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Thursday, October 23, 2008

How To Survive And Prosper In A Economic Depression/Recession

How To Survive And Prosper In A Economic Depression/Recession


Arthur Levine

All the statements in this e-book are solely the opinions of the author and various other people he has relied on in putting this document together. They are not to be construed as fact, and the author will not be liable for any action readers take based on the opinions expressed in this book. In other words I disclaim everything, and this is my disclaimer.

© Copyright Arthur Levine 2008

About the Author

I am a freelance writer who relies on earning money from my craft, which has me constantly depressed and uniquely well positioned to claim expertise at surviving an economic depression. I do it all the time. I am also the author of the novel Johnny Oops and numerous blogs on the Internet ranging from Wealth Protection to the New Middle Aged Group, to Searching For God to Working At Home, to a book called
The Magic of Faith, and a manual called The Faith Patch Manuel.


This Isn’t Your Grandfather’s Depression

I don’t know about you, but I have only lived through one depression that I can remember, maybe two depending on whether I am having a good day or not.

My grandfather told me, “You have to have a sense of humor,” He gave me this most important piece of advice, which I give you about how to survive a depression. Unfortunately that is all the old man left me so I try and use humor whenever I can.

You are going to need a sense of humor too if you plan on surviving an economic depression. If you have the other kind of depression, a sense of humor is important too.

I am going to try to give you some important tips on how to survive an economic depression using as much humor as I can muster as my wife tells me she thinks I am severely depressed. I can live with that. How about you?

Are you ready to make plans for surviving a depression no matter which type you are about to experience? I hope so. I can’t do this alone. I need your help.

Let’s not quibble about whether it is a recession or a depression that is coming; it is too depressing to think about. I am going to call it a depression because that is how I feel.

Please grab a pencil. You don’t need to write anything down, but you can chew on the eraser if you get really nervous about what you are about to learn.


I am really tired of hearing the pundits saying we are entering a big economic depression. Some say as big as the Great Depression. Some say it won’t be a depression at all. I guess that would be better than a small depression, which will only affect a few of us a little bit. No matter who is right, how great can a depression be?

A pox on all their houses. If we are going to have a depression, I want a big mother so that everyone suffers equally, and it is in every ones interest to get through it. How many of you are ready to vote against a depression – see.

The rich with their big limousines and huge mansions ought to suffer just like you or I so that it will be in the interest of the powerful to find an answer, and an end to the coming depression. Hell they caused most of the problems anyway. It is their fault we took on too much credit card debt, and bought homes with no money down and the skies the limit interest rates on our mortgages.

I suggest the punishment for the rich and powerful people’s role in all this is to insist that they rent out rooms in their mansions at a dollar a day to people who are losing their homes due to foreclosure. No flippers allowed. They are to be relegated to ice houses in northern Alaska right next to the seals until they learn their lessons. I would also insist that the rich and powerful trade in their gas guzzling limousines for the smallest mini vans around so that they can make soup kitchen food deliveries to the really poor and starving, using their butlers and chauffeurs as delivery men and women.

If we are going to get through this coming depression, we are going to have to learn to live together. We are going to have to learn to take care of one another. We are going to have to learn to care. Sorry folks, some things just aren’t funny.

While I am trying to regain my sense of humor, please remember that for your part you should stop spending so much on things you don’t need, and putting money in rich people’s pockets. What’s the matter with you? Tear up those credit cards, pay off your debt, and get ready to do the Depression Mamba. Cash is going to become king, 1,2,3.


Are you wearing a raincoat? The ‘you know what’ is going to start to fly around here. I know that may sound a little vulgar, but who ever heard of an elegant depression. This is not your grandfather’s Great Depression with people living on the banks of the river or in railroad cars, but still wearing their one threadbare suit and frayed white shirt every day. This is a new fangled state of the art depression caused by phony mortgage bonds, and inexplicable financial derivatives, and all kinds of other exotic financial instruments that the rich made up as funny money to help them get richer as they play their game of musical chairs with the poor. I have news for you; the music is stopping. The result is going to be economic chaos. Our paper is no good any more, and the whole world knows it. These foreigners who took our government notes in exchange for poorly made consumer goods that we didn’t need, and shouldn’t have bought, would sell all of our treasury bonds that they are holding, but to who? We have built a trade deficit, bad credit, U.S. dollar wrecking monster, and it is about to destroy us.

I told you my wife says I’m depressed.

What’s a person to do? I suggest that gold is better than paper, and renting is better than owning a home. You can buy the home back later in the middle of the gigantic depression that is coming if you have any money left, and aren’t starving to death.

∑ A word of caution, stockpiling body fat won’t help you get through the winter. It will only make you hungry when you can least afford to eat.

Here’s a little tip that should help a lot. Learn to layer up your cloths, because you sure as hell won’t be able to afford heating oil when the Arabs decide our dollar isn’t worth twenty cents in real money, and triple the price they are charging. Also don’t plan on running your car on ethanol. You are going to need to eat that corn, and the finance company is probably going to repose your car any way.

∑ Tip number two; fix your old bike. You are going to need transportation if you are going to be able to compete with illegal aliens for day work at the local construction site. Don’t feel bad. At least you have a real social security number. Remember, there is always work behind the counter at McDonalds. People have to eat. How about a happy meal?
∑ One thing you might consider is working from home if you can find something practical and profitable to do. Look at the money you can save on gas, baby sitters, and day care if that fits your family. The best part is you can be your own boss. Did you ever hear of anyone firing himself or herself because business was bad?

I threw that last tip in for free. Don’t count on me doing that all of the time. In fact don’t count on anything any more – not in a recession/depression.

I hope I am not getting you too depressed. I am sure you are going to be one of the lucky ones who keep their job. Maybe you are a collection agent, or a funeral director, or an ambulance driver: those jobs will definitely be in vogue during the depression.

Tell the truth, you do feel better now, don’t you?


Stop living in the past. Stop remembering those big steak dinners with two bottles of expensive French wine. Stop dreaming about your last cruise to Jamaica. Those days are over. Forget about them. Start planning for the future. For those of you who still have courage and the will to survive the coming depression here are a bunch of things you can do to prepare yourself. Now you can use the pencil you have been chewing on:

1. Start stockpiling hope – hope for a better time is going to help you get through this in one piece I hope.
2. Strengthen you faith in God – remember that God is always with you, even during a depression.
3. Try and live on less – less is more when you have practically nothing.
4. Stop smoking – you can’t afford it.
5. If you’re a woman, buy cheap cosmetics – you need to do something to make you feel better.
6. If you’re a man, buy a tanning lotion – you look white as a ghost.
7. Find a companion – it doesn’t pay to be alone no matter which type of depression you are suffering from.
8. Try and marshal your assets – if you don’t have any don’t worry about it, then you are definitely not alone.
9. Blame the government – that won’t help, but it will make you feel better.
10. Get out and vote – doesn’t matter for who as long as it isn’t for the last bunch of losers you voted for.

Are you starting to feel better? See, there are things you can do to help you get through a depression. Aren’t you thrilled that I m here to help you? Tell the truth; you would never get through this without me, right?


It is time for men and woman of all stereotypes to come together and have a good cry. That’s right; this depression really stinks. It is keeping all of us from enjoying ourselves. We are going to have to come together and come up with a plan on how to avoid depressions. Are you ready? All together now what should we do?

I guess we should start by taking an inventory of what we still have:

1. We still have our self worth.
2. We still have hope.
3. We still have faith in the future.
4. We still have each other.
5. We still have the ability to laugh.
6. We still have a sense of humor?
7. We still have love
8. We still have our health.
9. We still can enjoy being with each other.
10. We still can have fun.

I bet you didn’t know how much you are still worth. I bet you had no idea you had so many assets. I bet you thought you would get wiped out in this new depression – not a change, not when I’m on the job. So now when you start to worry about all the money you owe; try and remember your assets. There, don’t you feel better? … Okay, okay, don’t worry – there is more.

When we all come together in a spirit of believing, we will be ready to invest in our future. Without an effort, without a plan, without a common purpose, what can we hope to accomplish alone? That’s why we have to come together and exhibit a common will. Who the hell wants to be poor? We can lick this thing if we all work together.


Anyone who doesn’t like short chapters can go read the Bible or Gone With The Wind. Around these parts we serve up solutions to your problems with surviving a depression as fast as a speeding bullet. You have to stay ahead of the curve if you want to be successful.

In the meantime you had better set up a secret cash reserve fund for when things get really bad. You can’t wait to be fired. You need to scare up some cash for a rainy day right now. I don’t care if you borrow it, or steal it you need an emergency fund. The best and most legitimate way to set up this emergency fund is to start scrimping and savings.

Lets see what we can come up with in the way of savings:

1. Stop ordering a Carmel latté every morning on your way to work. That will save you about twenty bucks a week or one thousand dollars a year.
2. Wear your shirts twice instead of once. That should save you around ten dollars a week, or more than five hundred dollars a year on your laundry bill.
3. No more haircuts for you buddy. Let it grow long or cut it yourself. That should save you sixty dollars a month or seven hundred and twenty dollars a month.
4. Stop having a drink or two or three at your favorite bar on the way home. That could save you at least one hundred dollars a week, or fifty-two hundred a year.
5. No more new clothes for you this year, and forget about those high-heeled shoes. Start wearing the three pairs of sneakers in your closet, they all look brand new. That should easily save you about two thousand dollars a year.
6. Stop staying at those fancy hotels that cost five hundred dollars a night when you are on the road or the bar room floor. You can’t afford them, and they are costing you about four thousand dollars a year without food or booze.

I have to stop here. We are quickly approaching the measly fifteen thousand dollars a year you are making working part time. What happened to the other part of your time? I think you get the picture. If you scrimp on a whole bunch of things you don’t really need, you can probably put together a depression fund of about five thousand dollars in three months, which is probably all the time you have before the depression hits and you become full time unemployed.

You better get a fresh pencil, you have completely chewed off the eraser on that pencil and are now in danger of getting lead poisoning. We haven’t even scratched the surface yet, why are you so nervous? …Well I guess you are, you have chewed your way through the yellow paint and the wood on the pencil, and now you are licking the lead. That is disgusting, please try and get a grip. No, not on the pencil you dummy – on yourself.

One thing is for sure; you are never going to make a living during the coming depression selling pencils on a street corner.


Of course you have to pack. You are not going to be able to afford the mortgage on that big house you live in. You should sell it now and move into a modest rental using whatever is left of the proceeds after you pay off the mortgage, or is your mortgage more than the value of your house?

Here is a partial list of what you should take with you:

1. Your important papers – don’t worry about those worthless mortgage backed certificates you thought you were going to make a killing on.
2. Your dog – at least he or she is a real friend.
3. Your gold fillings – from the teeth that rotted and had to be extracted due to the stress you are under and your unfortunate habit of chewing on pencils.
4. All of your shirts and your laundry soap – you are going to have do your own washing.
5. Your flashlight and candles – in case you can’t pay the utility bill in your new modest abode and the electric company turns off your service.
6. Lots of matches – to light a fire in the fireplace if you have one because you can’t pay for heating oil.
7. Your wife or girlfriend if you have one – they can work part time like you and together you can prove that two fools can live as cheaply as one.
8. The telephone number and address of all your living relatives – you are going to need all the help you can get. Don’t forget to call collect.
9. Your cable TV box – why pay for a new one, but be sure you stick to basic service.
10. Your grandmother’s sense of humor – it is obvious you don’t have one.

I could go on and on, but how much room are you going to have left in that beat up old broken down mini van you have been driving for six years after you pack your bed, and other necessary furniture. That’s right, you can’t afford a moving service. You and that girlfriend type wife of yours are the movers, and your mini is the moving van.

Remember the lyrics to the Depression Mamba, “Scrimp, scrimp, scrimp, 1,2,3. This is the way that life is going to be, 1,2,3. Can’t you see? Can’t you see, 1,2,3? Otra ves por favor, one more time, please. We are doing the Depression Mamba.”


What are you waiting for? The depression is about to hit. This could be the big one. You have to get prepared. It is time for you to marshal your assets, and prepare to make a stand. Don’t get bowled over by the first wave of blood sucking new regulations meant to deal with the problem. Some of these regulations probably will be part of the problem.

This may be absolutely your last chance, so hurry up and meet me at the Last Chance Café. This is of course a virtual café. Who could afford to drink and dim our wits at a time like this? Now pull yourself together, and get with your buddies at the Café. They are broke too. They are miserable. You know what they say…. They would love the company. It will do them good to see someone that looks to be in worse shape than they are. You do know how pitiful you look, don’t you? What did you expect, a virtual picnic? Here we all get a chance to starve together.

Here at the Last Chance Café we don’t stand on ceremony. We are all in the same boat, and it has sprung a credit leak the likes of which have never been seen before in our recorded financial history.

What we need is solutions. China has signaled that they won’t lend us any more money now that most of our consumers have refused to buy any more of their poison paint toys. Mexico has posted guards at the border to stop hungry Americans from trying to cross over in search of food, and their own people from trying to exercise the right of return. The new administration in Washington has promised to do something about the depression, and the opposition parties in Congress have gone on a hunger strike, which levels the playing field between them and the people who are mostly starving themselves.

Okay, so this hasn’t happened yet. I wanted you to get a little glimpse of the future.

Some of you may view this as an exaggeration, but the Nation’s doctors will soon refuse to treat the poor, which is almost every one now because the big drug companies won’t give them free samples any more. Why should they; no one is taking or paying for medicine. If it is a choice between eating cheap white bread or taking diet pills what do you think people are choosing? It has become a consumer despair society. People think their last chance has come and gone.

Welcome to the future. This is part of the big picture.

I say hang out at the Café. Can you think of a better way to go? At least you will be wired.

Just remember folks; it ain’t over till the fat lady dances, and there are damn few of them left these days so prepare for some long term suffering.

But a bunch of us depression babies still have hope. We have come up with a list of things we are not going to allow to happen again assuming we ever get the chance to make a difference. Here is the list:

1. No more buying foreign goods on credit and racking up trillions in deficits we can’t possibly pay back.
2. Our children have the legal right to decline to honor the national debt we have accumulated in their name.
3. No more taking from the poor to give to the rich. This is no longer going to be a Country where Robin Hood in reverse tactics are tolerated.
4. No more funny money paper, certificates, derivatives, or sons of derivatives.
5. No more off balance sheet financing creating contingent liabilities. If it isn’t on the books, we won’t pay the debt – period.
6. No more tax breaks for hedge funds if any of them survive.
7. No more fat cat, golden parachute, multi million dollar scam packages for our top executives who have managed to suck the blood out of our economy in their greed and never ending quest for more and more money and power.
8. No more no money down, no credit needed, car loans, credit cards, or home mortgages. If you can’t afford it, you can’t have it.
9. No more government boondoggles that use our taxpayer’s money to pay for pet projects of the rich and powerful and politically well connected.
10. No more selling your soul for the almighty dollar that isn’t worth shit any more.
11. No more giving away our national treasure to make a few oil companies rich.

Yes I know that’s more than ten items, but we have more than ten problems. You can add to the list if you want to. Remember, this could be your last chance to make a difference.


Does your bad knee ache when it’s about to rain? Does your back hurt when you lift a two hundred pound trunk? Does your girlfriend or boyfriend get mad when you cheat on them? Its coming, I can smell it. Can’t you feel it? What is the consumer confidence index telling you?

The question isn’t when? It is how big it is going to be. Believe it or not that is up to you and me.

The underlying facts are bad, maybe worse than bad, but how big this depression gets depends on you and me not panicking. I am telling you, don’t panic. It won’t do any good, and it is going to scare the hell out of the rest of the world. When they panic because we are panicking, then we are really going to be in deep shit. We need the rest of the world. Did you know we don’t even make our own sewer covers any more? They are all made in China or India. What do you think is going to happen to us if we can’t import sewer covers? Things are really going to get real stinky around here, but don’t panic, please don’t panic.

One thing we should plan on doing is to rediscover our manufacturing capability. We used to be pretty good at making things. We could put our own people back to work. Don’t worry about prices being higher than imports. Al least our workers will be working and will have money to pay for things with. So what if it costs a little more. What is the price of our economic freedom worth? Is it worth paying a few more pennies for reliable top of the line, non-poisonous products for our children and us?

I don’t want to get carried away, but I can envision a day when we will actually manufacture our own clothes again. You will go into Wal-Mart, and almost everything will say “Made In America.”

When we are working, and making money again, we could even start saving some of what we earn. We could have savings accounts at banks assuming any of them were reliable; our kids could open Xmas accounts. We could start to feel good about ourselves again. We could begin to stop living paycheck to paycheck and have something available for a rainy day if any one in the family gets sick or gets laid off. Wouldn’t that be worth sacrificing a few lattes for? How much sugared coffee can we drink before it starts to affect our health?

Repeat after me, the best part is yet to come 1,2,3, the best part is yet to come, 1,2,3, this is the Depression Mamba.


This isn’t going to be pretty, but it might just work. Let’s take a long hard look at how we can get out of this mess together.

Let’s find something that has real value and hard assets, and invest in it. In a depression that shouldn’t be too hard to do.

Let’s put a plan together for the future.

I know you want to know what was wrong with the old plan. The truth is either you really didn’t have one or else everything was wrong with it because look at you now. Look at the mess we are all in now.

Let’s make a list of who your real friends are and who they aren’t. If you have more than one name in the real friends column you are a winner, if not lose the list.

What I am trying to tell you is that it is time to start over and make a new beginning.

Make a promise to yourself to:

1. Spend less than you make.
2. Have money left over at the end of the week.
3. Don’t live paycheck to paycheck.
4. Live within your means.
5. Start Saving.
6. Work Harder.
7. Work Smarter.
8. Live Smarter.
9. Practice Disease Prevention techniques.
10. Eat Smarter
11. Have more fun.
12. Stop buying things you don’t need.
13. Forget about designer anything.
14. Concern yourself with quality.
15. Stop worrying about what your neighbors are doing.

I think by now you are getting the point. Start to watch what you are doing, and do what makes sense, and stop trying to show up your neighbors and friends. You will then stand a good chance of getting through a depression of any kind without too many problems.

What I am suggesting is that you start to take control of your life instead of letting it control you. Are you ready to be in charge? Are you ready to act responsibly? Are you prepared to overcome financial setbacks?

I believe that if you use your God given talents you will be up to the tasks that lie ahead. I believe that if you have faith in yourself and in God, that you can overcome any depression that comes your way.

What do you believe? Are you ready to dance the Depression Mamba? Can you hear the music, 1,2,3? Can you see the beauty all around you, 1,2,3? Are you ready to face the future 1,2,3? Do you have the solution to your problems firmly in mind 1, 2, 3? Are you ready to take action and begin again 1, 2, 3?


If you are looking for answers as to how to beat the depression, my best advice is that it is all about Attitude, Self Improvement, and Spirituality.

That’s right; it is your attitude towards getting through this crisis that is going to make you successful at riding out the coming depression/recession, and learn how to turn it into an opportunity to prosper.

You need to have a positive attitude.

You have to learn to rely on yourself and your instincts, and most of all on your faith in God.

You have to learn to do something about your plight, and not wait for others to solve the problem for you.

You have to have the courage to try new things, and make new commitments.

You have to find it within yourself to be all that you can be.

If you have the proper attitude all things are possible.

You can do it.

You can begin again.

The formula for successful living never changes. It is what we do about it that counts.

Are you ready to do the Depression Mamba 123? Are you ready to count for something?


Hi, this is Arthur Levine. To find out about reprinting or using this e-book please leave a message in the comment section.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Kooks, Nooks, and Terror-nooks - Its Halloween Again

Little painted faces, pointy witch hats, two feet tall clowns, skeleton costumes - it's that time of year again - Halloween is here.

Tell the truth, when you rummage through the basket of your kids trick or treat candy are you checking to make sure it's safe or are you looking for your personal favorite candy bar to munch on?

Sometimes I think there is still a little bit of the child left in each of us. Who can forget the anticipation we all felt as Halloween approached. Don't you remember going out in the dark dressed up in weird costumes with your friends, and depending on your age maybe one parent lingering in the background? Don't you remember the tinge of fear mixed with a tingle of excitement?

Trick or Treat, Trick or Treat, I can still remember the well-intentioned taunt make to smiling parents of your friends and your neighbors. Then there were the nasty older kids who were only out to spoil everyone's fun and throw raw eggs that splattered on doorways and sidewalks. I wonder if they grew up to be bullies or patrons of some other form of anti social behavior.

Today there are also unfortunately the Kooks. The weirdo's who place razor blades in candy, who sneak up behind people and punch them and run off with their cherished possessions and rob them of their self-respect. I guess they are a product of the true state of terror we live in. No one is safe any more, not old people or little children, not the infirm or feeble, not the weakest amongst us, and especially unfortunately not on Halloween. And the worst is that there are terrorists lurking out there in every nook and cranny of our economic and social system waiting to take advantage of this era of our discontent.

The term Halloween (and its alternative rendering Hallowe'en) is shortened from All-hallow-even, as it is the eve of "All Hallows' Day", which is now also known as All Saints' Day. It was a day of religious festivities in various northern European Pagan traditions, until Popes Gregory III and Gregory IV moved the old Christian feast of All Saints' Day from May 13 (which had itself been the date of a pagan holiday, the Feast of the Lemures) to November1. In the ninth century, the Church measured the day as starting at sunset, in accordance with the Florentine calendar. Although All Saints' Day is now considered to occur one day after Halloween, the two holidays were, at that time, celebrated on the same day.
- Wikipedia

Today carved pumpkins called Jack-o'-lanterns are used to scare off evil spirits and for decorative purposes and the holiday has become popular as a children's event.

Isn't it time we all returned to some basic values and helped our children celebrate a holiday of treats and traditions? Isn't it time we tried to take the fear out of every day living for ourselves and for our kids? Isn't it time we looked inward to our personal clown and started to have some fun again? Why can't we just enjoy the moment?

Let's cherish our traditions. Let's spend some time with our kids. Let's bob for apples not problems. Let's have fun again. Let's give ourselves a treat and not trick ourselves into forgetting who we really are and what we stand for. Don't let a bunch of kooks and terror-nooks spook you. The guys behind the masks are the ones who are really scared.

Happy Halloween.