Wednesday, July 14, 2004

None of Your Business!

From Lew Rockwell

by Rep. Ron Paul, MD

You may not have heard of the American Community Survey, but you will. The national census, which historically is taken every ten years, has expanded to quench the federal bureaucracy’s ever-growing thirst to govern every aspect of American life. The new survey, unlike the traditional census, is taken each and every year at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. And it’s not brief. It contains 24 pages of intrusive questions concerning matters that simply are none of the government’s business, including your job, your income, your physical and emotional heath, your family status, your dwelling, and your intimate personal habits.

The questions are both ludicrous and insulting. The survey asks, for instance, how many bathrooms you have in your house, how many miles you drive to work, how many days you were sick last year, and whether you have trouble getting up stairs. It goes on and on, mixing inane questions with highly detailed inquiries about your financial affairs. One can only imagine the countless malevolent ways our federal bureaucrats could use this information. At the very least the survey will be used to dole out pork, which is reason enough to oppose it.

Keep in mind the survey is not voluntary, nor is the Census Bureau asking politely. Americans are legally obligated to answer, and can be fined up to $1,000 per question if they refuse!

Planning Your Move

I have been neglecting this blog for a while because it was beginning to get too political. The idea of this blog is not to discuss politics, but rather stimulate folks to consider making a freer life for themselves.

My own plan involves finding a good piece of land, building a home, planting a garden, and raising livestock.

Naturally, when one has great debt over their head, they are not free. So my plan - or I should say 'goal' - is to one day be free from debt.

It is funny to me how many people work 50 and 60 hour weeks, live in a city, and commute 2 hours a day so that they can "give their family a better life". Then, after 50 years at the job, they get some cheesy watch and get to retire on a fraction of what they have learned to live on. Their spouse hasn't spent more than 48 hours with them in the past 20 years and their kids are grown and don't really care if they visit with them or not. Bottom line, the only thing they have given their family is an income and they are a stranger to them.

I contend that by simplifying one's life, they can live far better on far less.
I realize that everyone is different and the following example might not work for a lot of folks, but my idea is to get you to think out of the box...figure out something that DOES work for you and DO IT.

This is one example of what one person can do. Here is a hypothetical plan for one poor slob who has been living in the same house for 20 years:

After getting his home appraised, he learned that he had $35,000 equity. He earns $50,000 a year and his mortgage payment is $850 a month. He also has $10,000 in savings and stocks.

He finds 20 acres for $60,000 and talks the owner into financing it for 10 years. He puts 6000 down and agrees to pay $600 per month.

Next, he buys a used trailer for $2000. He pulls it to the new property and plans to live in it while he builds a new home.

He plants a garden and erects a greenhouse for $100.
He goes to a livestock auction and buys 20 hens for $100, 6 pigs for $60, a calf for $90, a milk goat for $100, and 6 rabbits for $60.

He convinces his company to let him telecommuting and work only 4 days a week from home. This saves his company $30,000 on office, phone, and computer expenses, and they quickly jump at the opportunity.

Next, he buys some used equipment and hires a foreman to help him build a home which he has designed to be energy efficient and maintenance free. He doesn't want a mortgage, so he does most of the labor himself and plans the house to be completed in phases.

By the end of two years, he is producing 75% of his own food - which is tasty and organic, has finished his home - with no mortgage, has reduced his utility bills to $30 per month, and has started his own business - which is a small "service business". He has become part of the underground economy. Now, in addition to his $30,000 salary, he is making an additional $15,000 a year, tax free. His monthly expenses have dropped from $1900 per month down to $750 per month. The result is that he can pay off his land in 3 years instead of 10 and has more time with his family. He works 4 days a week instead of 5 - and has no commute, he spends more time hunting, shooting, skiing and fishing. He is much happier, healthier and is living better. He has never had more money in the bank and has never required less money for living. His wife has started home schooling his children, so they eat breakfast, lunch and dinner as a family. He reloads his own ammunition and trades a pig to his neighbor for his homemade beer and cider. Life is good.

Now I realize that the story is over-simplified, but I am meeting more and more folks who are actually making moves very similar to the example I just gave, and are finding it far easier than they ever imagined.

The truth is that the hardest part of breaking away from your current life and starting the life of your dreams is making the decision to do it and setting a goal to do it.

It can be done, but you must make a commitment to yourself. Set a goal. Find the land. Speak with your boss (or plan to relocate your business). Learn how to be self-reliant.

Of course, the plan would go much smoother if you had a small group of friends who would do it at the same time. However, let me caution you NOT to wait until others buy into your dream. Do it NOW.