Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hanna Rosin: Kate Gosselin does not deserve our sympathy (via Instapundit).

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Surviving the Economic Collapse

So I started reading a new book last night by survivalist Fernando Aguirre entitled, The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse. The book is based on his first-hand experience of the 2001 economic collapse in Argentina and I must say, it's been an interesting read. {Disclosure: Glenn bought the book from and if you follow the above link and buy it, I get a small commission--around 6-8%. I know, FTC rules don't start until Dec. but I am getting started early. There is also an Amazon ad in my sidebar that has been there for years that should tip readers off that I am an Amazon affiliate}.

Anyway, the first thing that caught my eye is that the book is not edited much and English is the author's second language. Some might be put off by this but I found it refreshing and it made the book more authentic. In a section on "What to Expect from this Book," Aguirre states that "if it's quality literature that you want, this is not it." He points out that his book is free from filtering and the book is self published. "The only editor that showed any interest in publishing said that the book was 'too aggressive' for their target readers."

I did not find the book particularly "aggressive," whatever that means. The author basically tells you to stop being a wimp and learn to think through what you would do physically and psychologically should the "shit hit the fan" (what he refers to as SHTF). He starts by explaining what happened in Argentina after December of 2001 with the economic collapse and the ensuing crisis leading to high unemployment, high crime, poverty and a (short) period of anarchy. What do you do? How do you survive in these conditions?

Aguirre gives tips on where to live (hint: the country may not be the best place as it is easier to rob or get away with a home invasion there. He says a small town or community is best), home security (think like a burglar, install security lights etc.), how to identify threats (don't look for action movie "stereotypes" of bad guys. Look instead for people who are out of place or people who look nervous) and even has advice on cars and how to drive defensively. For example, when buying a car, "Don't think fancy, think common, inexpensive, and readily available." That way, if you need it fixed in an economic collapse, there will be more mechanics who will know the model and brand and parts will be easier and cheaper to find. He also notes that "A guy in an expensive car is still in danger not because of his car, but because the bad guys may think he is rich and kidnap him."

The book is chock-full of a number of helpful tips, and if nothing else, really gets your mind set to thinking about solving problems that are less salient than an economic collapse in your own life. One thing Aguirre points out is that if you are not up to thinking in this manner emotionally and the thought of thinking through these issues keeps you up at night, it's best to let it go. But for those of us who find that a lack of preparation keeps us up at night, this book, along with practice and forethought, might just help us sleep more soundly.


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

I can't help but feel that the doctors who participated in this propaganda are traitors.

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Dr. Wes: If lawyers billed like doctors.


Sunday, October 04, 2009

Will small business "Going Galt" be Obama's downfall?

As I read about the unemployment numbers going up, now to 9.8%, I can't help but wonder if small businesses will be the catalyst that brings down this administration. The commenters to a blog post at Don Surber's Daily Mail blog seem to be on the right track in understanding why small businesses are not hiring:

Commenter Sean says:

Businesses aren’t hiring because no one knows what in the hell our economic system is going to look like 5 years, or even 5 months, from now.

Will “Cap and Trade” get implemented as the Democrats hope?

How much of an upheaval will “Healthcare Reform” end up being?

Is the administration and Congress done overhauling regulation of the Financial Industry?

No prudent investor is going to bet their money (i.e., invest in growth) when it is conceivable that the government is going to radically alter how 50% of this nation’s economy functions.

Commenter RJGatorEsq. responds to Sean:

Sean is absolutely correct. I am an employer. I know a lot of other small business owners. I, and they, are just about unanimous: “I need some help, but I am not going to hire until I see what Obama is planning to do to us.”

Another commenter responds:

Sean is spot-on, but misses the potential for union mischief with the passage of EFCA. How many entrepreneurs are going to pour their money and effort into starting or expanding companies when a handful of union thugs can show up, bully their way into organizing your firm and then you have to spend two years with an Obama Labor Dept. telling you how much you have to pay your employees?

And finally, another says:

Exactly. Add to that Obama and the Congressional Democrats treating capitalism and every successful business like criminal enterprises to be plundered and you have a manufactured crisis.

Many business owners I have talked with say they are scaling back and not hiring because of the uncertainty of this political climate. Even if the economy recovers, many small business owners will stay on the sidelines because it may be too expensive for them to do otherwise. It's a capital strike as described in Amity Shlaes' excellent book, The Forgotten Man.

For example, a man who owns a painting business recently told me that his workers comp costs just went up making each employee more expensive. He is unsure how much worse it will get in the future. The result to this uncertainty? Fewer workers will be hired. The current administration's hostility towards small business may be their downfall. And as small business provides most of new jobs in the US, it should be. For how long will the citizens of this country stand for roughly 10% or higher unemployment?

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