So, as Obama noted today, what we're seeing is history's final judgment on an economic "philosophy" (con game would be a better term, IMHO, because anyone who didn't "know," didn't want to "know") that began in the Reagan years. The notion that massive tax cuts for the very rich, a refusal to spend tax dollars on national infrastructure or programs that help average people, and a blind faith in "free markets" that puts the frothingest snake-handling fundie to shame has finally played itself out and, well, we are well and truly fucked.
One thing that I spend time remembering, especially as we head (at a mad dash, it seems to me, this year) toward Samhein (with barely a passing glance at Mabon), is that each of us is the descendent of generations and generations and generations of survivors. If you're here, now, in Ram Dass' words, it's because the people from whom you come, your ancestors, unlike so many others, have survived every single, solitary generation since Mitochondrial Eve walked out of Africa with her seven daughters. You come from survivors; you are a survivor.
And you will survive this.
If you owe money, it won't matter if the entity to whom you owe it goes under. They'll sell the right to collect money from you to someone else, maybe at a loss, and you'll need to go on paying.
If you have saved money in a savings account, as long as you have less than $100,000 in any single bank, the United States government will insure it if your bank fails and, as Son said to me today when I was panicking and thinking of taking at least some money out and hiding it, if the FDIC fails, we'll have bigger problems than can be solved by $50,000 or $75,000 in cash.
I am still thinking of converting some savings to pure cash. Here's the calculus. Reasonable people do think that there could be bank failures that the FDIC won't be able to cover. (Hat tip: Atrios. (Who ruined my fucking morning. I am just saying.)) If you pull your cash out and bury it in your yard or hide it in your mattress, you lose the interest income that may have been helping that money to not lose value due to inflation. How much interest do you expect to earn this year? Would you pay that much to know that your money was protected against the once-in-several-generations risk that the FDIC won't be able to give you your money when your bank fails? If so, bury it in your yard. If not, leave it where it is and cross your fingers.
If you've invested uninsured money with a firm that goes under, well, Goddess guard you. Lots of our ancestors worked until the day that they died.
Meanwhile, hunker down. Do what witches always do in tough times. Become invisible. Cut expenditures. If you have a job, keep it. Take that second job to bring in some extra money. You know by now that you have to pay off credit card debt, car debt, student loans, mortgages. You know by now that you need six, and maybe, in these tough times, nine or twelve, month of net income socked away somewhere v safe.
If you're going to need to borrow money sometime in the next year, say for a car loan, expect to have to put a large amount down. Start saving now. Reduce your expectations. Go to school part time and work part time when the student loan doesn't come through. Save up a larger down payment for the house. What? You think your great, great, great, great, many-times-great G/ma didn't make sacrifices? You think you're better than she? You didn't riot in the streets 8 years ago, did you? Here's the inevitable result of letting SCOTUS steal it.
Garden in the Spring and can what you can can (pun!). I'd depend less on freezing, as it relies on energy, which may get spotty. Barter. If you don't have debt and can stockpile, make good decisions about what to stockpile. Wood? Protein? Gold (likely too late)? I'm honestly thinking protein, in the form of dried milk and/or powdered soy, as G/Son is still growing.
And, here's where I'm mad, but what can you stockpile that will be fun? Sustaining? When times get rough, joy has a huge premium. Do you have a musical instrument, a collection of read-aloud poetry, a kaliedoscope? I have an entire case of little seashells, held together by rice paper that dissolves in hot water, and inside the shells are paper flowers that float to the surface when the rice paper dissolves. I have five bookcases full of books that I love. I have a lap cat. I have enough morning glories and datura and black iris and crocus to get through next year. I have yarn to keep me busy for a long time and I have poetry lined up all across the counter in the kitchen.
If you have a job, keep it.
If you have health insurance, have everything done that you can have done, now, before you lose your job or your benefits get cut. Do whatever you can -- exercise, take vitamins, get enough sleep, meditate, stay warm -- to stay healthy right now.
And, especially now as the veil thins, call on your ancestors, those proven survivors, of whose ability to survive you are the living, breathing, DNA-style proof.
And, in November, vote in the manner most calculated to deny the WH to John McCain, who never met a tax cut for the rich that he, and his millionairess wife, didn't love.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."