ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. (via MarketWatch) — A record 130 million voters are predicted to head to the polls Tuesday. The bad news: 65 million, roughly 50% of all voters, will be miffed, mad at, angry with, even hate the new president … no matter who wins! Half against Obama, half against McCain. Either way, half of America will be angry, for at least four years. And that 50% will get even angrier as the recession deepens, sweeping aside all the grand upbeat promises of the campaign. Think things are bad now? Just wait, they’ll get far worse before a recovery.
Washington’s in hock $11 trillion. Next, pile on all the gluttonous bailout billions and lost revenues and soon we’ll be pushing $15 trillion even $20 trillion as this global meltdown spreads. Worse yet: All that debt’s guaranteed to force new taxes and huge cutbacks, no matter what the winner promised.
Last week I predicted this dark future, a “Great Global Depression” by 2011. Fortunately, there are still optimists out there. See previous Paul B. Farrell.
For example: In a story in the latest Newsweek, “Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue: The Scary Challenges Facing the Next President on Day One,” Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and author of “Opportunity: America’s Moment to Alter History’s Course,” had this warning for the next president: “This is not the world you’ve been discussing on the campaign trail,” that was a “caricature.” But he added, the “American people are ready to be leveled with” — even ready for the pain of moving in a bold new direction.
After warning of domestic dangers in his Newsweek “Memorandum to the President Elect,” New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg hit a high note about the future: “This is a competition we should relish, because we continue to enjoy all sorts of advantages: the best universities, the most advanced factories and health care, the most entrepreneurial workers and the best quality of life. But like a champion who has gotten complacent and sloughed off on workouts, the federal government — paralyzed by partisan gridlock and special-interest pandering — has let America slip out of top fighting form.”
McCain? Obama? The 535 members of Congress? Plus 42,000 special-interest lobbyists? Maybe they’ll “level with” you. Don’t count it. Besides, it doesn’t matter. Campaign’s over. “They” got the power. For the next four years the only person you can control is you.
Try shifting into survival mode. What if you’re stranded on a mountain climb in a storm? Marooned on a desert island? Lost in a jungle? Shipwrecked, drifting in the Pacific? For the next four years! It’s not “you versus them.” Not “you versus nature.” Surviving is “you versus you.” Laurence Gonzales has been researching how people behave in accidents for 35 years, and he tells us in “Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why.”
He discovered “an eerie uniformity in the way people survive seemingly impossible circumstances. Decades and sometimes centuries apart, separated by culture, geography, race, language, and tradition, the most successful survivors — those who practice what I call ‘deep survival’ — go through the same patterns of thought and behavior, the same transformation and spiritual discovery, in the course of keeping themselves alive. Not only that but it doesn’t seem to matter whether they are surviving being lost in the wilderness or battling cancer, whether they’re struggling through divorce or facing a business catastrophe — the strategies remain the same.”
And we are clearly facing a historic political and economic catastrophe today, so listen closely: We can adapt Gonzales’ incredible “12 Rules of Adventure” as a road map for Americans, especially investors, in the uncharted waters ahead for four years with the new president.
Yes, he calls it an adventure: “Survival should be thought of as a journey, a vision quest of the sort that Native Americans have had as a rite of passage for thousands of years. Once you’re past the precipitating event — you’re cast away at sea or told you have cancer — you have been enrolled in one of the oldest schools in history. Here are a few things I’ve learned that can help you pass the final exam.”
The 12 tips that will work if you want to avoid a deep depression, both personally and as a nation:
1. Attitude: ‘perceive and believe’
Economist Nouriel Roubini predicts “the worst is yet to come,” with stocks going over a cliff, along with currencies, next year.