Some folks seem to believe the hype that things are finally turning around, and that the economy is getting better because the loss of jobs slowed somewhat during the last fiscal period. What the brain cramped feds aren’t saying is that job loss trends always slow at this time of year, for a couple of reasons. For one thing, seasonal hiring bears some of the brunt of unemployment, giving people temporary jobs until after the holidays. Secondly, many people don’t bother collecting unemployment when they get laid off or terminated from summer seasonal positions because they’ve gone back to school, or they’d rather go hunting, skiing or whatever. I think you’ll find that once January arrives we’ll be starting the new year with a new wave of jobless claims that will wipe out the good news in short order.

Another thing that indicates that things aren’t quite so rosy is the on hand product at retailers. You’ll notice that many stores now have nice wide aisles with lots of room for your shopping carts. That isn’t because the store operators want you to be comfortable, it is because they are short on product to sell. What used to be piled on pallets and barges in the now open drive aisles is filling in spaces on the shelves. A nice wide aisle for walking looks a lot better than a bunch of empty spaces on the shelving, doesn’t it? Don’t buy into the crap that these retailers want to give you more room.

Retail success as a whole is judged by several factors beyond the simple dollar amount over or under the prior year’s sales figures. One of those figures is the container traffic, based upon the equivalent number of 20′ shipping container units. According to the NRF, total containers to be imported this year is expected to be 12.5 million fewer units, or 17.7% less cargo coming into this nation than in 2008. That’s a lot less product, which indicates people are not buying as much, and because the amount of product is down , there is that much less product on the shelves that you can buy.

All the indications are that we will more than likely encounter a severe downturn in probably the second quarter of 2010, and the current drive to enslave us to socialism by the democrats isn’t making it any easier for us. At the moment, most estimates are that the federal deficit for 2009 will ring in at about 1.3 trillion dollars. 2010 is expected to be much, much higher with the passage of the Hellth Care Bill, and if the environmental lobby gets Copenhagen happy and pass the cap and trade, it will double or more what the projections are for deficit totals.

So, I hope you’ve learned to develop a survival mindset now, because if you haven’t, plan on the return of the Hoovervilles of the 20s and 30s. Of course, we’ll have a little better quality shack today than our grandparents had because of the availability of those pretty blue tarps, instead of cardboard and used building materials. As the value of our dollar decreases, there will be few options available for immediate recovery. The most probable solution will be the printing of more paper money. This of course will lead to runaway inflation, driving the cost of living well beyond the reach of most Americans.

There are a few things we can do to prepare for this situation, but if we do not act quickly, it will be too late. Housing will probably be the biggest problem. If you own your home free and clear than you are pretty much good to go with that area. If you are close to paying your home off, do so now. Resist the urge to get an equity loan to make ends meet. If you have an equity loan then you are not free and clear, so get rid of all encumbrances upon your property. If you owe some money on it, but can sell it and buy another place in addition to paying off your loan, then you should probably do it as quickly as possible.

Health care is expected to rise in cost once the Hellth Care Bill is passed, and some analysts suggest an increase for family rates of more than one thousand dollars per year. And that’s on top of what you pay now. Examine your bills and debts to determine whether or not you will be able to sustain any increases in your health care costs. Of course, if the senate does the right thing and throws the bill into the trash can where it belongs, than things won’t be quite so bad. But the damage is done already, and we will be looking at some sort of economic downturn next year beyond what we are seeing today.

Also, try to get your transportation paid off, and don’t buy a new vehicle if you don’t have to. Learn to maintain the one(s) you already have, and if possible stock up on a few replacement parts that you would normally go through. Buy air and oil filters when they are on sale, as well as extra wiper blades, light bulbs or lamps and so forth. It also would not hurt to learn how to maintain your own vehicle by doing your own tune ups and oil changes as well. It’ll save you a lot of money in the long run. Not to mention the fact that as costs of living increase, so won’t your garage bills.

If you are fortunate enough to have a large yard where you live, get some seed and start growing your own vegetables. Learn to can them and preserve other foods as well. Dehydrators are good for fruits and meats for long term storage, and the investment is relatively low compared to the cost of buying commercially available dehydrated foods. It’s like I always say, if you fail to prepare, than you than all you are doing is preparing to fail.


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