Quote of the Day “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
The U.S. Government this week “bailed out” the largest insurance company in the United States, AIG, to save it from bankruptcy. “Bailed out” is another word for “bought.” For the record, government ownership of business or industry is a basic tenet of socialism or social democracy, which sounds better. This act was undertaken by the Republican administration of George Bush. And TB is glad they did it.
I was listening just now to Senator Byron Dorgan who was called in to an emergency meeting with several congressional leaders of both parties. They were not asked, but were told what was to transpire. They were told the purchase was necessary because the failure of AIG would likely have sent our entire economy into depression and led to the failure of numerous large and small banks. They were told a failed AIG would result in numerous mutual fund collapses as the company is a top ten holding in numerous funds. And they were told a bankrupt AIG would lead to the collapse of several very large industrial companies. Dorgan wouldn’t name them, but I suspect GM and Ford would be among these names. Before I get to the guide, take a moment and consider that we were, and maybe are, on the precipice of a true Depression. I can’t even wrap my mind around the idea–it sounds alarmist and impossible. But so too did warnings of impending terrorist attacks before 9-11 and warnings of catastrophic storm surge before Katrina.
This post isn’t about blame, though you should not be surprised that I have emphatic opinions on where it lies. No, if we sink into Depression we will care much less about blame than we will about survival and recovery. I’ve put at least ten minutes of thought into these suggestions, so print this post and keep it handy if all hell breaks loose (you’ll not be able to access it online after that, probably).
- New career opportunities will abound in the field of hobo-ing. You should find a good stick, a red bandana, a hip flask and a Jed Clampett hat right away so you’ll be ahead of the crowd. Store these where you keep your terrorist attack duct tape. You can use that to tape up the toes of your walking boots.
- Start hoarding crackers and sugar packets from restaurants. I don’t know what you will do with these, but anyone who’s grandmother lived through the Great Depression knows it’s important to have lots of crackers and sugar packets saved up.
- Buy a jalopy. When you get evicted from your house you are going to need a vehicle suitable for stacking your rocking chair, HDTV, 48 pack Igloo and sack of crackers on top while still keeping enough room for at least 8 people. All the Mexicans are already in California, so instead of west, drive south to look for migrant worker employment. From what I hear on Lou Dobbs, there shouldn’t be many folks left down Mexico way.
- Figure out what you have that can be bartered. People are going to be pawning all their good stuff so you should keep your HDTV and Xbox 360 as forms of cash. Let people watch ballgames and play “The Force Unleashed” in exchange for things like beer and crackers to go on your jalopy.
- Learn how to make moonshine.
- Go ahead now and start being real nice to the ladies at your local Chinese buffet. And save those fortunes so you can learn a bit of the language.
- Work on your sad sack story. Here’s how mine starts out: “Back in ought-eight I was practicing law in courtrooms with running water and ever-thang. Used to wear a two-piece suit ever-day. Folks considered me a real gentleman. I gotta mind to get back in that game if I can ever catch a lucky break. Say mister, you wanna share this sugary cracker with me? I’ll tell ya all about it.”
- Find some good recipes for chili, stew, gopher and beans.
- Put lots of Woody Guthrie tunes on your Ipod.
- Re-think your old assumptions about macroeconomics. It’ll make for stimulating conversation as you bounce around the country in your jalopy or as you sit around a freight yard campfire over a plate of beans. It could impress your new South American overseer or your local communist Chinese overlord that you should get a little extra gopher in your stew since you might be worth saving from starvation. And if you do it soon enough, it might even make this list unnecessary.