The Pop Heard ‘Round the World: China’s Bubble Bursts

Capitalism practiced by communists has lead to the expected default of Evergrande, one of China’s largest companies that makes up 2 percent of its GDP.

I have previously described the United States as the engine that drives the global economy, and when the U.S. has a financial crisis, the world has a financial crisis.

While things are not looking great in the U.S. markets, it is China and the expected default of Evergrande that is hurting markets across Asia and around the world. To give you an idea of its scale, Evergrande is often called “China’s Lehman Brothers,” a reference to the collapse of Lehman Brothers that kicked off the 2007/8 Great Recession in the U.S.

China has pumped up its economy by encouraging banks to lend money very low rates to businesses that build buildings and create jobs and economic activity. The problem is many of these buildings sit empty, collecting no rent, and leaving their developers dependent upon more loans to prop them up. Known as ghost cities, they are assets that have little value because no one wants to buy them or pay rent to live there. Described by some as a giant Ponzi scheme, this behavior was encouraged by the government and regulators.

Until one day, it was not.

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Pay me in Cash: How to Survive Without a Paycheck

Apparently 30 million working-age men are managing to survive without a paycheck. Here’s how they do it and what you can learn from them.

According to this article on Yahoo News, almost one third of working-age men are not in the workforce. I guess I am one of them. But I’m not alone, that’s reportedly 30 million people, and that’s just the men.

You can read the entire article, but the author suspects these people are surviving on one or more of the following:

Unemployment insurance – Except that’s long gone for most of us.

They retired early and get a pension –Many public servants and union members can retire with a full pension and health insurance. Some pension programs allowed you to retire when your length of service and your age equal a magic number, like 75 or 80.

Disability payments – the article seemed to presume these were often fraudulent claims, but I know there are plenty of people out there who are legitimately claiming disability.

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Ten Foods Every Prepper Should Have in Their Pantry

Need to know where to start on your food preps without spending a ton of money or getting ripped off? This list is a great starting point.

We’ve been getting back to prepper basics recently, including our Prepping Primer: Five Basic Steps for New Preppers. This article builds on that and gets a little more detailed in providing ten specific foods any prepper should have in their pantry. Best of all, if you are a brand new prepper, you can go out and buy these foods at your local grocery or big box store.

1. White Rice

Yes, plain old basic rice. You can get converted rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice, long grain rice, or whatever you like best. It doesn’t matter. I don’t recommend instant rice or brown rice.

Rice is great for preppers because it is easy to store, has a long shelf life, is inexpensive, and is easy to cook. Once you make it, rice goes with lots of things, and almost everyone eats it.

Get as much as you can afford.

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Why Every Prepper Should have a Headlamp (or Three)

Flashlights are handy, and I carry one as part of my EDC, but headlamps allow you to go hand-free which is important when you have chores to do in the dark.

I used to wear one of my headlamps only when we had a power outage or when I was working in the crawl space or the attic. I would rarely wear one if I went outside carrying a shotgun to see what went bump in the night.

Now I wear one every night when walk the dog. That’s when the rechargeable batteries come in handy.

Every night, I walk the dog sometime between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. At first, I used my EDC flashlight, a 1,200 lumen handheld torch that uses an 18650 battery. I quickly switched over to one of my headlamps that uses two 18650s and has three brightness settings. When the brightest setting and the medium setting are about the same, I know it’s time to recharge the batteries.

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Why the Submarine Deal is a Game Changer in Pacific

Australia takes an important step to remind China that it is will not lie down and be bullied as naval power in the Pacific rises to prominence again.

In the past 24 hours, Australia changed the game in the Pacific and it has shaken things up.

First, Australia announced it will cancel a contract with France to buy diesel powered submarines and instead has struck a deal to obtain submarines with nuclear propulsion systems from the U.S. President Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the new alliance jointly with Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Second, China reacted very negatively to the news, stating that it would create an arms race in the Pacific. Ha! China’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea have already created an arms race. Australia, Taiwan, and Japan are already stocking up on missiles, rockets, fighter jets, and other weapons systems. China is rushing to build more nuclear weapons. Adding nuclear-powered submarines to the Australian fleet is hardly an escalation. It’s barely a warning shot fired across China’s bow.

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Prepper News Update for September 17

Cold Winter Predicted for most of U.S., Canada

The 2022 Old Farmer’s Almanac’s editor says “This coming winter could well be one of the longest and coldest that we’ve seen in years.” Yes, it’s an almanac, not a weather bureau, but can you afford to ignore such a warning? Maybe I should get another cord of firewood…

Online Prices Rise for 15 Months Straight

Inflation is affecting more than groceries, cars and lumber. A new report shows that online prices have risen an unprecedented 15 months in a row, with apparel seeing the largest jumps (15.5 percent in one year). When online sales first started, they helped drive prices down. That is no longer the case.

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Prices Rise but Some Bargains Remain at Sam’s Club

The prices of meat is rising from visit to visit, but there are still some good buys to be had for the prepper at Sam’s Club.

I just got back from a trip to the big city where I went to Sam’s Club, Home Depot, Lowes, Tractor Supply and made a couple other quick stops. Tractor Supply had the parts needed to correct the problems with the electric fence. I got lumber at Lowes (because Home Depot didn’t have what I wanted). I picked food and supplies at Sam’s Club, because for a rural prepper, no trip to the city is complete without a visit to a warehouse club store.

Rising Costs

Everything I see online suggests the peak of lumber pricing is far behind us, but someone needs to tell Lowes. While plywood pricing was down from its peak, the premium pine boards I bought to make shelving were more expensive than when I bought them this past winter. I paid about $35 then and I paid $39 now. Not what I expected.

At Sam’s Club, meat was more expensive than ever. I like an occasional rib eye steak. Last time we went shopping, they were $12.95 per pound. This time, the cost had jumped to $14.95. Crazy. They were cheaper than that at my local grocery store.

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How to Screw Up Your Electric Fence Build

I’ve never installed an electric fence before, and it showed. Sometimes watching YouTube can’t replace trial and error.

I have had the supplies on hand to install the electric fence for months, but I was always busy working on something else. We had the welded wire fence and two gates, so I wasn’t in a big hurry to complete it. I set a goal to the electric fence up and running by September 1 to prevent any bears that might find my beehives a tasty treat before hibernation.

Bears can destroy beehives. While cartoons and storybooks have led us to believe that bear like honey, they also eat brood, or the eggs, larva and pupae of bees which provide protein.

Let’s just say I missed the goal by a long shot.

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Prepper News Update for September 14

Food prices, energy prices, even producer prices are increasing. We’re in for some ugly economic times ahead.

Food Prices Rise Again

According to this article on CNBC, food prices continue to rise and the Biden Administration is unsuccessfully trying to stop them by using antitrust laws. The price increase, however, are not caused only by monopolies, but by supply chain disruptions and transportation costs. Plus, any student of history knows that laws controlling prices exacerbate shortages rather than relieve them.

Producer Inflation Rises a Record 8.3 Percent

The prices producers pay for goods and services jumped 8.3 percent between August 2020 and 2121, the most since creation of this data point. Producers either have to absorb the costs, which means lower profits, or pass them on to the consumer in higher prices. Most pick a point in the middle until economic pressures force them to raise consumer prices. Higher producer inflation is a sign that the inflation you and I see in the stores is not going away.

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Make a Choice, Face the Consequences

People make bad decisions all the time. Some have minor consequences, others may lead to death. The government can’t save them all, nor should they.

I am amused to note that at about the same time President Biden was announcing his new vaccine mandates, the number of cases as tracked by the New York Times had started to fall. Hospitalizations are also flat. By the time OSHA gets around to writing their emergency regulation, this COVID-19 wave may be behind us. Ironic, isn’t it?

Freedom of Choice

Someone said to me today, “People without the vaccine are 11 times more likely to die.”

My answer was to shrug and say: “It’s their choice.”

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