From the July 2008 Idaho Observer:

Editor’s rectangle

This month we are seeing the next stage of the bursting housing bubble—bank failures—playing out. We are also hearing rumors and innuendos of disease pandemics being hyped again, and the emergence of a standing, Blackwater-trained army is becoming impossible to ignore. For reasons we cannot fathom, though this may be "doomesday alert #643," it really feels like something big and irreversible is going to happen—soon. But, the Ron Paul Revolution is still growing as is the call to repeal the Federal Reserve Act and high gas prices are prompting a leaderless rebellion of innovators to bring HHO to market—in a hurry.

There are so many things coming to a head right now that it is impossible to predict what tomorrow will bring or what life will be like a month from now or where we will be this time next year. Overarching everything is an air of uncertainty. For those of us who have nothing to lose, that is exciting. For some, an uncertain immediate future is causing concern, indecision, fear and even panic.

As a result, I have received several phone calls lately from people asking for my opinion on what they should do. Most of them want to know if they should pull their money out of the bank, liquidate their securities, cash out their 401Ks and if it would be a good idea to buy gold and silver.

My priorities are different because we don’t have any "material wealth" stored anywhere, in any form. But, after fielding several calls, I have developed a line of logic to pass on that seems to really help put our priorities in order—whether we have assets we want to protect or no assets at all:

1. As we can see, the economy is failing and the coal mine canaries are banks. FDIC insured or not, whatever money you have in bank accounts (or stored in bank safe deposit boxes) will not likely be available to you if/when your bank fails. It would seem that, at this time, your dollar-denominated "savings"—and whatever else you are keeping in a bank—may be safer under your mattress or buried somewhere. If you have a checking account, just keeping enough in it to cover your checking activity is prudent at this time.

2. Once enough banks fail and the economy crashes, everyone will have the same priorities: Food, water and shelter. My personal feeling is to plan for having those things covered for three months, either in your current home or at some other location. Preparing for a few days or a few weeks is likely not long enough. Conversely, if our apocalypse lasts more than 90 days, all bets are off unless you plan to lock yourself into a self-contained bunker and are prepared to stay hidden for a long time.

3. If you have wealth stored in dollars or securities, when the system fails, their value will be worth only the paper they are written on. There is a possibility that, when/if the system comes back online, those pieces of paper may still be negotiable, but their mere existence is a piece of the reason why the system collapsed in the first place. Therefore, turning your paper assets into commodities that have a history of storing wealth is the way to go. Is that gold or silver? Is it chocolate, toilet paper, cigarettes or alcohol? Is it seeds, tools, clothing or good shoes? Guns and ammo? A combination of the above? That will be for you to (prayerfully) decide.

But, when the system collapses, food, water and shelter will be in short supply because millions will have not prepared at all so getting them ready now is a good idea. Under those conditions, people will become desperate; some will be ruthless. Since you cannot eat gold and silver and survival will be universal priority #1, wealth stored on one’s person will be a liability. So, storing wealth, however you (prayerfully) deem proper, in a safe place, to be revisited when it can be put to good use is, in my opinion, a rational solution to the "wealth dilemma."

It may be easy for me to say because we have no assets to worry about and food, water and shelter are our only considerations. Plus, we have faith that, with an ounce of preparation, God sends us where we are supposed to be and provides what we need to continue being of service and will continue to do so until our services are no longer needed. But I also think that good people with assets should take intelligent precautions now to prevent their stored wealth from falling into the wrong hands so it will be available when the time comes to rebuild community. (DWH)