Letter to the Neighborhood → Washingtons Blog
Letter to the Neighborhood - Washingtons Blog

Monday, March 2, 2009

Letter to the Neighborhood

I am handing out this letter to all of my neighbors. You are welcome to pass it onto yours.

Dear Neighbor,

I imagine that your 401(k), your house value, and your portfolio are all getting hammered.

Mine are too.

I imagine that you are furious at the government and banks for getting us into this mess.

I am also.

But the question is: what can we do about it?

To Be Able to Guess at Where We're Going, We Have to Understand Where We Are

As we all know, before we can figure out where we're going - let alone what we can do about it - we have to have an accurate picture of where we are now.

That makes sense, right?

Well, everyone knows that the economy is lousy right now. But (you may want to pour yourself a cup of coffee - or a drink - before you finish this letter) what you may or may not know is that we are already in a depression, according to:

  • And many other experts

Moreover (I told you you might need a stiff drink), many top experts, including the following people, predict that this may actually be worse than the Great Depression:

  • And many others
By the way, if you think that these folks are being overly pessimistic, and that economists will turn the crisis around, you might want to note that most economists have no idea how we got in this crisis, or how to get out of it (http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com/2009/03/economics-profession-bears-some.html)

That Sucks . . . But What Does It Mean?

Okay, time for a stronger cup of coffee or a stronger drink . . .

Investor George Soros not only said that the current crisis was worse than the Depression, he also said that this is more like the break up of the Soviet Union (http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE51K0A920090221?sp=true).

What's he talking about?

Well, initially, you've heard that many states are having real financial trouble, and many have huge "budget shortfalls".

The truth is that the United States itself is pretty much insolvent:

Moreover, I was born in America, I've lived here my whole life, and I love this country.

However, just as the Soviet Union broke up, there are more and more indications that our nation will break up also.

For example, American military and intelligence leaders and many experts have warned of a break down in order in America (http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com/2009/02/growing-list-of-officials-and-experts.html).

And more and more states are passing "state sovereignty" legislation declaring their independence from the United States government (see http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=88218).

Even the Wall Street Journal recently covered the prediction from a high-level Russian academic that the U.S. would break up (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123051100709638419.html)

Indeed, an engineer who lived through the break up of the USSR goes around the country offering advice for Americans on how to weather the coming dissolution of the US (http://culturechange.org/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=325&Itemid=66).

Please rest assured that I wish that the economy quickly turns around, and that everything works out. But it sure doesn't look like that is going to happen.

So What Can We Do ... And Where Should We Start?

So what can we do to improve our situation?

Well, the experts who have looked at the best way to weather depressions and the break down in our society's systems recommend that people get together with their neighbors to work on ways to grow most of their own food (see http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com/2008/07/eat-cheaper-and-healthier-while-saving.html and http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com/2008/07/beating-high-energy-and-food-prices.html), to form local bartering mechanisms (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123482445928394833.html), to provide for neighborhood watch-type security, and to take other steps to increase our safety, security and comfort.

This letter is just a starting point for discussion, and not a definitive analysis or plan. I'm afraid that we're in for a bumpy ride, and so I'm reaching out to you to start talking about these admittedly unpleasant topics.

I don't have this all figured out. And together we're smarter than any one of us alone.

Do you want to start talking about it?

By the way, this crisis might have a silver lining in some ways. We've all been locked in our houses with our families and our tvs and computers. Sure, many of us go to our kids' sports competitions or superbowl parties or (for the ladies) mom's clubs or other social events. But we've largely lost the sense of local neighborhoods.

Maybe this will force us to re-form a stronger sense of community and meaning like our forefathers had. And maybe we can even have a little fun while we're doing it.


  1. Thank you for sharing r your view of our future. Great job!

  2. snark
    um... I think you forgot about HOPE.. don't you know that will take care of everything..??


    on a serious note, I usually only lurk on your blog.. I just discovered it last week.. thank you! and please keep up the good work!
    unfortuanly the media is just an extension of the O-fraud's administration, I don't trust it and so no longer watch it.

    so sites like yours are invaluable.
    thank you again!

  3. That's one of the best posts that I have seen around in quite awhile. It makes some very good arguments and puts out links to some serious info. Thanks for the post. Love it.

  4. You make the same excellent points that Michael C. Ruppert and his FTW have been saying since 2001, but it bears repeating and passing on to neighbors...regardless how they feel about 9/11...

  5. Interesting post and I admire your energy in compiling all the links. However, I'm afraid I find it a bit difficult to take you more seriously when some of your links are from WorldNetDaily and Prison Planet. Though they represent opposite poles of the political spectrum, they both traffic in fear and conspiracy and both have a history of playing loose with the truth.

    This does not necessarily undermine the point you are trying to make, which is a valid one, but I'm sure you can do better and find some more reputable sources for some of your claims.

    Thanks for an intriguing post.

  6. You stated that "the US military believes that the chance of a breakdown in the system is real" and you cited a report from the U.S. Army War College as evidence. Unfortunately, you have taken the quotes from that paper completely out of context. The paper is not at all about the military believing such a civilian/political/economic breakdown will happen. That paper discusses theoretical happenings in the world that might take the military by surprise. The author of the paper, Nathan Freier, calls such events 'strategic shocks' and listed a domestic breakdown inside the US as an example. But he wasn't predicting it and the statements by no means reflect conclusions by the military. It was strictly a theoretical 'what if?' scenario (along with
    others) to challenge military leaders to think outside the box. The whole paper is about unexpected shocks that might take the military by surprise and result in less than effectual defensive responses. If that paper is your only resource, then you are factually incorrect in stating that "the U.S. military believes that the chance of a breakdown in the system is real." Such sensationalism and twisting of facts is irresponsible in such troubling times.

  7. I understand your apprehension. Looking at the size of the debt yet to default, and all the insurance policies on that debt that will come due as a result, it makes me want to corner the market on anti-depressants.

    I tried to deal with the “If it really does get really bad, what are we going to do” question in my Jan 5 post, titled “Plan C”. http://contention.ca/January_2009.htm

    In it, I postulated that we (the people) would have three choices: acquiescence, revolt or “go small”. I supported (still do) “go small” because they are aware of the potential for an Icelandic revolt, irrespective of whether or not you got your context right, and are too prepared, it is like they are waiting for it.

    Have a look and let me know your thoughts.

    And go small.

  8. I can only speak as an average American man trying to figure out my finances day to day through out this ordeal, I have spent a lot of time listening to the on going rants from both sides of the isle on all the stimulus packages and it does make one a little uneasy to be at an age where everything you worked for is going down the drain.
    To be honest I think we are all a little to blame for the economic blundering, We elect people to speak for us, but they instead speak for their party's do we not care what they say? are we too busy making a living to tell them we didn't say that. Politicians aren't car mechanics at the end of the day the car isn't fixed, we have countless committee on all sorts of problems but what are the resolves, didn't anyone in government see this coming and no one is accountable for the problems, we catch a few crooks and lock them up occasionally but the people who we hire to protect us that fail to see things coming or look the other way or are on the take one way or another still have their jobs, imagine if one of us so much as bounced a check can you imagine the rath.
    Bankers produce products such as credit cards that suck us in at sometimes a very early age,they don't even really ask about your job and if they do they don't really check so we have learned that we really don't need the money now, what happened to being solvent, High interest rates no control on the industry loan sharks have better rates.
    But when the rubber meets the road no one forced us to sign up for the card, buy the car on time, or buy the house we couldn't afford.
    We need to smarten up as people go back to the day when Cash was King and owing money was a bad thing.
    Please tell me how borrowing more money will get us out of debt, why does this government believe they can create jobs when all the create are entitlement programs, stop taxing us and People will create Jobs, stop spending our money on what you believe will work, this Country is not as free as we think we fight for our rights we pay with our blood and as soon as someones has the balls to take a step forward to create his or her wealth to start a business this government through a endless maze of taxes steps on dreams makes it impossible to create dreams, these business small or large create jobs real jobs through seeing people step up to realize the dream others follow suit and start to create their own, where did we lose sight of this.
    Anyway I have paid up my card and canceled them, I have paid off the cars and will drive them a lot longer and I have a small house that I can afford with a 6% mortgage that is fixed and fits into the budget and I'm not shopping around cause I'm not greedy and don't really like too much change in my life I have tried to teach my children about the mistakes of my past so they might go forward a bit easier, but soon if we don't wake up we will know what its like to live in country that was torn down through greed and wants not so much need.
    thanks for the time

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