It pains me to see America going through this and the consequences it will
bring. Lets go through some things you should do right now,
if you haven't taken care of them already.
First, how about what NOT to do?
*Don't waste your money!
How many times have we read about paper money only being good for TP after a crisis? Though it may have happened in some extremely primitive nations, or countries destroyed by war, do not expect that to happen in the USA. It probably won't. Rather the other way around, you'll consider it a precious commodity even more. As prices and inflation go up, you'll start saving every penny trying to live within your means.
*Reduce your expenses.
This requires 0 money, 0 skills other than a cool head and some rational planning and you can start right now. There are few things you absolutely NEED. You don't need the latest cell phone or Ipod, you don't need to buy every gadget that hits the market. The money you save can be put to better use. Use it up... Wear it out... or do without!
*Don't run for the hills.
This isn't a hurricane or flood, you can't run from this. Running to your bug out location and "living off the land" is a terrible idea, almost as stupid as thinking about quitting your day job to start growing corn. Having a garden is a good idea, but Farming as a way of producing your own food is a terrible mistake... unless you are a farmer and that's what you do for a living. If you are doing it as part of preparedness for the end of the world, you need to think things through a bit better. For a farm to be a profitable, you need a margin of production large enough to make it economically sustainable.
Yes, inflation, but the solution isn't growing your own food, building your own car, building your own house, digging your own oil well or fixing your teeth yourself. The solution is making more money and reducing expenses as much as possible. No more toys... at least for a while.
*Don't open you big mouth!
It's ok that you feel all nice and warm about the whatever year food supply you already have, but there's no need to talk about it with the guys at work, the neighbors, friends or even family that is not directly related. Next thing you know someone's knocking on your door, asking for favors you simply can't afford. Look and act like a "Normal" person.
Ok, now for things to do.
* Solidify you income source.
Won't take long until unemployment starts growing and people around you start getting fired. Make sure you are not one of the casualties! Do your job well, so that if 3 out of 4 guys get fired, your boss won't let you go. Make sure you are a valuable asset to the company, one of the last guys they'd think about when firing people.
If you work on your own, keep your clients happy. During times like these it's better to think about setting solid storm-proof foundations than thinking about taking risks.
*Worry about personal protection.
It's only a matter of time until you see crime getting worse than it already is. Get an alarm, get a dog, secure your home, buy a handgun and if you don't have one, and START CARRYING IT EVER SINGLE DAY. The Obvious: Know how to use it. That means self defense shooting lessons (not just target practice) and somewhat regular practice sessions. Unless you're a soldier in a combat zone... You won't be carrying long arms slung over your shoulder... and the government will try to enforce curfews, gun bans, riot control, etc. Also, if you are snipping people 1000 yards away "IN SELF DEFENSE" you will be shot or in prison soon thereafter. Shooting everyone within sight IS NOT THE SOLUTION!
Even more important than all the guns in the world, you need to develop safety habits.
Recognize the people around you, look for suspicious behavior, be extra alert when going in and out of your home, keep your house locked and do not open your door to strangers. This is obvious for most, but again, you'd be surprised how naive people can be. Be outside in groups. Put a small club (baseball bat) in your car. These are simple things to do and they are essential in keeping your family safe during high crime.
*Keep yourself (and your family) emotionally stable.
The suicide rate goes up, so will alcohol and drug abuse. The financial insecurity makes people nervous, it stresses you and affects your health. Add the fear of becoming a crime victim and you'll soon find yourself walking up the walls. So, it's important to have a solid family environment, one that provides security for kids and adults alike. Talk about what's going on. Explain it to your kids, they'll hear about it anyway. Also, talking about it with your significant other will help you cope with it better as well.
Have some kind of recreational activity, a hobby you enjoy, go to church and work out. You'll feel better physically and emotionally. Like it or not TV, DVDs, Video or Family games are cheap, safe entertainment.
*Have an emergency kit and food supplies.
You'll need a minimum amount of gear to get by during riots, blackouts or after natural disasters (just like today). These situations may become more common and will probably take longer to get solved and services will be poorer in quality because there's no money for maintenance. The government will already be somewhat crippled because of the economic crisis so DO NOT expect the same kind of help, both in quality and in response time, to the one you were used to before the economy crashed. Time without specific supplies may not last hours or days but weeks and months.
In terms of food and water; 6 to 12 months of food and 1 month of water would be what you should set as an objective. You will need supplies while things are being repaired or shipped to your area. It was common in the military for goods to come by ship and you had to survive between shipments. This may happen with grocery stores and limits be placed on how much you can purchase. You will experience lack of goods that you once used to have or could afford.
*Act like a adult.
Yes. I know most of you get it, but some people don't get it even if you write it on their foreheads. There are no simple answers; some things need to be analyzed. Think ahead and plan an appropriate action.
For an economical crisis like the one the US seems to be getting into, isolating yourself and living like a hermit is the last thing an adult with a family to take care of should look forward to. That's not much of a life. Make friends with your neighbors. Have your friends and family around and enjoy life.
When something like this happens, you have looters at first (like Katrina)...
then you have organized criminals hitting both in the city and the country,
even road pirates robbing cargo trucks on the roads far away from the towns and
cities. The looting ends sooner or later and all you have left is people - some
good, others bad and everything in between. Some lazy and others hard working
looking for second chance. Pretty much like exists now where you live. They are
not an evil mass of destruction. It's no crime to be poor and that is where
most people will be.