Letter Re: Some Thoughts on Bartering and Disaster Preparedness

Greetings Jim,
I hope this letter finds you well. I wanted to touch on a few topics that may interest some of your readers.

I have been in many phases of the construction trade for 18 years, I live on the edge a medium sized city, and like so many others, because of my work, and the need for a population to support my livelihood, my options are limited as to where I live, so I will have to make do with where I am. Being in the construction industry, I learned early on that it’s Feast or Feathers, so the mentality of not over extending myself is a practiced form of life. The first thing I did to prepare for the inevitable, and sustained “feathers” portion of the economy was to make my home purchase one that would not over extend me debt wise. Second, was the ability to pay the taxes without too much pain. I believe that property tax, is going to be the focus of local governments in the near future, especially as they look for ways to close in on mounting deficits . Give them a reason to confiscate, and they surely will move in that direction in favor of revenue enhancing programs. Given that property tax is almost always adjusted up to reflect the improvements on your home, I have seen mine literally double in 4 years, and I still have two major projects left before my property is ( considered by me) a suitable, safe place to ride “it” out.

I have focused on building a bartering network to offset the cost of projects.Most of my improvements have been done in the form of bartering with other trades people. Bartering has also allowed me to acquire expensive services that would otherwise set me back financially, I trade with my dentist, my lawyer, my accountant. and even with a couple of suppliers. I have found that many of these professions are eager to avoid the hassles and punitive measures that often accompany the regular coarse of business. Which brings me to my next point. Permits and Inspections.

Home improvements always come with an array of rules and regulation, many of these are understandable for safety sake, However, many are simply [revenue] fodder. (A permit for the replacement of a hot water heater, for example.) But one thing they all have in common is that it allows your Local Government to know things that should otherwise be none of their business. Pulling permits to see who has what, and who has done what, where, is something that can be used against citizens in times of crisis.

The Government surely doesn’t inform it’s citizens when it undertakes a project to protect it’s leaders for times of emergency. (The massive bunker built for the US Congress beneath the Greenbriar Hotel in West Virginia comes to mind ) The citizen preparing for times of crisis or worse, should not be fooled into thinking that the permit they pulled to build that hidden underground room for food,ammo, supplies and “other” storage and equipment won’t be used against them to search for supplies that can be redistributed for the “good of the public” I certainly do not advocate living life by breaking laws, But we live in times that I feel warrant certain acts of self preservation.

In making a decision to build, some of the more elaborate projects, such as, subterranean bunkers, with concrete ceilings/ outdoor patio. require engineering to be built safely, so do your homework and don’t scrimp on safety. Search out Tradesmen who are thoroughly experienced in their field, and follow their advice and recommendations.

Remember to offer your line of expertise, if you have a skill, or profession, no matter what it may be, you may be able trade out some or part of your project. speak up!, don’t be shy make an offer, bartering/trading deals are no longer made in back rooms and bar rooms, it has become a widely accepted form of doing business, every single trade in the construction industry is marred with inspections and regulations, government intrusion and permissions.. tradesmen are happy to avoid the ones they can… If you do trade, remember to emphasis networking, trading is fast becoming one of the only affordable ways to get yourself in position for the inevitable. if you have a tradesman working for you who needs car repairs, dental work, landscaping or even a baby-sitter for his kids.. offer to “spread the word”..practice this form of doing business now. If you are a simple construction worker like myself, don’t shy away from the high end professions like doctors, lawyers, and dentists. Many of them are eager to trade.

May God bless us through difficult times, and may the coming challenges give us strength to endure. – Larry O.

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