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Daybook, Reading notes

Good advice now: bad soon.

This is the time of the night when I either talk economics or politics. And politics is disconnected from real life. As is this comment.

Now, before I start, in a social welfare state, this is sort of good advice. It is not great advice: the article it is based on was more conventional, and I will comment on it later. But if you have a generous welfare state and no conscience, then this is not a bad set of tactics for right now.

When the going gets tough, the tough get FREEBIES.

The author makes it all SO HARD: Be frugal, spend less than you make, drive a clunker, don’t borrow money from Guido and Vincenzo, don’t eat out at expensive restaurants, have beans and rice three times a week and those are the ONLY MEALS YOU ARE ALLOWED! How much fun is that?

I have a suggestion: Lose your job, sit on your assets at home, drink beer and collect 99 weeks of unemployment, sign up for EBT & SNAP benefits, apply for SSDI (get a good lawyer!) and have Doritos and Grolsch for supper as often as you like. Need to talk to your lazy unemployed welfare bum friends? Get an Obama Phone–it’s your birthright as a Poor Person By Choice. Don’t forget to vote for more free T-bones and Supreme 5-Cheese Pizzas with Sausage, Pepperoni and Anchovies.

If you need cash for lottery tickets, go to the store and spend all your SNAP benefits for Delmonico steaks. Sell these around your neighborhood for half price and Voila! You can win the lottery and buy as much cigarettes and liquor as your lifestyle requires.

If this doesn’t work out, you can get an Obama Student Loan and go back to school to learn how to turn Sudafed into popular recreational compounds that people will pay you handsomely for. All it takes is a little drive and persistence. And a lot of sheep willing to pay for your lifestyle.

This is good advice only because the US is a zombie state.. The second it dies, and it will, because you cannot borrow a large proportion of the world economic output every year to support this kind of feckless lifestyle forever, this is the worst possible advice.

When the money stops, the welfare payments stop. Without welfare payments you will not be able to buy the Sudafed to make methamphetamine, let alone sell it: for all will be poor.

If the money half stops — the US avoids default by sliding the real inflation rate to around 25% a year — anybody on a fixed income is not going to able to afford anything but beans and rice.

Unless you have been smart enough to disconnect from the system. So pay yourself first. Live frugal. Brown bag. Put your credit cards in the freezer if you cannot pay them off this month. (I disagree with the main article in that you should pay your savings to yourself — as they suggest — but I suggest hard goods not savings. Gold is good, silver is better, but stable currencies and gilt bonds in said stable currencies earn you money. The stable currencies at present are appreciating: the Kiwi, Aussie and Canuck). Keep your job. Learn how to garden. If married, discuss how to live on one income and support one of you learning housekeeping skills.

IF you own a mcmansion, downsize now (while there is a bigger fool that will buy it). Think older, classic, repairable, and analog — things you can get repaired, that you do not need to throw away. Live in towns where the older and analog things are valued: preferably where you and your family can walk to work and to the shops.

Do not rely on the government. The state only loves itself, and will casually throw you and your family onto the scrap-heap.

Oh, and stay away from those victimless crimes the commentator alluded to. Selling drugs, gambling, and sex. They all shorten your life, and destroy your soul.


  1. jeff

    I would add learn some skills that can earn some additional money, cash or barter, no credit. Multiple income streams are vital.

  2. Gwen

    The more you know how to do for yourself, the better off you are. To be without skills or knowledge is to be helpless.
    When I was a teenager, I had a bra burning friend who proudly told me one day that she couldn’t even boil water. I’d been cooking since I was 10 years old, and was disgusted, What she saw as freedom from female shackles I knew was only helplessness. (And a future of bad food.)
    A few months ago I accompanied my daughter’s class on a field trip to a 19th century settlement re-creation. At the blacksmithing demo, the blacksmith informed us that there were many skills earlier blacksmiths had, that have been lost. Pondering this I wrote:
    “…We have made such a mistake in modern society. We have allowed ourselves to forget the skills of the past – disdained those skills. How arrogant! We would die so quickly if our vaunted modern tech were wiped out. It is so top heavy and fragile … what we should do is work to preserve these old skills … [Using these re-created settlements as] Organized preservation against future need instead of just demoing the odd way people used to live, to school children … We sit atop our technological tower of Babel, full of pride in our accomplishments and say, “We are so wise, we have built so well, we will never fall.”
    Those who are dependent on what is given to them by a socialist state are the first to die in the event of disaster, whether natural or political. Their lives are at the mercy of fate, and the whims of other people.

  3. The skills have been kept up down here — we still need blacksmiths to deal with farm issues, and the farm engineer (the modern blacksmiths) are quite busy keeping our iddiration systems working.
    But I live in a university town of 120k (plus 30K students) in a rural area of 300 000. I moved here for the job — the “I cannot boil water” crew exist in the big city (1.4 million and counting) I grew up in.

  4. Gwen

    Rural areas are usually in the best shape when things go south, because they are best suited to surviving without outside support. It’s always been a trade off – more jobs in the city, but more autonomy in the country.

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