Guess we know what the disturbance in “the force” was Monday, huh? On to Prepping: It’s easy to say but much harder to do.
Here lately, seems like the whole prepping movement has sort of run out of steam, but there are plenty of good reasons why.
For one, when we read the latest books on point, we find that “forgotten secrets” to prepping are largely irrelevant today. The tools our grandparents used to raise their families in the aftermath of the Great Depression just don’t apply, anymore.
The Ure family, I suppose, was typical. My grandfather, which for my kinds would be the great-grandfather, had come out west in the early 1920’s to drive a Dodge PowerWagon around the hills of the Pacific Northwest for what used to be Puget Power and what’s now Puget Sound Energy, if memory serves.
The first thing the family did on arriving in Seattle was to buy a house at the bottom of 3rd West on the north side of Queen Anne Hill in Seattle. The house was paid off as quickly as possible. There was a sense the boom wouldn’t last.
Still, grandpa drove his truck and was a Teamster. He’d leaned up on them from uncle Bill, who drove mule trains up the Fraser River Canyon in British Columbia. When you talk about family heritage things, the Alaska Gold Rush, wasn’t really that long ago.
Grandpa’s wife worked hard. She had an amazing garden which was still feeding not only the family, but the grandchildren as well in the 1950’s. She’d become expert on rhubarb, for one, and there’s few things in life as good as a still-warm rhubarb pie and a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Vegetables were not real plentiful in the Depression, so neighbors traded this or that – depending on the season.
Grandma also raised cats. Siamese purebreds, to be exact. Seems like in every mania on the financial side, there is a “pet mania” of some sort. If Siamese were the Depression animal last time, seems to me the pit bulls will be the breed this time. But that’s not really the case.
And article over here (2017) says the Rottweiler’s, German Shepard’s, and the Labradors are tops. Unless you need someone eaten, of course.
People in the Depression worked, too. My dad would get up and deliver about 100 newspapers before school. At high school, he was working part time in odd jobs, and once 18, he started working at a cigar store in downtown Seattle.
Everyone worked in the family – long and hard, but work wasn’t always plentiful.
The economy kept itself together, prices came way down, and as they fell, so did wages. That’s how a viscous economic cycle works: Bad begets worse. Worse begets terrible. Terrible begets democrats, technocrats, communists, socialists, and anyone else who can jingo their way to the public’s attention.
If you’re asking yourself “How does any of this mean anything to ME?” there’s a real lack of caffeine in your life. My family lived through the Great Depression and we learned about it when we were young. Most people alive today either never dug into their family’s history – and learned coping skills – or they never took the time to generalize and update to reflect the current conditions in the world.
Read any good history of “hard times” though, and you will see there are signposts everywhere. You just need to be able to read them.
Housing and Food.
These were key in the Ure family making it through OK. The house payments were small, but that was largely because people didn’t have big mortgages at the time.
There are some simple calculations we can “back of the envelope” on this matter. In the West (Seattle is), the average value of a home in 1920 was about $4,277. And the average mortgage debt owed was on the order of $1,769 and the typical rate was 6.8% interest.
Please note that while this sounds tall by today’s rates, you are living in a classic economic long wave bottom. In 1890, 30-years earlier, the average interest rate was 8.6%. (Comprehensive source data.) And one other historical note: When I bought my first new home (1973) the interest rate was 7-1/4%.
So we look at the debt to equity ratio of that $4,277, we see that with a $1,769 mortgage,, the equity position was $2,508, or 58.64 percent.
Now let’s consider someone in Seattle. This is one of the hottest markets in the country, According to Zillow (source) the median home price in Seattle is presently $718,700. In order to have the same kind of equity position enjoyed by people in 1920, Seattle homeowners have a median equity of $421,445.
I’m pretty sure almost no one does.
The reasons are manifold: The homes have been flipped as Seattle became a “hot market” and who among the young wave could avoid the temptation to re-fi and pull out “free” home equity?
The point to be made here is to have a back-up housing plan that you can run with minimal (or no) income. Almost no one has that. But, with the possibility of hard times ahead, we look at the data and say “What would we do IF….” And then you work out options now, while there are the luxuries of time and money on your side.
Once you figure out where to live if jobs go away in large numbers, then the next question is how to fix the food picture.
While laying back and rotating a supply of canned goods is logical, when it comes to fresh foods and veggies, there’s not much sharing down inside city limits of most towns.
If you are lucky enough to live in a city that allows a few family chickens, I would be all over that one. Aged and worked with compost chicken poo is dandy fertilizer for gardens. But it’s “hot” and tends to burn, so it needs to be mixed in with other things. Still, in a solid depression, a few eggs and high quality fertilizer isn’t a bad thing to have. Also with a protein source at the end of it all.
The point of grandma’s Siamese is still there: Dogs and large pets make sense when times are good. Vet bills will come down, as people won’t have as much disposable income.
Cat interest may rebound, or people (especially in apartments) may decide to become “pet free” for economic reasons. People (like my children) don’t like it when I say “You want money? Do you have a pet? There’s $50-$100 per month you could be saving.
Look for a massive increase in abandoned pets and overflowing shelters.
In the Depression, where there were pop-up vegetable stands, they operated mostly unhindered.
It won’t be like that this time around. Government, you understand, has become an “unworking class” in the sense that they are collecting more than ever as their “take” for “managing” We the People.
Consider JUST FEDERAL workers:
At first blush, it SEEMS like the growth of government has been somewhat contained, at least in the period since 2002. But that is a lie – a carefully constructed lie, but lie, nevertheless.
The way this has been pulled off is by job shifting and that accompanied revenue sharing. So money get’s collected by the FedGov, their vig is taken off, and then some goes back to cities, states, and counties. First thing you know, when you look at ALL government, the growth of bureaucracy has been unimpeded in the long-run:
Now let’s have some fun: The US population in 1940 was 132.1 million people. 4.1 million government workers. That’s ONE government worker for every 32,22 citizens.
326.767 million people in America today. And about 22-million working in government. That’s one government employee for each 14.86 citizens.
Put another way: in the Great Depression, it took ONE government worker to serve and protect 33 people. Hardest times we’ve ever seen, war domestically (Prohibition) and building up for the Second World War. One government, 33 people.
Now? It’s already One government worker for 14.86, but since government like nothing better than more government, we’re confident that there will be massive government hiring – just as there was before.
I don’t need to remind you of the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corp from the Great Depression, of course, but most people are too dumb to see that AmeriCorp of today is the pre-packaged reworked concept ready to be press-button expanded on demand.
The statistical fact is that government has not become more efficient in serving its country. The data says its productivity is less than half of what it was in 1940.
Political correctness police, a welfare catastrophe that STILL doesn’t work and keep families together, and a swamp that keeps moving forth a socialist agenda so that maybe at the end of the next World War, the global meltdown will result in global governance.
Because that is the agenda. First, multinational corporations. They, in turn buy up regional governments. And secondly, the real definition of fascism (corporate-government merger) is rolled out and the Totalitarian Ever-After is here.
Orwell called it in 1984. Yet here we are: 34-years later and it’s more real than Orwell could have imagined.
No, of course not. But, Depressions, droughts, and famines do change everything. Just wait.
Write when you get rich,