The American economy is close to double dip, and ordinary Americans are wondering whether they can trust the government to protect them through the times that may be just around the corner.
US retail sales fell 1.1% in May and 0.5% in June. Manufacturing output fell 0.4% in June. The Philly Index for new manufacturing orders fell to -4.3 in July.
Other confidence indicators are also falling, and as we wonder what might be ahead of us, some Americans are taking out an insurance policy -- by going off the grid. They figure that if the worst happens, they and their families living in communities powered by wind and solar will still be able to function as normal.
The Fed is talking about QE2 -- another wall of money thrown at the long term problem. Even if it happens, there will still be many more forecloures and layoffs, and the price of oil will continue to rise.
But for the thousands of families who are making the move off grid each month, the economy is only one consideration. Many have had it with the dysfunctional state, or the threat from global climate change.
They want to be free of the need to pay a mortgage -- a small, three bed off-grid home with electricity and water can run as little as $75,000 including land. That is a compelling agrument at a time when new homes sales have dried up.
As the technology continues to improve, living off-grid has become more comfortable. Of course there will always be millions of Americans for whom the lifestyle is out of the question -- a return to the stone age. But millions more value the simplicity of off the grid living, and the freedom it confers because it is a low-cost existence.
In future postings I will outline what you need to live off the grid, and why its a good thing to consider.
New homes sales collapsed in May 2010 to a record low of 300,000 with the expiry of tax credits for first-time buyers.
The American Trucking Association said tonnage fell 0.6% in May (the most recent available).
The American Association of Railroads said car loadings fell 1.1% in May, and a further 1.3% in June (month-on-month, seasonally adjusted)
Outbound traffic from the Port of Long Beach fell from 139,000 containers in May to 116,000 in June. Shipments from the Port of Los Angeles fell from 161,000 to 155,000.