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Three Rules for Living through the Second Depression

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I believe we are on the precipice of the Second Depression. Though President Obama is working valiantly to turn the country's financial ship, it appears to me that due to the lack of a genuine economic engine to create sufficient, sustaining, value-adding jobs, change will come too late. What should the common man do?

Much of the advice on how to live through such hard times is often too specific, not specific enough or draconian. How many of us are ready or should even consider survivalist methods? Who among us can afford to completely restructure their finances on a moments notice? Which of us can effectively plan now for the unforeseen severity we may or may not face?

I have often found that everything in life can be boiled down to Three Rules that pretty much envelop the whole enchilada. I call these simple statements of essential truth a "Three Rules" poem. They can be fun, amusing, thoughtful, whimsical, etcetera. This one, presented for your approval and commentary, is dead serious.

Properly deduced, by sorting through the minutiae to find the lowest common denominator, a given Three Rules won't tell you exactly what to do, but they should provide the framework for recognizing actions to a successful conclusion.

Here are my...

Three Rules for Living through the Second Depression

1. Escape and avoid entanglements with scams and the authorities.

2. Stick together to defend each others right to food and shelter.

3. Make yourself useful.

Allow me to elucidate on each of the above.

Escape and avoid entanglements with scams and the authorities.

Debatable as it may seem now, this rule will become imperative. As the situation grows grimmer, more and more people and organization will devise ever more devious ways to steal the resources they want from those that can be conned or exploited.

As we have seen, much of what is called our financial system is nothing more than a cabal of greed that has worked diligently to sanction rules that effectively fleeced workers of their deserved earnings.

Look at any list of what to do during a financial crisis and you will find suggestions as to the preservation of your hard earned capital, should you have any, or a suggestion that you get out of debt. Good ideas, but they do not go far enough or wide enough to give anyone practical guidance and doable tasks.

First, let's go wide. This rule includes all powerful or legally protected organizations that promise more than they can ever deliver. Here are examples that deserve skeptical analysis: unsecured debt of all kinds, especially credit cards with numerous fees, charges, penalties and usury interest rates; work at home scams; costly education with no job certainty; fortune tellers and spiritualists of all varieties; full commission sales positions with no base salary; internet scams; credit counseling; insurance; job counselors, resume services and business consultants; barter brokers; pyramid schemes and other versions of musical chairs; speed, DWI and other police traps to snare high fines and surcharges; etcetera.

If you haven't already noticed, the police are out in force and quick to pull the ticket book trigger. Here in New Jersey, though the civil and criminal courts were subject to cost-cutting furlough days, no such thing happened in the money making municipal courts. Basically, now is not the time to get caught being late with payments or cheating on taxes, nor the moment to get on any bureaucrat's building code violations clipboard. As the tax & budget shortfalls grow, expect to be hunted down for the most insignificant violation of any law, code or tax regulation.

The authorities will continue to work diligently to create money-raising traps disguised as public service. Be careful out there! That you've done nothing wrong, nor hurt anyone, may not matter. If caught in any such snare, don't exacerbate the situation, minimize the damage.

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Chaz Valenza is writer and small business owner in New Jersey. He earned his MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business. His current feature film project is "Single Point Failure" an insider's account of how the Reagan Administration (more...)
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