Wednesday, August 8, 2012
The number of people placed in permanent jobs has fallen for the second month in a row, suggesting that employers are putting recruitment decisions on hold until after the Olympics, according to new research.
A report by KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) said there was still a "high degree of uncertainty" among employers.
There were reductions in permanent and short-term staff appointments during July, while recruitment consultants reported an increase in the availability of staff.
Bernard Brown of KPMG said: "Only a few weeks ago there was an audible sigh of relief across the UK's workforce as official employment figures indicated signs of improvement.
"However, my concern is that any sigh of relief may be mistaken for a groan of exasperation, because the rate at which employers are recruiting has decreased for the second consecutive month, and this suggests that there is still a high degree of uncertainty."
REC chief executive Kevin Green said: "The UK's labour market deserves a gold medal for its incredible performance in the face of adversity so far this year. In the last few months, it has defied gravity as unemployment has fallen and jobs grew even while the economy slipped back into recession.
"But this run might be coming to an end as this month's data shows that permanent appointments have fallen for a second month and temporary employment has seen an eighth consecutive month of contraction. However, we have always said that we expected to see ups and downs in the employment figures rather than a continued sustained period of jobs growth."
The U.S. Army’s Operating Concept 2016-2028 was issued in August 2010 with three goals. First, it aims to portray how future Army forces will conduct operations as part of a joint force to deter conflict, prevail in war, and succeed in a range of contingencies, at home and abroad. Second, the concept describes the employment of Army forces at the tactical and operational levels of war between 2016 and 2028. Third, in broad terms the concept describes how Army headquarters, from theater army to division, organize and use their forces. The concept goes on to describe the major categories of Army operations, identify the capabilities required of Army forces, and guide how force development should be prioritized. The goal of this concept is to establish a common frame of reference for thinking about how the US Army will conduct full spectrum operations in the coming two decades (US Army Training and Doctrine Command, The Army Operating Concept 2016 – 2028, TRADOC Pamphlet 525-3-1, dated 19 August 2010, p. iii. Hereafter cited as TD Pam 525-3-1. The Army defines full spectrum operations as the combination of offensive, defensive, and either stability operations overseas or civil support operations on U.S. soil).
A key and understudied aspect of full spectrum operations is how to conduct these operations within American borders. If we face a period of persistent global conflict as outlined in successive National Security Strategy documents, then Army officers are professionally obligated to consider the conduct of operations on U.S. soil. Army capstone and operating concepts must provide guidance concerning how the Army will conduct the range of operations required to defend the republic at home. In this paper, we posit a scenario in which a group of political reactionaries take over a strategically positioned town and have the tacit support of not only local law enforcement but also state government officials, right up to the governor. Under present law, which initially stemmed from bad feelings about Reconstruction, the military’s domestic role is highly circumscribed. In the situation we lay out below, even though the governor refuses to seek federal help to quell the uprising (the usual channel for military assistance), the Constitution allows the president broad leeway in times of insurrection. Citing the precedents of Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War and Dwight D. Eisenhower sending troops to Little Rock in 1957, the president mobilizes the military and the Department of Homeland Security, to regain control of the city. This scenario requires us to consider how domestic intelligence is gathered and shared, the role of local law enforcement (to the extent that it supports the operation), the scope and limits of the Insurrection Act--for example maintaining a military chain of command but in support of the Attorney General as the Department of Justice is the Lead Federal Agency (LFA) under the conditions of the Act--and the roles of the local, national, and international media.
The Scenario (2016)
The Great Recession of the early twenty-first century lasts far longer than anyone anticipated. After a change in control of the White House and Congress in 2012, the governing party cuts off all funding that had been dedicated to boosting the economy or toward relief. The United States economy has flatlined, much like Japan’s in the 1990s, for the better part of a decade. By 2016, the economy shows signs of reawakening, but the middle and lower-middle classes have yet to experience much in the way of job growth or pay raises. Unemployment continues to hover perilously close to double digits, small businesses cannot meet bankers’ terms to borrow money, and taxes on the middle class remain relatively high. A high-profile and vocal minority has directed the public’s fear and frustration at nonwhites and immigrants. After almost ten years of race-baiting and immigrant-bashing by right-wing demagogues, nearly one in five Americans reports being vehemently opposed to immigration, legal or illegal, and even U.S.-born nonwhites have become occasional targets for mobs of angry whites.
In May 2016 an extremist militia motivated by the goals of the “tea party” movement takes over the government of Darlington, South Carolina, occupying City Hall, disbanding the city council, and placing the mayor under house arrest. Activists remove the chief of police and either disarm local police and county sheriff departments or discourage them from interfering. In truth, this is hardly necessary. Many law enforcement officials already are sympathetic to the tea party’s agenda, know many of the people involved, and have made clear they will not challenge the takeover. The militia members are organized and have a relatively well thought-out plan of action.
With Darlington under their control, militia members quickly move beyond the city limits to establish “check points” – in reality, something more like choke points -- on major transportation lines. Traffic on I-95, the East Coast’s main north-south artery; I-20; and commercial and passenger rail lines are stopped and searched, allegedly for “illegal aliens.” Citizens who complain are immediately detained. Activists also collect “tolls” from drivers, ostensibly to maintain public schools and various city and county programs, but evidence suggests the money is actually going toward quickly increasing stores of heavy weapons and ammunition. They also take over the town web site and use social media sites to get their message out unrestricted.
When the leaders of the group hold a press conference to announce their goals, they invoke the Declaration of Independence and argue that the current form of the federal government is not deriving its “just powers from the consent of the governed” but is actually “destructive to these ends.” Therefore, they say, the people can alter or abolish the existing government and replace it with another that, in the words of the Declaration, “shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” While mainstream politicians and citizens react with alarm, the “tea party” insurrectionists in South Carolina enjoy a groundswell of support from other tea party groups, militias, racist organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan, anti-immigrant associations such as the Minutemen, and other right-wing groups. At the press conference the masked militia members’ uniforms sport a unit seal with a man wearing a tricorn hat and carrying a musket over the motto “Today’s Minutemen.” When a reporter asked the leaders who are the “red coats” the spokesman answered, “I don’t know who the redcoats are…it could be federal troops.” Experts warn that while these groups heretofore have been considered weak and marginal, the rapid coalescence among them poses a genuine national threat.
The mayor of Darlington calls the governor and his congressman. He cannot act to counter the efforts of the local tea party because he is confined to his home and under guard. The governor, who ran on a platform that professed sympathy with tea party goals, is reluctant to confront the militia directly. He refuses to call out the National Guard. He has the State Police monitor the roadblocks and checkpoints on the interstate and state roads but does not order the authorities to take further action. In public the governor calls for calm and proposes talks with the local tea party to resolve issues. Privately, he sends word through aides asking the federal government to act to restore order. Due to his previous stance and the appearance of being “pro” tea party goals the governor has little political room to maneuver.
The Department of Homeland Security responds to the governor’s request by asking for defense support to civil law enforcement. After the Department of Justice states that the conditions in Darlington and surrounding areas meet the conditions necessary to invoke the Insurrection Act, the President invokes it.
(From Title 10 US Code the President may use the militia or Armed Forces to:
§ 331 – Suppress an insurrection against a State government at the request of the Legislature or, if not in session, the Governor.
§ 332 – Suppress unlawful obstruction or rebellion against the U.S.
§ 333 – Suppress insurrection or domestic violence if it (1) hinders the execution of the laws to the extent that a part or class of citizens are deprived of Constitutional rights and the State is unable or refuses to protect those rights or (2) obstructs the execution of any Federal law or impedes the course of justice under Federal laws.)
By proclamation he calls on the insurrectionists to disperse peacefully within 15 days. There is no violation of the Posse Comitatus Act. The President appoints the Attorney General and the Department of Justice as the lead federal agency to deal with the crisis. The President calls the South Carolina National Guard to federal service. The Joint Staff in Washington, D.C., alerts U.S. Northern Command, the headquarters responsible for the defense of North America, to begin crisis action planning. Northern Command in turn alerts U.S. Army North/Fifth U.S. Army for operations as a Joint Task Force headquarters. Army units at Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Stewart, Ga.; and Marines at Camp Lejuene, N.C. go on alert. The full range of media, national and international, is on scene.
“Fix Darlington, but don’t destroy it!”
Upon receiving the alert for possible operations in Darlington, the Fifth Army staff begins the military decision making process with mission analysis and intelligence preparation of the battlefield. (Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield is the term applied to the procedures performed by the intelligence staff of all Army unit headquarters in the development of bases of information on the enemy, terrain and weather, critical buildings and facilities in a region and other points. Army units conduct operations on the basis of this information. The term is in Army doctrine and could be problematic when conducted in advance of operations on U.S. soil. The general form of the initial intelligence estimate is in figure 1.) In developing the intelligence estimate military intelligence planners will confront the first constraints on the conduct of full spectrum operations in the United States, as well as constraints on supporting law enforcement. The analytical steps of the Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield, or IPB, must be modified in preparing for and conducting operations in the homeland.
The steps of the IPB process are: define the operational environment/battlespace, describe environmental effects on operations/describe battlespace effects, evaluate the threat/adversary, and determine threat/adversary courses of action. (PSYOP was changed to Military Information Support Operations, MISO, by Secretary of Defense directive in June 2010.)
While preparing terrain and weather data do not pose a major problem to the G-2, gathering data on the threat and under civil considerations for intelligence and operational purposes is problematic to say the least.
Figure 1: The Intelligence Estimate (FM 2-01.3, p. 7, chapter 1)
Executive Order 12333, United States Intelligence Activities, dated 4 December 1981, relates mostly to intelligence gathering outside the continental United States. However, it also outlines in broad terms permissible information-gathering within the United States and on American citizens and permanent resident aliens, categorized as United States persons. (The executive order included in its definition of “United States persons” unincorporated associations mostly comprising American citizens or permanent resident aliens; or a corporation incorporated in the United States, except for a corporation directed and controlled by a foreign government or governments. The basic thrust of the rules and regulations concerning intelligence collection and dissemination are focused on protecting American citizens’ Constitutional rights. These rules and regulations are focused, properly, on support to law enforcement. They do not contain much guidance concerning the conduct of full spectrum operations such as the situation facing the corps. While the best practice as described in FM 3-28 is to retain just enough for situational awareness and force protection the situation facing the corps strains the limits of situational awareness and could place the G2 and commanders at some risk once the dust has settled in the aftermath of an operation within the homeland.) The Fifth Army intelligence analysts will have a great deal of difficulty determining tea party members’ legal status. Because the Defense Department does not collect or store information on American civilians or civilian groups during peacetime, the military will have to rely on local and state law enforcement officials at the start of operations to establish intelligence data-bases and ultimately restore the rule of law in Darlington.
Using all intelligence disciplines from human intelligence to signals intelligence, the Fifth Army G2 and his staff section will collect as much information as they need to accomplish the mission. Once the rule of law is restored the Fifth Army G2 must ensure that it destroys information gathered during the operation within 90 days unless the law or the Secretary of Defense requires the Fifth Army to keep it for use in legal cases (Field Manual 3-28, Civil Support Operations, pp. 7-13. The FM cites Department of Defense Directive, DODD, 5200.27). Because of the legal constraints on the military’s involvement in domestic affairs and the sympathies of local law enforcement, developing the initial intelligence, a continuing estimate, and potential adversary courses of action (what the insurrectionists holding Darlington and surrounding areas might do in response to Army operations) will be difficult. (The closest guidance on handling information collected in the course of civil disturbance operations is in Department of Defense Directive 5200.27 and Department of Defense Directive 5240.1R. These directives state: “Operations Related to Civil Disturbance. The Attorney General is the chief civilian officer in charge of coordinating all federal government activities relating to civil disturbances. Upon specific prior authorization of the Secretary of Defense or his designee, information may be acquired that is essential to meet operational requirements flowing from the mission as to DOD to assist civil authorities in dealing with civil disturbances. Such authorization will only be granted when there is a distinct threat of a civil disturbance exceeding the law enforcement capabilities of State and local authorities.”)
Fifth Army terrain analysts continue using open sources ranging from Google maps to Map-quest. Federal legal restrictions on assembling databases remain in effect and even incidental imagery, aerial photos gathered in the conduct of previously conducted training missions, cannot be used. Surveillance of the tea party roadblocks and checkpoints around Darlington proceeds carefully. Developing legal data-bases is one effort, but support for local law enforcement is hindered because of problems in determining how to share this information and with whom.
Despite these problems, receiving support from local law enforcement is critical to restoring the rule of law in Darlington. City police officers, county sheriff deputies and state troopers can contribute valuable local knowledge of personalities, customs and terrain beyond what can be found in data-bases and observation. Liaison officers and non-commissioned officers, with appropriate communications equipment must be exchanged. Given the suspicion that local police are sympathetic to the tea party members’ goals special consideration to operational security must be incorporated into planning. Informally communicating to the insurrectionists the determination of federal forces to restore local government can materially improve the likelihood of success. However, informants sympathetic to the tea party could easily compromise the element of surprise. The fact that a federal court must authorize wire taps in every instance also complicate the monitoring of communications into and out of Darlington. Operations in Darlington specifically and in the homeland generally must also take into account the possibility of increased violence and the range of responses to violence.
All federal military forces involved in civil support must follow the standing rules for the use of force (SRUF) specified by the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. Much like the rules of force issued to the 7th Infantry Division during operations in Los Angeles in 1992 the underlying principle involves a continuum of force, a graduated level of response determined by civilians' behavior. Fifth Army must assume that every incident of gunfire will be investigated. (Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction, CJCSI, 3121.01B, Standing Rules of Engagement/Standing Rules for the Use of Force for US Forces. There are many similarities between rules for the use of force and rules of engagement, the right of self-defense for example. The fundamental difference is rules of engagement are by nature permissive measures intended to allow the maximum use of destructive combat power appropriate for the mission. Rules for the use of force are restrictive measures intended to allow only the minimum force necessary to accomplish the mission.) All units involved must also realize that operations will be conducted under the close scrutiny of the media.
Operating under media scrutiny is not a new phenomenon for the U.S. military. What is new and newsworthy about this operation is that it is taking place in the continental United States. Commanders and staffs must think about the effect of this attention and be alert when considering how to use the media. The media will broadcast the President’s proclamation and cover military preparations for operations in Darlington. Their reports will be as available to tea party leaders in Darlington as they are to a family watching the evening news in San Francisco. Coupled with a gradual build-up of federal forces in the local area, all covered by the media, the effect of this pressure will compound over time and quite possibly cause doubt about the correctness of the events in Darlington in the minds of its’ citizens and the insurrectionists who control the town. The Joint Task Force commander, staff and subordinate units must operate as transparently as possible, while still giving due consideration to operational security. Commanders must manage these issues even as they increase pressure on the insurrectionists.
The design of this plan to restore the rule of law to Darlington will include information/influence operations designed to present a picture of the federal response and the inevitable defeat of the insurrection. The concept of the joint plan includes a phased deployment of selected forces into the area beginning with reconnaissance and military intelligence units. Once the Fifth Army commander determines he has a complete picture of activity within the town and especially of the insurrectionists’ patterns of behavior, deployment of combat, combat support and combat service support forces will begin from Forts Bragg and Stewart, and Camp Lejuene. Commanders will need to consider how the insurrectionists will respond. Soldiers and Marines involved in this operation, and especially their families will be subject to electronic mail, Facebook messages, Twitters, and all manner of information and source of pressure. Given that Soldiers and Marines stationed at Forts Bragg and Stewart as well as Camp Lejuene live relatively nearby and that many come from this region, chances are they will know someone who lives in or near Darlington. Countering Al Qaeda web-based propaganda is one thing, countering domestic information bombardments is another effort entirely.
The design and execution of operations to restore the rule of law in Darlington will be complicated. The Fifth Army will retain a military chain of command for regular Army and Marine Corps units along with the federalized South Carolina National Guard, but will be in support of the Department of Justice as the Lead Federal Agency, LFA. The Attorney General may designate a Senior Civilian Representative of the Attorney General (SCRAG) to coordinate the efforts of all Federal agencies. The SCRAG has the authority to assign missions to federal military forces. The Attorney General may also appoint a Senior Federal Law Enforcement Officer (SFLEO) to coordinate all Federal law enforcement activities.
The pace of the operation needs to be deliberate and controlled. Combat units will conduct overt Show of Force operations to remind the insurrectionists they are now facing professional military forces, with all the training and equipment that implies. Army and Marine units will remove road blocks and check points both overtly and covertly with minimum essential force to ratchet up pressure continually on insurrectionist leadership. Representatives of state and local government as well as federalized South Carolina National Guard units will care for residents choosing to flee Darlington. A focus on the humanitarian aspect of the effort will be politically more palatable for the state and local officials. Federal forces continue to tighten the noose as troops seize and secure power and water stations, radio and TV stations, and hospitals. The final phase of the operation, restoring order and returning properly elected officials to their offices, will be the most sensitive.
Movements must be planned and executed more carefully than the operations that established the conditions for handover. At this point military operations will be on the downturn but the need for more politically aware military advice will not. War, and the use of federal military force on U.S. soil, remains an extension of policy by other means. Given the invocation of the Insurrection Act, the federal government must defeat the insurrection, preferably with minimum force. Insurrectionists and their sympathizers must have no doubt that an uprising against the Constitution will be defeated. Dealing with the leaders of the insurrection can be left to the proper authorities, but drawing from America history, military advice would suggest an amnesty for individual members of the militia and prosecution for leaders of the movement who broke the law. This fictional scenario leads not to conclusions but points to ponder when considering 21st century full spectrum operations in the continental United States.
The Insurrection Act does not need to be changed for the 21st century. Because it is broadly written, the law allows the flexibility needed to address a range of threats to the Republic.
What we must consider in the design of homeland defense or security exercises is translating the Act into action. The Army Operating Concept describes Homeland Defense as the protection of “U.S. sovereignty, territory, domestic population, and critical defense infrastructure against external threats and aggression, or other threats as directed by the president” (TD Pam 525-3-1, p. 27. Emphasis added.) Neither the operating concept nor recently published Army doctrine, FM 3-28 Civil Support Operations, goes into detail when considering the range of “other threats.” While invoking the Insurrection Act must be a last resort, once it is put into play Americans will expect the military to execute without pause and as professionally as if it were acting overseas. The Army cannot disappoint the American people, especially in such a moment. While real problems and real difficulties of such operations may not be perceived until the point of execution preparation will afford the Army the ability to not be too badly wrong at the outset.
Being not too badly wrong at the outset requires focused military education on the nuances of operations in the homeland. Army doctrine defines full spectrum operations as a mix of offense, defense and either stability or civil support operations. Curriculum development is a true zero sum game; when a subject is added another must be removed. Given the array of threats and adversaries; from “commando-style” raids such as Mumbai, the changing face of militias in the United States, rising unrest in Mexico, and the tendency to the extreme in American politics the subject of how American armed forces will conduct security and defense operations within the continental U.S. must be addressed in the curricula of our Staff and War Colleges. (The Kansas City Star, 12 September 2010, “The New Militia.” The front page story concerns the changing tactics of militia movements and how militias now focus on community service and away from violence against the government. Law enforcement agencies feel this is camouflage for true intentions. The story covered armed paramilitary militias in Missouri and Kansas.)
The Army must address the how to of intelligence/information gathering and sharing, liaison with local law enforcement and conduct of Information Operations in focused exercises, such as UNIFIED QUEST, given a wider range of invited participants. The real question of how to educate the Army on full spectrum operations under homeland security and defense conditions must be a part of an overall review of professional military education for the 21st century. We cannot discount the agility of an external threat, the evolution of Al Qaeda for example, and its ability to take advantage of a “Darlington event” within U.S. borders. How would we respond to this type of action? What if border violence from Mexico crosses into the United States? The pressure for action will be enormous and the expectation of professional, disciplined military action will be equally so given the faith the American people have in their armed forces. The simple fact is that while the Department of Justice is the Lead Federal Agency in these operations the public face of the operation will be uniformed American Soldiers. On a TV camera a civilian is a civilian but here is no mistaking the mottled battle dress of a Soldier with the U.S. flag on his or her right sleeve.
The table of organization and equipment of Fifth U.S. Army/Army North must be scrutinized. The range of liaison parties that must be exchanged in the conduct of operations on American soil is extensive. Coordination with federal, state and local civil law enforcement and security agencies is a vital element in concluding homeland operations successfully. The liaison parties cannot be ad hoc or last minute additions to the headquarters. At a minimum such parties must routinely exercise with the headquarters.
In 1933 then Colonel George Marshall criticized the education that the Army Command and General Staff College provided as inadequate to “the chaotic state of affairs in the first few months of a campaign with a major power” (From a 1933 letter from COL GC Marshall to MG Stewart Heintzelman, cited in a report on the US Army Command and General Staff College conducted in 1982 by MG Guy Meloy. The report is held in the Special Collections section of the Combined Arms Research Library, Fort Leavenworth, KS.) We must continue on the path of ensuring the avoidance of the “chaotic state of affairs” in the opening moments of future campaigns, defending the nation from within and without. As Dr. Sebastian L. v. Gorka wrote in Joint Forces Quarterly (p. 33), “[N]o concepts are immune to critique and reappraisal when it comes to securing the homeland.”
Small Wars Journal
How in the world is someone supposed to actually prepare for an economic collapse? What should you do with your money? How can you make sure that your family is going to be okay? How can you prepare if your resources are extremely limited? These are the kinds of questions people ask me all the time. Once people understand that the economy has been collapsingand will continue to collapse, then the next step for most of them is that they want to get prepared for the storm that is coming. So where should someone get started? Well, the truth is that no two people are facing the exact same set of circumstances, so preparation is going to look different for each individual. But there are certain core principles that we can all benefit from. For example, when a financial storm is coming that is not the time to be blowing thousands of dollars on vacations and new toys.
You would be surprised at how many people there are that claim that they have no extra money in their budgets and yet somehow have plenty of money to run down to Wal-Mart and buy a big stack of DVDs. When times are difficult, each hard-earned dollar becomes much more precious, and we all need to start getting into the habit of making the most out of our limited resources. The seemingly endless prosperity that we have all been enjoying for decades is coming to an end, and most of us have absolutely no experience on how to deal with truly hard times. If you are under the age of 60, it might be a really good idea to read a book or two on what conditions were like during the Great Depression of the 1930s. There is a lot that we can learn from our own history.
Another key characteristic that we will all need in the years ahead is flexibility. Anyone that has spent any time in the military knows that very few plans ever work out perfectly. As the global economy breaks down and the world becomes increasingly unstable, conditions are going to change rapidly. What might work really well in one situation might be the exact wrong thing to do 6 months later. If you are not willing or able to adapt to dramatic change then you are going to have a lot of difficulty in the years ahead.
Many people refer to me as a "doom and gloomer" because I run a website called "The Economic Collapse" and I am constantly pointing out that the entire world is heading for a complete and total financial nightmare.
But I don't think that it does any good to stick your head in the sand. I believe that there is hope in understanding what is happening and I believe that there is hope in getting prepared.
It is those that are completely oblivious to what is really going on that will be totally blindsided by the coming crisis. When they finally realize what has come upon them many of them will totally lose it.
From my little spot on the wall I am trying my best to warn people so that they can have a chance to be prepared for what is coming.
I am not spreading doom and gloom.
I am spreading hope.
And I want to make another point. Generally, things are going to be getting progressively worse as the years roll along. As I have written about before, I believe that the economic collapse is not a single event. Rather, I see it as a series of waves that will be punctuated by moments of great crisis.
So advice about preparation is going to be different depending on whether you are talking about the short-term or the mid-term or the long-term. Hopefully you will keep that in mind as you read my answers to the questions below.
The following are common questions that people ask about how to prepare for the collapse of the economy....
#1 How Do I Get Started?
When the financial crisis of 2008 hit, what was the biggest danger for most Americans?
The biggest danger was that they would lose their jobs and not be able to pay their bills.
During the last recession, millions and millions of Americans did end up losing their jobs.
And because many of them were living paycheck to paycheck many of them also ended up losing their homes.
You do not want that to happen to you.
So what I am about to say next is not considered to be very "sexy" in prepper circles, but it is absolutely crucial advice.
You need to have an emergency fund saved up that can cover your expenses for at least six months.
That way if you lose your job or your business goes under you will be able to keep going for a while as you figure out what your next move will be.
These days it takes the average unemployed American nearly 40 weeks to find a new job, and it will likely be even worse in the next major economic downturn.
So make sure that you have plenty of cash saved up just in case. If you are currently living paycheck to paycheck you are extremely vulnerable.
#2 What Should I Do With My Money?
I get this question a lot.
People always want to know where they should put their money.
Well, my first piece of advice is always to build an emergency fund. See #1 above. Most people do not have one.
After that is done, I am a big believer in not putting all of my eggs into one basket.
Sometimes people will tell me that they are going to take all of their money out of the banks because they don't feel safe having their money in them.
Well, if you stick all of your money in your mattress, what happens if there is a fire or what happens if someone robs you?
That is why I believe in spreading your risk around. Having money a bunch of different places is a good thing.
But one place I would not put it is in the stock market. If you were fortunate enough to catch the recent rally you should get out while the getting is good.
If you have blind faith in the stock market you are going to be deeply disappointed eventually. I do not have a single penny in the stock market, and a couple of years from now that is going to look like a very wise move.
#3 Should I Invest In Precious Metals?
A lot of people that write about the economic crisis in this country really advocate investing in precious metals because they tend to hold value over time (unlike fiat currencies).
I like precious metals myself, but if you are going to invest you need to get educated so that you know what you are doing. If you go in blindly you are likely to get burned at some point.
In addition, you need to be prepared for wild fluctuations in price over the coming years. There will be times when gold and silver absolutely soar and there will be times when they drop like a rock.
So if you are going to play the game you need to be able to handle the ride.
#4 Should I Get Out Of Debt?
Many that write about the coming economic collapse say that you shouldn't even bother to pay off your debts because the financial system is going to collapse anyway.
I don't see it that way.
I don't believe that our banks are going to totally collapse and suddenly go out of existence.
Not in the short-term anyway.
So I believe that it is actually a good idea to get out of debt. When financial troubles hit you don't want a horde of bill collectors coming after you.
There is a lot of freedom that comes with getting out of debt, and in this environment it is wise to become as independent of the system as possible.
#5 What If I Don't Have Any Money To Prepare?
In this kind of economic environment it is no surprise that I get this question a lot.
Many families are just barely scraping by each month and they do not have much money to put into anything.
And I can definitely sympathize with that.
However, I would say that there are very, very few families out there that do not have anything that can be cut out of the budget.
The truth is that American families are experts at blowing money on really stupid stuff.
In general, I recommend that all families do what they can to reduce their expenses.
The smaller of a financial footprint you have, the better off you will be and the more resources you will have to help you get prepared.
Also, now is the time to be looking for ways that you can increase your income.
For many Americans, starting a side business is a way to bring in some extra cash. Yes, this will cut into your television watching time, but now is not the time to be lazy.
The time you spend working hard now while the sun is still shining will pay off later.
Don't be afraid to work harder than you ever have before.
#6 Should I Rent Or Buy?
This is a question that I also get a lot, and it really depends on your situation.
If you rent, that gives you a lot more flexibility. You can move for a new job or a new opportunity without having to sell a house. And you get to avoid a lot of the expenses and hassles that come with being a homeowner.
If you buy, you get to "lock in" your housing expenses for many years. In a highly inflationary environment this would potentially be very beneficial. And interest rates are very low right now.
In addition, it is going to be really hard to rent a really good "prepper" property. If you are looking for a property that is away from the big cities where you can grow your own food and become more independent of the system, then in most cases you are going to have to buy such a property.
But if you do buy, it is going to be much harder to move if something does happen and you need to go somewhere else.
#7 What About My Health Condition?
Over the next few years, our health care system should continue operating at least somewhat normally. But the truth is that our health care system is in horrible shape and it is not a good thing to be totally dependent on pills and doctors.
Even if economic conditions were perfect it would be a good idea to learn what you can do on your own to improve your health. But this is especially true as we move into a time of great economic instability.
#8 Should I Be Storing Food?
However, even though the United States is experiencing a historic drought right now, I do not believe that there will be major food shortages in America this year or next year.
Down the road, however, is a different story.
And your food dollars are never going to go farther than they do right now. As I wrote about the other day, this drought is likely to cause food prices to go up substantially, and so the food you store now might end up being twice as valuable a few years from now.
In addition, you never know when a major disaster or emergency is going to strike so it is always good to become more independent of the system.
I encourage everyone to learn how to grow a garden. Yes, your space may be limited, but there is actually one family that produces 6000 pounds of produce every year on just 1/10th of an acre right in the middle of Pasadena, California.
If they can do such extraordinary things with their little plot of land, why can't you try to do what you can with what you have?
#9 Should I Be Storing Water?
It is always good to have some water on hand in case disaster or emergency strikes.
And you should be rotating whatever water you currently have on hand because you don't want water sitting around indefinitely.
But what is much more important is to make sure that you and your family have access to a source of water that you can depend on if disaster strikes and the grid goes down.
In a previous article I discussed a report put out by the American Trucker Associations entitled "When Trucks Stop, America Stops" that detailed just how incredibly vulnerable our water supply really is....
According to the American Water Works Association, Americans drink more than one billion glasses of tap water per day. For safety and security reasons, most water supply plants maintain a larger inventory of supplies than the typical business. However, the amount of chemical storage varies significantly and is site specific. According to the Chlorine Institute, most water treatment facilities receive chlorine in cylinders (150 pounds and one ton cylinders) that are delivered by motor carriers. On average, trucks deliver purification chemicals to water supply plants every seven to 14 days. Without these chemicals, water cannot be purified and made safe for drinking. Without truck deliveries of purification chemicals, water supply plants will run out of drinkable water in 14 to 28 days. Once the water supply is drained, water will be deemed safe for drinking only when boiled. Lack of clean drinking water will lead to increased gastrointestinal and other illnesses, further taxing an already weakened healthcare system.
So yes, water is definitely something you should be accounting for in your preparations.
#10 Other Than Food And Water What Other Supplies Will I Need?
Anything that you use on a regular basis or that you would use in an emergency situation is something that you should consider storing up.
For example, if you could not buy any more toilet paper from the stores, what would you do?
Basic things like that are often overlooked by many preppers.
In a previous article, I listed dozens of things you may want to consider storing. Preparation is going to look different for every family, but hopefully that list will give you some ideas.
#11 What Happens If The Power Grid Goes Down?
This is a very important consideration - especially if you live in a colder climate.
Some people have a backup generator for such circumstances.
Others have set up wind and/or solar systems for their homes.
Alternative energy solutions are great if you can afford them, and they will enable you to become much more independent of the system.
But not everyone can afford to put in solar panels or a big wind turbine.
So do what you can with what you have.
#12 Should I Leave The Big Cities?
A lot of people ask me this, but there is no easy answer.
In this day and age, a good job is like gold. It can be really, really tough to give up a good job and move to the middle of nowhere.
But without a doubt, society is starting to come apart at the seams and I do expect rioting and major civil unrest in our major cities at some point in the future.
In the end, you need to do what is right for you and your own family. Nobody else can make this decision for you.
#13 Should I Get Some Self-Defense Training?
America seems to be overrun by psychopaths and sociopaths these days, and in such an environment being able to defend yourself becomes more important.
When criminals come to your home, they are not going to sit down and have a debate with you. They are not going to care what your political outlook is or if you sympathize with their plight.
The criminals are simply going to do what they came there to do unless someone stops them.
So yes, some self-defense training may come in very handy in the years ahead.
#14 What Should I Do If My Family And Friends Won't Listen To Me?
This is another very common question that I get.
What should people do if nobody will listen to them?
Well, you just have to do the best that you can. If they won't listen now, just keep planting seeds. Keep sending them articles that are packed with statistics and information that show why an economic collapse is going to happen.
In the years ahead we are all going to need our families and our friends because communities will endure what is coming much better than "lone wolf" individuals will be able to.
No matter how hard you prepare, at some point you are going to need the help of someone else.
So don't be afraid to reach out to others.
If nobody among your family or friends will listen to you at the moment, you may have to prepare on your own right now.
In fact, you may have to do extra preparation because at some point it is probably inevitable that your family and friends will come to you for help.
That is the perspective that my wife and I take. We are not only preparing for ourselves. We are also preparing for the family members that may have to depend on us someday.
Nobody said that preparing was going to be easy.
But beyond any physical preparations, I also believe that it is absolutely crucial to prepare mentally and spiritually.
The times that are coming are going to be incredibly challenging. They are going to require a great deal of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual strength.
If you are a "lone wolf" that believes that you don't need anyone or anything, then I feel sorry for you and I honestly don't know how you are going to make it.
None of us have all the answers.
I know that I certainly do not.
I have just written nearly 3000 words, but after I post this article I know that some of the great visitors tomy site will post ideas that I never even considered for this article.
We can all learn from each other. Most of the people that I have met that think "they know it all" are some of the most clueless people that I have ever come across.
I never want to stop learning, and hopefully that is the case for you as well.
If we work together, perhaps we can all make it through the horrible, horrible times that are coming.
The Economic Collapse