Thursday, February 24, 2022

Europe at War -- What To Do Now?

On October 6, I published a piece about getting ready for winter. I predicted there would be shortages. The direct shortages have been a bit less than I thought but the indirect shortages via inflation has been worse. The geopolitical problems have been worse than I thought that have culminated in Russia's invasion of Ukraine and what I believe is a serious risk of China making a move against Taiwan.

There are a number of genuine experts who believe Putin will not stop with Ukraine (one, who has a credible record of predictions over the years is here). If he attacks a NATO nation, the U.S. will be in a direct war. And, given the weaknesses of the Biden Administration and Putin's fecklessness, there is a chance we could blunder into war accidentally. 

Finally, the weather. More than half of the nation will have colder than average weather until the first of the week. That will have the effect of keeping energy bills high in a period of extreme inflation (most recent producer price index up 9.7%!). Here is the 8-14 day outlook.
While it indicates some improvement, the combination of above normal precipitation and cold in the northwest means more snow and ice and the likelihood of transportation delays. 

Between and war and the weather, we are seeing headlines like this:
As of 9:55am, take a look at US gold and oil:
There is little doubt that gas is headed for $4+/gallon in many parts of the nation and $5/gal. in high-priced markets. Our idiotic energy policies are making this worse. Gold is headed for $2,000/ounce. Both mean more inflation and, perhaps, more shortages (prices rise when supplies are tight).
Purchasing non-perishables now is a way of hedging against increased costs.

What Do I Recommend?
  • Make sure you have at least one two week's supply of everything you need at all times for the near future. More supplies if you can afford it. Keep prescriptions current. Buy non-perishable canned goods, etc. Here's why: We live in an era of "just-in-time" inventory. When I was a kid, every grocery store had a mini-warehouse in back. That's no longer true. Very few have more than 72 hours worth of goods in stock any more. Remember a manual can opener.
  • Donate now to your local food pantry so they can stock up for people in difficult economic situations.
  • If you can afford it and are inclined, now would be a great time to get a generator that can power heating for your home and other crucial items. Adding solar may be a good option for your home if you live in an area conducive to solar. While I am against utility solar, it can work for your home. 
  • Emergency lightning other than candles (they started a number of fires in Texas during its 2021 cold wave) such as a Coleman battery lantern or one of several other options. 
  • First aid kit.
  • Powerful flashlight with extra batteries.
  • Extra water and/or water purification supplies. 
  • Make sure your outdoor hoses are disconnected. 
  • Fire extinguisher, at least one. I recommend them in the bedroom and kitchen. 
  • Manual can opener.
  • Carbon monoxide detector.
  • Baby supplies, especially disposable diapers. 
  • Plenty of extra cash. Credit cards don't work in power failures. 
  • Keep your electric car as charged as possible or your gasoline tank always above 1/2 tank. Fill up before a major cold front or forecast blizzard or ice storm (it is still winter).
  • Keep your laptop and phone charged. 
  • Paper plates, cups, etc. 
  • Ice melt. 
  • Ice scraper for your car.
  • Kitty litter for traction. 
  • Weather Radio and/or other methods for receiving storm warnings (I'll have more on that tomorrow on the blog). Tornado, hurricane and flood seasons are approaching -- which makes it wise to have extra supplies on hand regardless of the world's geopolitical situation. 
There may be things I am missing. Remember, if I am wrong, all of these things will come in handy at some point in the future. 

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