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Jul-03-2008 09:00printcomments

Depression in U.S. is Looming: What are People Going to Do?

What would John Steinbeck think?
Photo of Tennessee woman and her children from 1936

(SALEM, Ore.) - It seems fair to state that even years into the war in Iraq, most of us figured we would get through this difficult national period. It wasn't the case for those who lost loved ones in the fighting overseas, but it still looked like the majority of American families might be able at least eventually, see the dawning of a new, better, and more peaceful era.

But now the ground is shaking beneath our very feet, and a natural disaster is not causing it, at least not all of it. A man-made disaster fueled by greed among our richest citizens has caused it, and that greed comes in the form of war, oil, oppression, and monetary insecurity.

Combine that with the way so many Americans live beyond their means through credit card debt, and you have real serious problems for millions who are used to living well, and have almost no concept yet of how bad things could be.

Just before we reached the new millennium, people were in a near panic thanks to a media-driven frenzy suggesting that things would "crash" and the Y2K movement generated millions of dollars. Why on earth is a similar thing not happening right now?

We are watching the obvious surge in oil and gasoline, and food products are rising in cost for a variety of reasons. The stock market keeps getting band aids, but eventually it may hemorrhage and things could change in a single day. Many fear that a looming crash will result in debts being called, and people will have no way to pay up because they owe far more than they have in the bank or even in home equity.

Then there is the housing crisis, where homes in many places like southern California, quickly saw their market value drop off to a fraction of what it was a few years ago.


Problems involving homeless people began to go out of control during the Ronald Reagan years. Money that had always been there to help the mentally ill evaporated and came back to Americans in other ways, resulting in the slogan "Reaganomics" and it worked well for many, and left our more vulnerable citizens in the dust. Today, people everywhere are losing their homes to the banks because they can't afford mortgage payments. Others who aren't buying their homes, are finding it increasingly more difficult to pay rent.

Big businesses in America are also failing. Daily newspapers across the land are tightening their belts and their staffs, as they watch revenue drop off year after year, with the "new media" Internet news gaining continuously. Airlines as we all know, are closing and reducing staff and service and paying tremendous costs for fuel.

Some Americans have their thinking caps on and are already considering ways to help others through this hard time. Our staff here at has been accused many times of being activists before reporters, and there may have never been a better time for us to do just that. We want to know what people are thinking.

  • Is is possible to build and develop sustainable communities off the standard power grid that are are not high priced gimmicks for the rich?
  • As a nation, do we have what it takes to help each other out to survive a major depression if the predictions become true?
  • What are the best states, cities and places for people to consider as an escape destination?
  • If a depression sweeps the nation, will millions turn to crime?

These are just a few pressing questions that need to be asked. Some of our more self absorbed citizens might take it as a joke and that is fine if they do, I will still feel pity for them if the time comes that I should. People should not always be accountable for refusing to believe seriously unpleasant possibilities, but may be wise to consider, really consider what is going on in this country.

The Great Depression occurred at a time when people were far more ignorant. They did not have the Internet, they barely had radios. The entertainment they sought was simple and often self generated. There are plenty alive who can fill in the details, but life was simpler then and people seemed to be happy with less. At that time, many Americans opened their doors to the hungry poor, and others like California state officials, treated the migrating "Okies" fleeing the Dust Bowl like second class citizens, as depicted in Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath."

Will people be decent? Will they come forward and work together? Places like Las Vegas, Nevada, a virtual island in the desert, could be cut off from the world very quickly, with a long highway being the only way out, and few opportunities for farming and organic living. There really is only so much food and it is dependent upon a successful mass transportation system. The possibility exists that we may have taken a great deal for granted in recent years when it comes to security.

If you have ideas that you want to share with others, then please write below in our comment section. If you have ideas that could lead to the establishment of places for the growing number of homeless people in the United States, then feel free to write to me privately at the email address listed below.

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. Today, in addition to his role as a war correspondent in Afghanistan where he spent the winter of 2006/07, this Los Angeles native serves as's Executive News Editor. is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website, affiliated with Google News and several other major search engines and news aggregators. Tim's coverage from Iraq that was set to begin in April has been delayed and may not take place until August, 2008. You can send Tim an email at this address:

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Horst April 8, 2018 4:45 pm (Pacific time)

It's been 10 years since this post. I'd love to hear from Tim- what are your thoughts now?

Giselle November 23, 2010 7:33 am (Pacific time)

I love PIE!!!!!!

republicans far right disaster October 3, 2008 7:32 am (Pacific time)

stock market down 21 per cent JObs almost 700,000 lost housing in a panic school lunch programs being dropped buses being parked for school children.. irag katrina privatizing everthing dfisaster republicon crooks and criminals caused this and should be kicked and tossed out of office just for that now the wall street melt down

Mahalo September 20, 2008 7:39 am (Pacific time)

I think a lot of people aren't preparing, because they are barely getting by. From what I've noticed, this economy has been gradually worsening since 9-11. I noticed back then that at least for my family, the cost of living raise wasn't even covering the increase in health insurance. That has continued, as well as a rapid increase in cost for just about everything. So I think it may have simply snuck up on a lot of people and has caught them off guard. People in my area have definately been "feeling" it for a while and know something is wrong with the economy. Some have lost their jobs, or with the increase in costs just don't have the money to stock up on extra's in case things get a lot worse.

Albert Marnell July 9, 2008 9:14 pm (Pacific time)

David Rockefeller has been trying to destroy the United States his whole life. His dream and those of the NWO are a world with one currency, one government run by global bankers and other unelected elites in business, academia, the military etc. C.F.R. is the same as the Bilderberg. People do not study the real reason that the United States is gone and who is behind it.

Henry Ruark July 9, 2008 8:22 pm (Pacific time)

Josh et al: Might be, if that was factual. Truth is that it will take years to bring anything on line, cost mints of money, and make little difference when it doth arrive. Appreciate your reasonable comment but check out facts of issue more closely, please. Will provide links here to help your further study, when time permits...series of meds visits on tap in next week or two.

Josh July 9, 2008 3:24 pm (Pacific time)

Henry is it not far better to increase domestic energy production (oil/natural gas), than having to import it from countries that can simply play us? I say drill now, and start reducing imports. This should not be a political issue but one party sure has made it that way, but I see they are coming around. How about you Henry?

sts July 8, 2008 9:32 am (Pacific time)

more from mike: (with permission) Health care is not on the radar of the people in congress because it doesn't affect them. After serving only one term in congress, people get a retirement and health care package that would amaze most working Americans, if they knew the details.

sts July 8, 2008 8:44 am (Pacific time)

a quick rant: I find it absurd, and basically criminal that congressmen/women have almost 200 million dollars invested in war-profiteering companies. It is an outrage, not only a conflict of interest. Congress approved 100 million dollars to the two national convention cities to buy secret weapons etc, to use on the American people. Our tax money not only goes to endless brutal wars, but for weapons that will eventually be aimed towards us. I am quite upset this morning, thanks for listening.

Henry Ruark July 7, 2008 5:03 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Facts triumph over spin and propaganda anytime --when well understood. Here's fact for you re how to slow down oil-price/rise; nothing will stop it, but this will definitely slow it: "Can Bush Attack Iran With Oil at $140 per Barrel?" By Jim Lobe, IPS News If U.S. President George W. Bush wants to boost Republican chances of holding on to the White House and keeping Democratic gains in Congress to a minimum in the November elections, he might consider taking an attack on Iran before the end of his administration "off the table." Of course, that's probably the last thing Bush -- and his particularly belligerent vice president, Dick Cheney -- will do. But there's a little doubt that forswearing military action against Tehran should ease the upwards pressure on world oil prices -- which hit a historic high Monday of more than 143 dollars per barrel before falling back to 140 dollars -- and thus offer at least some reprieve to the U.S. consumer at a time when record gasoline prices appear to be driving widespread popular dismay with the state of the U.S. economy." --------- "See with own eyes" via link and evaluate with own mind, vs my reporting here...also note this precise suggestion made here weeks ago, in Op Ed.

Henry Ruark July 7, 2008 2:44 pm (Pacific time)

$Oil$: Sir, your key-phrase is: "The increased domestic drilling will change everything, even before the first barrel of oil is pulled out of Anwar, or anyplace else that is a new production area." You speak with such simple surety I must challenge you to fulfill that phrase with details as to the changes you see coming in "everything". HOW can it change prices,monopoly-enforced ? Oil sands production in Canada repidly increased production ONE HUNDRED MILLION barrels --and still price ascended. IF oil-flow from new-drill achieved in ONLY five years, how do you suppose Saudis, Iraq, Iran will react ? Slight slash (1% or less) in their daily flow will kill off any additional price-pressure from tiny increment gained by newly drilled wells. Lastly, since we know ye only by symbolic name (!), why should we trust your expertise if that's what it is ? ID self with qualifications to build credibility, responsibility and accountability. OR do you have dollar-reason NOT to do so ? Has been known to happen right here on S-N... which is why we sometimes seek ID from repeated-participants.

Henry Ruark July 7, 2008 1:40 pm (Pacific time)

$Oil$ et al: You choose right symbol, which tells all we need to know from whence you cometh. No rational, reasonable person can any longer refuse to acknowledge Earth's plight brought on by plundering its resources. Oil has peaked, and we are precariously poised on the very point of that peak; no rapidity of further desperate drilling can offset that very simple fact, and will cost more in damage and destruction than offset by any small added supply, even when available --say, in five to ten years. A once-diverse economy is now in major death-spasm, put there by 30-yr. corporate and political plundering, killing off union representation, exporting jobs via deregulation, privatization and globalization. Are you prepared to continue that steady-flow ? Can you compete vs Chinese, Indian, East and S. American wages one-tenth or less than ours ? What do you suggest we do, to offset these checkable facts of life ? When you decide, suggest you, too, do Op Ed or two or three, to explain in detail. OR ,if you really have something to state, you could even run for office...

$OIL$ July 7, 2008 10:19 am (Pacific time)

I just don't see a depression happening because of the diversification of our economy. The so-called leaders want to keep power no matter what, so I soon expect to see them start pushing for more domestic oil production, because the public opinion polls are how they base their baseless leadership methodology, and the public wants more production. The increased domestic drilling will change everything, even before the first barrel of oil is pulled out of Anwar, or anyplace else that is a new production area. This will be a good thing, we need to break all importing oil ties. Our economy needs oil/natural gas to function, at this time.

Henry Ruark July 5, 2008 3:46 pm (Pacific time)

Sally et al: Thanks for your insightful evaluation of realities today. Taught 1st yr. in Great Depression days, in sawmill town where mill had burned. Was commonplace to have kids faint in classrm from hunger. That has a way of shaping attitudes towards this culture from which people seem now to need to learn AGAIN 'the hard way" --which is surely coming and soon. UNless and until we DO what Constitution provides for us to DO, forcing Congress AGAIN to hear us, pay attention to people's will, and ACT !

Sallie July 5, 2008 9:12 am (Pacific time)

My parents barely survived the great depression. The experience was forever etched in their soul. As children, we were taught frugality, the importance of not just a dollar, but a penny. We were also taught to be appreciative and thankful for the things we had. Unfortunately, history and past experiences are no longer being taught and society as it is today, reflects this. There is a feeling of entitlement, shallowness, consumerism and greed. We have become intoxicated with accumulating and buying things. We have all taken our freedoms and good fortunes for granted. We have become lazy and complacent. We have allowed our country to be taken over by corrupt and greedy politicians and corporations. It's sad to say this, but maybe a depression is what it's going to take to wake this country up.

Henry Ruark July 4, 2008 1:17 pm (Pacific time)

To all: For answers to most questions, "see with own eyes" at "Industry Execs Suggested Military Intervention" for the truth on-the-record about what Bush/Cheney sought in Iraq.

Salem Knucklehead July 4, 2008 12:12 pm (Pacific time)

I have been mediating on the issues of the american economy, and the middle eastern war. Food, gas, and engery costs are outragous. I would like names of thoses that are getting rich off of my misery.

globalized July 4, 2008 10:15 am (Pacific time)

Globalization was supposed to eventually be very good for the US as the Asian economies grew. I think quite the opposite will prove to be true

sts July 4, 2008 7:16 am (Pacific time)

the story from a most trusting, educated, politician (probably the only one left)...

Jim Adams July 3, 2008 9:32 pm (Pacific time)

In the future, millions may head for the Pacific Northwest to escape the heat and violent weather caused by Global Warming. To survive the onslaught, Oregon may become an independent republic as depicted in the 1975 novel Ecotopia. New survivalists are already learning how to farm, setting up solar energy systems, and stocking up on ammo to fend off marauding hordes who didn't prepare for the apocalypse.

Henry Ruark July 3, 2008 2:46 pm (Pacific time)

Josh et al: Must "beg to disagree", friend Josh. Given the stomach-churning fear already forcing financial flight from the U.S. to ANYwheer else, just one more small-shove may upset the entire damned line of dominos standing precariously propped up NOW. If "closed", that'll trigger tremulous further questions from millions as to "When" it will open-again --OR IF ! In such circumstance, will you wait to see what-to-do for anything left to you ? I doubt it...most will fly to whatever overseas shelter is still open... We may find it absolutely essential soon to learn to eat, if still habitual, with chop-sticks... !!

Henry Ruark July 3, 2008 1:34 pm (Pacific time)

To all: For striking insight into this deplorable, depressing, threatening but realistic view of where we really are, today, "see with own eyes" this Edit from The Tennessean, Nashville, surely no socialist sheet ! (Owned by Gannett !) I quote ONLY last-line --the "kicker"-- purposively; use link to see WHY it is so true: Unemployment Is Not Just A Problem For the Unemployed: "More than any other indicator in this down economy of 2008, the unemployment figures prove that it's no longer about "me"- it's about "us".

Josh July 3, 2008 1:26 pm (Pacific time)

If the stock market drops 10% in one session, it will be closed. This may stave off a panic in the short-term.

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