First let me open with my poison of choice: economic breakdown of Uncle Sam. I believe that the economy we used to have is gone, it’s ghoul is still hanging around but not for long. I have some short-term preps for an emergency (hurricane, tornado, riots etc.) but mainly I ‘foresee’ a time coming soon when the national debt overloads us and the creditors (other countries) want their cold hard currency, now! With the ‘bailout’ of the infallible’ banks, and the real estate market, even the leftover costs from the ‘war on terrorism’, I don’t see how we can keep this conspicuous consumption up.
Nature’s emergencies are running all the time, nobody is taking responsibility for their family or neighborhood during these emergencies, and in the process we are just hastening the fall of our ‘American Dream.’ And, oh, yes, a totalitarian government is here, already, it’s just been enforced lightly. NDAA? End of the freedom of the American citizen. Total power, unchecked, in one man, one office. The days of our past are gone.
Anyways, I believe the money cannot keep flowing, too many costs from the real estate bubble. I believe when gas hits $10 a gallon, the spiral will have begun it’s change to a logarithmic failure. Driving long distances to work will become prohibitive, food and water prices will jump as the price to get them from source to market grows rapidly. Think about people’s incomes – if gas gets to be $7.85, then it’s the same price as minimum wage. (With taxes out, it’s more like $5.50) That’s a gallon of gas for an hour’s work. If you make minimum wage and use 20 gallons of gas a week, that’s 1/2 your pay check, just to gas!
Gas prices drive the prices of everything in our modern society. As most companies are not giving raises, bonuses or in many cases, cost of living increases, wages will start to disappear, like smoke in the wind. Oh, the high up management will get paid, low on the totem pole? … no. So food becomes a higher percentage of you expenses, gas becomes even more, the room to save is dwindling.
So what goes first? Social programs, Infrastructure. Last? Military (and specific government jobs.) Figure anything that costs but doesn’t draw in revenue, that will go first.
When the “i” whatever fails with miserable sales, you will know the end of the ‘gotta have it gadget’ is here and the prices of everything are beyond ridiculous. I think the internet will artificially hold up tech jobs, for a bit, but when a family spends 40-50% of it’s income on just food and gas, ‘facebooking’ will cease to be the national event it is – computers will sit, connected to nothing again as our money needs to go to food. Schools will fail – they are placing all their bets on “no child would ever not have access to the internet.” It will take years to get real books back and real courses … if they do.
With enormous educational costs, libraries will disappear, we need the money for schools. This is a big moment to watch for. When we can’t afford to keep public libraries open, the end of what we know is near. So, schools are up in costs 100s of %s. Politicians love to tax gasoline, it’s a pretty universal money maker. But when the base cost is so high, those same politicians will just add more – “we’re got to make up for lost revenues by taxing more.” So the cost of living will go up, and the level of living will go down. Medical care is another place they will try to cut back, actually costing us more than ever – any government subsidized clinics will either lose funds and cut back on services (bringing the actual cost higher) or, sadly, actually close it’s doors.
IT will start getting hit here, the call to automate more and more IT and to cut personnel costs will start dropping the actual worker, then the middle manager. Now all the ‘up and coming fields’ are gone. Just being in the slowest one to fall is now ‘doing well.’ With the revenues now dropping in double digits, Infrastructure is next. Side roads, pot holes, the edges of roads and local only roads will quickly get worse. Yes the load on the roads is far lower, but that means less revenue to fix what needed fixing 10 years ago. It’s ok for some people, they can’t afford to drive, but those that have to will be seeing loads of new costs besides the cost of fuel .. bad roads eat cars. Tourism is beyond dead, when that trip to Destin Fl. costs more than a month’s pay, no more Destin Fl. trips. Locals will love it. For a little while.
The cost of things and travel now have turned us to local places, but with far less money, inexpensive fun will rule. Older more expensive stuff will die (local pool vs a water park.) Utilities may even cut off ‘wasteful’ uses of power and water: Theme parks, water parks, amusement parks. That’s if the places even stay open that long due to costs sky rocketing. Utility repairs and upkeep will drop, first during emergencies they will have less people and less materials to repair what took one day, now takes 3. No new construction goes on, too costly. Second triage will begin: 10,000 people without electricity, versus 2,000. But now the 2,000 have to wait 2 weeks, not 2 days.
Water will come next, no new pipes or even regular upkeep of sewers when they are working ok – no preparation for the future, we’re just hanging on. More and more the water network will fail, at the edges first, some money will be spent at first, but then a major failure, short term, will occur and anything not ‘in-town’ will be totally ignored. By now people in the rural areas are no longer paying for something they aren’t getting. Those who were on ‘city’ water now try to go local wells. The reduction in revenue hits again. Now the electricity and water are only guaranteed to hospitals and government buildings, only to keep a revenue stream coming. There are rolling black outs and rolling water shortages – can only get water at certain times.
Now the anarchy comes. 50%-60% unemployment. School reduced or gone. Affordable food becoming scarcer and scarcer, there are now ‘riots’ at the food stores, but we won’t be told they are ‘riots’ – they’ll be a ‘disturbance’ or ‘a person was robbed’, nothing to scare the already scared. Government will be spouting very loudly that “everything is ok’ ‘help is on the way’ ‘just conserve more.’ Now that the teens no longer have school the gangs are getting just horrendous, the riots at stores are now the gangs stealing everything they can see. A small percentage of people in neighborhoods will band together to give the kids a place to be safe, but they will have to split their time between protection and searching for food.
Electricity will stop first, then water as the streets are already teeming with trash (who can pay the trash fees?) and the sewers are becoming unfix able – too little workers, too much work, crucial portions collapse. The first semi-permanent failure of electricity will cause the first real lawlessness – fear and boredom being the starting factors. When water use gets down to 30 minutes a day, the fear and fighting is now ramped up to dangerous heights. The scramble for food now leads some to become animals, mobbing any place they believe to have food; whether it does or not. Cats, dogs, rats, anything that normally roams the neighborhood, just ‘disappear.’
We are now a second tier nation, sliding quickly into third. The lack of work here stops the flow of illegal (and legal) aliens.. in fact there are those leaving to go other places.
Not with a bang, but a whimper.