How to Break Up with the Financial System

By DAISY LUTHER | ORGANIC PREPPER | MARCH 26, 2013

Breaking up is hard to do, especially when it is with a tracking service like a financial institution.

Sometimes you can make a clean break and other times you have to remain “just friends”.

The US government actually has a name for people who have no bank accounts – they call these folks “the unbanked”.  The FDIC defines the unbanked as “those without an account at a bank or other financial institution and are considered to be outside the mainstream for one reason or another.”  Another term is “the underbanked” – “people or businesses that have poor access to mainstream financial services normally offered by retail banks. The underbanked can be characterized by a strong reliance on non-traditional forms of finance and micro-finance often associated with disadvantaged and the poor, such as check cashers, loan sharks and pawnbrokers.

According to the government, the above scenarios are crisis situations which must be rectified for “your own good”.  There is legislation on the table in many states to set up banking facilities for the unbanked and underbanked.  The assumption is that most folks who do not deal with a bank are too poor to do so.  This could be true in many cases: high minimum balances, bad credit history, NSFs, and account fees can all preclude having a bank account for those in difficult financial straits.

However, the government has a couple more reasons to insist that everyone should have a bank account:

1.)   Ease of confiscation

We need only to look at the horrible situation in Cyprus to see how bank accounts are like all-you-can-steal-buffets for the powers that be.  A suggested theft TAX of up to 20% of the money in Cypriot bank accounts may be levied in order for the country to meet it’s staggering debts in the terms of the proposed EU bailout.  The banks of Cyprus are loaded with the money of residents and businesses of other countries that have used them as a tax haven.  The banks have been closed for several days and frantic customers are left to withdraw the maximum daily balances from ATM machines in an attempt to salvage what they can.  Many people fear the banks will never reopen their doors.

Think it can’t happen here?  I wonder if the people of Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Hungary, Argentina, Spain, and Portugal thought that too.

2.)  Surveillance

The second reason that “everyone should have access to banking services” is the digital trail that it leaves.  Every dime you receive and spend out of these accounts is part of an intricate system of surveillance.  When your money goes into a bank – any bank – Big Brother knows about it.  It’s a simple matter of compiling information via your social security number (or other federally- assigned number) to find out how much you make, how much you have, and where it comes from.  This can be used to prosecute you for tax purposes, to locate you through where your pay comes from, and to follow your personal money trail for a variety of different reasons.

It can also be used to track your spending – Big Brother can find out that you spent $2000 at a gun store, that you purchased online from a prepper supply website or that you bought some books with “questionable” content in order to paint you as a threat.

Unbanking

So, in this day and age, is it possible to get by completely without a bank account?

It’s tough.  Most work places prefer to pay through direct deposit.  Many landlords, mortgage companies and finance companies do business through direct debit.  You’re going to pay some steep fees if this is the route that you choose to go.  For some, it might be worth it, particularly if you only have a few transactions in a month.

Here are some places you can cash checks for a fee:

  • Check cashing depots
  • Some retailers like Walmart, 7-11, and some grocery stores (the number of these is dropping rapidly)
  • Pawn shops
  • The issuing bank will sometimes cash a check drawn from one of their accounts for a non-account holder
  • Some prepaid credit card accounts will accept a direct deposit (in my opinion, this is nearly as unsafe as having your money in a bank account)
  • Through a friend or family member’s account (also risky – for both you and the account holder)

Here are some ways you can pay bills without a bank account:

  • In person, with cash, cashier’s checks, or money orders
  • Through the mail, with cashier’s checks or money orders
  • Online, with prepaid credit cards
  • Through a kiosk using a prepaid credit card
  • At a check-cashing depot or retailer

Underbanking

Your next option is underbanking.  For some people this may be the most realistic way to break up with their bank – it’s the “just friends” version.  If you have a lot of transactions that go through your account every month, it isn’t necessarily practical to get rid of your account.  Keep in mind that all of the above methods of unbanking still have a component of financial tracking.  The checks and bills still have your personal information tied to them in most cases.

When you underbank, you still have an account.  Set this up with the lowest possible fee and the lowest possible required balance.  Shop around to find the best deal.  Consider a credit union or community bank instead of one of the big mega-banks.  They are slightly safer, emphasis on slightly.

Your paychecks from work can be directly deposited, which will make your employer happy.  Employers rarely want to do something outside the norm, and if everyone else gets their pay directly deposited, writing a check for you will make you stand out – the opposite of what you want to do.  As well, any other checks you receive, like refunds, tax returns, etc., can be processed through this account.

The goal here is to keep as little money as possible in this account.  Banks are no longer the safest place to keep your money, and the .00001% of interest you will accrue is just not worthwhile.

Immediately upon payday:

  • Pay all your bills online or through a kiosk out of this account – rent, utilities, credit card payments (hopefully you don’t have those)
  • Buy necessities like groceries if you need to reduce the amount in the account for withdrawal purposes
  • Calculate the amount of payments that will be coming out of your account between now and your next pay (rent/mortgage, car payment, insurance)
  • Remove all money except that required for impending debits and your minimum balance.  Get it in cash.

Avoid Financial Surveillance

The government wants everyone to have a bank account for another reason besides quick accessibility for the purpose of thievery.  Big Brother wants to know what you earn, what you spend, and where you spend it.  Every penny you spend could one day be used against you, as more and more things become illegal in the police state that is taking over the western world.

Use your bank account as little as possible if you’ve chosen to underbank:

  • Buy stuff with cash
  • Skip registering your belongings by serial number for warranty purposes
  • For heaven’s sakes, don’t get one of those “customer loyalty” cards that track every purchase you make and provide you with “rewards” or “points”
  • Buy from places that don’t track you, like yard sales, Craigslist, farmer’s markets, roadside stands, your brother’s friend’s sister’s boyfriend
  • Work for cash: this is another suggestion that won’t work for everybody, but if you can do some odd jobs for cash, even if you make slightly less money doing so, this is money that can’t be tracked.

Think about how your purchases tell a story about you that you might rather keep to yourself.  Are you buying lots of farm equipment, soil amendments and seeds?  Are you buying ammo every week?  Are you stocking away large quantities of food or medical supplies?  Have you recently purchased 2,347 books on different guerrilla warfare tactics?  OPSEC is more than just keeping your mouth shut about your prepperly ways.

Ditch the Dollar

Although you require some fiat currency to function in today’s society, as well as some in an emergency fund,  consider using other forms of currency whenever possible.  The following suggestions won’t work for everyone, but some folks may be able to ditch the dollar in the following ways:

  • Engage in the barter system: trade goods and services with like-minded people.
  • Keep precious metals like gold and silver in a fireproof safe for your “savings account”
  • Immediately convert  fiat currency into tangible goods: food, ammo, home defense items, tools, etc.
  • Work towards self-sufficiency – if you buy less, you can earn less: grow your food, repair your own home or vehicle, do things manually instead of using expensive equipment, lessen your dependency on the grid
  • Simplify – this goes hand in hand with self sufficiency: find your entertainment from library books and online resources, skip eating out, take a walk instead of joining a gym – the less you feel you need, the less money you will have to earn.

The decision to unbank or underbank is unique to every individual.  The further away you can get from “the system” the more privacy and security you will have.  The suggestions above are not meant to be comprehensive – they’re meant to get you thinking about how you can disengage.  As always, your suggestions in the comments can greatly benefit others!

How Globalism Destroys Jobs, Businesses And Wealth

American Dream
July 14, 2011

As most Americans stand around waiting for the U.S. economy to return to “normal”, there is a never ending parade of jobs, businesses and wealth heading out of the United States.  The jobs and businesses that are leaving are gone for good and will not be coming back.  This is causing unemployment to soar and government debt to skyrocket but our politicians are doing nothing about it.  Instead, politicians from both parties keep insisting that they will solve all of our problems if we will just give them our votes.

Meanwhile, American families continue to fill up their shopping carts with cheap plastic crap made on the other side of the world.  Globalism is slowly destroying the greatest economic machine that the world has ever seen and most Americans don’t even realize it.  Today, the U.S. government has surrendered massive amounts of economic sovereignty to global organizations such as the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank.  The United States has also entered into a whole host of very damaging “free trade agreements” such as NAFTA that are costing our economy huge numbers of jobs.  Our politicians always promised us that globalism would bring us to a new level of prosperity, but instead that “giant sucking sound” that you hear is the sound of the U.S. economy being hollowed out.

Our politicians and the talking heads in the mainstream media always seem to be puzzled as to why there seems to be such a lack of jobs in this country.

But it really is no great mystery.

Jeffrey Pfeffer recently wrote an article for Fortune in which he stated the following….

The U.S. seems to be shocked that its economy isn’t creating many jobs, and each monthly report on the unemployment rate and the number of new jobs somehow stimulates more handwringing. I’m not an economist, labor or otherwise, but simple observation suggests one significant contributor to the nation’s job crisis — for a long time, maybe even decades, we have been waging war on jobs and those who hold them.

That is exactly what the policies of the U.S. government have been doing for decades – they have been waging war on jobs.

Both political parties have been eagerly pushing us into a globalized economy.  Both political parties have told us not to worry as thousands of businesses, millions of jobs and trillions of dollars have left the country.

Well, so much damage has been done by this point that more Americans than ever are starting to wake up and realize that maybe globalism is not such a great thing after all.

Here is how globalism has destroyed our jobs, our businesses and our national wealth in 10 easy steps….

#1 Globalism has merged the U.S. economy with economies that allow slave labor wages.

The “minimum wage” became a whole lot less meaningful once we merged our economy with the economies of nations where it is legal to pay workers 50 cents an hour.

American workers have enjoyed all of the cheap products that have come flooding into our shores, but our politicians never told them that globalism would also mean that they would soon be directly competing for jobs with workers on the other side of the globe that are willing to work for 5 or 10 percent as much.

One big, global labor pool means that the standard of living of the hundreds of millions of workers on the other side of the world will come up slightly while the standard of living of American workers will come crashing down at a blinding pace.

Advocates of globalism never can seem to explain how U.S. workers are supposed to compete with teenage workers in Vietnam that often work seven days a week for as little as 6 cents an hour making promotional toys for big corporations.

#2 U.S. companies make bigger profits by sending jobs overseas.

If U.S. corporations can find a place where they can legally pay workers slave labor wages, what do you think they are going to do?

Corporations have a “duty to maximize shareholder wealth” and U.S. government policies actually have the effect of encouraging the offshoring of jobs.

This is even happening in industries that are on the cutting edge of new technology.

Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel, says that our advanced technology companies are creating far more jobs overseas than they are in the United States….

Some 250,000 Foxconn employees in southern China produce Apple’s products. Apple, meanwhile, has about 25,000 employees in the U.S. That means for every Apple worker in the U.S. there are 10 people in China working on iMacs, iPods, and iPhones. The same roughly 10-to-1 relationship holds for Dell, disk-drive maker Seagate Technology (STX), and other U.S. tech companies.

#3 Globalism has allowed foreign countries to dominate a whole host of industries that used to be dominated by the United States.

U.S. companies are having an incredibly difficult time competing against the low labor costs and the much less stringent business regulations found on the other side of the globe.

In May, the United States spent 50 billion dollars more on goods and services from the rest of the globe than they spent on goods and services from us.

This happens month after month after month.

Every month we get tens of billions of dollars poorer and the rest of the world gets tens of billions of dollars richer.

We are getting clobbered even in industries that we invented.

Do you remember when the United States was the dominant manufacturer of automobiles and trucks on the globe?  Well, in 2010 the U.S. ran a trade deficit in automobiles, trucks and parts of $110 billion.

In 2010, South Korea exported 12 times as many automobiles, trucks and parts to us as we exported to them.

How did this happen?

Well, there are a lot of reasons, but one big reason is that the business environment in the United States has become incredibly toxic.  Businesses in this country face a nightmarish web of rules and regulations and that is a big reason why so many businesses are choosing to leave this country.

In a recent article for Forbes, John Mariotti made a list of just a few of the bureaucracies that U.S. businesses must contend with on a daily basis….

#4 Jobs and manufacturing infrastructure are being lost at an astounding pace and they are not going to come back.

Jobs and manufacturing facilities are leaving this country at a blinding pace.  Nothing is being done to stop this from happening.  These jobs are not coming back and they are not being replaced.

Just consider the following statistics….

*The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.

*Between December 2000 and December 2010, 38 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Ohio were lost, 42 percent of the manufacturing jobs in North Carolina were lost and 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Michigan were lost.

*The United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

*Since 2001, over 42,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have been closed down.

So what are all of those workers doing today?

There are sitting at home trying to figure out what has happened to the once happy lives that they enjoyed.

Today, there are 6.3 million Americans that have been unemployed for more than 6 months.  That number has risen by more than 3.5 million in just the past two years.

Right now, it takes the average unemployed worker almost 40 weeks to find a new job.  There are not nearly enough jobs for everyone and the competition for the few job openings that are available is brutal.

Only 66.8% of American men had a job last year.  That was the lowest level that has ever been recorded in all of U.S. history.

We have millions upon millions of very hard working Americans that are sitting around hoping that someone will give them a job.

But labor costs about 10 percent as much on the other side of the world so that is where all the jobs are going.

#5 Workers without good jobs can’t buy houses or cars.

A huge factor in the housing crash has been the lack of good jobs.  There are now approximately 10 percent fewer middle class jobs than there were a decade ago.

As competition for jobs increases, wages are being depressed because employers know that they have all the power.

So working class American families are being squeezed like never before.

Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.  A nice home is becoming out of reach for a lot of Americans.

Meanwhile, the cost of food and the cost of gas continue to rise.

One recent survey found that 9 out of 10 U.S. workers do not expect their wages to keep up with soaring food prices and soaring gas prices over the next 12 months.

#6 If American workers don’t have jobs they aren’t paying taxes.

Most Americans have no idea how much our trade deficit contributes to our government debt problems.  When Americans are not working, they are not paying taxes to support our federal, state and local governments.

In the years since 1975, the United States had run a total trade deficit of 7.5 trillion dollars with the rest of the world.

That is money that could have gone to U.S. workers and U.S. businesses.  That is money that taxes could have been paid on.

Instead, our workers are sitting at home and our federal, state and local governments are starving for cash.

#7 Instead of receiving taxes, the government must pay out money to our unemployed workers instead.

We are going to support our unemployed workers one way or another.  Either we are going to give them good jobs or we are going to give them welfare payments.

During the recent economic downturn, millions of American workers have been receiving unemployment benefits for up to 99 weeks.  It has become soul-crushingly difficult to find a job in America today, and we have developed a whole new class of people that have become totally dependent on the government because they simply cannot find work.

Everywhere you look, government anti-poverty programs are exploding in size.

As 2007 began, there were 26 million Americans on food stamps.  Today, there are more than 44 million Americans on food stamps, which is a new all-time record.

#8 As jobs and businesses leave our shores, many of our once great manufacturing cities have been transformed into hellholes.

In a recent article entitled “American Hellholes“, I talked about the economic decay that we are seeing all over the United States….

All over the nation many of our greatest cities are being slowly but surely transformed into post-apocalyptic wastelands.  All over the mid-Atlantic, all along the Gulf coast, all throughout the “rust belt” and all over the entire state of California cities that once had incredibly vibrant economies are being turned into rotting, post-industrial hellholes. In many U.S. cities, the “real” rate of unemployment is over 30 percent. There are some communities that will start depressing you almost the moment that you drive into them. It is almost as if all of the hope has been sucked right out of those communities.  If you live in one of those American hellholes you know what I am talking about.  Sadly, it is not just a few cities that are becoming hellholes.  This is happening in the east, in the west, in the north and in the south.  America is literally being transformed right in front of our eyes.

#9 The United States ends up borrowing back most of the money that it sends overseas every single month.

Every month tens of billions of dollars of our national wealth gets transferred to foreign countries.  In order to make ends meet, our federal, state and local governments end up borrowing gigantic amounts of money from the countries that we have sent our wealth to.

So now we have a national debt that is well over 14 trillion dollars and we owe massive amounts of money to countries like China and Saudi Arabia.

But when we borrow money from other countries that makes us even poorer in the long run.  Debt is never the answer to anything.

#10 Foreign countries are using up some of the wealth that we send them every month to buy up our infrastructure.

Most Americans don’t realize that our state and local governments are selling off our infrastructure piece by piece.  Foreign governments are literally buying pieces of America with the money that we keep sending to them.  In a recent article entitled “Our Politicians Are Selling Off Pieces Of America To Foreign Investors – And Goldman Sachs Is Helping Them Do It“, I talked about this phenomenon….

State and local governments across the country that are drowning in debt and that are desperate for cash are increasingly turning to the “privatization” of public assets as the solution to their problems.  Pieces of infrastructure that taxpayers have already paid for such as highways, water treatment plants, libraries, parking meters, airports and power plants are being auctioned off to the highest bidder.  Most of the time what happens is that the state or local government receives a huge lump sum of cash up front for a long-term lease (usually 75 years or longer) and the foreign investors come in and soak as much revenue out of the piece of infrastructure that they possibly can.  The losers in these deals are almost always the taxpayers.  Pieces of America are literally being auctioned off just to help state and local governments minimize their debt problems for a year or two, but the consequences of these deals will be felt for decades.

Sadly, neither political party seems concerned about the effects of globalism at all.

In fact, both parties continue to push for even more globalism.

But large numbers of ordinary Americans are waking up.

According to a recent Washington Post poll, only 36 percent of Americans consider “the increasing interconnection of the global economy” to be a positive thing.  Back in 2001, 60 percent of Americans believed that the globalization of the economy was a positive thing.

So maybe there is a glimmer of hope.

But until fundamental changes are actually made, globalism will continue to destroy our jobs, our businesses and our national wealth.