Bruce’s Poor Man Survival Bulletin
A Digest of Urban Survival Resources
For Independent Minded People!
In This Issue:
- 1. Mid-wage jobs vanishing, what to do now
- 2. Shipping container homes
- 3. Why Americans are so easily fooled
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. –HL Mencken
MID-WAGE JOBS DISAPPEARING
Another study confirms a trend we’ve been seeing for years – “mid-wage” jobs are shrinking. Lower-paying jobs are growing.
Some experts refer to this as the “hollowing out of the workforce.” Others call it the “disappearing middle class.”
Regardless, it’s a triple whammy.
Whammy One: Wages and salaries have been stagnating since the 1970s, while the cost of living has continued to rise.
Whammy Two: Your job with a “stagnant” salary disappears, and (if you’re lucky) you replace it with one that pays much less.
Whammy Three: Billions of people would be happy to work for a fraction of the value of a week’s food stamps. And the Internet, for better or worse, is bringing them closer by the day.
What to do? Well, there are no panaceas, but here are three options:
- Start a side business. Doesn’t matter what, the point is to develop additional sources of income. Sell crafts on Etsy. Start a blog and monetize it with Google ads. Start a dogwalking or errand-running business. Embrace self-employment, which used to be active in our DNA but has been put to sleep by schools and other bureaucracies. Defy them.
2. Boss your life. Throttle back on purchases to prevent debt from commandeering your life choices. Remember, despite what the media says, we’re not “consumers.” We’re self-determining individuals. We’re the Boss. Act accordingly.
3. Focus on your goals and the steps to reach them. Don’t worry about “macro” economic trends and other things beyond your control. As Epictetus, the stoic philosopher who was born a Greek slave, said, “First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.”
(For the study on wages and jobs, see this article in the New York Times.)
Hire a free tutor for your kid at KhanAcademy.org – They offer more than 3,000 educational videos.
PM’s Compendium of Useful Resources
Normally buying a bit of land and building a small home on it costs a bundle. But if you’re willing to shop a bit for the land, you can pick something up for as low as $500 per acre
Could a Shipping Container Become Your Second Home?
Shipping containers look pretty dull from the outside. And they’re nothing to write home about on the inside either… but they’ve got lots of potential. And, I have three big reasons you might want to consider one for your home away from home:
They’re tough: Made from steel, shipping containers have a super-strong core structure. They are probably much stronger than your primary residence and almost surely way stronger than your typical cabin in the woods. They can be stacked eight high on a ship and not even hurricane-strength winds will topple them over. That means a tree could fall on your second home and you would hardly see a dent. A hailstorm or windstorm? No big deal. You, your loved ones, and your belongings will be safe inside. Plus, they are very hard to break into without heavy-duty industrial tools.
They’re affordable: On a square foot basis, a shipping container is really cheap compared to the price of a cabin or a house. You can purchase one for $3,000 to $5,000 depending on size. Delivery costs for the container will vary depending on location.
They’re versatile: Once you have your shipping container, you can use it as-is for storage or you can start altering it to turn it into a comfortable living space. You can run power and even running water into the container. You can have doors and windows installed, build a deck on the roof… whatever you like. A lot of people are opting to use multiple shipping containers to build their primary residence, because the cost-savings is so significant. Just imagine the savings of purchasing one or two containers and making modest improvements… it definitely puts a second home in easier reach.
What You Should Know before Purchasing a Shipping Container
Shipping containers are about 8 feet tall and 8 feet wide. They come in two typical lengths – 20 feet and 40 feet. Respectively, you get 150 to 300 square feet of floor space per container. On a cubic-foot basis, that’s 1,200 to 2,400 c.f. Depending on your needs, calculate how many shipping containers you’ll need to build your second home. For example, you could outfit a 40-footer for living space and use a 20-foot unit for storage.
An estimated 17 million shipping containers exist in the world today. To locate and buy one or two, do a search for a Certified Shipping Container Dealer.
No matter who you work with, do a quality check of your container before you give anyone a dime. If you can’t check the container in person, ask for photos of every side, corner, seam, door, hinge, latch, the top and bottom, inside and out. Don’t buy a container that shows signs of corrosion. A little surface rust is okay, and even common, but if you see scaly sections where the metal is starting to flake or bubble, start looking for a different container. Look carefully, and don’t be fooled by a fresh coat of paint.
The other thing to look for is any twisting in the body of the container. It should be perfectly square and sit flat on a level surface. If not, it may have been damaged, leaving it structurally unsound and incapable of connecting properly with other shipping containers, which will limit your design options.
It’s usually most cost-effective to buy a very basic unit and then make improvements to it on your own. Paying extra up front for things like insulation doesn’t usually save you money in the long run. It may save you some hassle, though, so consider your options carefully.
BUILDING A TINY HOME
There are builders and architects in many regions who specialize in the design and construction of tiny structures. A list of these is available on the Web site of the Small House Society (www.SmallHouseSociety.com). Reputable providers include Alchemy Architects (www.WeeHouse.com), Historic Shed (www.HistoricShed.com) and Rocio Romero (www.RocioRomero.com).
Alternately, you can purchase plans for tiny homes online from companies such as Tumbleweed Tiny House Company (www.TumbleweedHouses.com) and Ross Chapin Architects (www.RossChapin.com), typically for $100 to $1,000. Provide these plans to a local builder, or erect the structure yourself—putting up structures of modest size is within the abilities of many skilled do-it-yourselfers, assuming that they have professional plans. Consider hiring pros to handle the electrical and plumbing.
Homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, home décor expenses and heating and cooling costs will be slashed dramatically as well. Expect discretionary spending to drop, too—with less room to store possessions, tiny home dwellers tend not to waste money on things that they don’t really need.
Find sideline income and business resources and…
Take a test to find the small business that’s right for you
Plus dozens of useful resources you can put to immediate use!
Dump the car lease to save money. Trade in a car with a monthly payment for a cheaper, fully paid one; it also costs less to insure. If you can, get by with one car to save cash.
The Nanny State Updates…
Black Hawk helicopters’ war games in downtown Minneapolis
US Special Operations Command decided that downtown Minneapolis would be a perfect location for military games involving Black Hawk helicopters and dozens of troops.
Low-flying Black Hawk helicopters conducted military training exercises in downtown Minneapolis Monday night, hovering majestically outside of apartment windows of surprised local residents.
In April, Black Hawk and Little Bird helicopters flew past skyscrapers in downtown Chicago for a similar urban environment training exercise, rattling some windows of downtown offices. Witnesses of the largely-unexpected event reported men hanging out of the windows, while carrying automatic weapons.
High school & college kids can get discounts by registering at: StudentUniverse.com/deals or StudentRate.com
The Parting Thought- Can you read?
Aside from insidious bureaucrats and corporate-owned politicians, the third element in the demise of America is the electorate who have collectively, been dummied down. They swallow the government by the people sham hook, line & sinker…from our ongoing series on How to Take America Back from Dysfunctional Politicians.
Why Americans are Easily Fooled
Americans don’t read.
Indeed, most Americans haven’t read a book since they left high school. 42% of college graduates have not read another book after graduating, 80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year, 70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years, 57% of new books are not read to completion, and most “readers” (to use the term loosely) do not get past page 18 in the last book they purchased. So, it should not be surprising that the average American reads, and I posit, understands at an 8th grade level. Stefan Molyneux breaks down the jaw dropping statisticts on the decline of the American intellect in this video.
It is the fundamental theory of all the more recent American law…that the average citizen is half-witted, and hence not to be trusted to either his own devices or his own thoughts. –HL Mencken
Most Americans will tell you straight-faced that the US is the “land of the free”, even though it has more people incarcerated nominally and as a percentage of its population than any other country in the world. They will insist that America is the “land of opportunity” even as one-fourth of the work force is employed in jobs that pay less than $22,000, the poverty line for a family of four, half are on the government dole, and most of those will die virtually penniless.
These are fools. And voters.
The US is screwed, and has scheduled November 6 for the hosing of a lifetime. Either of these Statists will hump Joe Lunchbucket like a red-headed step mule, insuring America’s journey toward total unmitigated disaster is
completed in the next four years. It has been hypothesized that the unread, disinterested, intellectually bankrupt general public is simply too ignorant to support a functional democracy.
Jim Karger’s cathartic release on the lesser of two lessers, the “choice” for President of the USSA, Barack Romney and Mitt Obama…
“And we will know what America gets when we wake up November 7, 2012. There will be celebration and there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
And it will all be for nothing…
Because nothing material will change, regardless who is elected. On the economy, foreign policy and civil liberties, you could put the differences between Obama and Romney in a thimble and have plenty of room to spare. Their positions on the most critical issues in America are not materially different but equally devastating.”
The financial crisis was caused by excessive utilization of debt. In order to correct these imbalances, the country needed to undergo a deleveraging and reversion back to a country of savers. Savings equals investment. Instead, our “leaders” have reduced interest rates to 0% and have gone on an unprecedented government borrowing and spending spree. Savers and senior citizens are punished, while gamblers and speculators are rewarded. Anyone who thinks about this strategy for a few minutes will realize it is asinine and fruitless.
It seems one thing Republicans and Democrats can agree on though is that spending money they don’t have will have no negative consequences (“deficits don’t matter” ~Cheney).
Watch our short slide show on why voting is a waste of time…
Excerpted from the Dollar Vigilante…
Jim Karger is a lawyer who has represented American businesses against incursions by government and labor unions for 30 years. He has been the subject of many feature articles, including, “Outlandish Labor Lawyer Gets No Objections From Staid Clients,” published in The Wall Street Journal, and most recently was featured in an article entitled, “You Can Get There From Here,” published by the American Bar Association. In 2001, he left Dallas, and moved to San Miguel de Allende in the high desert of central Mexico where he sought and found a freer and simpler life for he and his wife, Kelly, and their 10 dogs.
Today, Jim takes a handful of assignments each year, and speaks regularly to industry associations and employers on issues involving government regulation, over-criminalization, and privacy. His website is www.crediblyconnect.com
Tired of “Government by Intimidation?
Learn how we can take back America from dysfunctional politicians-without firing a shot! Or will Americans get what they deserve because they lack the cajones to act?
“Until the next revolution”, the Poor Man
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