Playing the Game…

note: originally posted August 2015 – written by Mike (guest writer)

The politicians are at it again, or I guess I should say “at it some more”, since the political season never ends. More  lies, more promises (that’s redundant), and more finger pointing. Time magazine (which I do not read) called it the “Game of Thrones”. On their cover (August 2015) they have a picture of Bush the Younger juxtaposed with William the Slippery. What a pair of jokers… and the joke has been on “We the People”. The connected class plays the game of thrones and we get to be the serfs.

What does this have to do with prepping? Read on…

Time got one thing right, life is a game, isn’t it? We all want to win, right? To win, or even to play well, we need to know the rules. Do the rules you learned growing up still apply? I’d say not much.

I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, which was a strange dichotomy. The crazy “free love”, sex, drugs, and Rock n Roll 60’s, colliding with the Ozzie and Harriet 50’s. Worse yet, my parents were shaped by the late 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s. Both parents lived through the Depression, then WW2, and those two events shaped their lives. I was brought up to vote, pay your taxes, work hard, and learn all I could. College was encouraged, but my Dad made it clear he learned more from “the school of hard knocks” than any classroom. I was told things like:

  • “Never be afraid of a little honest dirt and sweat.”
  • “If you say ‘I can’t’, you will always be right”

If you are reading this blog you might have heard the same sort of stuff from your parents and teachers. I heard more of the same from my Marine DI’s:

  • “Second place is last place.”
  • “Pain is weakness leaving the body.”
  • “To err is human, to forgive divine, neither is USMC policy”

Are those still the rules? Is that what is taught in school today? Is that what most parents teach their kids?

Yes, I’m a dinosaur, and if I had a PC bone in my body, I’d break it myself. It seems to me the rules have changed, and not for the better. Today, everyone gets a trophy, teachers can’t grade in red ink, and colleges have free speech zones…except only politically correct speech is authorized. What crap!

Here is where this has lead us…according to data released by the census bureau in the fourth quarter of 2011:

  • 50% percent of Americans received benefits from one or more government programs. That’s 151 million out of 306 million population (2011). Yes, that includes 49,901,000 on Social Security, which they (we) theoretically paid for. Did we really pay for it? Yeah sure, but the money we paid has been squandered by the politicians.
  • Most of these same people are among the 46,440,000 on Medicare. Will I soon find myself forced onto Medicare? Yes. Do I want some money from the Social Security Ponzi fund I’ve paid into for all these years? YOU BET I DO. Will I get it? Maybe.
  • Consider also the 49,073,000 on food stamps.
  • The 23,228,000 in the Women, Infants and Children program.
  • The 20,223,000 getting Supplemental Security Income.
  • There were also 13,433,000 who lived in public or subsidized rental housing.
  • Then the 5,098,000 who got unemployment (all 99+ weeks of it).
  • The figures also include 364,000 who got railroad retirement benefits, which I assume they actually did work for.
  • There were also 3,178,000 who got veterans’ benefits, and as a veteran, I know we really worked, sweated, and sometimes bled for those benefits.

In total, the Census Bureau estimated 151,014,000 Americans (out of a population then estimated to be 306,804,000) received benefits from one or more government programs during the last three months of 2011.

This is only the money spent inside the US, and given to individuals. There are hundreds of billions more dollars spent in corporate welfare and foreign aid. Pay for play, and it will not go away.

Is this sustainable? Hell no, and some of us know it.

The new rules? Money for nothing and your checks for free. (Apologies to Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits)

Free money for the politicians, and free money for the sheeple. Our money.

Do I blame those who receive these benefits? No, because it’s human nature to do what is perceived as in their own best interest. Free stuff is hard to argue with.

Those are the new free money rules, most of which suck, but here is the solution:

Vote for the guy (or gal) with the “R” after their name they will fix everything, right? After all, they said so! Over and over again they’ve said so. “We will restore fiscal responsibility, balance the budget, close the borders, support the troops, follow the Constitution, blah, blah, blah”… Personally, I don’t believe a word of it. It’s all BS. You don’t believe the “R’s” either? Can’t trust them?

How about the other solution?

Vote for the other folks with the “D” after their name and they will ride to the rescue. After all, they said so too! Over and over again they’ve said so. Every year the “D’s” say to their constituents, “Your life sucks, the man is keeping you down, you have no chance, but if you vote for us it will all be better… next year.” How can you hear that from “the man” for 20, 30, 50 or more years, and not catch on to the scam? Free stuff.

Did you buy the line about voting for Hope and Change? That plan has sure worked well, they gave you hope and now what you have left is the small change. What actually changed? The name on the door.

Big government is the rule, so shut up and get back to work, someone has to pay those taxes. If you don’t believe  either the “D’s” or the “R’s” what can you do? Keep voting and expecting something different? Why would people do that? Because for most people, the scam still works, they continue to reflexively vote for the same bunch, D or R, year after year. Different promises, different faces, and all lies. Have any of those promises, other than more free stuff, come to pass? Will any of those promises ever be fulfilled? Is there anyone who will really work to decrease the spending, intrusion, and regulation? Will anyone actually “do the right thing” while increasing our personal Liberty? Not likely. Not without being forced to do so.

It is obvious that the “D’s” or “R’s” are the only parties who have a chance of getting elected, even though there isn’t a dimes worth the difference between them. The new boss is the same as the old boss, AND if you have the correct status, it’s oh so sweet. THOSE are the rules which have NOT changed. These are the same rules we’ve been playing by for at least 70 (or maybe 170) years. “Connected = easy street.”

The Congress as a whole has an approval rating in the neighborhood of 10%, and yet 95% of them get re-elected every time. How does that happen? It happens not only because a lot of people buy into the scam, it happens because so many are bought and paid for by the scam. It’s hard to argue with free stuff.

Here is my solution to the problem, and it’s where the “prepper” part comes in…

If asked, one of the attributes most prepper’s claim is a clearer vision of reality. The ability to see and deal with reality is supposed to make us different than the average sheeple. Part of being prepared is directly related to recognizing that bad things can happen. We have a plan, we have food, a water source, weapons, etc. It’s usually quite a long list. You plan the work, work the plan, to save your ass.

The reality many of us have not recognized is that we are really, really helpless. When it comes to constructive change and influencing the government, there is really almost nothing we can do. Even at the local level it is almost impossible. How many emails have you written? How many politicians have you contacted? Letters to the editor? PTA meetings? Town halls? Donations. Vote, vote, vote… and what has it achieved? Nothing, in fact things are getting worse. So what can we do?

It’s simple, we can stop feeding the beast.

Oh, you can still go to meetings, write the letters, make the calls, and continue to vote, but try doing a few new things as well:

  • Minimize your taxable income.
  • No more political donations.
  • Vote, but NEVER vote for the incumbent.
  • While I would never suggest doing something illegal, I do suggest doing whatever you can to legally cut down on the support you give to government.
  • Let your city, county, state, and the federal government do with less. Can you barter? Can you take Uber instead of a taxed and regulated cab?
  • Can you drive across a border for a lower sales tax? Can you move to another county or state and lower your property taxes?
  • Be creative and find new ways to suck them dry.
  • Can you retire early?
  • Are YOU eligible for some sort of benefits? If so take them! Why not keep as much of your own money as you can, and get some of the free stuff that is being offered?

There are hundreds of ways to stop feeding the beast, and carve a little more off for yourself. Remember, there is no such thing as a “loophole” in the law, the law was written that way for someone’s benefit, and it might as well be you. Living a minimalist lifestyle does not have to mean living in a tent (unless you want to). What I think it should mean is minimizing your contribution. Stop throwing chum in the water! Let the feeding frenzy die from starvation. The cockroaches in the bureaucratic woodwork depend on US. We can’t fumigate them, we can’t step on them, and they won’t just go away, so my alternative is to starve them.

By some estimates the government at all levels wastes as much as 30% of what it takes in. THAT IS OUR MONEY THEY ARE WASTING! Paying your “fair share” means paying not one dime more than you absolutely must. Keep your money in your family, and use it wisely. I believe the most likely SHTF scenario is for an economic Armageddon. If I’m right, the sooner the economy resets, the less pain we will all feel.

Could this “depression” lead to war, famine, plague and a more complicated SHTF scenario? You damn well know it. Play their game to your benefit. Play the game of selfish preservation NOW, before the SHTF. You know you can’t feed all the starving masses in an SHTF situation, so why endanger your survival by doing it now?


By starving the beast and carving off more for you and yours, you can better prepare and maybe make things come to a head sooner.

Sooner begun, sooner done.

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