I made a run to the hazardous materials drop off location today and dropped off all sorts of things that have been hanging round in my basement or garage that we did not want to move. These included: cans of oil-based paint, garden chemicals, used motor oil, aerosol can and spray bottles of household cleansers, fluorescent lightbulbs, and an assortment of other things you don’t want to pour down the drain or dump into the standard waste management system.
The guys working at the center were friendly and helpful and, best of all, it was free.
While I was out, I dropped a table off with someone who wanted it and bought more boxes at a U-Haul store. I also poured $239 worth of change into the machine at our credit union. This was the last of our loose change.
We’ve been doing other moving-related chores like changing our address and canceling our television. From here on out, we’ll be watching streaming TV only.
The Cupboard is Bare
I packed up the last of the canned food, some coffee we haven’t opened, and a number of small kitchen appliances like the mixer and the food processor. Unbeknownst to me, my wife has packed all the snack food. We have no nuts, , pretzels, chocolate, etc., and only a few crackers I went looking for a late-night snack and I found nothing except a few slices of salami. Dang! I may have to dig into my emergency Snickers bars.
I think meals are going to be sparse; we only have one frying pan, a sauce pan, and the Instant Pot left unpacked. That’s OK, it will be good to have some take-out before we move, at which point the nearest pizza place is at least 20 minutes away and who knows where the closes Chinese restaurant is.
Will we miss getting takeout and the many other conveniences of living in the outskirts of suburbia? I am sure we will, but we are trading convenience for security. Time will tell if that is a smart trade, but I think it probably will be.
A Scary 2021 Lies Ahead
I am generally a “hope for the best” kind of guy, but when I look at what the immediate future holds, I admit to being concerned. If COVID-19 in 2020 resulted in protests, I can only imagine that there will be more social unrest in 2021, and at some point more than a couple people are going to be killed.
I don’t think the disease is going to cause too many problems, but I think the response (or over-reaction) by government will likely result in some significant social unrest. When people’s lives and livelihoods are being destroyed by capricious rules that are enforced inconsistently, people at the end of their rope are going to fight back. If one or two take individual actions, it won’t matter, but if a large enough, angry enough group forms, it could get ugly.
The bitter aftertaste of the 2020 elections will continue to linger and will make half of the country far less willing to go along to get along. I think there is overwhelming evidence that the election was stolen from Donald Trump, but I don’t think anyone will do anything about it. I fully expect Biden to become the president, even if he is not the “duly elected” president. That’s going to add to the unrest, simmering anger, and dichotomy between the megacities and the rest of the country.
The Battle Lines are Being Drawn
Do I think we will have a full-fledged civil war? No, I don’t. But I think there will be skirmishes. I think battle lines will be drawn. Just as it can be unsafe today for someone with Trump bumper stickers to park in a very liberal part of town, I think the reverse will come true, but at an escalated level.
2021 could be the year in which mobs overrun statehouses and storm the legislature. It could be the year in which the political divide becomes a physical one. I doubt we will see a civil war in 2021, but we could see the seeds planted that might one day result in such a war.
Slow Economic Recovery
The economic problems caused by the pandemic and the lockdowns will continue to grow worse, and if Biden and his economic team follow in Obama’s footsteps – and all indications are that they will – we will see another agonizingly slow recovery.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but it was nice to see the economy humming along with record low employment under Trump. I doubt Biden’s policies will get us back there, and I know Kamala’s won’t.
Yes, the stock market has responded favorably to the Biden election because it means more stability, but I don’t think 2021 will be a good year for the financial markets. We may see stock prices inflated with QE, but in the long run, this will be bad for the country. The higher we fly, the harder we must fall, and the government borrowing and money creation is getting to a ridiculous level.
Domestic problems are only half the pie, as other economies are hurting as well. When countries with dictator-like “leaders for life” experience economic turmoil, job loss, starvation, and unrest, the leader often looks for an outside cause that can be blamed. They may even start wars to distract their population and shift the focus. The global staged is primed with several such situations, several of them exacerbated by U.S. sanctions. China, Russia, and Iran are all primed to take action on the international stage. While indirect attacks are more likely than a direct attack on the U.S., they may still suck us in.
Keep in mind that I am not suggesting that you prep because I want to sell you a product or a service; I just give away free advice. My advice right now is to prep had and deep because in 2021, you may need those preps.