your piece of paper with your average monthly expenditures for the past two months?  Are there any surprises?  Did you actually realize how much you’ve been spending?   Most of us will immediately see places that we can trim the budget.  Those $1-$5 purchases can really add up.  Reining them in may just allow you to take care of an important need that you thought you could not meet.

It can’t continue like this.  The economy will not withstand it.  Step one is to see where you can cut things out right now from the above expenditures.  Can you reduce your grocery bill?  Slash meals out?  Budget more carefully for gift-giving and school clothes?

2.) Rethink necessities.

If your finances are out of control, the best possible reality check is a stark look at what necessities really are.  It is not necessary to life to have an iPhone, a vehicle in both stalls of your two-car garage, or for your children to all have separate bedrooms.  People in Southern and Eastern Europe right now will tell you, as they scramble for food, basic over the counter medications like aspirin, and shelter, that necessities are those things essential to life:

  • Water
  • Food (and the ability to cook it)
  • Medicine and medical supplies
  • Basic hygiene supplies
  • Shelter (including sanitation, lights, heat)
  • Simple tools
  • Seeds
  • Defense Items

Absolutely everything above those basic necessities is a luxury.

So, by this definition, what luxuries do you have?

3.) Reduce your monthly output

Reduce your monthly payments by cutting frivolous expenses. Look at every single monthly payment that comes out of your bank account and slash relentlessly.  Consider cutting the following:

  • Cable
  • Cell phones
  • Home phones
  • Gym memberships
  • Restaurant meals
  • Unnecessary driving
  • Entertainment such as trips to the movies, the skating rink, or the mall

4.) Waste not, want not.

We live in a disposable society.  Food comes in throw-away containers.  People replace things instead of repairing them.  If you throw out more than a couple of bags of garbage each week, that’s a very good sign that you may be wasting resources.

Before throwing anything away, pause and think about how it might be able to be reused.

  • Food: Many times small amounts of leftovers can be recycled into a brand new meal. Meat bones can be used to make broth or stock.  Small amounts of veggies or grains can be frozen and added to a future soup or casserole. Leftovers can be frozen in meal-sized portions to take to work for a brown-bag lunch. (Learn more about repurposing leftovers HERE.)
  • Clothing: Clothing that is torn or damaged can often be repaired with only rudimentary sewing skills. If it has been outgrown or cannot be repaired, often the fabric or yarn can be reused for other purposes, from cleaning rags to fashionable accessories like scarves and headbands, or home items like throw pillows, potholders or rag rugs.  When all else fails, the fabric can be used for cleaning rags or patches to repair other items. Keep jars full of buttons, elastic, and other notions that can easily be removed before you throw  a clothing item away or relegate it to the rag bag.
  • Electronics: Obviously, initially you should attempt to repair (or have repaired) electronic items that are not working. If this is not feasible, are there components of the item that can be reused, either now or in the future? What about hardware such as screws or fasteners?
  • Containers:  Most food comes in a container of some sort.  Before throwing the container away, consider whether or not it might be useful. Glass jars, plastic tubs, and plastic bags can often be reused to store food in your refrigerator or to contain food in brown bag lunches.  Clean aluminum cans can hold all manner of items, from hardware and tools in a workshop to sewing and craft supplies. Use your imagination.

5.) Take control of your food budget.

The price of food is skyrocketing.  Who hasn’t been to the grocery store recently and been shocked at the high price of that cart full of groceries or at the mysterious shrinking food packages that are the same price as yesterday’s larger ones?

  • Stockpile:  Create a stockpile of nutritious, healthy staples at today’s prices to enjoy when the cost goes even higher tomorrow.  (Learn how to create a frugal food stockpile HERE.)
  • Preserve: Learn to preserve food yourself when you come across a windfall.  Pressure canning, waterbath canningfreezing, and dehydrating can allow you to take advantage of great sales or end-of-season scores.
  • Eat less:  This suggestion isn’t for everyone, but many of us could stand to shed a few pounds.  Perhaps now would be a good time to cut back a little and shrink both your waistline and your weekly food bill.  Lots of people eat for the sheer entertainment of it or out of habit.  Next time you’re watching TV, grab some mending or a crossword puzzle instead of a bag of potato chips. Dish out slightly smaller servings at dinnertime to leave enough to stretch the leftovers for a brown bag meal the next day.
  • Drink water:  Skip the beverages and drink water instead. At less than $1 per gallon for purchased water you simply can’t beat the price.  It’s better for you, also, than sugar-y drinks.  If you are lucky enough to have well water or access to spring water, your drinks don’t have to cost you a penny.
  • Focus on nutrition instead of convenience:  Buy the best quality of food you can,  and skip the processed, nutritionless convenience foods.
  • Grow your own.  In the summer, grow the biggest garden you can. In the winter, or if you are an apartment dweller, put some sprouts and greens in a sunny windowsill to add some fresh produce for pennies.

6.) Reduce your dependence on utilities.

Energy rates are skyrocketing. As the prices begin to rise, more and more people will be unable to pay their bills and eventually their power will be shut off.  Check your bill each month and as prices increase, use less power. Try some of these ideas to reduce your reliance and drop your bills.

  • Hand wash your clothing
  • Hang clothes to dry
  • Cook on a woodstove or outdoor grill
  • Can foods to preserve them instead of relying on a large chest freezer
  • Turn the heat down a few degrees and use non-grid methods to keep warm
  • Use rain barrels to collect water
  • Direct the gray water from your washing machines to reservoirs
  • Turn off the lights and open the blinds
  • Use solar lighting whenever possible

How do you intend to weather the storm?

There are bleak days ahead.  Have you planned for this?  What strategies do you intend to use to weather the financial crisis that is coming for all of us?  What suggestions do you have for families who are undergoing their own economic collapses?

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

Via: shtfplan


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Assess your personal survival situation

I have a saying I use. Listen to everyone but make up your own mind. I think this applies particularly to the web. The internet is full of those dispensing wisdom, some of it excellent some of it just plain off base. The subject of survival is no different so before considering a bomb proof shelter, step back and take some time to honestly assess the realistic scenarios you may find yourself in. These are some hard questions you need to ask yourself as you consider your course of action.

What is the likely threat?

Make a list sorted by most likely to least likely. This depends on what part of the country you live and work in. Are you a city dweller or do you live in the sticks? Be realistic, do you really need to prep for a chemical attack if you live hundreds of miles from any likely target? Do you work down town next to a federal building where the likely hood of terrorism might be higher? What severe weather can be expected?  What natural disasters are your area prone to? What else is nearby?  A chemical plant next door might require a bit more planning. Will you be able to count on your neighbors or will they become potential threats after a week with no electricity.

What is your anxiety level  for each of these potential situations?  We all have different fears, some justified some perceived, it doesn’t matter, if it bugs you it needs attention. To me the greatest good I get from being prepared is the peace of mind it brings and a sense of control over unpredictable circumstances. I do not live in fear of terrorism, I live and work far from likely targets.  I made a conscience decision not to worry about it. Of course my neighbor may feel completely different. Based on your feelings go back and reorder your list.

What is your level of commitment?

It all boils down to time and money. If money is not an issue there is really no limit to how prepared you can be. Most of us don’t fall into this category, we have to pick and chose what to prepare for and to what extent. Those on a budget should spend wisely on those items that will help across a wide range of scenarios. In other words be sure you have flashlights and batteries before investing in the rifle and scope.

How much time can you devote to this, will you really ever finish digging a fallout shelter in your crawl space? Are you better off making sure your water pipes in that crawl space are well insulated so they don’t freeze and split during a power outage plus a cold snap?  Will you take the time to change the filters on your reverse osmosis water filter system or just keep a rotating stash of gallon water jugs in a closet?  The message here is bite off what you can chew.

What are your Skills Sets?

In my view this is an overlooked area that requires some soul searching.

Can you change a flat tire, can you cook over an open fire, could you sew up a wound on a child, could you butcher an animal, do you know how find and  turn off a gas valve, could you kill someone?  Really consider your skills when selecting equipment or making plans. Just because you can purchase the Navy seal gear does not give you the Navy seal skill set. As a rule I do not rely on items that I have no real experience with. I don’t want to learn a new skill set while tiring to survive at the same time.

What is your fitness?

How far can you walk? How far can you walk with a pack? How far can you walk with a pack up hill in the rain?  Let’s be honest, we are part of a sedentary society. Many of us have no clue what it would mean to hike 10 miles home or to a bug out location once your car becomes useless. Could you swim a river if a bridge was down? Are you better off  sheltering in place and be prepared for marauders then  going cross country only to blow out your knee 2 miles from home. In my opinion this is one of the most limiting factors we face and really should be the base line you plan around. Seriously load up a pack with 40 or 50 lbs of gear and see how far you can go. I think lots of us would find the result sobering. Being painfully honest on this point could save your life.

So there are some things to think about, but as I mentioned make up your own mind it is your life to save

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

Via: thesurvivalistblog


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Detroit Obliterates Retirement Funds: 80% Cuts to Pensioners: “This Is Going to Affect Everyone”

Though a decade ago civil servants and union members would never have believed it could happen, the stark reality of the situation came to pass this morning.

We now know the answer to the question: What happens when a government makes promises it can’t keep and borrows so much money it can never be repaid?

This morning a judge overseeing the City of Detroit’s fiscal sustainability ruled that the City can be afforded bankruptcy protection, meaning that all 100,000 of its creditors now stand to lose a significant portion of monies owed to them.

The most notable victims are the tens of thousands of retirees living off of pensions – many of whom will see an 80% obliteration of the retirement funds they believed they’d receive until they died.

Creditor attorneys have repeatedly speculated they expect Orr’s plan of adjustment to mirror the June 14 proposal he offered creditors to avoid bankruptcy. That deal proposed giving unsecured creditors such as pensioners and bondholders a $2 billion note for $11.5 billion in estimated debts — or less than 18 cents for every dollar owed.

Most of those affected assumed the government would simply find a way to borrow more money or fabricate it out of thin air. They were wrong and now they are paying the price:

“Oh my, oh my. Everyone is worried. When we think about what could happen, it’s scary,” said Larsen, 85, who moved to Palm Harbor, Fla., outside of Tampa after he retired in 1976.

“If they take our health insurance? Oh god. Cutting pensions? It’s terrible. The city of Detroit was our pride. Honest to goodness. We loved it.”


“We are all worried,” said Nancy Schmidt, the group’s secretary. “This is going to affect everyone in different ways. If it comes to fruition, I’ve got two empty bedrooms and I may end up having to rent them out.”


“My net pension is $2,300 a month,” said Kammer, 77, who moved to Englewood, Fla., not long after retiring with a disability in 1977.

“I could make it for a while, go through savings, but pretty soon, I’d end up in bankruptcy.”


“(Retirees) feel like something that they’ve earned and were promised is being taken away from when they’re not in a position in their lives to plan for it and fight back,” Plecha said. “They’re at a time in their lives when they’re most vulnerable.”

Detroit is the first and they have now set a precedent for other cities in similar situations. You can be assured that more will follow.

First it will be the cities. Then the states will go under. And finally, the Grand-Poobah – our own Federal government. Detroit’s debts are pocket change compared to the $200 trillion in future liabilities owed by the United States of America.

If you are depending on a government retirement package to be there for you for the rest of your life, you’d better think again. Over twenty thousand Detroit retirees thought the same thing – and as of today they have been wiped out.

When this crisis hits the Federal Government – and it will – you’d better be ready for them to take drastic measures. This means they’ll be forced to not only cut retirement benefits promised to federal employees, but will make the case that if they have to give up their retirement funds, you’ll have to give up your 401k, IRA or personal savings.

Sounds impossible, right? Congressional members have already gotten the ball rolling on a nationalization of America’s retirement funds, and when they are ready to do it they’ll pass the legislation just like they did when they seized 1/6th of our economy by nationalizing health care.

They are coming for the money – YOUR money – because they will be left with no other choice.

If you’re not planning on a secondary income stream or preserving wealth in the form of gold and silver, productive land, or other tangible assets, you’ll end up just like the retirees from Detroit. Having additional resources, like a well stocked long-term pantry and a preparedness plan for financial disaster, can mean the difference between living in poverty or thriving when best laid plans fall apart.

Plan for the worst, because that’s what’s coming.

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

Via: shtfplan


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Those That Are Not Preparing For The Coming Economic Depression Are Going To Bitterly Regret It

The next great economic crisis is rapidly approaching, and most people are going to be totally blindsided by it.  Even though the warning signs are glaringly obvious, most Americans continue to believe that our “leaders” know what they are doing and that everything will be just fine.  But what will happen when the next great financial crash happens and trillions of dollars of “paper wealth” disappear into thin air?  What will happen when the coming credit crunch causes economic activity to dramatically slow down and millions upon millions of people lose their jobs?  This shouldn’t sound far-fetched to you.  Remember, this is exactly the kind of thing that we saw back in 2008, and the next great financial crisis is likely going to be significantly worse.  Our economy is in far worse shape than it was back in 2008, and government dependence is now at an all-time high even though most Americans are still enjoying debt-fueled false prosperity.  We are living in the largest debt bubble in the history of the planet, and when it bursts we are going to experience a crippling “adjustment” to our standard of living.  Some people understand this and are busy preparing for what is ahead.  It has been estimated that there are approximately 3 million “preppers” in the United States, and that number is growing all the time.  Unfortunately, most Americans are not preparing for the coming economic depression and they are going to bitterly regret it.

So what does preparing for the coming economic depression look like?

Well, it doesn’t have to be complicated.  Most of the things that you should do are just common sense.

But there are some people that take things to extremes.  For example, a new National Geographic series is featuring a family that is actually constructing a “Doomsday Castle“.  The former U.S. Army officer that is building this unusual home is trying to prepare for virtually every type of disaster that he can imagine

Meet Brent Sr., the leader of the six-person family. Brent is a former Army Infantry Training Officer who is heading up the project to build an “EMP (electromagnetic pulse)-proof medieval castle in the woods of the Carolinas.”

According to National Geographic, Brent is teaching five of his 10 children survival skills.

The unfinished, fortified castle that Brent Sr. is building — an idea he got during the Y2K prep craze — will be able to sustain an EMP-event that could wipe out a power grid, but will also survive natural disasters like hurricanes.

He even plans to train his family members to use crossbows and a catapult to defend against potential home invaders.

Not many people out there are going to take “prepping” to such extremes.

But even if you don’t plan to build a “Doomsday Castle”, that doesn’t mean that you should be doing nothing.

Sadly, most Americans are quite ill-prepared for a major economic downturn at this point.  In fact, most Americans seem to be doing almost nothing to prepare.

Just consider the following statistics.  Most of these numbers come from one of my previous articles

-According to a survey that was recently released, 76 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

46 percent of all Americans have less than $800 in savings.

27 percent of all Americans do not have even a single penny saved up.

-Less than one out of every four Americans has enough money stored away to cover six months of expenses.

-Each year, 12 million Americans take out high interest payday loans.

-In 1989, the debt to income ratio of the average American family was about 58 percent.  Today it is up to 154 percent.

-It is estimated that less than 10 percent of the U.S. population owns any gold or silver for investment purposes.

44 percent of all Americans do not have first-aid kits in their homes.

48 percent of all Americans do not have any emergency supplies stored up.

53 percent of all Americans do not have a 3 day supply of nonperishable food and water in their homes.

One survey asked Americans how long they thought they would survive if the electrical grid went down for an extended period of time.  Incredibly, 21 percent said that they would survive for less than a week, an additional 28 percent said that they would survive for less than two weeks, and nearly 75 percent said that they would be dead before the two month mark.

Those numbers are absolutely appalling.

When the system fails, most people are going to be completely blindsided by it and millions upon millions of people are going to absolutely freak out.

Don’t let that happen to you.

So what are some basic things that you can do to get prepared for the great economic storm that is coming?

The following are a few of the things that Nicole Foss suggests…

1) Hold no debt (for most people this means renting)

2) Hold cash and cash equivalents (short term treasuries) under your own control

3) Don’t trust the banking system, deposit insurance or no deposit insurance

4) Sell equities, real estate, most bonds, commodities, collectibles (or short if you can afford to gamble)

5) Gain some control over the necessities of your own existence if you can afford it

6) Be prepared to work with others as that will give you far greater scope for resilience and security

7) If you have done all that and still have spare resources, consider precious metals as an insurance policy

8) Be worth more to your employer than he is paying you

9) Look after your health!

I think all of those are great pieces of advice.

In addition, below I have posted some of the things that I personally recommend.  The following is an excerpt from one of my previous articles entitled “25 Things That You Should Do To Get Prepared For The Coming Economic Collapse“…

#1 An Emergency Fund

Do you remember what happened when the financial system almost collapsed back in 2008?  Millions of Americans suddenly lost their jobs, and because many of them were living paycheck to paycheck, many of them also got behind on their mortgages and lost their homes.  You don’t want to lose everything that you have worked for during this next major economic downturn.  It is imperative that you have an emergency fund.  It should be enough to cover all of your expenses for at least six months, but I would encourage you to have an emergency fund that is even larger than that.

#2 Don’t Put All Of Your Eggs Into One Basket

If the wealth confiscation in Cyprus has taught us anything, it is that we should not put all of our eggs in one basket.  If all of your money is in one single bank account, it would be easy to wipe out.  But if you have your money scattered around a number of different places it will give you a little bit more security.

#3 Keep Some Cash At Home

This goes along with the previous point.  While it is not wise to keep all of your money at home, you do want to keep some cash on hand.  If there is an extended bank holiday or if a giant burst from the sun causes the ATM machines to go down, you want to be able to have enough cash to buy the things that your family needs.  Just ask the people of Cyprus how crippling a bank holiday can be.  One way to keep your cash secure at home is by storing it in a concealed safe.

#4 Get Out Of Debt

A lot of people seem to assume that an economic collapse would wipe out all debts, but that will probably not be the case.  In fact, if you are in a tremendous amount of debt you will be very vulnerable if the economy collapses and you are not able to find a job.  Just ask the people who were overextended and lost their jobs during the last recession.  So please get out of debt.  Many debt collectors are becoming increasingly ruthless.  In many areas of the country they are now routinely putting debtors into prison.  You do not want to be a slave to debt when the next wave of the economic collapse strikes.

#5 Gold And Silver

In the long-term, the U.S. dollar is going to lose a tremendous amount of value and inflation is going to absolutely skyrocket.  That is one reason why so many people are investing very heavily in gold, silver and other precious metals.  All over the globe, the central banks of the world are recklessly printing money.  Everyone knows that this is going to end very badly.  In fact, there is already a push in more than a dozen U.S. states to allow gold and silver coins to be used as legal tender.  Someday you will be glad that you invested in gold and silver now while their prices were still low.

#6 Reduce Your Expenses

A lot of people claim that they can’t put any money toward prepping, but the truth is that we all have room to reduce our expenses.  We all spend money on things that we do not really need.  Those that are “lean and mean” will tend to do much better during the times that are coming.

#7 Start A Side Business

If you do not have much money, a great way to increase your income is by starting a side business.  And it does not take a lot of money – there are many side businesses that you can start for next to nothing.  And starting a side business will allow you to become less dependent on your job.  In this economic environment, a job could disappear at literally any time.

#8 Move Away From The Big Cities If Possible

For many people, this is simply not possible.  Many Americans are still completely and totally dependent on their jobs.  But if you are able, now is a good time to move away from the big cities.  When the next major economic downturn strikes, there will be rioting and a dramatic rise in crime in the major cities.  If you are able to move to a more rural area you will probably be in much better shape.

#9 Store Food

Global food reserves have reached their lowest level in nearly 40 years.  As the economy gets even worse and global weather patterns become even more unstable, the price of food will go much higher and global food supplies will become much tighter.  In the long run, you will be glad for the money that you put into long-term food storage now.

#10 Learn To Grow Your Own Food

This is a skill that most Americans possessed in the past, but that most Americans today have forgotten.  Growing your own food is a way to become more independent of the system, and it is a way to get prepared for what is ahead.

#11 Nobody Can Survive Without Water

Without water, you would not even make it a few days in an emergency situation.  It is imperative that you have a plan to provide clean drinking water for your family when disaster strikes.

#12 Have A Plan For When The Grid Goes Down

What would you do if the grid went down and you suddenly did not have power for an extended period of time?  Anyone that has spent more than a few hours without power knows how frustrating this can be.  You need to have a plan for how you are going to provide power to your home that is independent of the power company.

#13 Have Blankets And Warm Clothing On Hand

This is more for emergency situations or for a complete meltdown of society.  During any major crisis, blankets and warm clothing are in great demand.  They also could potentially make great barter items.

#14 Store Personal Hygiene Supplies

A lot of preppers store up huge amounts of food, but they forget all about personal hygiene supplies.  During a long crisis, these are items that you would greatly miss if you do not have them stored up.  These types of supplies would also be great for barter.

#15 Store Medicine And Medical Supplies

You will also want to store up medical supplies and any medicine that you may need.  In an emergency situation, you definitely would not want to be without bandages and a first-aid kit.  Over the course of a long crisis, you do not want to run out of any medicines that are critical for your health.

#16 Stock Up On Vitamins

A lot of preppers do not think about this either, but it is very important.  These days, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get adequate nutrition from the foods that we eat.  That is why it is very important to have an adequate store of vitamins and other supplements.

#17 Make A List Of Other Supplies That You Will Need

During any crisis, there will be a lot of other things that you will need in addition to food and water.  The following are just a few basic things that it would be wise to have on hand…

– an axe

– a can opener

– flashlights

– battery-powered radio

– extra batteries

– lighters or matches

– fire extinguisher

– sewing kit

– tools

This list could be much, much longer, but hopefully this will get you started.

#18 Don’t Forget The Special Needs Of Your Babies And Your Pets

Young children and pets have special needs.  As you store supplies, don’t forget about the things that they will need as well.

#19 Entertainment

This may sound trivial, but the truth is that our entertainment-addicted society would become very bored and very frustrated if the grid suddenly went down for an extended period of time.  Card games and other basic forms of entertainment can make enduring a crisis much easier.

#20 Self-Defense

In the years ahead, being able to defend your home and your family is going to become increasingly important.  When the economy crashes, people are going to start to become very desperate.  And desperate people do desperate things.

#21 Get Your Ammunition While You Still Can

Your firearms will not do you much good if you do not have ammunition for them.  Already there are widespread reports of huge ammunition shortages.  The following is from a recent CNS News article

“The run on ammunition has manufacturers scrambling to accommodate demand and reassure customers, as many new and seasoned gun owners stock up over fears of new firearms regulations at both the state and federal levels.”

Don’t just assume that you will always be able to purchase large amounts of ammunition whenever you want.  Get it now while you still can.

#22 If You Have To Go…

Have a plan for what you and your family will do if you are forced to leave your home.  If you do have to go, the following are some items that you will want to have on hand…

– a map of the area

– a compass

– backpacks for every member of the family

– sleeping bags

– warm clothing

– comfortable shoes or hiking boots

#23 Community

One of the most important assets in any crisis situation is community.  If you have friends or neighbors that you can depend upon, that is invaluable.  The time spent building those bonds now will pay off greatly during a major crisis.

#24 Have A Back-Up Plan And Be Flexible

Mike Tyson once said the following…

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

No plan ever unfolds perfectly.  When your plan is disrupted, what will you do?

It will be imperative for all of us to have a back-up plan and to be flexible during the years ahead.

#25 Keep Your Prepping To Yourself

Do not go around and tell everyone in the area where you live about your prepping.  If you do, then you may find yourself overwhelmed with “visitors” when everything falls apart.

And please do not go on television and brag about your prepping to a national audience.

Prepping is something that you want to keep to yourself, unless you want hordes of desperate people banging on your door in the future.

*****

For much more on prepping, I would encourage you to check out the dozens of excellent websites out there that teach people advanced prepping techniques for free.

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

Via: shtfplan


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Signs That Massive Economic Problems Are Erupting All Over The Planet

by Michael Economic Collapse Blog

This is no time to be complacent.  Massive economic problems are erupting all over the globe, but most people seem to believe that everything is going to be just fine.  In fact, a whole bunch of recent polls and surveys show that the American people are starting to feel much better about how the U.S. economy is performing.  Unfortunately, the false prosperity that we are currently enjoying is not going to last much longer.  Just look at what is happening in Europe.  The eurozone is now in the midst of the longest recession that it has ever experienced.

Just look at what is happening over in Asia.  Economic growth in India is the lowest that it has been in a decade and the Japanese financial system is beginning to spin wildly out of control.  One of the only places on the entire planet where serious economic problems have not already erupted is in the United States, and that is only because we have “kicked the can down the road” by recklessly printing money and by borrowing money at an unprecedented rate.  Unfortunately, the “sugar high” produced by those foolish measures is starting to wear off.  We are going to experience a massive amount of economic pain along with the rest of the world – it is just a matter of time.

But for the moment, there are a lot of skeptics out there.

For the moment, there are a lot of people that are declaring that the problems of the past have been fixed and that we are heading for incredibly bright economic times ahead.

Unfortunately, those people appear to be purposely ignoring the economic horror that is breaking out all over the globe.

The following are 18 signs that massive economic problems are erupting all over the planet…

#1 The eurozone is now in the midst of its longest recession ever.  Economic activity in the eurozone has declined for six quarters in a row.

#2 Italy’s economy has now been contracting for seven quarters in a row.

#3 Industrial production in Italy has fallen for 15 months in a row.  It has now fallen to its lowest level in about 25 years.

#4 The number of people that are considered to be “seriously deprived” in Italy has doubled over the past two years.

#5 Consumer confidence in France has just hit a new all-time low.

#6 The number of unemployed workers seeking a job in France has hita brand new all-time record high.  Many unemployed workers in France are utterly frustrated at this point…

“I’ve sent CVs everywhere, I come to the unemployment agency every day, for 3 or 4 hours to look for work as a truck driver and there’s never anything,” said 42-year old Djamel Sami, who has been unemployed for a year, leaving a job agency in Paris.

#7 Unemployment in the eurozone as a whole has just hit a brand new all-time record high of 12.2 percent.

#8 Youth unemployment continues to soar to unprecedented heights in Europe.  The following is from an article that was recently posted on the website of the Guardian that detailed how bad things are getting in some of the worst countries…

In Greece, 62.5% of young people are out of work, in Spain it’s 56.4%, then Portugal with 42.5%, and then Italy with 40.5%.

#9 Youth unemployment is being partially blamed for the worst rioting that Sweden has seen in many years.  The following is how the Daily Mail described the riots…

Sweden is reeling after a third night of rioting in largely run-down immigrant areas of the capital Stockholm.

In the last 48 hours violence has spread to at least ten suburbs with mobs of youths torching hundreds of cars and clashing with police.

It is Sweden’s worst disorder in years and has shocked the country and provoked a debate on how Sweden is coping with youth unemployment and an influx of immigrants.

#10 An astounding 10 percent of all banking deposits were pulled out of banks in Cyprus during the month of April alone.

#11 Economic growth in India is the slowest that it has been in an entire decade.

#12 Suddenly Australia is experiencing some tremendous economic challenges.  The following quotes are from a recent Zero Hedge article

-“We’re seeing a much sharper contraction in the Australian economy than we’d anticipated four or five months ago”. Coffey MD, John Douglas. The engineering group has seen its shares, which traded above $4 in 2007, hit 10c last week.

-“By 10am, the Fitness First gym in the city is packed full of brokers who’ve had a gutful of sitting at their desk doing nothing – salary cuts are starting and next it will be jobs” Perth broker

-“Oh mate, the funding market is dead. You are now seeing a few deeply discounted rights issues for those that are reaching desperate levels ….. liquidity has completely disappeared” Perth broker

#13 The financial system in Japan is beginning to spin wildly out of control.  The Japanese stock market has now declined about 15 percent from the peak, and many believe that the yen will continue to get weaker and that interest rates in Japan will start to rise significantly.

#14 Global cash flow is declining at a rate not seen since the last recession.  This indicates that we could be headed for a global credit crunch.

#15 Real wages continue to decline in the United States.  Even though we are being told that the U.S. is experiencing an “economy recovery”, real weekly earnings have declined from $297.79 in 2010 to $295.49 in 2011 to $294.83 in 2012.  (The preceding calculation is based on 1982-1984 dollars)

#16 Wall Street is buzzing about the fact that “the Hindenburg Omen” appeared at the end of last week.  So exactly what is “the Hindenburg Omen”?  The following are the criteria that are used to determine whether it has appeared or not…

1. The daily number of NYSE new 52 Week Highs and the daily number of new 52 Week Lows must both be greater than 2.2 percent of total NYSE issues traded that day.

2. The smaller of these numbers is greater than or equal to 69 (68.772 is 2.2% of 3126). This is not a rule but more like a checksum. This condition is a function of the 2.2% of the total issues.

3. That the NYSE 10 Week moving average is rising.

4. That the McClellan Oscillator ( a market breadth indicator used to evaluate the rate of money entering or leaving the market and interpretively indicate overbought or oversold conditions of the market)is negative on that same day.

5. That new 52 Week Highs cannot be more than twice the new 52 Week Lows (however it is fine for new 52 Week Lows to be more than double new 52 Week Highs).

When the Hindenburg Omen makes an appearance, it supposedly means that the U.S. stock market is likely to experience a serious decline within the next 40 days.

#17 As I wrote about the other day, the SentimenTrader Smart/Dumb Money Index is now the lowest that it has been in more than two years.  That means that lots of “smart money” has been getting out of the market and lots of “dumb money” has been pouring in.

#18 Margin debt on the New York Stock Exchange has set a new all-time high.  The following is from a recent Market Oracle article

Margin debt—that’s the amount of money borrowed to purchase stocks—on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) reached its all-time high in April. Margin debt on the NYSE registered at $384.3 billion as the key stock indices hit new record-highs. (Source: New York Stock Exchange web site, last accessed May 29, 2013.) The highest margin debt ever reached prior to this was in July of 2007, when it stood just above $381.0 billion. At that time, just like today, the key stock indices were near their peaks and “buy now before it’s too late” was the prominent theme of the day.

Whenever margin debt spikes like this, a stock market crash almost always follows.  If you doubt this, just check out the chart in this article.

Wall Street has had a good couple of years, but it has been a “false prosperity” that has been pumped up by reckless money printing by the Federal Reserve.  Just like all of the other stock market bubbles that we have seen in recent years, this one is going to burst too.  And as Marc Faber recently pointed out, this bubble has been particularly beneficial to the wealthy…

The Fed has been flooding the system with money. The problem is the money doesn’t flow into the system evenly. It doesn’t increase economic activity and asset prices in concert. Instead, it creates dangerous excesses in countries and asset classes. Money-printing fueled the colossal stock-market bubble of 1999-2000, when the Nasdaq more than doubled, becoming disconnected from economic reality. It fueled the housing bubble, which burst in 2008, and the commodities bubble. Now money is flowing into the high-end asset market – things like stocks, bonds, art, wine, jewelry, and luxury real estate.

Money-printing boosts the economy of the people closest to the money flow. But it doesn’t help the worker in Detroit, or the vast majority of the middle class. It leads to a widening wealth gap. The majority loses, and the minority wins.

The fact that the U.S. stock market has set new all-time record high after new all-time record high in recent months means very little.  At this point, the stock market has become completely divorced from economic reality.  When this current bubble bursts, the adjustment is going to be very painful.  Wall Street will likely whine and complain and ask for more bailouts, but they may find that authorities are not nearly as sympathetic this time.

Much of the rest of the world is already experiencing the next major wave of the economic collapse.  Reckless money printing by the Fed and reckless borrowing and spending by the federal government may have delayed the inevitable in the United States for a little while, but those measures have also made our long-term problems even worse.

There was one piece of advice that Ben Bernanke included in his commencement speech to students at Princeton recently that I thought was particularly ironic…

“Don’t be afraid to let the drama play out.”

Will he take his own advice when the next great financial crisis strikes the United States?

That seems very unlikely.

Unfortunately, things are not going to be so easy to fix this next time.

What happened back in 2008 was just a preview.

What is coming next is going to absolutely shock the world.

Via: thesurvivalistblog

 


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Signs That The Next Great Economic Depression Has Already Started In Europe

by Michael Snyder: Economic Collapse Blog

The next Great Depression is already happening – it just hasn’t reached the United States yet.  Things in Europe just continue to get worse and worse, and yet most people in the United States still don’t get it.  All the time I have people ask me when the “economic collapse” is going to happen.  Well, for ages I have been warning that the next major wave of the ongoing economic collapse would begin in Europe, and that is exactly what is happening.  In fact, both Greece and Spain already have levels of unemployment that are greater than anything the U.S. experienced during the Great Depression of the 1930s.  Pay close attention to what is happening over there, because it is coming here too.  You see, the truth is that Europe is a lot like the United States.

We are both drowning in unprecedented levels of debt, and we both have overleveraged banking systems that resemble a house of cards.  The reason why the U.S. does not look like Europe yet is because we have thrown all caution to the wind.  The Federal Reserve is printing money as if there is no tomorrow and the U.S. government is savagely destroying the future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have by stealing more than 100 million dollars from them every single hour of every single day.

We have gone “all in” on kicking the can down the road even though it means destroying the future of America.  But the alternative scares the living daylights out of our politicians.  When nations such as Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy tried to slow down the rate at which their debts were rising, the results were absolutely devastating.  A full-blown economic depression is raging across southern Europe and it is rapidly spreading into northern Europe.  Eventually it will spread to the rest of the globe as well.

The following are 20 signs that the next Great Depression has already started in Europe…

#1 The unemployment rate in France has surged to 10.6 percent, and the number of jobless claims in that country recently set a new all-time record.

#2 Unemployment in the eurozone as a whole is sitting at an all-time record of 12 percent.

#3 Two years ago, Portugal’s unemployment rate was about 12 percent.  Today, it is about 17 percent.

#4 The unemployment rate in Spain has set a new all-time record of 27 percent.  Even during the Great Depression of the 1930s the United States never had unemployment that high.

#5 The unemployment rate among those under the age of 25 in Spain is an astounding 57.2 percent.

#6 The unemployment rate in Greece has set a new all-time record of27.2 percent.  Even during the Great Depression of the 1930s the United States never had unemployment that high.

#7 The unemployment rate among those under the age of 25 in Greece is a whopping 59.3 percent.

#8 French car sales in March were 16 percent lower than they were one year earlier.

#9 German car sales in March were 17 percent lower than they were one year earlier.

#10 In the Netherlands, consumer debt is now up to about 250 percent of available income.

#11 Industrial production in Italy has fallen by an astounding 25 percent over the past five years.

#12 The number of Spanish firms filing for bankruptcy is 45 percenthigher than it was a year ago.

#13 Since 2007, the value of non-performing loans in Europe has increased by 150 percent.

#14 Bank withdrawals in Cyprus during the month of March were double what they were in February even though the banks were closed for half the month.

#15 Due to an absolutely crippling housing crash, there are approximately 3 million vacant homes in Spain today.

#16 Things have gotten so bad in Spain that entire apartment buildings are being overwhelmed by squatters

A 285-unit apartment complex in Parla, less than half an hour’s drive from Madrid, should be an ideal target for investors seeking cheap property in Spain. Unfortunately, two thirds of the building generates zero revenue because it’s overrun by squatters.

“This is happening all over the country,” said Jose Maria Fraile, the town’s mayor, who estimates only 100 apartments in the block built for the council have rental contracts, and not all of those tenants are paying either. “People lost their jobs, they can’t pay mortgages or rent so they lost their homes and this has produced a tide of squatters.”

#17 As I wrote about the other day, child hunger has become so rampant in Greece that teachers are reporting that hungry children are begging their classmates for food.

#18 The debt to GDP ratio in Italy is now up to 136 percent.

#19 25 percent of all banking assets in the UK are in banks that are leveraged at least 40 to 1.

#20 German banking giant Deutsche Bank has more than 55 trillion euros (which is more than 72 trillion dollars) of exposure to derivatives.  But the GDP of Germany for an entire year is only about 2.7 trillion euros.

Yes, U.S. stocks have been doing great so far this year, but the truth is that the stock market has become completely and totally divorced from economic reality.  When it does catch up with the economic fundamentals, it will probably happen very rapidly like we saw back in 2008.

Our politicians can try to kick the can down the road for as long as they can, but at some point the consequences of our foolish decisions will hunt us down and overtake us.  The following is what Peter Schiff had to say about this coming crisis the other day…

“The crisis is imminent,” Schiff said.  “I don’t think Obama is going to finish his second term without the bottom dropping out. And stock market investors are oblivious to the problems.”

“We’re broke, Schiff added.  “We owe trillions. Look at our budget deficit; look at the debt to GDP ratio, the unfunded liabilities. If we were in the Eurozone, they would kick us out.”

Schiff points out that the market gains experienced recently, with the Dow first topping 14,000 on its way to setting record highs, are giving investors a false sense of security.

“It’s not that the stock market is gaining value… it’s that our money is losing value. And so if you have a debased currency… a devalued currency, the price of everything goes up. Stocks are no exception,” he said.

“The Fed knows that the U.S. economy is not recovering,” he noted. “It simply is being kept from collapse by artificially low interest rates and quantitative easing. As that support goes, the economy will implode.”

So please don’t think that we are any different from Europe.

If the United States government started only spending the money that it brings in, we would descend into an economic depression tomorrow.

The only way that we can continue to live out the economic fantasy that we see all around us is by financially abusing our children and our grandchildren.

The U.S. economy has become a miserable junkie that is completely and totally addicted to reckless money printing and gigantic mountains of debt.

If we stop printing money and going into unprecedented amounts of debt we are finished.

If we continue printing money and going into unprecedented amounts of debt we are finished.

Either way, this is all going to end very, very badly.

Via: thesurvivalistblog

 


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Simply Simplifying

There are times in your life when you realize that things are not as they should be.  A vital component is missing in your day to day life, but you are unsure what it is.  There is so much chaos and clutter spinning around you that nothing seems to make sense the way it used to.

You realize that the lifestyle to which you’ve become so accustomed is a necessary evil, a constant struggle between the life you want to achieve and the life you have to give up right now to achieve it. But you don’t have to live your life dreaming of what it could be – you can stop spinning and start simplifying right now!

It starts with willingness to change and the willingness to realize that you need to get back to basics and focus on the things that matter most, not at hopefully achieving those things at some time in the future, but right now.

Shifting Your Direction

Those who live a stress filled life tend to be very familiar with the Three C’s: Chaos, Clutter and Confusion.  It does not make for a happy existence.  In fact, it drags you and your spirit down.  In plain words, it’s toxic.  In order to avoid this altogether, start making minor changes in your life to naturally shift your perspective. Peter Holy, founder of 123 Feel Better, calls them micro movements. The key to achieving your goals, according to 123 Feel Better, is to break your goals down into their smallest, most manageable parts. Where you may feel tired or overworked attempting to achieve a single, massive goal in one fell swoop, simplifying that goal into micro movements will seem like you’re hardly working.

Realizing that you want to take this journey towards simplicity requires some preemptive planning on your part.  To begin this, you must find some time to reflect and think about what is important and how to enhance those priorities.  For example, if  family is a main priority, start scheduling a designated family time.  The football game can wait.  Or, if you have been putting off planning your off-grid home, sit down with the family and start planning what you want your homestead to incorporate. Nothing should interfere with those designated priorities.  Here are some additional tips.

  • Sit down and contemplate the priorities in your life.  What matters most in your life? What can you live without?
  • Set short and long term goals to get to your simplified destination.
  • Break down each goal and create micro movements, or mini-goals, that will help you to achieve success
  • Take action and start integrating your micro movements into your daily life.

6 Practical Tips to Simplify Your Life

After shifting your direction toward simplifying your life, you will find that you only need a few things to really make you happy.  Somehow in the middle of everything, you realize that whatever void you had in yourself before, filling it with superfluous products, services and habits often leaves you feeling just the opposite – unfulfilled.

Many are adopting this voluntary simplicity.  In fact, trend researcher Gerald Celente has been quoted in saying that “between 5%-7% of adults are pursuing some type of voluntary simplicity.”  It should be no surprise, then, that the percentage of those who are simplifying their lives are also the same percentage of individuals who are prepping.  Preppers are already practicing living a more simplified lifestyle.  Here are a few tips to help you begin your road to a simpler life:

  • Simplify your finances – Having debt creates a lot of unwanted stress and uneasiness in your life.  Start making steps to live within your means and start paying off any unnecessary debt.  Do some research into what credit solutions seem right for you.  There are websites available that can give tips on how to reduce debt.  Creating a manageable budget can also be an invaluable tip to reducing credit and stress.
  • Simplify your life–  Get back to the basics and downsize your life.  Start weeding out the areas in your life that cause you pain, suffering and confusion.  Sometimes you have to weed out those toxic friends, stop hanging out late at night in order to get up early, learn to say “no” to people.  Over-committing yourself can also cause a buildup of chaos.  Start prepping!  Preparing for emergencies beforehand creates a safety cushion to fall back on in case an emergency arises.  It eliminates the headache of gathering supplies in a high stress environment.  There are plenty of sources to start your preparedness journey.
  • De-clutter Your Home and Office – It’s easy to have those organized “catch all piles” lying in strategic places around the house.  But the more clutter that piles up, the more disorganized things are in your life.  Clutter brings uneasiness to life.  Make a short term goal to clear these piles out.  If you are not using these items, then throw them away, give them away or sell these items in a garage sale.
  • Simplify your health – Research has shown that stress takes its toll on a body.  Those who live a stress free life are more inclined to live longer, be healthier and overall pleased with their life.  So, start getting some fresh air every day.  Additionally, cutting back on those greasy junk food items is another way to clean and detoxify your body.
  • Rely on yourself – What a great concept!  By relying on yourself, you will find freedom.  This is the threshold to prepping.  Once you realize that you can be self-reliant, everything changes.  Your goals change, your attitude changes, you change.
  • Feed your spirit – This is often a highly overlooked area.  If you do not feed your spirit on a regular basis, it will not grow. That is the missing component in most of our lives.  We forget how important this is.  Try and do something every week to be at one with your spirit.   Some people meditate, some pray, some go to Nature to be in thought, some climb mountains – find what brings you peace and continue doing it.  Because, without a spiritual foundation, we are lost.

The Time/Energy Yield

In the spin cycle we call life, we spend our time and energy on work and other distractions that keep us from doing what we need to thrive.  Rather than spending our time on what’s important in life and sitting back in quiet thought, we have to entertain ourselves with thoughtless television programming, gossip websites or magazines, etc.  It’s important to relax, but these activities will not relax you.  They will only stimulate you into not moving or thinking.  Your time/energy yield is not a positive reflection of what you are trying to accomplish.  An example of good time/energy yield would be: rather than exchanging your time for excessive work at the office to generate more money to buy more food at the store; take that time, and rather than going to the office, spend that time building and developing a home vegetable garden.  You will use your time and energy to not only fulfill your consumptive needs, but you will be feeding your spiritual, emotional and physical wellness needs at the same time.

Starting Fresh

It’s a new day where anything is possible.
Simplifying your life will create more room for you to do what you need to be at peace.
I’ve read stories of people who dreamed of living near the water.  So, in order to save money, they sold their McMansion, their gas guzzler truck and bought a boat.  They found a creative solution to their problem that ended up being the right decision not only for their stress load, but also for their spirit.

Making the realization to simplify does not mean that you are giving up your life in order to live a life of poverty.  Quite the contrary, it means to getting rid of the non-essentials that cloud your life.  By ridding yourself of these non-essentials, you begin to clear the distortion and haze, and begin concentrating on the important things in life.  This sensible lifestyle creates a well-balanced and harmonious living environment.  Think of it, you are deliberately taking the reins and slowing down your life to actually give yourself the opportunity to look at the beauty and treasures surrounding you.

Via: readynutrition

 


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