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Europe padded what it could provide to its citizens, possibly in part to help to compensate for opportunities which have not been available to young people there, for a long time. Of course, socialism never works and eventually we run out of other people's money to spend. The United States was also a victim of the idea that to keep a government healthy, we must grow it and expand it, when in fact, the reverse is true. Only a lean government machine is healthy while a bloated obese one heads for the ultimate coronary, as ours is. As much as I disagree with almost everything Barack Obama holds dear, he and his regime is not to blame for everything the US is experiencing. The Federal Reserve has not helped us with quantitative easing or printing all the money you want, as a strategy. Mr. Bush did not help us by failing to take more decisive action against jobs moving out of the country and illegals sucking our social services and medically indigent services dry as fast as they could. The Democrats continued to push one crazy agenda after another, with no visible means of payment for it. The Republicans, for the most part, sat there like an enabling spouse to the deluded Democrats, but never really stood up to pronounce Obamacare as a pipedream and a completely non-sustainable path to destruction for America's families, its health care system, and for the United States as we knew it.
There are no "shovel ready" jobs unless you count the job Barack Obama did of shoveling excrement to uninformed voters who missed the chance to read his books before electing him not only once as president, but twice. There are many layoffs coming in the financial industry. Health care workers can't find jobs as hospital systems train the marginally capable to do what was once the purview of the licensed. Many physicians peruse real estate magazines on Costa Rica and Ecuador, as they realize they won't be able to practice as physicians safely in the train wreck which is coming. Food banks grow in number, but the food they stock dwindles. More and more formerly middle class US families depend on them to help to get through their month at the end of the money. People are giving away registered horses, chickens, purebred dogs as they can no longer afford to feed them, let alone provide veterinary care for them. I listen to them tell me this sadly as I realize that my animals, which used to be a relatively inexpensive extravagance for me, are now a growing expense. I cannot take on any more animal rescues, and this also saddens me. The waiting lists to trades schools may be as long as 3-5 years in some cases, and even then, there is no guarantee that there will be a job waiting. My own kids have college debt, and only one of them found a really good job after college, even though they graduated from highly rated state universities with honors.
This is not a time to be taking on new expenses or new challenges. A number of respected financial gurus believe that 2014 may well bring a financial collapse for the United States and a global currency reset of fiat currency values. Translated, that means that there will be beaucoup in the job loss department, few opportunties to recoup such jobs, and real economic pain for many of the world's families. Falling from the middle class is not just something a few people are doing. It's a widespread phenomenon that had begun before Obamacare, and will be worsened by it. Many experts believe that interest rates will rise, and that there could be a broad devaluation of assets before food and essential services/items begin to rise.
In any event, it makes sense to invest in practical learning and self sufficiency as much as you can. Provide whatever portion of your own food is possible even if all you are doing is growing sprouts in a jar on your kitchen window.. Pay down whatever debts you are able. Convert any debts you cannot pay off to fixed rates rather than ones that could rise sharply. Learn to maintain and repair your primary transportation. Look at security and self defense not only in your home but as it impacts you in your daily life. Maintain your emergency medical kits, your emergency food supplies, and don't mention it to anyone other than trusted family. Think about how you might obtain clean fresh water or filter groundwater in the event that a grid down situation impeded your water supply for a period of time.
I really do believe that we are headed for a collapse, and I don't really know how bad this could be, or what it might look like. I don't think the people leading us understand enough to prevent it, and I think that the American debt has grown so quickly that a collapse could be inevitable anyway.
Some of my friends are talking about putting off retirement........retirement ? I have spent so long explaining sheltering-in-place and family evacuation, I think that rather than retiring, I will simply eventually just drop-dead- in- place !