Commodities Bust Hits Farm Lenders, Delinquencies Surge 225%

Just as the deflating Farmland bubble leaves its marks.

When it comes to agricultural debt, the numbers aren’t huge enough to take down the global financial system. But this shows how much pain the commodities rout is producing in the farm belt just when the farmland asset bubble that took three decades to create is deflating, and what specialized lenders and the agricultural enterprises they serve – some of them quite large – are currently struggling with in terms of delinquencies.

This is what delinquencies on loans for agricultural production – not including loans for farmland, which we’ll get to in a moment – look like:

From Q4 2014 to Q1 2017, delinquencies have soared by 225% to $1.4 billion, according to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, which just released its report on delinquencies and charge-offs at all banks. This is the highest amount since Q1 2011, as delinquencies were falling after the Financial Crisis. That amount was first breached in Q4 2009.

The delinquency rate rose to 1.5%, the highest since Q3 2012. On the way up, going into the Financial Crisis, delinquencies breached that rate in Q1 2009.

These were the loans associated with agricultural production. In terms of loans associated with farmland, delinquencies have soared by 80% from Q3 2015 to Q1 2017, reaching $2.15 billion:

Farmland values have surged for three decades but are now in decline in many parts of the US. For example in the district of the Federal Reserve of Chicago (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin), prices soared since 1986, in some years skyrocketing well into the double-digits, including 22% in 2011, and nearly tripling since 2004. It was the Great Farmland Bubble that had become favorite playground for hedge funds. But starting in 2014, prices have headed south.

This chart from the Chicago Fed’s AgLetter shows farmland prices in its district in two forms, adjusted for inflation (green line) and not adjusted for inflation (blue line):

Adjusted for inflation, farmland prices in the district fell 9.5% over the past three years. The exception is Wisconsin:

  • Illinois -11%
  • Indiana -7%
  • Michigan -12%
  • Iowa (since their 2012 peak) -15%
  • Wisconsin +4%

The Chicago Fed adds this about the deflating farmland asset bubble, in inflation-adjusted terms:

Even after three annual declines, the index of inflation-adjusted farmland values for the District was nearly 60% higher in 2016 than its previous peak in 1979.

Does it mean to say that there is a lot more air to deflate out of the farmland bubble and a lot more pain to come and that this is just the beginning? Or is it saying that this is no big deal?

These falling farmland prices are making the debt much more precarious. So on a nationwide basis, the delinquency rate of farmland loans, according the Fed’s Board of Governors, jumped from 1.46% in Q3 2015 to 2.0% in Q1 2017.

In terms of magnitude of the dollars involved, agricultural and farmland loans pale compared to consumer or commercial loans. So the problems in the farm belt won’t cause the next Global Financial Crisis, and it progresses on its own terms. But it is putting strain on agricultural lenders, growers, and their communities.

Another asset bubble, a global one, is quietly but persistently experiencing a downturn that parallels and in some aspects already exceeds the one during the Financial Crisis. What the slow crash of classic cars says about the future of other asset classes. Read…  This Is How an Asset Bubble Gets Unwound these Days

Enjoy reading WOLF STREET and want to support it? You can donate. I appreciate it immensely. Click on the beer and iced-tea mug to find out how:

Would you like to be notified via email when WOLF STREET publishes a new article? Sign up here.

  110 comments for “Commodities Bust Hits Farm Lenders, Delinquencies Surge 225%

  1. EIEIO says:

    You heard the one about the farmer who won the Lottery? When asked what he planned to do with the proceeds he said “I’m going to keep on farming until the money’s gone.”

    • Dogstar says:

      Alternatively, did you hear about the farmer who’s mailbox was crushed in a tornado? Wiped out half his income.

      Or that Doctors are now sewing farmers’ penises to their lower lips?
      It’s so the farmers can piss and moan at the same time.

      Every farmer I see is loaded to the gills vs most people in this country.

      40+/- pct of corn crop is mandated to ethanol and corn farming is wrecking the Midwest.. but at least we are being sensible and not wasting gas frivolously.

  2. Bee says:

    I think the last date in red on your first graphic is listed incorrectly as 2016 instead of 2017 (unless my eyes deceive me).

  3. Bee says:

    OK, so what’s the reasoning for these delinquencies?
    I saw many families sell during the peak–for eye-bulging, jaw-dropping numbers. My advice was to SELL before it falls, this will not last. They grew up “poor farmers” but made out like bandits. The banks all got rich too—all while paying me 0.25% interest. Won’t mention the government assistance. A whole lot of BS!!!

    • Willy2 says:

      – I assume that farmland prices rose far more than prices for agricultural commodities.
      – In that regard it resembles the development in real estate prices. From say 1995 up to say 2006 home prices doubled but incomes didn’t double.

    • Gershon says:

      The banks all got rich too—all while paying me 0.25% interest. Won’t mention the government assistance. A whole lot of BS!!!

      Yes, but this is what the sheeple voted for when they pulled the levers for Wall Street water carriers Obama, McCain, and Romney.

      • Thor's Hammer says:

        Doesn’t matter what the sheeple thought when they pulled the lever or punched the imaginary hanging chad in the election circuses. They got what the bankster/military-industrial/healthcare extortion overlords wanted.

  4. walter map says:

    Economic policies since the 2008 crash have locked the entire world into a terminal debt spiral.

    . . . those receiving interest are getting 5-6 times more than the increase in gross economic activity . . . A people should consider carefully the viability (arithmetical consequences) of borrowing, at interest, to consume their own production. The asset of our labor cannot simultaneously be a liability we owe to ourselves at interest.

    For nearly all, minimal survival will depend on somehow finding a place on the global plantation. The only possible alternative is wholesale repudiation of the loan-sharked debt and the reduction of the global Financial Industrial Complex to national public utilities, and there is vanishingly small hope of that.

    ‘It was a bright day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen . . .’

  5. Willy2 says:

    – I know that in the timeframe 1970 – 2004 the median US Household/family expenditure for food dropped by some 18 %.

    – How did these hedgefunds “play” the “farmland game” ? Did they buy the farmland and then rented/leased it out (to farmers) ?

    • walter map says:

      What do you know of monopolistic practices? You need to keep in mind that the goal of the modern corporation is only incidentally to provide a product or service, and that the primary focus is to maximize wealth extraction by any means possible.

      After all, he who controls the spice controls the universe:

      • Wolf Richter says:

        Thanks for the link from even before the heyday of the bubble.

        It includes this passage: “… big private investors are starting to make bolder and longer-term bets that the world’s need for food will greatly increase — by buying farmland, fertilizer, grain elevators and shipping equipment.”

        When the Big Money gets involved, prices soar.

      • nick kelly says:

        A few years ago I bought a non- running 79 Honda Moped, then got it running.
        Last year with pedals- you ain’t gonna peddle this thing far- the pedals made it legal without licence in lots of places.
        But this big company took this little machine very seriously. It was built like a brick sh&t house- a three hundred pounder would not have stressed the frame. And the two stroke (yes two stroke) 50 cc motor pushed my 200 pounds along ( I had a car this was just a toy)
        I sold it for a profit and quickly regretted it- it was a chick magnet for one thing.
        Then last year in Uruguay I saw one outside a small store and went and talked to the guy (with a translator) It was his ride to work- still doing the job after 35 years.
        The point? It’s not Honda’s job to save the world. It’s to provide affordable transportation. And it still makes small bikes.
        Ya it makes a profit but that doesn’t make it evil.

        And again- the affordable computer used for all these rants about corporations is the affordable product of one. In fact if governments had to compete like computer outfits, most would have to join defunct computer outfits in the trashcan of history.

    • Jas says:

      Yes. Google American Farmland Co. and you’ll get the idea.

    • kam says:

      I’ve told this story before.

      A local ranch manager got into an argument with the Hedge Fund know-it-all. “Fine then. I quit. You have 10,000 hungry head to feed tomorrow morning. We are all gone.”

      Shuffling paper is a lot different than out in the real world where the rubber hits the road.

      • economicminor says:

        So True! Those at the top of the pyramid have little or no knowledge about HOW the production is actually accomplished. Without production, there isn’t any profits.

        • Gershon says:

          Those at the top of the pyramid know how to rig and game the system to steal the fruits of the productive. That’s all the knowledge they need.

    • Ed says:

      Yes. Quite a lot of farm land here in Illinois is rented. In the old days it was done by crop shares, but that is fading out. Cash rent is becoming dominant.

  6. Mike R. says:

    The run-up in farmland in the great Midwest was due expressly to the run-up in corn prices. The run up-in corn prices was due expressly to the run-up in oil and the mandatory ethanol mix in gas.

    Once oil tanked in price and demand, corn dropped in price signficantly (by half).

    At it’s peak, every scrap of land was being cleared (in Iowa) where I travelled, even if only 5 or 10 acres. This to add more corn acreage.

    At the peak, I know second hand of a Minnesota farm family that owned and farmed 1000 acres. Planted in corn that year, they netted $ 1 Million in income. Not too shabby for essentially 4-6 weeks worth of actual work. Yes it does require some knowledge but it ain’t rocket science, as they say. Most of the high tech equipment does it for them.

    Lot’s of others saw the dollars and bought expensive equipment and of course land. Once corn dropped in price, tough to service that debt.

    The ethanol ‘subsidy’ is really about keeping flyover America economically alive. All studies show that enthanol is a slight net energy loser…. but George W. Bush was in office then so we didn’t do it for energy independence. Unfortunately, just like other parts of American economy, a few got/get most of the wealth and the rest just ‘chicken scraps’. Small towns in the rural Midwest have been decimated over the past decades. Small/medium manufacturing has been lost and farming has moved up to big business. Really a shame.

    • Gershon says:

      Ethanol from corn is a racket. Why consumers and taxpayers let themselves be scammed by this is beyond my comprehension.

      • Michael Fiorillo says:

        Yes, it’s a racket, and it’s also morally grotesque (and economically/thermodynamically insane) to use food as a transportation fuel.

        I drove across Iowa a few years ago, and was amazed to see how the state had seemingly been turned into a giant corn-processing factory. I know that’s nothing new, but the ethanol subsidies seem to have taken it to a truly immense scale.

      • Enquiring Mind says:

        Ethanol was a racket in the ag business and bought a lot of votes, but was a strategic move in the international energy business. By pushing America to become more energy-independent, that reduced the country risk aspects of so much dependence on OPEC and the middle east instability. Of course, the rest of the energy-consuming world was still at risk, attenuated only slightly by American energy exports.

        Shale drilled that strategic move deeper.

    • chip javert says:

      Mike R

      Your friends @ $1000 net income/acre were probably exaggerating just a bit. The median gross income (half more & half less) corn income /acre is $852 (gross is before expenses). Only 23% exceeded $880/acre.

      Maybe they won the lottery, too.


      • Dan Romig says:

        In March 2013, corn futures for November were around $7 per bushel, and at 180 bushels per acre that could have netted $1.26 million at harvest/delivery on a thousand acres.

        • chip javert says:


          $7/bushel x 180 busshel x 1000 acres = $1,260 – but your figures are GROSS (not net).

          I don’t know values for “reasonable & necessary costs”, but farmer still has to pay land cost (inc prop tax), seed + fertilizer + insecticide cost, equipment + fuel, labor (planting & harvesting), and other overhead (utilities, insurance, etc).

          I still doubt $1,000,000 (net) for 1,000 acres of corn.

        • chip javert says:


          7 x 180 x 1000 = does indeed equal $1,260,000 (gross, not net). I lost a couple 0’s in the calculation.

  7. Dan Romig says:

    According to Monday, 15 May FarmNetNews’s weekly email news report, “Farmland Values Hold Steady Across the ‘I’ States: Farmland values are holding steady in a large portion of the midwest. The Chicago Federal Reserve Bank says the price for good cropland in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana is unchanged from last year. Repayment rates on farm operating loans are down when compared to a year ago.”

    The bottom line in my region of Minnesota and eastern North Dakota is that land rents are at much lower prices than they were two and three ago when prime acres in Renville county MN were pulling down nearly $400 per acre.

    The three main crops of wheat, corn and soybeans have input costs that are difficult to meet or exceed by the time they’re ready to harvest, and this has been true since 2015 in the Red River of the North farmland.

  8. Lee says:

    “…………when prime acres in Renville county MN were pulling down nearly $400 per acre.”


    What was the farmland going for at that time?

    Our family never, ever saw that kind rent for ag land in North Dakota. You could buy some land in ND for a couple of years rent like that!

    • Dan Romig says:

      A friend of mine who at age 67 is now retired from farming in Hoople ND, is renting out his land this season at at very low price of $140 an acre, but rents in Walsh county ND are well under $200 per acre. This is really prime land for potatoes, sugar beets, hard red spring wheat, soybeans, dry edible beans and many other crops.

      Another side note: Limagrain Cereal Seeds is closing down their Northern Plains spring wheat program. My father and I sold our wheat genetics seed company, Trigen Seed LLC, to LCS in August 2010, and this sad news was given to us last month by Dr. Blake Cooper who took over as the wheat breeder to replace my dad. A sign of the times in the Ag business, eh?

      • Lee says:

        Not familiar with beans or spud yields, but with the yields in that part of ND for wheat I would expect that rent per acre would be well under $100 an acre.

  9. T.W. says:

    Two 80 acre parcels went to the same bidder at 11,000 and 10,500 in 2012 in Dodge County, Mn. The tax assessed values for 2018 are down 14%. from the high and with 2018 values coming from 2016 sales I expect a drop in assessed values for 3 to 5 more years. CRP rents and filter strip rent are becoming competitive with Ag. rents so I would expect to see marginal land coming out of production. With more farmers leasing equipment and fewer farmers I do not expect the wave of auctions that occurred in the 70’s and 80’s. The operations in trouble will just disappear with equipment companies and the banks left holding the bag. The small agricultural towns in Mn. are already gone.

  10. michael Engel says:

    President Trump political troubles help farmers.
    All commodities are on the rise, including oil, because the $USD
    $USDCAD is falling. The Canadian ($) is rising when oil is doing
    If you do the relative strength of the commodity index, DBC to the
    the $USD, it fell sharply since mid 2014, but was stabilized since
    early 2016.

    • marty says:

      Hmm… Seems you might be off on this. People have been forecasting the dollar’s demise for as long as I’ve been following the markets. And the prices for grains are way down just as ending stock are pushing multi year highs and harvest from other countries are expected to be good. Might be another tough year for farmers.

      • Gershon says:

        The Fed’s deranged money-printing is ultimately going to catch up with the dollar, even if other central bankers are debasing their currencies even more furiously than the Keynesian fraudsters at the Fed.

      • Joe T says:


        This chart looks as though the USD has been falling since December 2016

  11. TheDreamer says:

    Long time reader, first comment.

    I’m a young Millennial in Minnesota (lived and worked all over though – go to the opportunity is, my parents lost their house in 2008, didn’t have the luxury of a basement to move back into, I was on my own) working a “good” job as a software engineer. I have degrees in Economics, Philosophy, and Engineering from great schools, and in the grand scheme of things I learned a LOT (unlike some – bathroom studies I am looking you. That’s a Minor, not a career people.), and I paid a lot of it with scholarships and hard work. Still, ended up with almost $90k in debt after pursuing a Masters degree that gave me good credentials (needed to prove I was a “real engineer”, not just some economist that could code), but did little in the way of improving my income (it was more long term kind of thing). The debt burden is so high, have no help Help will appear until the geriatrics in Congress get kicked out by a constitutional Amendment with Congressional term limits (I think 5 terms a rep and 3 terms a Senator is PLENTY, also no special congressional privileges anymore), or they have heart attacks, and the payoff never really appeared – at least not yet. Was always a country kid at heart, and all I’d really want to do is move out to the country back to my roots and be half-farmer / half help heal the world through good engineering and new approaches to things. A lot of us young folks grew up on Star Trek and Sesame Street, the media nonsense trying to divide us by gender or skin color doesn’t really resonate with me or my friends. We’re more interested in cleaning the oceans, permaculture and offshore wind farms, high-speed trains, space travel, restoring global fisheries, cool stuff like that. We look at these old people, and we ask why the hell are they so obsessed with Oil, Mortgages, and Banks? A Mortage is a Liability, not an asset!! Why do they keep building crappy condos that no one wants to live in? You think we WANT to be single and without families?? We just can’t afford anything, we did not choose this, we were forced into it by necessity. My best friend is an architect, and we make jokes that all these crappy REIT condos are the Social security ghettos of the future. Who do they think is going to live there?? The population is not expanding, and the old folks just don’t understand us. You think I want to spend the rest of my life without children locked in a box?? We are more into SpaceX rockets and outer space. They think we moved to the city because we wanted to be “social”, it was more like that’s where the little work was, and for a time it was cheap because of the population flight during the 80s (all those empty lofts). We moved to the cities because we couldn’t afford to be anywhere else. Well, now they came in and financialized the hell out of that, made it unlivable once again because that’s what Boomers do, so all I can do is try to leave. Giving serious consideration to leaving the country actually for greener pastures perhaps to the South America. We saw what happened to our parents by loading up on debt, Our future I think will not look like that, because we’re simply not going to play that game. We’ve seen how it ends- badly.

    I did my long-term budget the other day and it left me in tears.

    My rent has been rising more than 10% a year, my wages basically 0 (gave my notice and relocating will help, some), but student loans and taxes make it almost impossible for me to accumulate anything in the way of savings. I am single, and I do not own a home, therefore I do not get any deductions. I have tried, no loopholes for young single propertyless people. My net savable income a month is around $300 a month after Rent, $500 a month for food and “fun”, Student Loans, Income Tax, Healthcare tax, Social Security Tax and Sales tax, etc. I do max my 401k and am forced to put it into the safest bond fund offered because I have no faith in the stock market and only could afford to save about 2 years ago (why buy stocks at the end of a business cycle??). I am extremely financially conservative. I have been working for a decade and supposedly have the “best job”, I cannot assume I will receive any increase in my salary (my wage increases have been far less on a yearly basis than even the made up CPI, despite being “in demand”) and I cannot “train up” to a more lucrative career, already at the top of that ladder. The only hope is a new job, but I like what we do, we build things that actually help people. (Vs. my original training where I wanted to be an analyst, realized banks were leeches).

    Given the “average home price” of ~$200k, and needing 20% down (no way am I going for less and throwing money away on mortgage insurance) it will take me likely 12 /years/ before I can buy even the most modest of homes. That or pay off my student loans. It’s an Either Or, I cannot do both. In my youthful eyes, I will be an old man well into my 40’s or possibly 50’s. I have completely abandoned the notion I will ever be able to buy any kind of home and frankly have come to believe the American Dream is truly dead. If I, with a good job and the best of credentials cannot do it, well no one can, it’s just mathematically, thermodynamically impossible.

    Been talking to young relator’s down in Iowa, as I was looking to get back to my roots and away from the insane prices of cities. (3 years ago a beer was a couple of bucks, now they want $8+ for a draft, NYC prices, why it’s just a beer? property bubble’s hurt the young most- so I haven’t been to a restaurant in months outside of lunch or a very occasional happy hour). Me and the young Realtor Farmboys and I just did the math together, and we collectively said, no way – we want to farm and know we’d need a side job to make it work (we’re multi-generation farm kids, we know the deal, we grew up on stories of the Dustbowl and Depression). We can’t afford big fancy machines, we have no land, and we know that farming is HARD WORK. If we’re going to take up farming it’s going to be the old fashioned way and with an old truck. No multi-millionaire combines for us young bucks. I also know demographics do not favor farming (aging population and a severe shortage of young folks having kids mean population DECLINE globally, is more likely than an increase in the next 20 years to my mind), and the whims of the market are hard. Hard to have kids when you can’t afford a place to live or even be able to go on a dinner date. What we’re not doing is assuming one year of high yield and let some spreadsheet assume those prices forever. As a whole we’re already destroyed by Student Loans, we’re not going to make it worse, we’re just walking away from the system. Why play when the game is rigged?

    I figure it like this: You can likely make $100 per acre per year on average (that’s what we’re all using as our rule of thumb – seems fair), well given that in mind, on a 15 year loan, I’m going to want to actually see some profit as I pay off that land. Given that farming is risky business and very much subject to weather and whims of the world, I figure anything over $1000 an acre for good farm land is a losing proposition, so I stopped bothering. A bunch of old folk and absentee coastal landlords (they are the ones going to be set up for a big fall here) thinking the land is worth $8k+ an acre are out of their mind. The $11k an acre is a running joke in my social circle. All these coasters who never seen a cornfield in their life just totally lost the plot. Or those Almond trees! Who the fuck wants Almonds they don’t even taste very good! It was a specialty crop for a reason! I’ll never be able to make a buck ever, so I ain’t playing. It ain’t just me, it’s all of us, collectively, saying no way Jose.

    This all wonderful data Wolf, and the declines actually encourage me (in that if it Crashes I might actually be able to buy something one day before I’m an old childless man). Farming is very much a yearly thing, quarterly data doesn’t mean all that much. It looks to me like all the leases (which are 2-3 years) have finally expired, and everyone is just walking away. The farm equipment defaults are just people saying screw it can’t make anymore, rather go fishing than lease some extra acreage just to pay some hedgie for all my hard work. Just no money in it, and as a lifestyle no one young can afford (or desires except for a few farm kids which are really rare these days) to take it up. Meanwhile, the average age of a farmer is I think like 70 these days. We’re really setting ourselves up for a big reset here, but I for one am just waiting for the day and saving my pennies, because that’s all I got, pennies.

      • Kent says:

        Nominating for top 10 best Wolfstreet rants ever!

        • Gershon says:

          Needed more white space, but I agree.

          A recent New York magazine piece on the rise of the alt+right movement pointed out that many or most alt-+right adherents are very bright, well-educated young white men who have bleak employment and life prospects on the incorporated neoliberal plantation the globalists have built for us.

          This growing sense of alienation and disillusionment, as well as the capture of our institutions by the plutocracy, does not bode well for these “United” States.

        • alex in san jose says:

          More rant to be had for the asking at and don’t say I didn’t warn you.

          Book-smart doesn’t mean real-world smart. The guy I work for, I’d say is extremely intelligent, but his real-world smarts are on about a par with a 13-year-old. He literally has the political views, financial acumen, tastes (he’d happily eat at Wendy’s every day) and dress sense, pretty much every every area, on a 13-year-old level.

          Fortunately, he has a wife to dress him, a job to pay him (he knows about whole areas of technology that even most engineers are barely acquainted with) and generally, people around him to keep him in line.

          But name a kooky-right-wing political cause, and he’ll send ’em hundreds of dollars. That bakery who ran the scam of not wanting to make a “gay” cake? Yep, sent ’em several hundred dollars, and meanwhile he has zero savings and his finances are constant drama.

      • Gershon says:

        Wow is right.

        The societal implications of millions of bright, capable young men struggling to live fulfilling lives on the globalists’ incorporated neoliberal plantation are sobering to say the least. It is a shame “our” policy-makers and “representatives” have been captured by their billionaire patrons, as this festering cynicism is going to give rise to a dangerous nihilism and extremism as popular disaffection grows.

        …And there is a literal army of dissatisfied, disenchanted, mostly male young adults ripe for radicalization. The internet is host to what the writer and programmer David Auerbach calls “the first wide-scale collective gathering of those who are alienated, voiceless, and just plain unsocialized” — seeking freedom from the disappointments of the physical world in places where social interaction is decoupled from material and emotional signals they don’t understand or have access to. “There’s people that are, like, behind the counter at a Pizza Hut or whatever, and their intellect and their skills are not being used in the real world in a way that’s appealing to them,” the web-comic artist and longtime 4chan observer Dale Beran tells me. “The only interesting stuff that’s going on is the internet and video games.”

        • Bee says:

          “alt-right” + “ripe for radicalization” = propaganda.
          Propaganda to thwart the reality that young people have woken up and are *speaking truth to bullshlt*.

    • Bee says:

      I think we’re both about the same age (you said “young Millennial..working 10 years”—sorry, that’s not so young anymore) and from the same region. I too just started commenting here :)
      I suggest you find balance. I am doing it myself, and I know others are also.
      Were you around when land was going for $15k-20k/acre?! That should have steered you away from the farm.
      You don’t need 20% down for first-time home-buyer. MN has some very affordable towns, not sure where you’re at though.
      You need to find balance. Soon.

      • TheDreamer says:

        I’m 30. I did grad school while I was working so that maybe skewed it a bit. I am looking for balance indeed, but struggle to find. Really I just want to feel Middle Class. Never felt that in my adult life. I got recruited out here to the Twin Cities for a job about 4 years ago and paired it with graduate school engineering Masters at the U (and then was recruited into a Ph.D.) in a seemingly misguided effort to improve my situation.

        I wasn’t in the area, but I saw on the news about the $15-20k an acre. Just total insanity, just use my little calculation for my logic. the $11k an acre when I got here in 2014 just never added up. The $8k they want these days in early 2017 doesn’t seem very viable, particularly when the data shows everyone is walking away because the commodity prices just don’t support those valuations. Hell maybe at $3k an acre I’d consider a modest parcel, but really $1k an acre for farmland is a good price target for a long-term view. I am not a real estate speculator and do not assume land prices always go up. They often do the opposite, and I ain’t so stupid as to start speculating at the end of a 30 year Bubble just starting to pop. I don’t own a farm, my Great Grandparents and Grandparents did and I spent a lot of time there as a kid. I just wish I had a modest homestead really that I could relax in peace and help heal the world and our hearts.

        I know there are ways to “buy” a home for less than 20%, but the economist in me thinks 1) we’re at the top of another housing bubble, and 2) if you do a $200k home in the Twin Cities it looks like this, say on an FHA loan:
        ~$1,000 a month mortgage, $250 a month taxes, $250 in mortgage insurance, $250 in maintenance, $250 in just costs. That’s $2,000+ a month for a “modest home”, that’s more than I can afford in renting! You are mostly paying interest for the first five years, so no equity there, and I am really reluctant to tie myself down to an area when I am not feeling secure. How am I supposed to afford that and tie myself to it for 30 years a slave? I can’t. Seems foolish

        I have started looking farther out, but there are no engineering jobs in the middle of the countryside, and I’m not at a point where working remotely is really viable, particularly if I’m single (hard enough to find a good girl as it is these days then again maybe the good ones are out there in the country??). If it wasn’t just me it’d be a different story, maybe, but not going to hold my breath on that one, and can’t count on someone coming to save you. I have no desire to have a 1-2+ hour commute each way in an effort to find something affordable, it’s just not the kind of life I want to live. I didn’t mention it, but I am actually working on my Ph.D. thesis at the U as well in my off hours in basically Super Science, but at least I got a fellowship for that. I need to be near enough that I can come in and do the work I need in the lab. I have precious little time to balance work and school as it is…

        I’m trying for balance, but frankly, the only thing that gives me hope is that the whole financial system goes belly up and prices come way down (I personally think a 60% decline in asset prices is more than warranted at this point) and that I’ll finally be able to make some headway. If that doesn’t happen soon, I’m just going to take what few dollars I have and head to a 3rd world country where I can live frugally and just wait it out. I figure I could last 10 years pretty easily if I went to the right place. Maybe work remotely on some contract work occasionally. In any case, it’d be a better quality of life than what I got, which really isn’t great at all and has been getting worse, not better despite doing all the right things. I guess that’s why they call them economic Depressions. They are kind of downers.

        • Bee says:

          Have you looked into somewhere else, like ND? I think you’d be a better fit there for many reasons.
          PhDs take time. Why rush it?
          Take a job that only requires a Master’s. You’re ready to move to a third-world country if you can’t make it in MPLS. You need to think things through with a clear mind. You’re one decision away from something breaking down.

        • Lee says:


          MSPL is THE THIRD WORLD!!!

        • Gershon says:

          Stock physical precious metals, guns and ammunition, and life’s essentials. When our financial house of cards built on fraud, artifice, Fed funny money, and mark-to-fantasy accounting comes crashing down, you will be the new .1%.

        • Dan Romig says:

          As a lifelong resident of the Twin Cities, and a homeowner in Minneapolis for 22 years, I would disagree with the statement that “MSPL is THE THIRD WORLD!!!”

          When the Super Bowl is played in Minneapolis next February, the world will see a cosmopolitan city, and one that’s quite affordable compared to many other large cities in the USA.

        • John M says:


          Some of your dreams are going to come true. Life pendulums of low interest rates are going to swing the other way. Home prices will fall. Land prices are falling. The US debt that’s been accumulated is IMO unsustainable in the long run. As Voltaire once said. “Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value – zero.”

          I am not 100% sure longer term whether the US dollar itself will survive either. Waiting for an entry price can be frustrating but enjoy the wait and try and find that life partner.. There’s millions of girls that want to find you! Try and find the right one and hold on for the “Rollercoaster” ride of the century. One’s coming to us all.

        • TheDreamer says:

          @Bee – I’m open to going to wherever there is an opportunity. That’s why I moved so much in the past decade, and it’s managed to get me this far (which is better than most, but a lot more short than where I’d have thought). ND’s economy and finances to me look questionable, they have all this oil money, but frankly, I think oil is an old man’s game and a dying model for the future. Offshore wind power that heals the oceans at the same time seems to be the future of energy to me. I’ve traveled Latin America in particular pretty extensively, and if you know the language (I do) and treat the locals as human beings (vs. a tourist or with arrogance), they are generally very happy to have an educated person come and be with them. They know they are developing, and they have some idea where they want to go, but they seem to really value the perspective of “first world” who are keen on avoiding the same mistakes. They know they need to develop their economy, but not having been in a “developed” place they are a bit unsure of what the end result is supposed to look like. This can be to their advantage – look at what happened with Africa and mobile phones. They skipped wired telecom completely and saved a ton of $$$ by going straight to wireless. They also tend to place emphasis first on Happiness and Harmony (socially and environmentally) vs Profit and Debt above all else. Frankly, all the decisions I’ve been making have proven to be futile, so the whole thing is broken, I just am debating if I try to fix her up here, or just do something else. Seems to me, Venezuela aside (something we’re going to have to deal with soon whether we want to or not from what my friends to the south have been telling me), you can do quite well moving down to Central or South America and carving a little niche out. I assume parts of Asia you can do the same.

          @Gershon – nice list, a few things on there I didn’t have and now need to get. I spent a lot of my youth in Texas and Oklahoma, and my great grandma was the cross between a cowboy and an Indian (Cherokee) so I just grew up on her farm thinking that preparing for things and laying in supplies for winter was normal. It wasn’t until we relocated to the NorthEast when I was 10 I realized how screwed up the world was. These people have less than 3 days worth of food! Not a single thing of water!! What if there was a power outage or anything. As I got older I joined up with things like the Civil Air Patrol to try to serve my country without having to engage in senseless imperialistic wars, and then I learned the real truth of just how weak we are. It only takes $20-$30 bucks at Costco to get a sack of American rice and beans, some canned meats and some fruit and pasta or what have you. That’s a few bucks well spent and I hope to never need that food, but I have it. What really confused me was how people who have food stored “preppers” are so openly mocked by a certain brand of coastal people, many of whom have never left New York or Boston. The ones least experienced with the world are the most vocal in their mockery. Everything to them is Magic, it just appears. They will likely be culled by their own foolishness. At the very least, they make poor candidates for breeding. Almost all of human history was about having enough food to survive the winter. You can skip 2 beers after work and have enough calories to get you by for 6 months while you readjust to the new normal (whatever that may be). How is that silly??? My biggest problem is a lack of a home base and a very limited $300 or so a month to deal with. Whether to buy a modest home, a farmstead or something else, I must balance my saving and preparing. I am doing the best I can there.

          For perspective, I was involved in the disaster relief response in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. Can’t tell you how many disoriented Suits I saw wondering around trying to find (all too late) a generator and get it started. The power was out for WEEKS. No one, even now, bothered to install even the smallest of solar rigs to keep their fridge running and a few lights on in gas fuel becomes scarce. Meanwhile, the landscapers were having the time of their lives. One thing I have become acutely aware of is that if you add up all the soldiers, all the guardsmen (what’s left after they killed the national guard by deploying it to Iraq – it never recovered), all the police, fire, EMS, Air Patrol, FEMA CERTs, Red Cross, and everything else, you maybe get something like <2% of the population with any kind of training. Heck we can add in "farmers" and now we got maybe 3% of the population, and the majority of all these are in middle America. Some Coastal dwellers seemed to me beholden to the belief that Government is all powerful when in reality it is simply people. I think it's a byproduct of all those propaganda movies. It is such a core falsehood to them they cannot fathom it. At least in the Twin Cities, we're surrounded by 500+ miles of farmland in any direction and got these rivers. Some Coastal folk gets it, they try with their rooftop gardens or whatnot, but mostly it seems misguided- like the developing world if you didn't have a grandma who taught you how to Can or ever had a garden something, you're learning from scratch and that's going to cause a lot of mistakes and malinvestment. That said, if things fall apart and you're the Last Man Standing, well, in my opinion, you screwed up. We need each other, there's simply too much work to be done. How are we going to heal the planet and take our rightful place as Stewards of Life among the stars without it?? You go back 70 years ago and everyone would have training and knowledge, from the army or things like the Civilian Conservation Corps or just country life. Nowadays, we got a lot of city slickers that seem to be on the way to a rude awakening.

          @Dan Roming – I like the Twin Cities too – by my way of thinking it has the highest opportunity and quality of life in the country (lots of jobs, relatively affordable housing and cost of living). Don't tell anyone I said that though, don't need a bunch of freeloaders showing up. :) I have lived and traveled many places, and right now this feels pretty much on the top end of what we can get in the US of A. What really bothers me, is if I can write the above and show you how I am doing "well" but actually barely keeping my head above water in the one area of the country doing well (MN state finances are pretty much best in the country, likely due to our high-income tax and a homesteading history causing a culture of frugality and a government that actually responds to its citizens) – than everyone else in the country must be totally screwed. When you look at it like that, well then things end up looking even bleaker. We do have those harsh dark winters that seem to ensure a constant shortage of labor and a relatively diverse economy, it's just speculators have appeared in the last 2 years of the 4 I have lived here, and raised rents across the board. Everyone got Greedy and it killed it. I walked through Uptown regularly, and fewer and fewer people are going out there. Restaurants are shutting their doors. Everyone jacking up the rent and prices, and no one can pay. If I moved here 22 years ago (assuming I could buy a house at age 8), yeah then I'd be a happy camper. Heck, even in 2011 if I was here and actually had the money for a downpayment (which I would not have and still do not and will not for years even at my most frugal). But these days it's near impossible to get started even at our much more "modest" prices compared to the national speculative bubbles. I personally think if we could get back to like 1998 housing prices before all this nonsense started, that'd be a stable point. So I'm voting with my feet and my dollars. Gave my notice on my Uptown place, and am planning on relocating out to one of those more modest but well-maintained apartments a bit farther out. Looks like I'll see a major reduction in rent, which will help. Not like I can afford to go to those restaurants anyway, and we have those bike trails so a few more minutes on the Greenway doesn't really make much difference if you can save a few hundred extra on Rent. That in turn can be stashed away, to either buy something with prices become sane again, or to leave abroad and seek a better life. Heck at this point Moon homesteading looks like it'll be viable within 20 years from my Econ/Engineering POV.

        • Lee says:

          Well Dan, as someone who grew up in ND and then did the famous escape, MSPL was always ‘foreign’ to us.

          Maybe it was nice 40 years ago, but…………..then many communities in that area now look the United Nations…………….and have many problems that weren’t around way back when.

    • R2D2 says:

      You think you have a good job; but software engineers and techies in USofA actually have one the crappiest jobs. Google, Facebook, Apple, NetFlix, Amazon, and many other companies are making a killing through their high stock price, but that does not trickle down to the techies who actually maintain these companies; why? They found a solution to keep our salary down at levels below even a plumber’s income.

      One of my friends is a dentist; I never see this guy read; I don’t think he has seen a book since he graduated. I have spent the last decade doing nothing but learning; altogether, I have read probably equivalent of 1000 books. Yet, he makes much more than me.

      They kept our wages down by importing H1B employees. Another friend of mine asked for raise a couple of years ago; his boss’s straight to the face response was “You are lucky the company hasn’t replaced you with an H1B from India.”

      • Gershon says:

        They kept our wages down by importing H1B employees. Another friend of mine asked for raise a couple of years ago; his boss’s straight to the face response was “You are lucky the company hasn’t replaced you with an H1B from India.”

        Every time you vote for a Democrat or Establishment Republican, you are sanctioning and enabling these policies aimed at enriching a corrupt and venal .1% in the financial sector while pauperizing the former middle and working classes.

      • Gershon says:

        What really confused me was how people who have food stored “preppers” are so openly mocked by a certain brand of coastal people, many of whom have never left New York or Boston. The ones least experienced with the world are the most vocal in their mockery.

        A cousin of mine who was in the Army deployed to the Balkans during the NATO intervention there in the 1990s. He came back with stories of woman selling themselves for a can of spam so they could feed their kids. Let the coastal people mock at those who take prudent precautions to ride out what’s coming. When it all comes crashing down, they will be left to their own devices, and it won’t be pretty.

    • Ricardo says:

      You go to Thailand and teach English. If you have any kind of degree you will earn up to 40,000 baht per month. The percentage of your monthly salary that you pay out in rent can be as low as 6%. Food will cost you 10% of your monthly salary. Water Utility 0.3% and Electric Utility 0.4%.
      I know these figures are real because I have been here 3 years teaching and keep a daily diary of expenses and then do a monthly total so these are my actual costings. I live very frugal because I send 52% of my monthly income to my family in the Philippines (No I am not Filipino but from New Zealand).
      You can turn things around but you need to get out of high cost western society.

    • Andrew says:

      “A lot of us young folks grew up on Star Trek and Sesame Street”

      Young millemials are still watching Star-trek? That’s 1960s!

      • TheDreamer says:

        We are indeed! Though in this case, it was The Next Generation, which I think many of us took as kind of a guidebook.

        You want to make a millennial sad, ask them how they are doing financially or their “hopes and dreams”. You want to make them throw up just say the magic words “Go to college and get a job”. You want to make them excited, talk about reusable rockets and offshore wind farms, permaculture and saving the whales and fishies and cleaning the oceans. We have a very good idea of what the future should look like, we just can’t do it because we’re broke. All my friends are advanced chemists or biomedical engineers or architects or PhDs. We don’t talk about sports, we talk about that stuff. One day maybe, once things have changed and the geriatric professional politicians are gone. What we lack is Vision in our leadership, they all seem to be developing Dementia and think we’re still in the 70’s. It’s like dude, we’re 50 years past that, a lot has changed. It doesn’t need to be like this at all.

        • Petunia says:

          I still have a millennial at home and probably always will from the looks of things. I know every word you say is true, unfortunately.

          But….what the hell are you doing contributing to a 401K? At the very least you are feeding the beast and throwing your money away. Use it to pay down your student debt or just spend it to make your life more tolerable. Either one of those things is a better way to piss away your money, one lessens the pressure and the other puts a smile on your face. The most important thing right now is to stay mobile.

          If the economy breaks to the upside your credentials will carry you far. If it breaks to the downside, you won’t have a job and you will default on everything anyway.

    • Reuben says:

      We’ll said

    • Maximus Minimus says:

      A little bit of advice if I may, post more frequently and more to the point. All I got from this that things suck here and you want to leave this planet on a SpaceX. :)
      But thanks for the millennial view.

    • farmboy says:

      You present a great depiction of reality for most of us young folks trying to find a spot in agriculture other than being a minimum wage seasonal hired hand. Thanks to fossil fuels and cheap credit most of Agriculture is now out of reach for most anyone not born into big money and willing to risk it all just to be a farmer for another year. The situation has way to many simularities to the top down system of Agriculture in the former USSR.

      I’m confident though that on the fringes there are some meager pickings and sometime in the future they may be better. Personally I have chosen homesteading, raising livestock and vegetables on rented land and direct marketing on a small scale. So for me this means no kids ever, unless by some freak I find a clear path forward.
      As a 38 year old I wish I would have done some things differently. #1 Go apprentice on a farm practicing Wholistic Management like the Browns Ranch in North Dakota One reason would be to learn more about opperating outside the system and the next is to make the connections with farmers looking to transition.

      One example Looking back I think I could have made good money raising sheep and goats in a place like Oklahoma and selling lambs on the east coast.
      That would require rented summer pasture and winter wheat grass pasture, fall lambing and selling lambs in the spring.

    • nick kelly says:

      Try plumbing. I learned it on the job and its not hard and kind of fun. It’s a spoiled trade that expects 60 + per hour. The plumber who responds to your typical call will not be a papered plumber – you can be service plumber easy. Even in junior levels the income will equal or plus coding

  12. Mabby says:

    In light of these trends can anyone explain Deere and Co surge ,over $8 on the open. They’ve said Brazil is looking great for them. But please..

    • MC says:

      Deere has an effective monopoly in some sectors (cotton combine pickers for example), but the real driver behind share prices are the monstrous buyback programs they started in 2008.

      Deere’s present five years buyback program started in 2013 following the success of the previous one which started in 2008.
      Under this plan Deere committed to buy back up to US $8 billion in common stocks between 2013 and 2018: the board of directors can authorize further expansions at any time.
      Deere right now has a market cap of about US $36 billion so eight billions in buybacks are a whole lot of money…

  13. Paulo says:

    My Dad is from Braham Minnesota. I just went on Zillow and saw a 3 bedroom very nice home for 116,000. Regardless, his family managed to weather the Great Depression in Braham, and that was after my Grandfather lost his business and they had virtually no income. Somehow, my Grandma raised 5 kids on a 1/2 acre garden.

    It’s a bit easier these days than it was then (for sure), but not if you defeat yourself with negative talk before you get started. I will say this, however, 90k student loan was not the best decision to have made.

    You start with a shack and fix it up…one in an area you can afford. In ten years you can have it paid for. Rinse and repeat, or live without mortgage or rent payments.
    Probably there is little work in a place like Braham, at least a ready made package. It simply depends on your skills and willingness.

    I always like the north part of the state around Ely. It’s almost as nice as NW Ontario. :-) (Just as many bugs)

    regards and best of luck

    • TheDreamer says:

      Thanks, Paulo, it’s nice to see people coming up with ideas – one reason I like this blog. Thoughtful people vs the rest of the internet. A small town like that might be good, but I have my suspicions it wouldn’t really be as easy as “buy a cheap house and fix it up”. I’d also be really wary of actually being able to sell. I’m seeing a lot of foreclosures appearing on Zillow these days, and in the Twin Cities, we’ve got about 80,000 empty condos coming online that were poorly made and poorly designed and no people to fill them with. I’m really just going to have to see. Like I said to Bee though, I can’t afford the 3 hours+ commuting that Braham would require and still get to my job and be able to get to the University and work on my Labwork for my Ph.D. thesis in the Research Sciences, and I’m not really sure that tieing my fortune to a small town before I’ve got a spouse is wise. I’m 50/50 on leaving the States right now as it is, only finishing my Thesis is keeping me here. I was halfway through undergrad when the 2008 crash happened and my parents lost everything. I lived and studied on the East coast, where prices are much much higher than the midwest. The hard choice I was faced with was to either drop out with ~$25k in debt (and no degree) or take on a bit more debt to finish and try to find a “good job”. I chose to complete the degree and did end up in Software due to computer skills and taking technical coursework to diversify myself, not sure if I would have been better off the other way. Sad thing is, a degree is necessary these days more than people would like to admit. The 30k I took out for the engineering masters I do not regret, as I saw my software engineering career would not progress to the higher ranks unless I was properly credentialed, but the 50k for undergrad I do. For perspective, I have 8 going on 9 years of higher education from the best institutions in the world, so at $10k of debt a year, it wasn’t like I was going crazy, it just adds up over time, and wages did not come up, but taxes and fees and rents and healthcare all did and they destroy my income.

      A simple thing like being able to pay off my Student loans pre-tax would go a long way towards helping people get themselves in order. The government would be getting the money anyway, so it’s not like it’s a big deal. I don’t want to be a deadbeat, but when I see something like 80% has already defaulted (either real or with $0 income based repayments) I feel like a sucker if I even try. The worse part is we can’t even declare bankruptcy so none of us will ever be free.

      I like to think that I’m not being a defeatist. If anything, I feel I’ve tried a lot harder than pretty much everyone else in my age group. Everyone else moved back in with their parents, didn’t get a job, and didn’t even try. I have worked practically every day since I was 20 often including a side job on the weekend, moved no less than 12 times in the past 10 years as I completed software contracts (often 6-month stints) and moved to the next opportunity as I improved my skills and got better and better gigs, and live frugally as I can besides allowing myself one vacation a year to try to destress. I was competing with H1Bs and things like that, so my wages were far lower when I was starting than you might think they were. I’m trying, and I don’t want to be a defeatist, but I felt compelled to share with the thoughtful folks on this blog, that it is a lot harder than they think for young folk, and not all of us are just complaining. Mostly I just have been working quietly by myself, having abandoned things like Facebook (once I saw how they were censoring people and how toxic it was) and today is my first day to post on the internet in almost a year. The reality is, that these forces are acting upon all of us, and there are some serious economic headwinds that are preventing me from making progress. I think these economic headwinds have dispropriately affected the young adult cohort, and merely felt compared to share. Yeah, I could drop out and live frugal in a small town, but I’d basically have to expect to cut my income by 50% or more (if I could find a job out there) or devote a huge amount of my time to commuting, but frankly, I’m not really sure if I’d come out ahead in the long run. At this point I’d rather be more mobile, not setting myself up to be property taxed to death and to hopefully take advantage of an opportunity if it appears. Buying any kind of anything seems like a raw deal – but even more so at today’s prices. Just not viable without making some serious compromises that would likely have a lot more downside ROI potential than for the chance to build up a few grand in equity on the off chance the business cycle as ended due to endless central bank money printing.

      • Bee says:

        “but I felt compelled to share with the thoughtful folks on this blog, that it is a lot harder than they think for young folk”
        I don’t think the older adults realize the downturn we endured. My first comment here was “Do you ever feel like there’s a parallel between our generation and those who grew up in the Depression? Lately that thought has been crossing my mind.” in response to MaxDakota’s “I look around and all my peers are broke, incomes are stagnant, and nothing seems worth buying.” RD Blakeslee wrote “There’s no comparison.” in response to my question. LOL—ok.
        I think our coming of age during the Great Recession made us become very leery of spending money on things like kids, cars, and homes. We saw the whole system collapse. Housing, GM, etc.
        It’s too bad Wolf seems so big into quantitative data rather than qualitative—he might really set off a whirlwind of reality.

        • Cynic says:

          One can perhaps put it like this:

          The Great Depression resulted in what might call traditional misery for working people: no or inadequate work, facing possible semi-starvation, hard to buy new clothes and shoes,little cash (but if you had it, that cash went a long way.)

          And for the middle class, real fear of losing one’s job and falling, falling…

          The Screwed Generation of today have been simply swimming in money and comfort , but it’s all debt to them, lent to pay for degrees, and they are crushed by the real estate bubble, – literally now almost the only game in town – and stagnant wages in the face of a steady erosion of discretionary purchasing power by the incredible cost of accommodation, good food that won’t poison you, and utilities/health insurance.

          So, it’s very different indeed from the Great Depression, but soul-destroying in a different way.

          If you can’t make serious money in one of the scams, (medicine, law, finance) way better to live of SS or find something under the radar and not be crushed by dreams of hard work leading to eventual, solid middle-class success that cannot possibly be realised under these conditions.

          The screw is tightening.

        • RD Blakeslee says:

          Bee, I think Wolf’s insight and expertise at presenting the macro-economic picture is invaluable. You and I (and boo coo others!)
          maybe can treat it qualitatively.

        • Bee says:

          Cynic — thanks for your words. You seem to see the big picture. That is what I meant with my generational parallel—the big picture. I didn’t mean for it to be compared through the lens of a microscope. As a boy, I listened to many relatives’ stories from those old days.

          RD–I was complimenting Wolf’s abilities, if that came off incorrectly. I meant if he were to combine both, it would be a One, Two, Knockout.

        • chip javert says:

          Problem with most qualitative data is it’s crap – anybody can claim anything – it’s, for the most part, hard-data-free.

          Processes and surveys generating so-called “qualitative data” are notoriously difficult to replicate.

          Some so-called quantitative data is really qualitative – US unemployment rate, for example.

          Stated bluntly (IMHO) qualitative data facilitates arguments, quantitative data facilitates discussions.

        • TheDreamer says:

          Bee – I agree. I am a big fan of Strauss-Howe theory, and always felt closets to my Depression era Great Grandma in experience. A lot of people talk about how we’re so lucky because we have cell phones. I’m like dude – your first house cost you $30k, and your college cost you $200 a year.

          @Cynic, I think you have a really good perspective on it. The misery of the Depression was much more in your face. Then again, I haven’t bought new shoes or clothes for at least 2 years. Yes, we’re not all in the streets (but many are, they seem to be growing, and if you add in Car-people the number is much higher!) The worst part to me is if you could find work in the Depression, at least your labor was yours. These days, you may have a room and a Netflix, but you don’t have a future.

          Depressions get to be generational affairs and take 20 years. My calculations suggest we’re halfway through. They tend to be a lot like hurricanes given my study of economic history, they hit, things get real bad but then they calm down and everyone thinks it’s OK. Then the second leg hits and geopolitical chaos follows. I personally suspect we are just now leaving the eye of the storm.

      • Nonya says:

        You have a ‘tech’ degree, so get a job supporting the military overseas. The most meaningless tech jobs still pay over $100k. Get one where you will live on a FOB, meaning you will be given housing (ugly, probably sharing a room), will be eating free in the chow hall, and basically will not cost you a dime each month to live. The money you earn will be tax free up to $110k (I believe that is the amount). If you can do this for 2 years, you will be able to retire that debt in just a year or 2. I got myself out of a hole doing this. Sacrifice now because things are going to get really hard. I am also a MN native hoping to get a place in rural MN – I’m waiting for prices to go down now that I have money saved to pay cash for a property. You may have to give up tech for a while, but if you are debt free you will have a lot more in the way of choices.

  14. Rob says:

    I grew up in a farm community in South Georgia (peanuts, cotton, soybeans) What has always amazed and confounded me is the sheer number of expensive tractors on every John Deere dealership in nearly every small town – every year! . I always ask myself – “who buys this stuff every year?” Not to mention the combines and cotton pickers that cost north of 300k. Does anyone know how this system functions?

  15. Bogwood says:

    Can a country/civilization survive when its food sector is an energy sink? There are papers showing energy deficit at the farm gate. But others saying that the average machine- assisted farm worker is energy positive.
    Like EROI it depends on the boundaries. But if the 10 calories of oil per 1 calorie of food is even close then factory Ag is energy negative. All the national surplus is fossil fuels.

  16. Halcyon says:


    Things are not much better for “gen-x”. I’m living your story with another 14 years added on. Right out of high school in ’91 I skipped college and worked multiple disposable jobs in the Twin Cities metro for ten years. I had over 15 different crappy $10.00/ hour jobs in that state.

    Initially, I felt stupid for missing out on the great stock market in the dot com bomb days. Then it blew up. Not that I could have played the game on 10 dollars an hour anyway.

    I went to college after a decade of crappy jobs. First day of my classes was 09/11/2001. Yep.. I didn’t even know anything happened until I showed up on campus at 6pm for my night class. I had slept all day since I was working overnights on my crappy ten dollar job.

    After four years in school I wound up with a two year nursing degree as an RN. 99% of the small minded Minnesotans I had the misfortune of speaking with thought that I was gay and an idiot for picking nursing. I’m not gay. Just ahead of the curve. Today, sixteen years later, guys are running into nursing in an effort to get a living wage.

    Most people in MN are generally clueless about the outside world and smugly say they live the good life while slapping zillions of mosquitoes and inhaling gnats.
    I left that craphole state and wound up in SoCal.

    Out here I smacked face first into the huge racketeering scam that is the America. I’ll avoid too much ranting about leftists taxing the last drop of blood out of working people. Let me just say that 9/10 of my co-workers who are RN’s LVN’s MD’s PA’s and managers agree that we would rather say “f@&! this!”. What’s the point of working when a member of the free stuff army in Cali gets 50-60 k of annual benefits and subsidies ? Sure, healthcare seems to pay well in California until you get bled dry by taxes to support the FSA.

    Housing ? Try 600k for a stucco box in the hood with a kitchen that knows where it was when Kennedy got shot. Try HOA dues of 5-600 monthly on top of property taxes. Also, don’t forget the decades of mello roos bond payments “for the children”.

    I know of one couple from Monterrey, both are RN’s. They have seen and experienced the failing bloated, healthcare, scam system and are checking out. They bought land in the Pacific Northwest and are building a permaculture homestead. I know another couple who checked out too. They bought a boat, lived on it, paid it off, saved enough to live for four years in the Sea of Cortez and left.

    I’m living on beans and rice with a “professional” job. Renting a condo two blocks from a recently failed restaurant. The restaurant parking lot is now a newly established homeless camp. I could move, but then my rent would jump by 900-1500 a month. I’ll stay put with my new homeless neighbors for a few more years though. I’m hoping to save for a few years once all of the debts are paid off, buy a boat and leave the US forever.

    The “crash” course on YouTube by Chris Martenson is an elegant rational explanation of the thermodynamic collapse we are experiencing. It is well worth the hour for the condensed version. But I strongly recommend watching the long version for more rock solid detail.

    Charles Hugh Smith also nailed it with his unfortunately long winded book about how to get a job in the “new” economy. He shows how things are failing on a systemic level and how to navigate the changes.

    Read “Dark age America” by John Michael Greer for a glimpse of where we are going to be in a few decades as the oil runs out.

    The fiat petro dollar is dying quickly. Don’t worry about the debt since the whole edifice will implode soon enough. Plan accordingly.

    Get off grid into a boat, permaculture, tiny house or marry an Amish girl

    • RD Blakeslee says:

      “…marry an Amish girl”

      Amish is synonymous with thrift, self-reliance with genuine community, isn’t it?

      There is also the most sincere form of spiritual philanthropy within them.

      A local Mennonite ran a small engine service business for years – he kept a lot of my motorized stuff running for me.

      He sold the business and he and family (he has a wife and small children) are selling their homeplace and ‘most everything else they own and moving to Guatemala.

      Trusting God, they heed his call to spread the gospel there

      However one might appraise this conduct, it’s damned hard to be cynical about it, IMO.

      At the very least, it is an example of behavior which is as independent of pecuniary interest as can be found.

    • TheDreamer says:

      @Halycon – thanks, I am really amazed by this blog post, I did not expect people to respond so kindly to my post last night. If anything I expected to be openly mocked this morning. Instead, I feel more solidarity than I have in a long time. Says a lot about the quality of Wolf’s readership! I will watch that series. I often think about how if I struggle in the Twin Cities so, how it much be so much more impossible back in the Coastal Bubbles. You may have been driven off, but you should know we have a shortage of Nurses from what I heard. You might be able to speed up your timeline if you just come back for a year or two. You sound like you’re getting a wise plan and are doing what you can. I think we’re all on the right track here with permaculture or houseboats or a nice girl. I will tell you I have gone on a few first dates recently that the other party literally said: “I just want someone to take care of me”. There was no second date. Plans like you and your friends are what I’m thinking too. No hope of being rich, despite a “high end job” let alone middle class. Have to figure out something else instead. That’s why traditional media and business models are failing so badly.

      Got to watch out though, there are many that would mock that but those are the ones expecting someone will save them. No one is going to come help you, we’re too busy trying to keep our head above water. You’re lucky too, your RN degree means you can get work anywhere, even if just in trade. I keep thinking I need a paramedic degree or get a Physician’s Assitant degree (yes more student debt, but like you say, what does it matter at this point???). Still, finish the Ph.D. first and become Doctor Dreamer. Working on advanced computational biochemical stuff and High Technology in addition to software. The Econ degree helps me understand how to make these a reality. Most annoying part is I currently suspect I could fix the vast majority of the countries problems, and great around 12 million jobs doing it for around $50 billion dollars. Yet the mental institution of Congress just took out another Trillion and promptly spent it on absolutely nothing. We could get a high-speed train from Newark to Seatle, another from St. Paul to Ft. Worth for maybe $10 billion, get the Japanese to help. Put it up on rails like the Monorail at Disney, and we don’t have to worry about animals. Heck, we can through in those Wildlife Crossing bridges that are working so well and stop the islanding effect for all our national parks. Just those natural bridges that go over the highways meant for wildlife. People could use them too if we had enough of them. For another $6 billion we could reactivate the Civilian Conservation Corps and get our Vets back on their feet and start helping young people learn real skills. We could even make it so if you complete a tour of duty we knock off some of your Student Loan debt due to community service. (No one is paying it anyway). Help people help themselves. The rest of the money can go into offshore wind farms, fish hatchery restoration, national scale permaculture projects, cleaning the oceans, and a big one-time lump sum to NASA without any Congressional mandates other than a focus on Space Colonization and habitation. Just get out of the way and let the Engineers play!

      There is hope, but not sure how to get from here to there. So yeah, gotta have the backup plan.

      • alex in san jose says:

        The Dreamer – In my book, college is an utter scam and no one has any business in college unless:

        (1) They’re so wealthy and well-connected that it doesn’t matter if they went to college or not.

        (2) The love the subject so much that they’re willing to trade off having their earnings permanently depressed. Because college will make you earn a hell of a lot less than the guy who just gets a trade certificate in HVAC or something, and I don’t mean temporarily and over a lifetime being higher, that’s soooo 20th century. I mean permanently lower.

        (3) You can get a company or the military to pay for college for you. Companies used to do this and perhaps a very few do this now. The military is cited as a way to pay for college, but in the real world it’s a very long shot.

      • Gershon says:

        @Halycon – thanks, I am really amazed by this blog post, I did not expect people to respond so kindly to my post last night. If anything I expected to be openly mocked this morning.

        Brother, we don’t have many scoffers here, and the quality of posters is head and shoulders above what you read on most blogs. Wolf does a good job of moderating – sadly, some of my own rants were thus stillborn. I think people on here have the gift of observation and discernment, which makes for a commonality of perspectives though not an echo chamber. You struck a chord with your post – hope you’ll stick around and keep contributing.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Gershon, thank you for your many comments, but your comments occasionally run into these two issues:

          1. Sometimes you post too many comments on the same article. I don’t want one commenter to dominate the comment section. So if you post more than 5% of the comments under a particular article, it’s time to back off. If you’re getting closer to 10%, it’s too much. If that happens once, it’s no biggie. But if it happens regularly, I might step in, no matter how good the comment.

          2. You like to post links to topics that are neither related to the article nor related to the comments made by others. They’re just articles that that interests you. After a while, I put a stop to it.

          I don’t have a written set of rules. But I should put one together and post it so that everyone knows. That would make things a lot clearer and easier for everyone, me included. I just haven’t had the time yet. But it’s on my to-do list.

  17. RD Blakeslee says:

    Anybody interested in some off-beat experiences in farming?

    I see quite a few references to Minnesota here.

    Back when I was a patent examiner (mid-70s or so), I bought some land along the Littlefork River, about thirty miles South of International Falls.
    The climate there was just right for harvesting hard red winter wheat and replanting the next crop immediately. So I bought a John Deere R tractor and a li’l old Massey-Hareis combine (operator sat in a little seat up top and out front, in the open air). Trucked my wheat to Baudette in an old Dodge one-ton and proceeded to plant the next crop, then went back home to Virginia.

    Her in WV where I’ve been for forty years now, I rent out my “woodland pasture” (as USDA calls it) at $1000 to run 35 backgrounding steers. Such acreage is evaluated by its cattle-carrying capacity.

    When I was younger, I cow-calf farmed it myself.

    These enterprises were personally satisfying but, of course, are economically nothing but a small income tax shelter, applied against other income.

    • RD Blakeslee says:

      Perhaps I should ad that I have heard it argued that such enterprises are detrimental to “real” farmers, who have to make a living on the farm.

      The argument goes that we sell our produce in competition with “real” farmers and drive prices down.

      My reply is (perhaps Wolf can quantify this) our combined output is far to small to make much difference and at least we are producing something useful.

      Contrast this with all the folks who make a living selling what other people make, or politicians who do nothing but try to control what everybody else does, while exempting themselves.

    • Lee says:

      “These enterprises were personally satisfying but, of course, are economically nothing but a small income tax shelter, applied against other income.”

      In Oz that would be considered ‘a hobby’ or unless you have at least A$50,000 (or is it now A$75,000 ??) of assets in an “enterprise” or some other ridiculous requirements that loss can not be written off against other income. Tough luck.

      Just another example here of the government going after the smaller end of town, but letting the big end get a free ride.

      The latest government set of rule changes has to do with Real Estate. That is changing rules for expense write-offs against real estate purchases in areas of depreciation (of course they only apply to new purchases – previous purchases are grandfathered in).

      Oh and you can no longer use the cost of travel to check out your property. So your trip up to sunny Queensland to repair your condo is now out too. (Damn I should have bought that nice Japanese condo years ago to write off the trips!!!).

      Also further restrictions and more taxes on foreigners buying property.

      But don’t worry though if you are a ‘first home buyer’ – that special class of person that makes up about 10% of the real estate market. You know, those people that have a special right to be able to buy a property.

      The government here at both state and federal levels seems to think that ‘making housing affordable’ for those 10% means destroying the market for the other 90% because it ‘sounds nice’.

      For example, over the last three years the State of Victoria has thrown over A$400 million in tax free grants to this special class.

      Why in the world should my taxes being going to pay some person between A$10,000 and A$30,000 so they can buy a house?

      Stay tuned to see what happens in Oz real estate – the government and banks here are doing their best to wreck the market……………..

      Just have to wait and see the effect the rules have on immigration numbers.

  18. Gershon says:

    These reader comments are depressing, yet illuminating. What a contrast your readers are, Wolf, to the typical dumbed-down ‘Murican who gets their worldview from the MSM and can’t form an opinion unless Meryll Streep tells them what to think.

  19. kam says:

    The truth is unemployment during the 1930’s Great Depression was about what it has been over the past 10 years. The difference is government welfare payments of all kinds.
    And real estate prices, including farmland, have inflated because debt prices (interest) has been dictated (via Central Banks) to less than free market values. At 10% interest (amort over 30 years) a $100,000 loan costs around $860/month. At 5% that same loan has a monthly payment at around $450. So that is the genesis of price inflation in fixed assets financed over a long period. Your $860/month payment can now buy twice as much debt/house.
    And there is no easy way back from the unnecessary debt binge. But it certainly made those well-connected to the Banking Cartel obscenely wealthy. At least on paper.

  20. Sean says:

    Dreamer – Another Gen Xer here. In case no one has told you, you are doing two things correctly: Getting an education and being mobile in this economy. Boomers simply don’t have a clue about today’s economy. My Boomer parents and in-laws still can’t figure out why I don’t buy the new Benz, or have 500 channels on a brand new TV, or buy a nice Rolex or Breitling. (Seriously, who buys jewelry these days?). To them success mean more possessions and more things. It’s a way to show off to your friends that you made it.

    Myself and my wife have good jobs and we are very thankful. I’m happy I married a frugal/low maintenance girl. You don’t need those fancy things to be happy.

    • RD Blakeslee says:

      Sean, there many ways to do well, however they all do have in common your can-do outlook.

      For example, my son helped me build our house 40 years ago. After that, he went to college for one semester at a state “university”, but the drunken noise all night in the hallway outside his dorm room, food fights in the cafeteria and vandalized laundry and vending machines pushed him back home.

      For awhile, he worked as a rural mail carrier, to sustain himself while he got started in house construction for hire.

      He eventually found a great niche: buying and restoring some older houses and building a few new duplexes, to rent to students at a college for physicians in a nearby town.

      His balance sheet is now a few million in the black.

    • TheDreamer says:

      @ Sean – thank you, that means a lot. Most people do not have much positive to say. I tend to eschew material things, and value life and liberty most of all. I care little of what people think. I appreciate your kind words and they give me hope that I might find a special someone and build a tomorrow I can actually believe in.

      • Sean says:

        No problem. I see so many folks in comment sections give horrible advice or a “this is how I did it, you should to” type comment. Don’t listen to them. Live your own life, don’t get nailed down somewhere until you are ready and keep educating yourself, whether it is college or just reading a book from the library.

        As far as a spouse, trust me when I say that women like confidence. Not the fake confidence that comes with a BMW, but the confidence that comes with wearing a $5 tshirt from the clearance rack and saying “I’m cool with this”. I was broke in college, like most, and hung out with my girlfriend in my apartment just watching movies and listening to music. She didn’t mind I couldn’t take her to clubs or fancy restaurants, she just wanted to be with me. Graduated, proposed, married and now three kids and 20 years later we are still happy.

        The funny thing about finances that Cramer or Ramsey won’t tell you: Your spouse is the most important financial decision you’ll ever make. Does he/she have a good work ethic? Good job opportunities? Are they a saver or spender? Are they willing to move or do they want to settle down? This puts the pain or pleasure in any relationship.

        Best wishes for a successful future my friend!

  21. Dave Pechan says:

    My family farmed in Minnesota for generations, in 1960 my parents moved to Stockton, California, so dad could work construction year around. I loved farm work, crazy huh.

    It took me until I was 45 years old to accumulate a grub stake to start farming in CA, wine grapes. A small farmer cannot make a living on 40 acres of grapes even today. 17 years ago we began making our own wine and marketing it ourselves. The best financial decision of my life, vertical integration saved us and has laid the ground work for more generations to farm.

    • RD Blakeslee says:

      Dave, A friend of mine has a similar history in the second half of his life.

      He was born and educated in England as an optical engineer, came over here and developed a small business practicing his specialty.

      On the side, he started a vineyard and winery near Gettysburg, PA, eventually retiring near Eugene Oregon where he is again enjoying the vintner’s life.

  22. Paid Minion says:

    Any “Boomer” who has 20-30 year old kids that aren’t members of the MID, Or Med/Insurance/Pharma Complex, or on Wall Street, are fully aware of how crappy things are. Doing the best they can.

    Fortunately, at 59, I’m still working. Will probably have to, between crappy IRAs, and functioning as the “Bank of Dad” for the two youngest daughters, when they run into their cash-flow problems 2-3 times a year.
    At least until my current job peters out…….since leaving an aircraft OEM, my previous “civilian” jobs lasted around 5 years. I’ve been at my current job seven years, or to years on borrowed time. When this job goes, I’ll be involuntarily retired, as my “on the side” 1099 stuff has dried up in the past year/

    You’ve got to understand the difference between “early boomers” and “late boomers”. I turned 16 two months before the 1973 oil embargo. The job market/economy has pretty much sucked since then

    A brief timeline:

    1973-76 – Economic chaos/recession/poor job market

    1977-81 – Runaway inflation growing faster than paychecks and COLAs

    1982-86 – Recession due to oil price collapse, Volcker

    1987-89 – “Black Monday” and aftermath

    1990-2000 – Boom times in California/Tech world/Finance; for everyone else NAFTA, beginning of the outsourcing/offshoring/exporting of the manufacturing base. For people working in old school businesses, a decade of 2% raises in an economy with defacto 8% inflation, and “doing more with less” (less = employees).

    2001-02 – Recession (again)

    2003 -07 – Housing Bubble. Worked out great for homeowners who played their cards right, Californians who sold in CA, and bought new homes with cash in Flyover, and people who got paychecks by generating mortgages. Everybody else got “priced out of the market”

    2008-current – Second Great Depression

    You may have noticed that all of these events/problems align nicely with the rise of influence and power of the Republican Party, and the Democrats turning into Republican-Lite. But I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.

    Personally, capitalism kinda sucks. At least as it exists in reality, vs. the Fairy Tale Land in the capitalist cheerleaders minds. And no, it’s not because it’s been “interfered with/watered down by socialists/democrats/freeloaders”. Getting out of a hole isn’t cured by digging faster/more efficiently

    In a zero growth economy, there is no “high tides lifting all of the boats”. If anyone gains, its going to have to come out of the pocket of someone else. Almost all of the money/capital is owned by rich people, and they don;t want to give it up, even if it turns the US into a Banana Republic. They’ve got no problem with military/commercial dictatorships, as long as they are calling the shots, and the police/military keep a lid on the bitching and protesting. . The only “trickle down” will be the piss on the deplorables/wretched refuse’s heads.

    So economic and government policy has been designed around that ends. And a cottage industry justifying it has been created, to show the serfs how wise our leadership is. None of this is showing even faint signs of being corrected at the Washington/Wall Street level.

    The pinheads/dipshits in DC and on Wall Street have created a “consumer economy”, but a large majority of the consumers don’t have any money. Yet the soothsayers don’t understand why everything sucks, and people are pizzed off.

  23. Adam Simon says:

    I’m 32. Payed off 50k in worthless college debt off of a house i flipped. Started a business, farm on the side, and built my assets to 400k in 6 yrs, not including farm land. I have very little debt (house). Have a wife and 2 kids who live comfortably. I started with NOTHING. Parents were always broke, use to borrow them money. No family money. I was in the same boat as dreamer. I got sick of it. Tried 4 yrs of college and did well expecting a “great” job as promised by the university. Waste of money, good experience, but a waste of money. I decided I needed to get ahead. I took risks. Worked harder than the next guy. Didn’t waste money. Drive a pickup with 300k miles on it. Built a small business in excavating. As far as I’m concerned, the sky is the limit. Depends on how hard you work and how much you want to be successful. Make smart decisions and you’ll be rewarded. The stress involved is worth it.

    • Dave says:

      Love your attitude. I am 66, worked for me, own a succesful business, no need to retire, pay more in taxes then i ever dreamed of earning. Keep upthegoodwork.

  24. PrototypeGirl1 says:

    I think the medical world is (should be) collapsing. It’s all built on lies, the gods in their white coats have no clue how to be healthy. No clue how to help without destroying. They are not even allowed to say the word cure. I was talking to a seasoned nursing instructor about using collagen to relieve pain and inflammation, she managed to get some, but it was a cheap substitute for the 100% pure and organic that I had mentioned, she took it for several days and had no relief. I dared to ask her if she was taking any fatty acids, oh no I can’t remember to take all that stuff was the response. Another nurse I know I told about the collagen she managed to get some whey powder. A doctor I know said to beware of taking iodine because the medical world uses it to burn out the thyroid gland when it has cancer. Instead of giving the glands the iodine they crave, the medical world waits until they are sick and diseased and then bombards them with radioactive iodine.
    Excuse the rambling my point is I think being a health coach would be a great way to save the world.

    Also I think being self employed is the way to make a living. A person can start out on the side and turn it into full time with enough dedication. I have been full time self-employed since “93. I love it, I clean houses mostly, I buy and sell domain names, do some SEO. Last month I made an extra $800 selling $2k worth of appliance repair parts on ebay for someone who had no clue how to sell on ebay.

    Every time I buy a domain name I get deluged with calls from India people wanting to either build a website for me or google wanting me to pay for SEO. It’s like internet harassment. These people are ruining the business.

    I’m a prepper, I love prepping , I don’t talk about it much because people make fun of it, or they are jealous. The local prepper club is full of insiders trying to make a buck off it and protecting their right to do what ever the heck they want.
    I think just be independent, and build yourself a good life.

    • Gershon says:

      Nice rant. Encouraging to know there’s still free-thinkers out there trying to live productive, value-added lives with integrity.

  25. Mort says:

    Several years ago I was told about the site linked below.

    This is a very comprehensive farm subsidies data base. It is pretty straightforward. If you are interested in using it, I recommend clicking on a state you are familiar with and then choose the category you want to search.

    Better yet, if you know someone who gets, say, CRP money, type their name in. That will give you an idea of how the data base breaks out the subsidies by program, recipient, etc. It’s easy to figure out after you use it a few minutes.

    Be prepared to learn a lot if you are interested in this kind of information. (Hint: if you name search, follow the name links as you go and notice the relationships: e.g. Ma and Pa Kettle as joint recipients may lead you to other additional, related listings for Ma Kettle as an individual and Pa Kettle as an individual, then the Ma and Pat Kettle Family Trust, then Ma and Pa Kettle LLC, then Ma and Pa Kettle LLP, etc. Then you may notice Pa Kettle Jr. and yet more listings for Pa Kettle Jr. and Mrs. Pa Kettle Jr., and so on and so forth.

    You will see that some of these people have ‘creative’ tax accountants and attorneys when it comes to spreading the wealth and that’s because there can be some BIG money on the table. Remember the old Watergate adage: “follow the money”.

    Or, just for kicks name search some big names – maybe business people, maybe entertainers, maybe athletes, use your imagination. You will be amazed (I know I was when I first started looking around on this site) at who has their hands in the CRP pie even though they have likely never had a garden in their back yard let alone farmed. And that’s just the CRP database – their are others listed on this site as well.

    Happy hunting!

    • Bee says:

      They used to publish it in the newspapers. I’m sure they lobbied that out of existence.
      It’s ironic that the bigger the welfare recipient, the more “conservative” he is or pretends to be. And I mean as red as they come. Pathetic. My mother used to call this farm subsidy shlt “COMMUNISM!”

    • Petunia says:

      While some farmers are benefiting from the welfare, dairy farms are going out of business due to price controls. The controlled price of milk is driving them to close up shop and sell when they can.

  26. Mort says:

    Bee @ 5/21/17 1:26 am

    Also, every bank used to have to publish in their local newspaper their quarterly statement of financial condition aka their ‘call report’.

    I don’t read many newspapers any more so I don’t know if this is universal but it has been several years since I have seen an individual bank’s call report in a local newspaper.

    For quite a few years now, if there has been any financial information published at all, it has been in the form of a consolidated statement encompassing all of a particular bank’s branches in a particular region or state. It is therefore impossible to look at the information for any individual bank, which is obviously the goal of the banks – obfuscation.

    Even many of the smallest banks nowadays have consolidated/merged with a couple or more other small banks in their area such that each individual bank’s financial condition is included as part of the holding company that now owns the individual banks and the only info out there is for the holding company. There is obfuscation at the small bank level as well. Nothing to see here, folks, just move along!.

    Bankers exist because there are some things even attorneys won’t do!

  27. PrototypeGirl1 says:

    I’ve known several young families from India here in the US. They have it all over us Americans in several ways, first of all they have no student debt, they seem to be happily married. There’s no drugs or alcohol, not even prescription drugs. They have a lot of food storage, and they cook at least two healthy meals a day in their own kitchens. They treat their kids like they have a brain. One family in particular had a very large white board with a bunch of math problems on it sitting on the floor where the kids could see it. The kids had to figure math problems before they were allowed to watch selected videos. One dad told me he would whisper a math problem in his 6 yr old daughters ear at night right before she fell asleep. To top all that off when they had children, they never put them in daycare, first grandma would come from India, and stay for 6 mths, then grandpa would come for 6 mths, then over and over until the kids were full time in school. In the summer the extended family would come, sometimes 6 extra people. This next generation of India kids are going to run all over us Americans, born here they will not have to put up with the restrictions their parents have faced.
    For our young people wanting to marry and have families you might look into the homeschooling sector. Not only are they bypassing the public school system, they are also not participating in the vaccines and crazy healthcare system. I would be very careful with dating, so many of our young adults have had a ton of DNA changing vaccines, and a lot (100’s of thousands) of them are on antidepressants, and other mind altering drugs.

  28. Wolf Richter says:

    It got more on my site :-)

  29. Gershon says:


    My apologies for the excessive posts & linking to articles not directly germane to the topic at hand. I will henceforth make a sincere effort to adhere to your moderation guidelines.


  30. John says:

    One more compliment to the excellent comment section. I farmed for a long time in MN also, and still own and lease out that farm. As crazy as it sounds there was no big financial windfall from the high rents of the past years. Higher property and income taxes and increased health insurance rates managed to take it. And now that rental rates are falling while the property taxes stay up, it puts a bite on. Dreamer, you have a great attitude, and I do wish you the best, but longing for property prices to fall so you can get in the so called game, may not work out the best. The likely scenario is that your earning potential will fall as fast or maybe faster than the property prices. But hey keep your eyes open, there are opportunities or niches that seem to pop up for those who pay attention.


    i find this one of the most fascinating threads that i have ever read.

    mainly because it appears to refrain from any commentary on the employment realities in the usa.

    let us consider the analysis from shadowstats. com as an example. the owner of the site asserts that the actual unemployment in the usa is more accurately 25%-30%.

    he uses an analytical methodology prior to ronnie raygun, that informs him that the BLS, in concert with the politicians, has arranged statistical data to present an optimistic, but illusory, picture of employment realities in the usa.

    i think john has it accurately. and more to the point, the government-controlled media will only report the grotesquely manipulated statistics.

    so, in a sense, we are living in an economic illusion. the usa may be in the midst of a hidden great depression. but, no one on the usa payroll is allowed to tell you that.

    concerning warmongering. well, that has always been the politicians’ method of taking the populace out of the unemployed mufti and putting them into the ranks of the employed, in uniforms.

    by my analysis, that might have had a lot to do with the manipulations that created ww2, the korean invasion, the indochina invasions, and a whole lot more of those invasions[iraq, afghanistan].

    i find that there is no greater larceny than the politicians driving the us citizenry to wage perpetual war[aka mass murder].

    and, after all these years, the citizenry continues not to get it. jingoism continues to govern usa politics.

    if there are ever any honest, accurate vote counts. in my analysis, there aren’t. and haven’t been for decades.

    but, that is my very cynical take on the bastion of democracy[imperialism] that is the usa.

    most citizens don’t want to go to that realization. illusions are favored.

    of course, in my view, the citizenry doesn’t recognize that all their opinions have been shaped by state-written, state-sanctioned propaganda. they think that eric blair[aka george orwell] was writing novels[1984, animal farm]. he wasn’t, he was writing a disguised diary of his time at the BBC[aka the bebe]. a propaganda agency for the house of saxe-coburg-gotha[aka windsor].

    and don’t even get me started on the H1B and other visa programs. all designed to deny us citizens jobs.

    my rant.

  32. Mort says:

    Albert Champion @ 5/11/17 12:07 am

    Excellent post/”rant”. “Illusions are favored” is spot on. (Use of that word reminds me of the old Styx song that begins “Welcome to the Grand Illusion.” And that’s what it is nowadays, a grand illusion.

    I think of it as ‘belligerent denial’. There have been many times when I have made mention of some seemingly evident but unpopular situation, circumstance, event, person, etc. to someone and immediately received negative feedback from people, usually in the form of a glare or a snarky, smarmy attempted putdown.

    When I simply respond to that with ‘how so’ or ‘what do you mean by that’ in an attempt to get them to back up their response, I then get anger or aggression in the form of a raised voice, an insult or two, four-letter words and/or an attempt to forcefully change the subject before they walk away, thus they have ‘won’ the discussion. Belligerent denial.

    So many people, in my view, are mind altered from alcohol or drugs (both prescription and illegal) or both on top of being intellectually indoctrinated that it is growing increasingly difficult to have a rational conversation of any length with anyone, especially if the subject is outside their comfort zone.

    Many have created their own little ‘reality’ (safe space) and simply refuse anyone or any information that contradicts or conflicts with that ‘reality’. And it’s not just the ‘snowflakes’ (youngsters) who do that, it is people my age as well (I am in my late 50’s).

    Those kinds of people are prevalent now, it seems, and unavoidable. That is why our country is in the shape it is in, in my view, and will only continue to get worse. I have had concerns for years that our country was sliding in the wrong direction in numerous ways but the last few years I have come to feel that the slide speed is accelerating and has gotten to the point where it will not be stopped, let alone reversed, during the remainder of my lifetime.

    I am increasingly sensing that we are headed off a cliff economically and financially and that is the desired course of our ‘leaders’. That will lead to WWIII whereby the 18 to ’30 somethings’ age group will become members of the active duty and reservist military, the ’40 somethings’ will form the national guard and the 50+ people will be left to try to keep the country afloat.

    Yes, this is one of the comments that gets me those glares and angry or dismissive responses when all I am hoping to get in response is for someone to tell me where I am wrong, which I hope I am!

    I’d better stop. Rant off!

Comments are closed.