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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Middle Class Woes, New FTC Rules, 7 At-Home Jobs

FTC Red Flag Rules, 7 At-Home Jobs, Outlook

At the end of 2006, many of my ‘inner circle’ of dealers and eBay sellers scoffed when I told them to get rid of stuff as quickly as possible to avoid the fall in prices and demand. They’re not laughing now.
Many of my dealer friends have left the business entirely or have finally downsized their inventories. The recession is over suggests many recent headlines, but I beg to differ. So long as people aren’t working and the government is spending us into oblivion, the recession is not over with.
No, I don’t have a crystal ball, but one doesn’t need to be a psychic to see what has been happening. Common sense tells us everything, including economics, is cyclical. Long time readers of my columns noted that since 1986 I’ve been highly critical of government and Wall Street policies, which I predicted would lead to some kind of crash.

Right now, I’m telling my circle to invest in some kind of foreign currency as a hedge AND no, I’m not a financial planner either!


7 Unusual Work-From-Home Jobs
Once you had to be a graphic designer, a consultant, or a freelance copywriter if you wanted to ditch your cubicle and make money in your pajamas. But advances in technology have brought work-from-home jobs to nearly every business sector.
If you're ready to trade your morning car-commute for a quick stroll over to your home computer, consider these unusual work-from-home possibilities:
* Concierge -- Ask for restaurant recommendations


Stay Away from so-called mortgage rescue firms. Neighbor Works America ( has teamed up with other non-profits to warn homeowners against scam artists. Here are a couple of legitimate resources you can use:
· Homeownership Preservation Foundation-HOPE at 1-888-995-4673 or
· Find HUD approved groups which offer free foreclosure assistance at: www.findaforeclosurecounselor.og
· File complaints against scammers by contacting your Attorney Generals office (see our site for links to all 50 states) or call the FTC at: 1-877-382-4357

The Dollar's Worst Market, Ever.
We've had bear markets in the dollar before, but none as wicked as the current one. The dollar has now lost more than 40% of its value since 2001 — and is likely to lose as much as another 50%, before it's ultimately replaced as the world's reserve currency. You might wish to consider stashing some cash into a foreign currency such as the Canadian dollar as a hedge.
Steps you should be taking NOW ...
From an environmental and social perspective, naturally, you should become acutely aware of the problems Mother Earth faces in the years ahead. That means being more respectful to the environment, more conserving and recycling what you can.
Each of us has to do our part. Not only to help Mother Earth, but to help those less fortunate than us and in desperate need of resources we take for granted.
We have reached peak oil and it’s showing itself again with higher prices; already starting before Thanksgiving. Since being forewarned by the Arab Oil Embargo of 1974, our government has never initiated any kind of viable energy policy AND lip service doesn’t solve anything.
The end of the middle class in the USA?
“[Those in the] middle class suddenly discover that they are overqualified for the jobs they can find and have to settle for anything they can obtain, therefore unemployment sky rockets: too much to offer, too little demand. You see they prepare, study for a job they are not going to get. You kids, you are studying Architecture because you simply wish to do so. Only 3 or 4 percent of you will actually find a job related to architecture.”

We all sat there, letting it all sink in. After a few months, it all proved to be true. Even the amount of students that dropped out of college increased to at least 50%. They either [saw] no point in studying something that would not make much of a difference in their future salaries, had no money to keep themselves in college, or simply had to drop college to work and support their families.
Fernando Aguirre, who posts on Internet forums and his blog as FerFAL, has written voluminously about his experiences as an Argentine citizen during and after the economic cataclysm that wracked his country in 2001.
This reads like a premonition.

The USA’s middle-class includes lots of people whose careers rest on higher education and specialized certification. While plumbers, electricians, factory employees and truck drivers typically are among the middle-class, most of those populating suburbia are accountants, middle managers, sales people, financial consultants, teachers, nurses, writers, etc. In other words, as manufacturing and now building activity contract, more of the middle class is made up of the college-educated in white-collar careers.
Across the economy, the need to cut employment costs (not just payroll, but payroll taxes and benefits) is resulting in mass layoffs of sales people and white-collar office staff. When one considers how much work can be replaced now by accounting software, electronic sales presentations, flatter organizational structures, and “news persons” filing reports for free on the Internet via blogs, it is obvious that vast numbers of middle-class Americans teeter on the precipice of unemployability, not just unemployment.
Is the economic tide sinking middle America?

Are you complying with the Red Flags Rule?
The Red Flags Rule requires many businesses and organizations to implement a written Identity Theft Prevention Program designed to detect the warning signs – or "red flags" – of identity theft in their day-to-day operations. Are you covered by the Red Flags Rule? Read Fighting Fraud with the Red Flags Rule: A How-To Guide for Business to:
· Find out if the rule applies to your business or organization;
· Get practical tips on spotting the red flags of identity theft, taking steps to prevent the crime, and mitigating the damage it inflicts; and
· Learn how to put in place your written Identity Theft Prevention Program.
By identifying red flags in advance, you'll be better equipped to spot suspicious patterns when they arise and take steps to prevent a red flag from escalating into a costly episode of identity theft. Take advantage of other resources on this site to educate your employees and colleagues about complying with the Red Flags Rule.

Why We’re Moving to MI

Right now, Detroit is as close as any city in America to becoming a food desert, not just another metropolis like Chicago, Philadelphia, or Cleveland with a bunch of small- and medium-sized food deserts scattered about, but nearly a full-scale, citywide food desert. (A food desert is defined by those who study them as a locality from which healthy food is more than twice as far away as unhealthy food, or where the distance to a bag of potato chips is half the distance to a head of lettuce.)
About 80 percent of the residents of Detroit buy their food at the one thousand convenience stores, party stores, liquor stores, and gas stations in the city. There is such a dire shortage of protein in the city that Glemie Dean Beasley, a seventy-year-old retired truck driver, is able to augment his Social Security by selling raccoon carcasses (twelve dollars a piece, serves a family of four) from animals he has treed and shot at undisclosed hunting grounds around the city. Pelts are ten dollars each. Pheasants are also abundant in the city and are occasionally harvested for dinner.

One of our long-term goals is to acquire a 5-10 acre farm that we can make into a self- sufficient teaching farm!

This is a short one for the week as we’re hoping to depart the desert Saturday, take our time driving and reach MI by Tuesday. Enjoy and feel free to email us as we’ll be checking in during the evening via a wireless connection.

Yours for better living – Bruce ‘The Poor Man’

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