A bad dream jolted me awake one morning last week: the economy had crashed, the banks were shuttered, commerce had ceased, the stores were stripped bare and rioting was everywhere. This bleak vision is not unusual for anyone who has imagined what the U.S. economy is going to look like when the ponderous hoax that sustains it has been fully revealed.** What was most troubling about the dream was that the collapse evidently had taken me and my friends by surprise. The survivalist inventory that we were supposed to have kept in our basements had gone unfulfilled. Still worse, the things we needed most were nowhere to be acquired: food for six months, medical supplies, batteries, ammo, emergency generators, toilet paper, etcetera. In the dream, a friend, a successful financial adviser who has provisioned his retirement generously, was scurrying around town on a vintage motorcycle with a sidecar, trying to scrounge essentials that he had not thought to store against a civilizational emergency.
A Stark Fact
Do we dare doubt that such a day awaits? If you’re having trouble sorting out the possible reasons why, and if you can’t quite wrap your mind around the certain, deflationary collapse of the banking system’s quadrillion-dollar derivatives bubble, consider just this one fact: Millions of 20- and 30-somethings working in low-wage jobs and in debt up to their eyeballs will be footing the bills for the Baby Boomers’ Social Security and Medicare. And now consider this stark fact: Each and every day between now and 2030, 10,000 Baby Boomers, relatively few of whom are financially prepared for retirement, will reach the age of 65. If you think there must be a workaround , some path other than mass destitution and tightly rationed health care, then you don’t understand the problem.
So why, if I’m so certain that economic catastrophe awaits, have I not completed the steps needed to prepare for it? A similar question must have troubled Jews in Germany as the Nazi threat turned genocidal. Even before Kristallnacht, the handwriting was literally on the wall for them, just as it is for those who understand that a global economy sustained by statistical lies, bread-and-circuses government, promiscuous consumer borrowing and a financial shell game of cosmic size cannot end other than badly. Very badly. But like those Jews who chose not to leave Europe, I find myself frozen in place by the very small hope that my worst fears will somehow not come to pass. To imagine otherwise is to court visions of ruin that, for me at least, are just too unsettling to think about.
Edicts Won’t Revive Trust
Meanwhile, I wonder whether those of us who are only half-prepared will ultimately fare any better than those who have taken no steps at all. Anyone in the latter category is implicitly betting that Big Government will take care of each of us if the economy collapses. This is not merely stupid, it is crazy. Washington can’t even run a web site, much less manage the hardships of a Second Great Depression. More likely is that the Government will ratchet up its current campaign of statistical lies to persuade us that things aren’t nearly as bad as they seem. On the inevitable day that the banks don’t open, we will be told that the Obama administration is working on a plan to keep money and credit flowing. This problem will remain unsolved for a week, and then a month, at which point people will come to understand that barter among themselves is the only answer. President Obamacare and his political toadies will discover then that credit flows on trust alone, and that once that trust fails, it cannot be revived by issuing edicts, or extending deadlines, or forgiving the “non-compliant”. We can only pray that when that point is reached, distrust in Big Government has become so deep and pervasive that neighborhoods, towns, cities, county and states will be left alone to practice the long-lost virtue of self-sufficiency.