Friday, March 14, 2008

I See Storm Clouds

We've been hearing an increasing amount of talk about the ailing economy and the faltering dollar. The dollar is losing against the euro daily, they say. For the better part of a year the forecasters have been predicting dire economic conditions on the horizon.

Recently Alan Greenspan told Saudi Arabia to a
"drop their dollar pegs" in order to ease record inflation in that country. In other words, he's telling them to drop the dollar. Economist William Grigg says, "If the GCC governments act on Greenspan's advice, it will probably provoke a world-wide flight from the dollar and, in short order, the end of our status as a First World nation. I wouldn't blame the GCC or anybody else for bailing on the buck, of course. But it is indigestibly rich to see Greenspan wielding the pin that may be used to pop the dollar bubble he so diligently inflated during his term as Fed Commissar."

On March 13, Herrick Kimball made a post about the economy entitled "Gold At $1,000" . Northern Farmer also made a post on the same day called "From The Bottom Up " where he talks about the faltering farming economy. It's kind of in the air, people are feeling it. Things are unstable and there's kind of an instinctual sense of bracing for a coming storm. The economy has been a big topic in our family for the better part of a year with increasing frequency.

But, I'm like everyone else. I get busy doing my thing and I kind of go into denial. I mean we've heard stuff before. Like before Y2K. We heard everything from "it's going to be the end of the world as we know it" to "nothing is going to happen". We saw very bright people on both sides of the argument. I figured, "what do I know?" All I know is what I hear. So, we planned for something somewhere in the middle. I wasn't in the loop then and I'm not now either. All I know is what I hear. Greenspan says the US economy is "flexible". Can't say I'd hedge my bets on the double speak from a guy like him. Brilliant as he might be. Of course that's kind of the thing that bothers me about people like that, a little too bright.

As I was saying I get busy doing my thing and I kind of go into denial but, then I drive down the road and see the fuel prices. Slaps me back into reality it does! Just take another long look at that picture at the top that I took just today while I was in Rhinelander. I burn diesel fuel in my garbage truck. It's now $4.199/10 a gallon at that gas station. I about croaked this last week when I saw our local gas station at $4.149/10 for diesel. Seeing today's price just kind of makes you go numb. The other evening I spent several hours online researching biodiesel and burning veggie oil in diesels. Ideally I'd like to grow my own fuel. But, I have alot on my plate this year and I don't know if that would even be in the realm of the possibility for us right now.

The other day I heard of a report that was predicting some pretty bad news for the dollar come the third quarter of this year. Like the days of Y2K it's hard to know what to believe. Listening to economists is alot like listening to weather forecasters. It all boils down pretty much to an educated guess.

Bottom line though, this time, we can feel the wind on our faces. See the storm clouds brewing. Just look at those prices. Feel it in the pocket book. I've been watching for big changes practically my whole life. And I've never seen so many red flags. Herrick has been studying the days of the "Great Depression". I would urge everyone to do likewise. I grew up hearing the stories of my family who lived through it. My great-uncle John used to tell how when he was out traveling around the country looking for work he was so hungry he began to eat hand fulls of grass just to get something in his stomach. Uncle John said that was a mistake because he got terrible diarrhea from doing that. That's mighty hungry when you get that desperate to eat grass by the hand fulls. None of us in our over weight society can imagine that kind of hunger.

The wisest advice I hear going around, especially in times like this is to "get out of debt". I know it's a huge temptation to get into it in the first place with such easy credit. There's alot I might have done if I would have taken the bait and mortgaged our place. Now I'm thankful to the Lord that He kept me from it. It's better to live within your means. I'm thankful we don't have that hanging over our heads right now.

There's lots of advice available out there for surviving hard times. Herrick Kimball for starters has some good advice. Mountian Firekeeper had a detailed piece posted at back in December. Just scroll down a little ways and look for "Coping: Preparing for???" . Of course a simple Internet search brings up a myriad of whole websites devoted entirely to toughing out hard times. I won't belabor the points here with so much already available.

However, this time my family and I are not planning for somewhere in the middle. With the ominous warnings out there we're planning for a little closer to extreme. Getting as serious as we've ever been about getting set up. And above all making sure our hearts are right. Are we leaning heavily on the Lord? Really putting all our trust in Him? That He will give us the wisdom and the grace to weather what ever comes our way?

Until Next Time


Blogger Herrick Kimball said...

Good Post Russ. I think we got storm clouds on every horizon and they're all going to converge on us. For now we're experiencing a few rain drops. A little gust of wind. The worst is yet to come. I hope it's not as bad as it looks like it could be.

12:17 PM  
Blogger RL said...

Hey Herrick,


I'm with you, I hope it doesn't turn out as bad as it looks, either.

Hard to imagine things continuing on like this much longer though. But, who can know for sure?


10:46 PM  

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