Politics And Your Money

politics-moneyHappy New Year, everyone!

The management and their pet goldfish have graciously allowed me to interject a bit of politics into our otherwise “How To” content structure.  It seemed like a good way to kick off the new year.  If it goes over well, maybe they’ll let us do more in the future (let them know via the comments section at the end of the article).

Politics, after all, impacts our ability to be self-sufficient and independent.  To think otherwise is naive.

And not to worry – there is still plenty of “How To” included down below!

I’m old enough now to understand that logic and venting don’t mean squat.  What “sells” is passion and emotion.

Tell someone they’re a victim of sexism, misogyny, racism, trans-genderism, injustice, inequality – new -isms pop up almost daily – and they’ll listen to you.

It’s frightening as hell.

It seems like everyone wants to be a victim.  It’s the cool thing to do and be.  If you’re not a victim, that must mean you’re part of the Oppressor Class.  It’s one or the other, brother.  You’re either with us or against us.  Make a choice.

The easy way is to join.  If you haven’t actually been a victim, there’s always victimhood-by-proxy.  “Yeah, my sister was with a guy whose cousin got ripped-off by his boss.  POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

Don’t bother speaking with these people in a logical and straightforward manner.  They won’t hear a word.  Really, I’ve tried.  It will be like the Peanuts characters in school – with the teacher droning on, “Wha. Wha-wha-wha.  Wha-wha.

Emotion trumps logic.  Fair enough.  I can understand that.  It’s marketing.

In a just world, hunger would trump emotion.  Hunger is nature’s way of telling you to get off your butt and do something to put food on the table.

But the politicians have now amassed the power to change the calculus.  Remove the hunger – remove the incentive to work – and you’ve guaranteed yourself a wide re-election margin.  Benefit by being a victim.

It’s the siren song of socialism.

Socialism, on the surface, sounds great.  End hunger, disease, poverty.  But it has a flaw:  Someone’s got to pay the bills.  And in a socialist economy, you have no incentive to produce.  You get a paycheck whether you work or not.  Most people eventually choose, “Not”.

Sorry for re-introducing logic and fact, but choosing not to work ALWAYS happens.  Every single time.  Without exception.

As Margaret Thatcher famously said, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

The gravy train starts to grind to a halt, and The State starts taking from the producers in larger and larger gulps.  To sell the idea to the masses, they kick in the “social justice,” “economic justice,” “living wage,” et al, propaganda campaigns.

For goodness sake, our government actually has advertising campaigns on how to get more benefits.  And they all have the same theme:  You’re not at fault for the mess in which you find yourself.  You’re a victim.

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This is a direct threat to the already retired and the up-and-coming Baby Boomer generation.  They’re going to take your stuff.  Your SSI payment is already tied to some fantasy inflation calculation, so you’re losing purchasing power every day.

With 80 million Boomers entering the SSI and Medicare systems, it is going to go full-on Fukushima meltdown.  The money just isn’t there.  The “lock box” is stuffed with nothing but IOUs.

It will start with, “means testing” – they’ll look at your assets and determine if, in their opinion, you are eligible to get back the money you were forced to pay into the system.  That “allowable assets” number will become smaller and smaller until only cardboard box dwellers will be eligible for a check.

The same will eventually happen to government employee pensions (local, state and federal), but at a slower pace.

The Millennials and Gen-Xers are well and truly screwed.  This big, pulsing pile of garbage is going to be heaped on your doorsteps.  Tag, you’re it.  Thank mom and pop for the gift.

So what do we do?

The How To’s

If you’re a producer and you know with metaphysical certitude that this socialist trend will continue – and it will – how do you protect the money you’re now earning, and the assets you’ve worked so hard to acquire?

Stay off the radar.

You know that if you keep money in the bank, it’s being tracked, and its uses monitored.  And as Cyprus and other countries have learned, you are now the “go to guy” if a bank fails.  They’ll just take your money and give you “bank stock” in return.  So only keep the bare minimum you need to pay your bills in public accounts.

You know that if you keep income investments and retirement accounts in brokerage houses, it’s being monitored.  If the government retirement program fails – and it will – they’ll just take your money.  Ask the citizens of Russia, France, Ireland, Portugal, Argentina, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungry how that’s working out.

There’s even a new proposal where the SEC will consolidate the data from all brokerage houses into one, nice tidy database.  The Feds pinky-swear no private information will be contained in the database, and it will be guarded by rock-solid security so bad guys can’t get at it.

I believe the NSA made similar promises on both the privacy and security of national secrets to Congress.  Right before Snowden took their data.

If you own a business (or will own one), keep the number of employees below levels where you’re required by law – instead of by market competition – to pay for healthcare or other benefits.  It will be an ever-moving bar (downwards), so stay nimble.

If you’re a worker now, strive to become an owner.  Learn the business, not just a task.  Hell, it might just be a business on the side, but you must have a fall-back skill or service or product you can turn into money.

Live below your means.  Any asset you purchase that is registered with some form of government – a car, plane, boat, land, guns – can be used against you.  If you make 20-grand a year, and buy a 50-grand car every other year, you’re going to bring some attention to yourself.

Don’t do that.

Conserve your assets through barter, trade and private purchases.  I believe that in all 50 states (verify this for your state yourself) the purchase/sale of used goods that don’t need to be registered (such as cars and boats) can be legally bought and sold tax free.

Does that TV you want really need to be brand new?  Wouldn’t one that’s 6 months old and is being sold by someone moving out of town work just as well?  And cost you a heck of a lot less?

Get out there now and work the garage sales.  Get in practice for haggling and bartering.  Then hold your own garage sale and understand the process from the seller’s point of view.

Never, EVER get complacent.  You’ve got to keep your head on a swivel looking for moving trends.  In desperate times, government can move surprisingly fast in changing laws to their advantage.  You need to stay on your toes, and ALWAYS be learning new skills.  Skills to keep the cash flowing.

Very seriously, ensure one of those skills is math.  You don’t need to be a Trigonometry professor, but you better understand margins and the costs of production or sale.  Don’t dig yourself into a hole because of a lack of basic math skills.

The single most effective thing you can do is to hide your assets.  This is going to be the only Social Security or retirement account you can count on.  Never forget that The State has the political power to take your assets at will, plain and simple.

Unless they don’t know you possess those assets.

Once your monthly bills are paid, covert your excess funds into cash.  Convert that cash into valuable, non-registered, tangible assets.

This may be food, ammo, supplies, equipment or liquor.  Whatever floats your boat, and makes sense for your lifestyle.

Eventually, it will take you to precious metals.  At some point, you will need a compact, portable storage of wealth.

Stick with gold and silver.  Platinum and palladium have markets that are too small and too volatile.

We’ve got a dozens of articles posted on money (click here to see a list of them all).  We’ve published The Beginner’s Guide To Precious Metals if you’re considering dipping your toe into the Precious Metals pool.   The bottom line is:  Understand what you’re doing before you spend your money.

Be sure you figure out how to sell it as well, and when the sale will get your name put on a State list somewhere.

As an aside, I firmly believe that The State will eventually clamp down on the resale of precious metals.  They’ve got to.  It’s a largely untaxed transaction.  Very few people self-report the gains they’ve made when they sell privately-held precious metals.

This is yet another reason to work on those barter skills.  If would be a true injustice to have accumulated a nice pile of metals and not be able to convert them to cash or goods without The State first taking a cut.

And They will want their cut.

 

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