SURF or get SLAMMED!

1 Oct

No, it isn’t raining (at least not here) and this ain’t no Surf report… yet.

Usually, I’d be telling you about welding, or using SPF insulation, or even describing the different styles of roofs I favor today.

Many of us are considering building “alternative homes and then adapting an alternative lifestyle” (by being sustainable, accountable and responsible – who ever thought that would one day be considered “alternative”?) to insure that our families survive hardship?

And that means building a new net. I’m not talking about the Internet, I’m talking about a safety net.

I think it’s time to look at HOW and WHEN we need to start really thinking about taking steps.

It’s time we learned to swim, folks.

And, some of us will even learn to SURF.  Seriously.

You can sum the economy up in one word: DROWNING.

I remember back in 2007, when the global financial crisis first started showing us it’s teeth… all the “experts” said we’d just have to “ride it out”.

They kept using words like “cyclic, cycles, and patterns”… like they were talking about weather changes or something…

All I can say is that somebody is full of crap because it’s been a pretty long “season” (or “cycle” or even “pattern”)… and the financial outlook in 2011 is definitely not getting  any more “rideable”.

They tell us to settle down and “have faith”.

Um… I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but faith is in short supply lately, especially where the US Government is concerned.

I’m not “mud-slinging” here, I’m talking about “the guy in the street” commentaries I’m hearing regularly about “freefalling into despair while politicians turn the other way”.

I’m out in the trenches every day and people are scared.

It’s time to bite the bullet… we need  to recognize that we’re not just in another cycle — we’re in  a “system reset”. We’re experiencing  a fundamental shift in how money actually moves around.

So, if you live off a trust find that’s “locked and stocked”… Fear not. You’re cool.

But the rest of us are getting pounded into sand. Many of us are taking a very hard look at how we live and trying to anticipate how things will go – so we can formulate a plan.

Unemployment is taking a huge bite out of the middle class. Companies are seeing the handwriting on the wall and more and more jobs are moving to Mumbai and Malaysia.

The government isn’t fostering “growth” it’s fostering more “layers of control”.

This isn’t working. It’s just growing Government beyond the breaking point.

The Government needs to get out of the way and let the market recover. Until it does, this death spiral is just going to continue.

We’re nowhere near the bottom yet, despite the desperate attempts to reset the market by propping up the companies sinking like fleets caught in a hurricane. We’re just throwing more tax dollars down the toilet.

Housing HAS to do a reset. Let the market determine the prices and then look at what housing is supposed to be – for MOST of America.

Look, the times when you bought a house expecting huge increases in value each year are OVER.

Unless you’re a rich speculator – propped up by huge $600k plus jumbo loans secured by Fannie and Freddie (that means US) housing is “where you live” and NOT a “retirement investment”. It’s going to take DECADES for the market to correct itself an for those homes to regain all their “lost” value.

That means that for the rest of us… The investment you’re going to get… is the satisfaction that you have a great home for your family over the long haul.

(In fact, it’s BECAUSE of this that many of us are BUILDING ISBU Homes in the first place. We want to capitalize on this entire crisis and create a solid, secure, sustainable future for our kids, so they don’t have to learn the lessons we’ve been forced to learn, the hard way. )

I’m positive that not the only one that feels like this.

Consumer confidence has been shattered. If you need proof, look at the housing or automotive markets.

If you run a bakery, a brewery or even (gasp!) a business, your customers (or your customers’ customers) look like a herd a sheep trying to figure out which way to run… to avoid the wolves.  And…  it’s hard to sell in times of uncertainty.

Here’s the “surf” report:

Over the last half decade, a  massive wave has swept over the planet.

It’s not just us. It’s tearing Europe apart as I type this, as the EU guys try to figure out how to save Greece and the entire European economy. Global markets are taking a shelling that looks like the skyline over Baghdad during the Gulf  War.

It’s a wave that’s been fueled by misery, destruction and fear, for sure. And, you’d better learn to surf  it, if you want to survive this.

That’s what I want to talk about today.

Tough times can create or even incubate (I was gonna say “stimulate” but the word just makes me want to spit, when I think about all the debt that has been created in folly, trying to “correct the economy” by people who apparently have no clue) some really surprising opportunities.

Many of you know that we here at “RR” sponsor and even administer (thru the Corten Cavalry) a group of “do-gooders” that go out and aid the masses whenever we can.  Let’s face it… when times are tough, there are lots of people who need help.

I’ll repeat this for effect;

Helping people in need is one of the strongest foundations you can build any successful business on.

And it doesn’t matter if you have one employee or a hundred. It’s all about “application”.  You have to pick the “right” problems to provide solutions for.

Now, normally, the herd mentality is to run from fear.

DANGER, Will Robinson! DANGER!

But FEAR has a counterpart and they always travel in pairs.

FEAR’s counterpart is COURAGE.

And here is where that courage is gonna help you.

We can’t go on buying foreign products or sending money out of our neighborhoods any longer. I’m sorry folks, but it’s just not working. It just kills towns. The jobs leave with then money and soon, all you have is a ghost town that you’re going to probably market to some rich Hollywood nut as a “publicity stunt”.

We HAVE to start producing and buying LOCAL.

In fact, if you look at statistics… small businesses (including very tiny businesses) are just booming right now.

The US Government is NOT creating jobs. In fact, it’s just the opposite.

According to Inc. magazine, privately held startups (in every industry, not just tech) are where most of the new jobs are coming from … even while so many giant companies are laying people off in record numbers.

So, on top of talking about HOW to build ISBU Homes (or even hybrid homes that combine other building practices with ISBUs to form strong durable shelters).  I want to start talking about HOW you’ll live after you’ve dedicated yourself to taking a big step toward a sustainable, efficient life by building that energy efficient, affordable home out of STEEL.

Will you create a new job? Will you create several new jobs by opening a local business?

That’s what I want to explore.

Because, some day soon, we’re going to wake up and find out that life as we knew it is just a memory and ties have changed to the point that only the prepared will survive. And I want to foster that preparation.

Every family deserves a home.

And, that means that every family will need to eat… too.

Let’s discuss this.

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4 Responses to “SURF or get SLAMMED!”

  1. fatguy1966 (@fatguy1966) October 4, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    Sorry Ronin, but your idea that government needs to get out of the way is just wrong. Business wants government to get out of the way so they can take more money faster from the flock.

    Government needs to control business but when the business controls the government then we need to really evaluate the situation.

    Trust neither (corporate) business nor government. They are not real people just people representing corporations. They have nothing at stake.

    -fatguy

    • Renaissance Ronin October 4, 2011 at 10:06 am #

      Okay… I’ll play…

      The US Government can’t even balance a budget, for crying out loud…

      Do you really want them involved hip-deep in more things they can screw up?

      FACT: 75 percent of all new jobs are created by small businesses.

      But today, hundreds of thousands of small businesses are being strangled out of existence by all of the oppressive taxes, fees, rules, regulations, paperwork and demands that THE GOVERNMENT keeps imposing on them.

      And IMHO, it’s targeted precisely at “small business America”, to protect “Big Business America”. After all, that’s where all the campaign contributions come from…

      Big Government and business are not antagonists but conspirators, in my view.

      And, it’s always been that way.

      Let me see…

      Politicians like it that way because they get power and prestige (not to mention hefty election contributions), and…

      Businessmen like it because they get not only protection from competition, they get perks like fat payouts from Government while they rake in the profits. And… should they get into financial trouble, Uncle Sam will throw billions (if not trillions) of taxpayers dollars into the street to save them… at our children’s expense.

      Big Business has always profited from it’s relationship with Government – ie the US Taxpayer.

      And MORE Government involvement just means more of the same.

      Government interference in Business artificially props up markets and restricts growth and recovery.

      Big corporations actually lobby for more regulations for their own industry because they know that they have skyscrapers filled with clerical people and bean-counters who can navigate all of the rules and paperwork far easier than their smaller competitors can.

      Bye bye, small, family run, corn-fed business.

      Government pays it’s “favored corporations” (Um… like GE perhaps?) millions and billions of dollars to commit what is, for the most part, protected and uncompeted for business that can be produced in what usually turns out to be shoddy, expensive, pork-filled boondoggles.

      And don’t forget the cash subsidies, tax breaks and low interest loans… at our expense… while they make billions in profits AND move their workforces to places like Mumbai and Malaysia to make even more money.

      They get paid handsomely to screw us, propped up by “the government that you so seemingly want to see expand into everything it can eat…”

      Speaking of eating from the Government hogslop…

      The Government uses it’s “arm” (the FDA) to protect BIG companies like Monsanto by hammering small farmers into the mutated dust that Monsanto’s “only for profit” genetic monstrosities have wrought, while Monsanto makes millions in profit for “contaminating the planet”.

      And let’s not forget sending armed swat teams to invade small Amish farms for having the audacity to produce raw milk… while they completely ignore the growing problems at “Government backed and protected” factory farms and meat producers.

      I mean, they must be… seeing as how terrible things keep happening to American consumers who eat contaminated food, while the fatcat perpetrators get off scot-free, or with a token fine that hardly dents the profits they make.

      If we “little guys” did it, we’d go to jail.

      Speaking of the FDA, I’m still waiting to see them go after Corporate Egg Farmer Jack DeCoster, who was completely responsible for the production and distribution of over a half billion eggs salmonella contaminated eggs that endangered the lives of million of Americans.

      But I guess the production of raw milk by a small community has a much bigger impact on “Government protected Health standards…” huh?

      The Government gets involved in Healthcare “to save us” and guess what?

      The price of healthcare goes UP across the board. Even fewer Americans have health care now.

      In a free market, where government stays out of the way… and minds it’s OWN business, the consumer calls the shots. With Government interference and “regulation” all you get is restricted choices and cost increases.

      A competitive (non-government influenced), consumer driven marketplace is better for us all, by far.

      Otherwise, Government and Corporations prosper while consumers and “the little guy” get hammered into sand.

      And IMHO… anyone who thinks otherwise probably has his/her head… stuck in that sand.

      I think that the only thing we agree on is that you shouldn’t trust BIG BUSINESS or THE GOVERNMENT.

  2. fatguy1966 (@fatguy1966) October 5, 2011 at 7:08 am #

    Just a few things to respond to and I will leave this alone.

    1. Government can balance a budget but the political costs would damage which ever political party that pulls the trigger to the point if irrelevance for a generation or longer.

    2. 99% of corporate farms are owned by farm families. When Corporate America started buying up large swaths of land, small farmers decided that the only way to save themselves was to create corporations and begin to compete on that level. What we ended up with there was farmers being able to call more of the shots but at the cost of personal integrity.

    3. Raw milk production and sales is not illegal (if done in a prescribed manner.) The Amish farmer just needs to follow the guidelines set by the English and everything will be just fine. (I know from where I speak as I have business dealings with the Amish and several friends who are Amish. I know… It sounds like the whole “I’m not racist, I have black friends!” come back.)

    4. Folks like Jack DeCoster are the reason we need paperwork, taxes and fees on everyone. Public safety should be part of the equation. And yes he should be forever banned from doing any business until he cleans up his mess…

    5. Free Markets are not fair markets. Free markets are what we are heading towards where the folks who have the money make the rules. We need markets where the folks with the money do not influence the rule makers. Let me know when Hell freezes over so I can take pictures. This won’t happen in any lifetime as long as we let the schmucks in power stay in power. (Monsanto paid the right people the right money at the right time to be able to trademark a genetic strain. Too bad the same court that ruled in favor of Monsanto will have to rule against them when the trade winds pushes genetic enhanced pollen into the fields of “Organic” crops.)

    BTW, Love the Blog. Keep it up.

    -fatguy

    • Renaissance Ronin October 5, 2011 at 8:35 am #

      READERS: I know all this seems off-topic on an ISBU “Build your own HOME” blog, but I’d suggest strongly that it addresses the very REASONS that many of us are considering doing exactly that.

      We want to provide security and a safe future for our families, in spite of “those who would watch us fail so that they can keep lining their pockets with our money” as they ruin our way of life…

      Okay, just for the sake of conversation (as a good debate always helps educate, as long as civility is maintained, right?);

      1. A government incapable of serving ALL of “We the People” fairly and apparently also being incapable of doing math… (ie… balancing a budget or understanding that one tax dollar plus one tax dollar doesn’t equal EIGHT or TEN tax dollars to spend) isn’t a government at all. It’s just a “Bully Pulpit” filled with morons.

      The word “tyrants” comes to mind.

      Here’s what happens when government goes awry:

      http://thebubbaeffect.wordpress.com/2011/06/23/2-years-new-fears/

      2. Let me clarify my thoughts about farming;

      When I think of “small family farms” I’m thinking of the families trying to eek out existence by growing their own food… a perilous path as legislators actually try to make the practice illegal. Heaven help you if you’re trying to bump your income by selling a cucumber at a “farmer’s market”. Senate Bill S 510 Food Safety Modernization Act was just the beginning.

      This is being rewritten as I type this and it would grant the U.S. government new authority over the public’s right to grow, trade and transport ANY foods.

      This would give Big brother the power to regulate the tomato plants in your backyard.

      It would grant them the power to arrest and imprison people selling cucumbers at farmer’s markets.

      It would criminalize the transporting of organic produce if you don’t comply with the authoritarian rules of the federal government.

      This tyrannical law puts all food production (yes, even food produced in your own garden) under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security. Yep — the very same people running the TSA and its “naked body scanner/passenger irradiation groping” programs. And we have all seen how DHS treats Americans. Heaven help you if you voice opposition to anything. They’ll put you on a “Domestic Terrorist list”.

      “99% of corporate farms are family owned”? Nonsense. Maybe 10-15 years ago. Statistically, those “small farm failures” over the last ten years surpass the current unemployment rates… (which are really like 20+% and climbing) As of published Gov’t reports in 2007, it was “adjusted to the “low-eighties” percentile.

      However, I urge everyone not to confuse “Family Farms” with “small family farms”. Two different animals.

      Sure, many families “incorporated” to take advantage of the tax structures and subsidies. But even combined, they struggle to occupy as much land as the “BIG Corporate Farms” in America. These “BIG Multi-national Corp farms” aren’t any more “Family farms” than FORD is still a (traditional) “small family run business”…

      And profits trumped integrity a long time ago, in those Corporate Boardrooms.

      3. Like you, I’m a friend of the Amish. And I ain’t prejudiced… I even talk to (gasp!) Baptists… 😉

      However, my point was that the FDA claims it lacks the manpower to inspect millions of shipments of crops and products coming into the US from “beyond”, but it HAS the manpower to send armed officials to Amish farms in America, to hold them at gunpoint in front of their CHILDREN and treat them like felons… for producing RAW milk, which they themselves consume.

      I won’t even address all the red tape established by the “Factory Producers” to keep ANYONE from competing with them… by buying politicians and lobbying prejudicial legislation.

      4. In my view… we don’t need more paperwork, taxes and fees. We need priorities that are realistic. Check incoming produce rationally and responsibly. Commit Ag inspections across the board without gestapo tactics waged on helpless citizens. Appoint RESPONSIBLE people to do (gasp!) responsible jobs for which they’ll be held accountable and then require that they do it within a budget that doesn’t cripple Americans and their offspring. And if they can’t do the job, let them join the unemployed. ASAP.

      In my view… Your path just grows government even further. It’s already a bloated monster” that needs to be chained..

      4. We do agree on banning this jerk DeCoster, but I’d go much further.
      I can only hope that there is a special place in Hell for people like Jack DeCoster. At the very least, let karma clobber him.

      5. You cannot HAVE anything that approaches a fair market without having a free market. Free markets inspire competition. It helps (although admittedly there are pits to fall into) level the playing field.

      Like you, I’ll wait for Hell to freeze over until I expect to see anything more than “more of the same” out of “the powers that be”… Hey, we agreed twice! 😉

      And last, the courts won’t rule against Monsanto as they contaminate organic (a term that has been twisted to be anything but wholly organic, by the way… It’s been reduced to a marketing term… like “GREEN”…) because they’ll litigate it to death and then buy the verdicts. History often repeats itself.

      Anyone who thinks that justice can’t be bought is in my view… naive. I’m just saying…

      Thanks for your comments. They ARE appreciated. 😉

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