Cliff Diving and You: Surviving Fiscal Extreme Sports

"If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace."

~ Thomas Paine

The Fed finally pulled the trigger on the Doomsday Machine and monetized the debt. The numbers don’t matter because we know they are inauthentic. The government has been deceiving the public about actual obligations and spending policies since 1913 when it decoupled the dollar from reality and rational economic behavior. I would suggest this analogy. You go online and purchase 250 sets of the misnamed Monopoly game, remove all the money from the games and start paying all your bills and creditors with it. You will achieve the same effect as the latest chicanery by the Federal Reserve. You don’t have to be a conspiracist or kook anymore to think that leaving the printing power for the nation’s currency in the hands of the Federal Government provides perverse incentives for honest and genuine specie. Welcome to the Ameribabwean dollar. I would urge free market advocates to play Anti-Monopoly, anyway.

Some worthies have even opined it is time to nationalize the Federal Reserve and let Congress run it. That sentence is loaded with such gall, hubris and misguided trust it deserves an essay just to tease out why it is wrong.

I am most certainly a pessimist when it comes to national survival but I have been war-gaming it long enough that I envisioned a few warning markers to look for. I had a number of culminating points in which I thought this or that action would be the tipping point for the imminent collapse. This is one of them. Aside from more minor indicators like wholesale seizure of firearms, Federalization of all police forces and official devaluation of the currency, monetization is the most insidious; for the general public does not understand the implications now. But they will. Public and private debt now essentially has lost any value in the market and all debts are to be interpreted through the distorted and economically illiterate lens of Federal fiat. Leave it to the government to adopt the worst of both worlds, debt monetization on the heels of adopting "mark-to-market" rules (FAS 157) which will incentivize even more massive creation of vapor money from the Fed to purchase all manner of nefarious financial instruments divorced from economic reality. Do you really think the fatal attraction between big banks and government will yield honest accounting when the system rewards exponential lending and deceit on projected gains? Aside from the black market, the price system is now dead and moribund in these united States.

There is no way to save the economy so the question is now how do we prepare and protect ourselves.

I have entertained some of these notions in a number of other essays but this is the klaxon warning that we have hit an iceberg. I love Gary North’s essays here at LRC because he invariably offers earthy and useful advice for every day living. So here is my shot at emulating the master with not-so-everyday advice. It is now time to quietly file onto the lifeboats and take stock of what you need to do.

  • Do a detailed financial analysis of your household assets and liabilities and figure out the fastest to pay off debt and set aside the necessary monies to tide over a possible job loss for three to six months.
  • Do the same if you own a business. If it is not too late, start to develop secondary income streams.
  • Secure paper hardcopies of ALL important legal documents especially your house note.
  • Get your food inventory increased to at least one year for your family.
  • Guns and ammo — enough said.
  • Train with your weapons.
  • Spend one entire weekend without power to the house and take notes.
  • Find a ride to work with somebody else for two days next week and assume all your vehicles are inoperable.
  • Reconnect with family, friends and neighbors immediately. Have a potluck and assess people’s skill sets in self-sufficiency and protection.
  • Go to the very next Farmer’s Market event closest to you and find out how to start a garden if you don’t have one already. If you garden, find out what you have that you can sell.
  • Start or improve on your home library for everything from homeschooling to gardening to classic literature.
  • Put in a supply of barter and charity items for the coming bad times because there will be people dear to you who simply did not or refused to prepare.
  • Make preparedness a lifestyle and visit everyday (and LRC, of course).

Space considerations preclude an exhaustive list and I would welcome any additional recommendations. If I receive enough of them, I will entertain a companion piece to this essay.

This may sound coarse but it is time to give up on convincing non-family members that a crisis is upon us. Put your body in to the harness and pull. I was on a radio show recently and asked why even concern myself with self-preservation and protecting the family. Think about it: as a husband and father, what other obligation do I have that trumps providing for and protecting my family? None. A hundred years ago it was a question absent in the American imagination.

We are about to enter an age that America has not been through since the War of Northern Aggression. It will be a country ravaged by poverty, division and the worst kinds of government behavior. We will see men under the influence of both their brightest and darkest muses. All this will be leavened by the usual Great Power games that plagued and distressed the world in the past as the global hyper-power is laid low.

A large component of good luck is meticulous planning.

"The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection."

~ Thomas Paine

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