TB’s Guide to Life (in the event of a Second Great Depression)

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).

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Learn how to make moonshine. 
  6. 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.
  7. 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.”
  8. Find some good recipes for chili, stew, gopher and beans. 
  9. Put lots of Woody Guthrie tunes on your Ipod. 
  10. 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.

About travellinbaen

I'm a 40 year old lawyer living in Ridgeland, Mississippi. I'm several years and a couple hundred miles removed from most of my old running buddies so I started the blog to provide an outlet for many of the observations and ideas that used to be the subjects of our late night/happy hour/halftime conversations and arguments.
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29 Responses to TB’s Guide to Life (in the event of a Second Great Depression)

  1. Jessie Lou says:

    I was thinking about this 2nd Great Depression Post on my way to sleep last night. Made me think of my funny grandmother who loved Boxcar Willie; my sister who loved Arlo Guthrie – Good Morning America, How Are Ya?; the fact that I carried around a pack of crackers in my car for almost after Katrina, just in case I had nothing else to eat; and that we have freight cars in the backyard of my work so I’m hoping I don’t have to live in one of those one day. I cannot profess to being able to make moonshine but I do have a moonshine connection – does that count? Fig can vouch for me on that one. The dealer was temporarily shutdown by the threat of feds but I believe he is back in session. Another example of the government messing up something good.

    On that note, oh great Teacherbaen, can you please explain to me the following: If Republicans are for deregulation (which I thought meant you let the corportions do what they want basically) how can it continue to bail the big corporations out? I understand it is the economy stupid, but to me if you want deregulation you cannot be for bailing out. You can’t have your cake and eat it too – at least that is the way it is supposed to be.

  2. Well, there’s certainly some political satire in my post, but I’d rather the comments focus on the humor of our potential depression than the politics. So I’ll just say I believe the Bush administration apparently saw the ramifications of an AIG collapse (and Freddie, Fannie) as simply too devastating to the country as a whole and set aside their principles for the greater good. I think they had no choice, even though it makes me unhappy that some of the CEO’s and board members will walk away with the ability to buy a better jalopy and more beer for the road than the rest of us.

  3. Madd Dawg says:

    We should have let them all collapse and let free market capitalism handlethe cleanup—-the fact that we did not just means that this will all happen again sooner rather than later. Remember, the S&L crisis from a couple of decades ago? Remember, “helpful” governmental intervention prolonged and worsened the Great Depression.

    ****Edits by the management appear below. This is not the regular practice of TB, but as this post is at risk of becoming a political one and that could result in the collapse of the entire thread, drastic intervention was determined to be necessary by our board, meeting in emergency session.*****

    Spam spam spam spam spam spam

  4. zeek says:

    In the words of Sweet, LBJ has a place in my heart. A woman with a moonshine connection, what more could you ask for? In typical Democratic Party fashion, TB answers a good question by Jessie Lou with fodder and humorous rhetoric, hey we’d be better off if The Dems tried to clean up their messes with humor. Madd Dawg I almost agree with you, but Jessie Lou, the truth is it was a Democratic run Senate and the Great Bill Clinton (who everyone credits with improving the economy) that started this mess years ago by giving undeserving and ill-equipped people loans of great sums they could not afford. We have since been forced to keep lowering prime interest rate to keep mortgage sales up to try and balane it out which caused more problems, that’s the truth no matter how you slice it. Similar to how the S&L crisis’ roots can all be traced back to Jimmy Carter (worst Pres. of all-time)and his Senate. Put that in your daishiki and smoke it Obama!!

    • Irais says:

      A minute saved is a minute eadnre, and this saved hours!

    • Always the best content from these prodigious writers.

    • Open says:

      Since there is so many fields of sipecalties that I have a choice of, I still really can’t choose one. So I am going base on my personal experiences. My original goal back in high school and maybe even before that, was to work in a Neonatal ICU! I had a brother that passed before he had his first birthday from heart complications, and that year I spent a lot of time at hospitals with my parents. My goal the first couple of years was to work with babies just like him. That was until I had my own children, I would of still loved to have worked in that career field but the heart ache I would most likely endure when one of those babies did not make it home. I could not have handled!On to more positive experiences, I have worked with the elderly and Geriatrics interests me very much. Being surrounded with people that have lived a fulfilled life is so much more rewarding. Even though at times it is the ending stages of their lives, and it is sad when someone does pass. It’s less of a heartache to know that most of the time they are ready to move on. They are still very dependent on you and when you are able to help them with their needs that’s the most rewarding of all, plus you form a special relationship with the patients and their families.

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  5. travellinbaen says:

    I know there is a joke somewhere in there MD, I just can’t find it. I’m going to add a word to your post, a funny word.

  6. Zeek the width and breadth of your igorance on this subject is staggering. Thanks for contributing to the ruination of the comments section to a funny take on the scenario. I will not be drawn in to political commentary in this thread because the visualization of us sitting around a campfire with our HDTV’s, beans and flasks is just too funny.

  7. zeek says:

    TB, I know I have breadth and width, but ignorant,… moi ??? Thought that one might hit a nerve,hey I’ll share a flask around the fire with you anytime,…can I have some of your beans,Baen??? Say that fast five times.

  8. Madd Dawg says:

    no joke intended by my comments. please remove “spam……..” comments from my post. Sorry to put a serious comment on a non-serious thread.

    Reading these last two posts, I could not help think of the campfire scene from Blazing Saddles, except with the HDTV in the background.

  9. I can’t remove the “Spam”, it’s cracking me up too much. I’ll try to find a link to Python to add to it. I considered adding Banya from “Seinfeld” and his “Puke…that’s a funny word”, but the spam singers won out.

    In adding the HDTV to the jalopy, I thought the irony, incongruity and absurdity were just too good to pass up. The Blazing Saddles scene is an even better visualization than the combination of Steve Martin in The Jerk grabbing all his crap when he goes bust with the Beverly Hillbillies truck, which is what I was envisioning when I wrote that.

    PS…Link now added. Enjoy.

  10. Jessie Lou says:

    Please accept my sincerest apologies for interjecting serious question and changing the tone of the thread! I believe it was Cal Thomas who said these problem began with Clinton this morning in the paper – perhaps Zeek edumacated himself there since his comments agree.

    Moonshine in the jalopy anyone? After enough of that we won’t know who is serious.

  11. sweet says:

    It will be difficult to operate a “seasonal” business with no cella phones. are carrier pigeons extinct?
    open to suggestions….

  12. OB says:

    I need to start today! Here are a few of my ideas:

    1. I will build my “Field of Dreams”!

    “Ray, people will come Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won’t mind if you look around, you’ll say. It’s only $20 per person. They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they’ll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.”

    2. Gas prices would be sure to skyrocket, if they haven’t already, and very few people would be able to drive, so I would try and acquire as many bicycles, horses, and horse carriages as I could get my hands on. If I start today, I can hopefully purchase 100 bikes @ $75 per bike. When it is entirely too expensive for any working class person to drive I can try and get $200-500 per bike, and make a $20,000-50,000 profit. That may seem like a lot of money, but I’ll have to pick the perfect time to sell. I can’t wait until everyone is totally broke or it will backfire.

    3. I need to buy acreage! People will definitely have their homes repo’d and will need somewhere to live besides a big, rat infested, run-down, hotel full of meth addicts. So, I could sub-divide my properties and build small, cheap, cute & cuddly cottages that will be a very attractive place to live. I will be as selective as I can with the kind of people I lease the property to. I won’t charge an arm and a leg, but I will try and make enough profit, so I can take care of those people. I will provide water, food, shelter, gambling, booze, police protection, and maybe an underground escort service.

    4. I need to get my hands on some HGH or steroids. We’re all bound to get sick eventually and need some super drugs to survive. HGH has worked wonders for HIV or Aids patients and a few local athletes here in Houston, and can help keep our immune system strong. Only the strong survive!

  13. Madd Dawg says:

    I like #1, but tell me, how many times did you have to rewind the movie to get that entire quote down?
    You may have some issues with plans #2 and 3. If it seems to others that you are doing well in such difficult financial times, libs like TB would certainly come after you. You would undoubtedly be prosecuted for your actions for item #2 under the price gouging laws, and the Fair Housing people would come after you hard for your admitted discrimination under plan #3. Maybe you could bribe them with your excellent idea of free booze and escort service.

  14. travellinbaen says:

    Has anybody clicked on the Python link yet? I can’t get those Vikings out of my head.

  15. zeek says:

    Liked the Python clip TB, my favorite is when that guy eats until he literally explodes. As for OB’s plan send a bottle and two Asian girls to room 14 please. I don’t need transportation why would I ever leave a Utopian flophouse with free booze and women?????

  16. sweet says:

    zeek, that would only be the beginning of another trip into the Vortex of Despair

    • Muskan says:

      YBHSeptember 25, 2012 Jeimes, you can not use STP to my knowledge. Currently they accpet Payza (which you will have to fund after setting up a Payza account) OR Bank Wire. Bank wire may be the fastest route to Founder. I use Payza all the time and love them but others may find setting up the process a bit like going through red tape. I have noticed that they are paying commissions through Payza (and only Payza now) so if you do not have an account, get one to get paid.

    • An intelligent answer – no BS – which makes a pleasant change

    • Pranith says:

      A psychiatrist is a pcyaihisn who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. I have a bachelor’s degree in the social services field. For several years, I have worked with children who have been diagnosed with mental disorders. It is upsetting to see children victimize at an early age and even more disturbing to see them as predators as early as 5 years of age, however knowing that I am doing my part to assist them in becoming functioning youths and adults is rewarding. The empathy, confidentiality and maturity of a medical assistant are definitely needed in this area. I enjoy establishing a rapport with these clients and helping them to find adequate coping skills to deal with their disorders, therefore I would like to work for a psychiatrist.I would not like to work for an emergency pcyaihisn for several reasons. I will explain a few. Patients who come to the emergency center typically have serious injuries or trauma. I would not like to have my mind constantly focused on who is coming thru the door and how sever the prognosis is. Knowing myself, I know that would be my focus and I would not be very productive. Also, in the emergency room the staff has to be prepared for anything, I would prefer an area that focuses on a particular specialty. Most importantly, I do not wish to see excessive amounts of blood loss on a regular basis. Actually, not even a minimal amount of blood loss on a regular basis. Giving my opinion and thoughts about this specialty, I would not be an effective employee.

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  17. sweet says:

    Y’all can all move away from the windows. Waldo has officially moved all of his cash out of stocks and diversified elsewhwere. He began this process on Thurs at lunch (dow was 180 pts down on the day) He finished bailing 30 minutes later (dow was back to even) at close that day dow was up 410 pts. Next day dow gained another 370 points. nearly 800 points gained since he got off the rollercoaster. all is well

  18. TJ says:

    A pitty that some still do not believe in the “power”

  19. Madd Dawg says:

    There should be a constant Waldo Indicator on CNBC at the bottom of the screen to get his daily impressions of the market.

  20. Patricia says:

    That’s a subtle way of thnnkiig about it.

  21. I guess finding useful, reliable information on the internet isn’t hopeless after all.

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