Warning for American Expats – Be prepared!

The motto of the Boy Scouts is “Be Prepared.”

The motto should also apply to American expats living in the Philippines, or in any other country in the world for that matter.

What do we need to be prepared for?  The declining value of the US Dollar.

Yesterday, the US Dollar closed the Philippine Trading day at P43 to $1.  Much of the past week or so, the Dollar has been trading in the 42’s though.  We started off 2011 with the Dollar bringing 46.655 Pesos to $1.  The way things are going, the trend is likely to continue on the downside in the foreseeable future.  In fact, at the very beginning of 2011, when I issued my Philippine Predictions for 2011, I predicted a bad year for the dollar and said we could see the Dollar reaching the rate of only about P40 to $1 or even less.

What is the problem with the Dollar?

USD Trend 1 Year

USD Trend 1 Year

Well, the US Dollar is weak worldwide, against nearly every currency out there.  Frankly, it is because the United States cannot get it’s economic house in order.  The US Government is spending money like a bunch of drunken sailors (sorry to all sailors out there!).  Right now, the US President and Congressional leaders are trying to come to an agreement to get some of the financial mess in order and to allow the US Government to borrow additional money to keep the Government from defaulting.  But, it all seems like a juvenile game where neither side seems willing to compromise at all.

Flowers from WowPhilippines

The Federal Reserve of the USA has been playing all kinds of games infusing additional cash into the banking system for the past several years.  Months ago the Fed went on another binge, which they called QE2, under which the Fed started printing more money to buy back debt, which has always been proven to be very inflationary.  What happens to the dollar when inflation spins out of control?  The value of the dollar drops!  In other words, it takes more dollars to purchase something, which literally speaking means that the dollar is worth less.  There are not two ways about it.

Over the past years we have seen the situation in Greece particularly where the Government is instituting all kinds of austerity measures to cut back on Government programs.  The Greek people are in the streets rioting over this.  The same thing could happen in the USA as well, from what I can see.

US Dollars - Worth less and less

US Dollars – Worth less and less

In many ways, I feel very thankful to not be in the USA currently.  In other ways, the falling value of the dollar affects expats like me a lot harder than it does US residents, because we actually have to trade our dollars into local currency in order to live.  And, every dollar is buying fewer and fewer Philippine Pesos as the days and months pass.

How can the situation be fixed?  Well, the US leaders must be responsible and bit the bullet.  The US people must accept that the cannot expect so many benefits from the Government.  Everybody must agree to share in the sacrifice and fix the problem.  Problem is, I don’t see anybody willing to do that.  The leaders will only hold to their party line.  The people want things to be cut, but if you try to cut something they are getting, they are up in arms.  The dollar keeps falling.

So, here is a word to the wise for American expats.  Be prepared.  The dollar is going to keep falling.  I know a lot of expats who are barely holding on financially right now, and in my opinion the worst is yet to come as far as the exchange rate goes, and it could be a long, long time before things get much better.  If you are one of those expats who is barely making it, you need to do some planning.  Some people have told me that they will just go back to the States if things get too bad.  Go back to what, though?  There are no jobs in the States.  A lot of people are living very tight so there is no reason to believe that if you return to the USA you are going back to the “land of milk and honey.”

So, for all of us on this wild ride of US Dollar exchange rates, I wish us all well.  Expect the worst, though.  If things don’t get down to that level, at least you were prepared, though.  Just like a Boy Scout!

Post Author: MindanaoBob (959 Posts)

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.


Comments

  1. Dan says

    Your right Bob..nothing for them to come back to here in the USA…so I would think if those ex pats from the USA could figure out a way to stay there they be better off..because it is not the land of Milk and Honey here…soon if things do not change it will be the land of the poor and not so free. If per say [and not saying it will happen] but if like O-bomb A said for those on SS and other funds they depend on every month…it could be you will not get come Aug. 3..get you SS CHECK….because the coffers are bare!!! I really do not want to see that happen because there are so many that have let their selves depend on that check every month and they have no back up or any other plan other than that check needs to be there every month……so interesting times just around the bend for sure here and maybe there also…My self I can ride it through because had good boy scout training and had parents that grew up during the big Depression and they never for got it and never let us kids for get it either…..and like you said…they can not keep printing money with nothing to back it up except the good word of the {what}..oh..the goverment of the USA….LOL…JOKE….

    • says

      Hi Dan – I believe that if the US is to get it’s house in order, all will have to sacrifice. Seniors, poor, rich, everybody. I don’t see any other way. One thing is for sure, though, the US is, at least currently, no longer the land of milk and honey. To me, both political sides have a great share of the blame for where things currently stand.

      • chasdv says

        Bob,we in the UK are already feeling the effects of major cutbacks effecting everyone,its the only way out of this mess.If you ain’t got the bucks,you have to cut back on spending.

        • says

          Hi chas – I don’t understand why American politicians can’t figure out that if you don’t have any money, you just can’t spend! It seems so simple!

        • says

          Hi Chasdv/Bob – You are spot on with regards to spending what you have or can afford and not what you’d like to spend.
          Although life is tough wherever you live especially on a fixed income as most pensioners are, at least here in the Philippines for pensioners it’s a bit easier to cut your cloth to suit your purse with regards to day to day living. For example there are certain things that you cannot do without such as utility bills for running the house but here we are able to have a choice on food stuffs that would be more difficult to do back in our country of origin.
          I do feel for those here with younger children as schooling fees have increased tremendously and all the associate costs of bringing up children in an ex-pat life style.
          It may be that living overseas has fewer advantages apart from the weather for the foreseeable future but like most things in life that history have proven ‘what go’s around comes around’ well at least I hope so.
          Regards.
          Jim.

          • says

            Hi Jim – I have 5 kids in school that I am paying for. Two of those are High School, and one is College, which are the most expensive. So, yeah, you can cut down here… but things like school and the other bills that you mention are things that must be paid. The falling dollar makes it tough on some. Another thing that makes it tough is the belief by many locals that if you are a foreigner “you have money, serious money.” Well…. that day has left us behind… for now, at least!

      • Papa Duck says

        Bob,

        One big thing that would help the deficit greatly would be to start pulling out of afghanistan/iraq as soon as possible and be out by the end of next year. We simply cannot afford it any longer. Also i think we’re gonna have to have some tax hikes too. To receive full Social Security benefits will have to be pushed back a couple years to help straighten that out. Companies are sitting on record amounts of cash, but they are unwilling to hire due to the uncertainty. Hopefully that will change soon and get this economy rolling again. Have a nice day!

        • says

          Hi Papa Duck – I agree about bringing the troops home. Not only from the wars, but from Germany, Korea, Japan, etc. These are wealthy countries now, who can afford their own defense. A lot of cuts need to take place. I hope they can do it without raising taxes, because that will slow down the economy, and it’s already at a standstill.

          • Christine says

            I agree Papa Duck, bring your troops home. As I said earlier, about time America stop playing the world’s policeman. And cutting Aid to countries with high corruption reputations should also cease. I mean what is the point if it is not benefitting the common people? Realistically, America is broke and could probably do with Aid from wealthy countries!

        • Scott Day says

          Papa Duck,
          I agree the wars we have been fighting in the Middle East has went on far too long and should be concluded ASAP. I agree with Bob and we should withdraw all troops from bases that are not on US territory. Maybe we should do like we have always done and be isolationist. Everyone seems to blame the US for everything so we should let someone else do the police work and disaster relief for a while.
          As for as the economy raising taxes right now would be like putting a wet blanket on a smoldering fire. The US Govt. needs to take back this so called stimulus money they gave out. That was the biggest waste of money ever done. Here are a few examples:
          $250,000 for a Whirligig Park (You may be asking yourself what the heck is a Whirligig. It’s a Pinwheel made out of junk! And they call it art.)
          $2,000,000 to photograph exotic ants in the south pacific
          $500,000 to remodel Mt Saint Helens visitors center that is closed and no plans of reopening.
          Maybe the Government should go and take ALL stimulus money back for stupid stuff that has no stimulus on the economy. I always get a laugh when I see a sign here saying the road improvements are being paid for by the stimulus program. The sign say Putting Americans back to work and all the people working on the road are MEXICANS.
          I personally do not think things will get any better until Mr. O is voted out of office. And for a laugh he compared himself to Ronald Regan the other day. Really I wouldn’t even compare him to Jimmy Carter! ROFLMAO

          • Rudi says

            I am Canadian and proud of it…But, you are so very right in what you say.
            The USA has ignored it’s biggest trading partner for a very long time…
            The biggest supplier of oil and natural gas is not Saudi Arabia, but Canada!!!
            In the 1950’s Canada had developed the most advanced fighter jet in the world,
            a jet so scary Eisenhower managed to hoodwink our stupid, farmer, Prime Minister to squish the project…It was called the Arrow…If the USA military had, had the Arrow in Vietnam the war there would have been over in less than 6 months.
            The same things that you say apply not only to the USA also apply to Canada…
            Trying to buy USA or Canadian made high quality goods is almost impossible!
            High end goods on Rodeo Drive do not come from the USA, but from Italy or France.
            Yet, the alligator hides that make $40,ooo coats come from Louisiana??? Dah???
            Thanks for listening..
            Rudi

          • Katrina says

            Either the US pulls out its bases overseas and becomes isolationist again, the world will still complain. IDK, non-American people, if the US doesn’t intervene, they complain, if the US intervenes, they complain.

            With that being said, the US should think of its interest, not always ‘trying to save the world’ all the time. A lot of corrupt foreign governments has used the US for their own political interest (not national interest). So, their problems should be their problems, not the US anymore.

            It is really annoying that a good chunk of US taxpayers money are going to nations who want to blow up the US…not to mention the USG borrows money from China just to ‘aid’ these countries. Should stop trying to be “generous”.

            Got me thinking. When the US bases were still in the Philippines, the politicians were complaining. Now that the US is gone and China is claiming their neighbors backyard, the same people who voted out the bases are complaining that the US is not doing anything. .. and these are the same people who wants to make the AFP a “living museum”. LOL

            • says

              Hi Katrina – I would tend to agree that it’s time for the US to look after it’s own interests, and not spend money to help others at every turn.

              • Scott Day says

                Hi Bob,
                I think its time for the US to quit paying countries to be our friends. That alone would cut a chunk out of the debt! For example Pakistan recived 20 Billion in aide since 2002, and they are really not a friend to the US.

              • says

                Hi Scott – The truth is that the amount that the US spends on foreign aid is a very tiny part of the budget, and would make little impact on the deficit. Still, I agree with what you say, it would just be the responsible thing to do.

              • Cemlyn says

                with the state of play in so many countries the time is right for everyone to put their own house in order first. Whilst as a Brit I don’t agree with everything America does overseas, I hardly have a leg to stand on with the stuff that my government does overseas either so I’m happy to throw bricks at all the governments !! Some aid is clearly needed like the famines that ravage Africa and other countries but I don’t think any of are talking about that type of aid. The sort of aid that grips me is when arms companies sell goods to the foreign countries but they can’t afford them the countries lend them the money. The justification is always “we are helping our own companies” There is a certain logic to that but it is just perpetuating the ‘house of cards’.

                No I think all countries need to pull back and get this mess sorted out. After all it is not us who has the potential to suffer is is our grandchildren who will need to pick up the pieces if something isn’t done.

                I find this really interesting. Thanks for all your views. Oh Katrina, what does ROFLMAO mean ??

              • Cemlyn says

                You could have answered the question is less key strokes !!

                Yes I know I can use google for everything, but sometimes I simply like to converse and find out from people themselves.

              • says

                Yes, I could have given the answer. Then I would have had to delete my comment, because I don’t allow that language here on my site.

                Just trying to help you with your question, I’m sorry if it was a problem.

              • Cemlyn says

                Ah ok, I see lol See what you mean. Nothing quite like self censorship eh!! At least you live by your own rules. I can only admire that. No offence taken.

      • timothy heck says

        as long as you will admit that obama and the dems deserve most of the blame then i will accept that but the republicans need more backbone to stand up to his highness and the big tax and spend dems.

        • says

          I would say indeed that spending has increased under Obama, and fiscal irresponsibility too. There were problems under Republican administrations too, but it has accelerated in recent years no doubt!

          • Mars says

            Obama just said few hours ago that debt is not a problem and not his priority. He, and the dems are gunning for more social spending and increase taxes. The US has the highest corporate taxes worldwide. We are just being taxed to death right now.

            • says

              You know, Mars, if there was ever a time when people need to come together and work out problems, it is now! It just seems that Obama is blind to the fact that he needs to sit down and talk. Anyway, I don’t want to turn this into a political discussion, but it is quite frustrating!

              • Mars says

                I agree with you. Living around here near the puzzle palace is frustrating enough and the rest of the US seems doesn’t care, well at least the 51% who voted last election.

                Mars

  2. chasdv says

    Hi Bob,
    Timely post,i was listening to a weekly programme on the BBC radio last week about the US.
    One ex US politician aired,that if the US does not get its house in order soon,there is a very real danger of it defaulting in 2012.
    The US politicians appear to spend far too much time bickering,than getting to grips with the problems.

    Brits have seen the £ languish at around 20% of its normal value against the peso for the past 18 months or so.A similar drop for the US$ would see it around P36,quite scary.

    Unfortunately,i see the economy of the West getting worse before it gets better,the days of excess for many are certainly over.I also forsee it taking another 5 yrs before we see a significant climb out of this mess.
    Sorry to sound so gloomy,i just call it as i see it,others may differ.
    Regards,Chas.

    • says

      Hi Chas – Yeah, I agree fully… American politicians spend all of their time arguing. In the end, they settle for a deal that really does not solve any problems at all. It kind of makes me glad that I am not around any more, to be honest.

  3. scott h says

    There are time that i wish those that are “less fortunate” here in the states could visit the Phil. Then they would see how “rich” they really are. If the politicians could visit and see that the poor really do not need Iphone, Ipods, flat screen TV’s and two cars, then maybe they will trim down someof the entitlements that are killing us. 96 weeks of unemployment? puleeeeeeez! Thats one of the things i admire about my soon to be adopted country. Out of work? need money? Complain? No! the philippino people for the most part knuckle down, find a nich that needs to be filled and work hard. (THUD) off my soap box, thanks

  4. Marcel says

    I am very pessimistic as far US economy is concerned. Unlimited greed was a motto in last couple of decades. I am not sure if any sacrifice from American public will change anything, since it is a relatively small group of people at the top (bankers, stock traders, politicians, etc.) responsible for current situation and in control of majority of country’s wealth. Current federal debt is unimaginable and basically impossible to get under control.
    Unless they come up with another brilliant scheme how to make more money from nothing the rest of the world will be willing to buy, US economy will sink deeper in to an abyss.
    Living in Toronto, Canada, lately, I don’t feel very secure with expectation of US economy falling apart and dragging us down with them. Riots and public unrest that will follow will be way to close for my comfort…
    Maybe I should start looking at plan B and start learning Mandarin.

    • says

      Hi Marcel – I try to be, and I believe that I tend to be a rather optimistic person. But, when it comes to the US economy and political system, I have to say that I am a pessimist at this point. Frankly, at this point, I just don’t see a way out for the USA. I hate to say that, but it’s the truth.

  5. says

    The United States needs to stop all the wars and bring back all of our military, and bring back all the jobs that have been sent to China as slave labour for starters. The United States Government including all the Presidents, Congress, and senate of both parties have been a trader to this Consitutional Republic of the United States and it’s people. They have sold the American people out to line their own pockets with money to the off-shore bankers. And we the American people have to suffer the consequences for their treason of this Great Country. May God help us.

    • Christine says

      Your ideas are good Dennis, but the the powers that be won’t do it. Too many Generals with shares in military supplies will get upset. And if I might add that Aid to hostile countries, especially those that harbours terrorists should be promptly ceased! What on earth are they doing giving money to these people to kill our guys!

    • Rudi says

      How many wars on American soil over the last three centuries?
      More American dead on American soil than all other wars combined.
      What have Americans learned? NOTHING!!
      Reduce the military by 2/3. Bring the fleets home. Troops in Korean, Iran, Saudi Arabia. Iraq,
      Afghanistan and all other locations should return home.
      Increase tariffs on ALL imported goods….ESPECIALLY CHINES!!!
      Bring jobs and industry back to the USA. Stop shopping at WALMART!
      Reagan and the Bush’s caused this financial crisis and it will take major changes to save the USA from the same fate as Greece….
      There are solutions, but I very much doubt that even a single US citizen is willing to pull back from the military image they think will save them… SO VERY SAD, FOR THE SECOND ROME TO FALL!!!!

        • Rudi says

          I am real, research the history of the Bush clan. Starting with Senator Prescott George Bush, and his connections with the Nazi party in the ’30s.
          Please… don’t believe me, do your own research… but beware what you find you will not like…Sorry for shattering your illusions, but ignorance is the sure road to destruction.

      • Katrina says

        As much as I want Chinese products too to have tariffs, unfortunately, I think US free trade with China won’t do it unless abolished.

        Now, who was that president who gave the Chinese some sort of ‘special status’. Crap. The US should stop spoiling other countries. You give them a hand, they grab your arm.

        Now, I think it was a big mistake for Nixon to “open up” China. Have you seen the rip off of Apple store? Couldn’t be more blatant.

  6. Miss August says

    The US economy looks bleak but, it’s pretty much worldwide. It is worth bearing in mind, that many other major currencies have similar problems to the US. The UK debt situation is similar to US. Also the Eurozone have many potential problems. Japan’s public sector debt is twice the size of US.

    Both Republicans and Democrats share in the blame for the situation that this country is in. Both the liberals and the conservatives have decided that their precious ideology is more important than our nation.

    It’s so sad watching my adopted country so bitterly divided and people can’t find a middle ground.

    • says

      Hi Miss August – There can be no doubt about it… both sides, or every side is responsible to some degree. In the past, Democrats have been in power, and did nothing to turn the country’s path around. Same with Republicans.

      I would tend to disagree that it is worldwide, though. Many countries, including the Philippines have not entered recession at all in the past few years, while other countries are suffering. In fact, I would argue that the Philippine economy is steadily improving. Sure, it’s not at the level of the USA, but I feel it is heading in the right direction overall.

      Great Britain has problems, yes, but not on the scale of the US problems. Really, the countries in Europe who are in bad shape are Greece, Ireland and Spain. Italy is headed there too. But, many European countries are in great shape too.

      I focused on the US in my article because of two reasons:

      1. I am American
      2. I derive the vast majority of my income from the USA.

  7. Charlie Hannert (Charlie Tuna) says

    Good morning Bob,
    When I was in the U.S. Coast Guard 45 years ago our motto was and still is “Semper Paratus”, always ready.
    One can try their best to plan but even the best of plans can be ruined by an irresponsible government and banking system. I have tried my best to live by the Semper Paratus lifestyle but sometimes poop happens and one needs to be prepared also to accept whatever comes down the pipe. Life is not fair and likely never will be on this earth. We live we die, it is that simple. Some folks seem to think they are soemhow going to beat life and live. Sorry to say life and death will win. Some people are also mis-guided by how much they “own” or have in the bank. We don’t own anything, it is only leased as you cannot and will not take it with you when you leave this erath or what ever it is that happens.
    I think you know how I feel about self-full filling prophecies. I know that is not at all your intention and that you are just offering words to the wise as they say. One of these days I have to figure out just who “they “are anyhow. We know the government must control their spending and cut the waste. it appears they just don’t undersstand that it is NOT their money. It is OUR money they were supposed to be entrusted with. Just let me say that we do not want to scare people into saving all their money. Money has absolutely no value just sitting in your wallet, purse, or under the mattress. Money only has value whem it flows from one hand to another, that is an economy. There is plenty of real money out there that can be spent to help vitalize the U.S. economy. Too many people seem to get unduly scared to spend a dime as they do by things like the global warming scare scam. The sky is falling syndrome. All I am saying is for folks to exercise a little caution but don’t freeze up as that will definitely stall the economy.
    The governmant has plenty of programs and agencies to cut the waste out of without attacking Social Security. In my relatively short military career of 4 years active duty 45+ years ago on really small units I saw tons of waste just as an example. And in a few dealings with the V.A. I also saw people that didn’t do 30 minutes work a day yet they cannot be fired. They would never make it in a real job where the company has to show a profit or go out of business. These are just two examples of government waste and I could go on and on. The government appears to be unwilling to do the will of We the People and control their spending and make cuts where it is needed but they also want to resort to scare tactics.
    I do see things getting fixed by the government though, it may take marching in the street and riots, perhaps even a revolution, hopefully peaceful, but when people are put in a corner most will eventually fight.
    May all have a fantastic day. Now get out there and live, go for it.
    Best wishes ,
    Charlie

    • says

      Ha ha, for sure Charlie, I have been wondering who “they” are for some time myself! I do often talk about “them” but I still don’t know for sure who they are! :lol:

      You have a good day too, Charlie!

      • Charlie Hannert (Charlie Tuna) says

        Just an FYI Bob and for all the rest.
        I do write my Senators, Representives, and even the Whitehouse every month. I figure it can’t hurt. And I don’t mince words with these people. Polite but stern.

        I am going to check at Handyman hardware today to see if they have a live trap like we used to use to catch varmits in the States and see if I can’t catch myself one of those “They people”.
        I would guess that catch and release is allowed.

          • Charlie Hannert (Charlie Tuna) says

            Sorry post office but I email or fax all my letters. They are sterile that way. The government folks are afraid of paper through the mail. Things like the post office and video/dvd rental places best look for new careers. You are fast going the way of the pony express and silent moving pictures.
            By the way Bob, from my dealings with the posal service here in the Phils by the time the U.S. would get one of my letters the 2012 election would be over.

  8. Neal in RI says

    Bob
    WARNING you hit a nerve here Bob.
    Yes the USA economic situation is in a world of hurt and there is plenty of blame to go around.

    Just a few as I see it.

    Too many filthy rich companies based in the US that are having everything they make being made outside the US so there is no more manufacturing here anymore.

    Our Government spends to much money on CRAP, and they cannot say no to any of the special interest people because they all contribute to their electoral campaigns.

    To many Scumbags that know how to work the system and to many Scumbag Lawyers that help them work the system to get welfare, food stamps, housing etc etc. My kid cannot pay attention in school OK lets label him with ADD an get him special benefits, I cant control my eating habits and refuse to exercise to the point of now I am Obese, let me get a Lawyer and he will fight for a disability because I am FAT. It has to end and the whole US entitlement system needs to be revamped because everyone thinks they are entitled to something!!

    YES There are a lot of needy people that have legitimate claims to the benefits that the Govt can provide and they should get the benefits. I am happy to pay my taxes like a Patriot for the less fortunate who need these benefits. BUT if you are a Scumbag that is milking the system shame on you.

    World Economies go through cycles and the US cycle was at the peak with the WWII manufacturing boom.

    • says

      Hi Neal – In my view, the reason the companies go to China or elsewhere is because the American consumer demands the cheapest product on the market. If an American company is making TV sets and they cost $50 more than the Chinese made TV sets, well, the American company won’t sell many. So, what does the American company do? They go to China to manufacturer. How could you blame them for that? If the consumer was willing to pay the extra $50 to put Americans to work, then nobody would go to China in the first place. Seems simple to me.

      • Don says

        Americans are too used to shopping at Walmart and Costco and expect low prices. I dont see anyone paying extra for made in America. Govt could impose tarif to bring import prices up, but I generally dont see that as a good idea unless its for repriocity.

        I think that GM finally was able to manufacture a subcompact (Sonic) in the US for the first time. In Detroit of all places. Had to get UAW to let them pay the workers entry level wages of $14/hour. The car looks comparable to the Honda Fit so if the Unions stay out of the way, the car should sell at that price point and GM can make a decent margin.

        Problem is, if it is a success, the Unions will want more $$$ and then GM will shift mfg out of the country to Mexico. Saturn was a good car but the dealers and others just couldnt let it succeed as a separate division.

      • Neal in RI says

        Bob
        How did this trend start and how will it turn around.
        I would pay higher prices for everything if it was US made and it would provide jobs here in the USA. Unfortunately I may be a minority and everyone wants cheap cheaply made goods.

        • says

          That’s the big problem, Neal… I don’t see a way to turn it around without major sacrifice. Also, I don’t think many people are willing to pay $119 for that DVD player when the Chinese made one is $49. Bad situation!

          • Lance says

            The USA could eliminate it’s trade deficit virtually overnight by implementing Warren Buffett’s suggested Import Certificate program. Buffett’s plan would create a market for import certificates that represent the right to import a certain dollar amount of goods into the United States from other countries. The US govt would issue these certificates to US exporters in an amount equal to the dollar amount of the goods they export, who can use them or re-sell them to importers that must purchase certificates in order to legally import goods. No one would be allowed to import goods without an Import Certificate. This would result in balanced overall trade for the USA with the rest of the world as a whole (but not individual countries), even if some countries like China purposely undervalue their currencies to increase their exports. Companies would need to bring back millions of manufacturing jobs to the USA to avoid the cost of buying Import Certificates, helping lower unemployment. The elimination of the trade deficit would increase the value of the US Dollar vs. other currencies.

            You can read more about Warren Buffett’s suggested Import Certificate program here:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Import_Certificates

            • says

              I think that the real issue right at this moment is not so much the trade deficit, but the budgetary deficit and the size of the national debt. But, of course the trade deficit is also something that needs to be addressed.

              • Lance says

                Bob, I agree that the US budget deficit and national debt is a more urgent problem than the US trade deficit, however you, Neal and Don were discussing the trade deficit so that is why I mentioned a way to eliminate it virtually overnight. Regarding the US budget deficit and national debt, the way to solve that issue virtually overnight is to have the US Government start issuing zero-interest perpetuity bonds that would be purchased with new money printed by the Federal Reserve. The lack of interest payments would help lower the budget deficit, and the increased money supply would help inflate the economy out of recession. With no govt bonds to buy, US banks would need to start loaning out more money to help businesses grow. If US inflation gets too high, the Federal Reserve could use monetary sterilization techniques to soak up excess money supply. The increased money supply would allow the dollar to settle at it’s natural (likely lower) level against foreign currencies. A lower dollar would hurt nations that have huge US dollar currency reserves from under valuing their currencies to increase their exports (China, Japan, Taiwan, etc), but it serves them right. A lower dollar would of course hurt US expats in the Philippines and elsewhere, but until the US starts producing more it’s currency will continue to fall vs. countries that actually produce things.

              • says

                Hi Lance – I think we got into a bit of confusion somehow. I was never discussing the trade deficit until you posted about it. Anyway, no biggie, there are plenty of problems for us to work out! :lol: I just wish the politicians would listen to our solutions!

              • Lance says

                Oops, my mistake then Bob. When you, Neal and Don were talking about the US losing jobs due to American consumers wanting to buy cheaper products made in China instead of higher priced ones manufactured in the USA, I thought you were discussing the US trade deficit’s effect of weakening the US dollar. And yes, there are certainly lots of problems that politicians are not listening to people’s solutions for. :)

              • says

                Hi Lance – Oh yes, we did talk about the US losing jobs due to consumer demand for low prices, and indeed that relates to the trade deficit. However, our discussion was really about why companies relocate jobs overseas, and the trade deficit didn’t really enter into our conversation, although you are right, it is a related issue in terms of our discussion. Sorry, there has been so much discussion on this topic that I had forgotten about that part of our discussion.

  9. Don says

    Good article Bob. Its really difficult for the retirees on fixed incomes in the Phils (or any other country). No real means to supplement their income and they probably are supporting an extended family who do not understand whats going on in the US and that US dollar exchange rate and potential default of payments.

    A wise move to start discussing that they may need to stop supporting their extended families and take care of themselves first. Put aside 10-20% of the funds to cover 3-6 months of expenses before doling out to the rest of the family.

    • says

      Hi Don – Important to keep in mind that all expats are hit by the dollar value, not just those on Social Security. For example, about 75% of my client base is in the USA, which means that business is way down for me, since Americans, many of them, just don’t have the money to spend.

      I certainly agree with you that it’s important to build up an emergency fund!

    • Charlie Hannert (Charlie Tuna) says

      Great idea Don,
      I for one started cutting back on the extended family dole out a couple of months ago. They have had a pretty good free ride for 5 years. No problem when I was working but at an 80% pay cut a little over a year and a half ago they are going to have to share in that to. I already feel the effects of them not getting as much and they are going to get another cut this month. Welfare never works and I really do regret getting into this trap in the first place. I am trying to wean them off slowly and be a nice guy but if I get any complaints spoken or not spkoen if you know what I mean, I’ll just cut the air supply line completely. I am not sure if they don’t understand the U.S. situation or if they just don’t care as long as they get their unearned peso’s. They are very creative in getting around the “pay cut” to them by hinting and asking for help on other things like medical and so on. Hmmmm ??? Nice enough folks but I am beginning to wonder if they will stay nice when the tap is turned off. Time will tell. Thanks for the reminder.
      Have a fantastic day.
      Charlie

      • Don says

        Living in Manila, I had to pay rent in advance for 12 months + 1 mo deposit. So I converted a whole lot of dollars to pesos to pay. At the time, it was around p44/1usd and I thought it was crazy. Now the USD is dropping below 43, I am thinking it wasnt such a bad move as it saved me over USD1ooo. Of course the USD could go up and I lose out, but I dont think so.

  10. Brian says

    here’s the deal as I see it…..its done…the constituion is dead and has been for years. there is no moral compass left…no true north. both parties have done this and we the fat dumb lazy have not been vigilent in our duties. the govt does not exsist without us allowing it and we allowed it….some of us have screaming for for 25 years…..NOOOOOOO!!!…but we have been callled crazy…until lately atleast….now on the word sacrifice….to sacrifice you must have something to give. 47% of this country does not pay into the system. the poor sacrifice nothing. they only take…the rich have freinds in high places and yet they still sacrifice to the tune of the top 2% pay damn near 50% of all the taxes. the middle class sell their souls away to the devil that they think is their friend, only because they are busy and have not read between the lines the deals they have been offered……the military police force needs to come home and actually protect our greates interest…our borders….not our interest in other lands….the unions and corporations need to have the welfare ticket pulled…yes the unions also not just the corporations.
    my wife and i will be moving to the phils in april 2012….I am quitting the great experiment, i am going on strike from america…and i ain’t goin back. what happens when all the producers of america decide enuff is enuff and go on strike. the rich that are so demonized can leave anytime and take their money and business with them. they no longer need to be in the highest corporate taxed country on earth….what happens then to the poor …do they eat themselves?….and why hold onto your american dollar…it is not worth the paper it is printed on…nothing backs the dollar…except the people and the people are tired and sick…….what makes the us dollar anysafer then the phil peso? besides preception which could change at anytime……my bet is america keeps becoming europe….and i would place my bets on china or india…..the finacial power shift is happening, its only history repeating itself….and it is gonna move to asia….and the phil’s should do well as long as the ofw’s come home and try to make it work and the rest of the filipino’s and the govt figure this out. the phil’s are ripe to become the vacation destination of the asian world and ripe also with a work ethic and moral standing( ehich i hope they don’t lose) to reap this benefite…..but the us dollar will go back up soon because the masses are always late to the party and the big traders are buying it at bargain basement prices right now….and the fed reserve, which is not federal at all but 12 bankers will print funny money to prop it up…in the short term….and then i am guessing by mid 2012….it is gonna fall like a rock….if not sooner……sorry for the rant…..but stay in the phils, get some gold or silver or any other precious metal and put some of your hard earned labour into those….and if ya play the stock market…find an ETF that shorts the dow, and s&p….and make money on the downfall of america

    • says

      Ha ha.. Brian, don’t hold back your feelings so much! :wink:

      You had a few words to share with us, and I thank you for doing so!

      You are right, the upper 2% of earners pay 50% of taxes, but the class warfare people always say they should be taxed more! In fact, 50% of the people pay no taxes at all. Something is not right on that!

      Good luck to you Brian.

      • Charlie Hannert (Charlie Tuna) says

        Hi Brian,
        I agree with Bob. Let loose Brain, don’t be so shy and hold back on your feelings it not good for your health. lol
        Great post Brian.
        You guys and gals are making my day today.
        Remember if we make it that far, “re-elect no one “. Meanwhile write those letters and make those phone calls to your politicians. Than you.
        Best wishes,
        Charlie

    • brian says

      Nice post Brian, one thing that has always irked me it is the demonization of the ‘wealthy’. Most of the wealthy have successful businesses, yes as a percentage they may pay less personal income tax, BUT , the business they own pays a huge amount of taxes. The people they employ, pay income taxes, the State they reside in gets a nice chunk of taxes, the County they do business in they pays taxes to. you get the drift. Its a misnomer that the wealthy pay very little taxes. They do. I don’t know about you but I never got a job from a poor man!

    • Rudi says

      The downfall of America is so very long overdue!!!
      The last sixty years of the USA has been the grandest Ponzie scheme of all time…
      And very sadly this stupid mentality has spread to almost every country in the world.
      The DOW is so inflated it is funny, people ignore their history, stocks should be valued at 5-7 times earnings ratios, but where are all the dollars the Fed is printing to go? the stock market of course…Funny money, buying phoney stocks…Is it any wonder Bernie had such an easy time raking in billions.
      If you real want to know what the USA will look like in 5-10 years look at Flint, or Detroit Michigan. Almost 40% of all homes in the USA are in some kind of financial distress…
      In 10 years Vegas, and Palm springs will be ghost towns, towns without any water at all.
      Without oil, agro business cannot survive, and there are no longer any alternatives for the great majority of Americans. 99% of Americans know nothing about growing their own food,
      how to catch clean and cook a fish, shoot a deer, dress and hang it.
      I am very sad… 100 years ago America lead the world in the development of technologies that actually helped mankind… Sustainable agriculture, medically advancements, social reforms…
      Now??
      This reminds me of the fall of Rome… In A.D. 400 Rome had a population of 1Million… 200 years later it had fewer that 30,ooo inhabitants. Can you imagine New York, Chicago, Houston, Los Angelos with a population of 30,000?
      Think it can’t happen….Think again!!!

      • says

        Hi Rudi – When I read your comment, I found the first sentence to be offensive. But, as I read the rest of it, I found myself thinking that it was hard to disagree with what you are saying. Sad indeed.

        • Rudi says

          Hi Bob,
          I try not to be offensive, but reality can be a real bitch…
          How many in New York or Chicago or Manila or Cebu or pick a city could survive a week, without their grocery store. How many in the good USA even have a few gallons of water stashed in case of an emergency?
          The masses are ignorant by choice, the information is out there and some people are doing their best to educate. The point of my ranting is that society as we know it will collapse sooner rather than later, and all the safety nets we take for granted will be gone.
          Forever!!!
          I believe the key to survival is knowledge and preparedness…
          When the social structure collapses we only have ourselves and like minded individuals to count on…Here are a few things I’m doing to try to be prepared….
          Building a 6-12 month food supply… growing my own vegetables and fruits…harvesting fish and game from around the area where I live….
          Getting advanced first aid training and acquiring the biggest and best first aid kit I can find…
          Making connections with like minded people to establish a community…
          Acquiring the weapons I will need to defend what I have…
          My vehicle always has a full tank of gas, 10 gallons of water, food for 4 for 14days, sleeping bags and tent, first aid kit, weapons, radios and much more, when the shit hits the fan I’m out of here…and I won’t look back till I get to my safe place…
          Your original article dealt with preparedness… I believe not just expats, but every sane person should use their reserves to build stockpiles of those things that will not just make survival doable, but bearable…
          Thank you for your patience on my ranting….

  11. Maynard Handy says

    Ha you might see a revolution in the U.S. if the ssa checks stop ,there is alot of boomers out there now.

    • Charlie Hannert (Charlie Tuna) says

      Hi Maynard,
      If it comes to it then revolution is what “they” are going to get. Like “they “say, don’t mess with a guy that has nothing to lose. And I for one if I lose my Social Security that I paid into for 53 years will be on the nothing to lose team.
      If we have to take OUR country back we will.
      Best wishes,
      Charlie

      • Rudi says

        Hi charlie,
        I really hate to break it to you but forget about what you have paid in, I have.
        Try your best to build a cache, to allow you and those you care about to survive.
        You can only depend on yourself. Ranting about the government may make you feel better, but you know what you say won’t make a short hair’s difference.
        Use your time and energy to build your stockpile…Build a community of like minded individuals who you can rely on…There are good people out there, is just sometimes hard to find them…. Best of Luck

      • Scott Day says

        The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. ~Thomas Jefferson

        I hope it never comes to that. I love my country and fear it would never survive another civil war. And I do not think people can understand what it means to be an American until they understand where we come from and how our country was born.

  12. brian says

    There are only 3 ways to get out of this crisis, major cut backs, print more money ( inflation…which works well the closer you are to the money spigot i.e. Federal Reserve and the Government) and taxes.All three of which will be employed heavily. Sadly our elected idiots do not run this Country in terms of economics, you may think I am out there but I challenge you to dig deep and READ up on the Federal Reserve. There is a reason Andrew Jackson despised bankers! He knew. Check out Robert Black on you tube, he’s a well regarded Missouri College Professor who explains the inner workings of the Federal Reserve in laymen terms. How is it that the biggest heist of American wealth , fraudulent actions taken by our banks (in epic proportions !) aka. the re labeling of securities and then selling them on the international market as AA and AAA securities? And not one single arrest??? How is it that the privately held Federal Reserve the largest most profitable cartel of banks has never ever been audited??? NEVER! HP, GMC, Ford, Microsoft and hundreds of other fortune 500 companies have dedicated IRS staff to watch them closely yet the Fed Res. has none !!?? Think I’m nuts? Maybe, but I’m not stupid. READ.

  13. AlexB says

    Hi Bob,

    I’ve been wondering when this topic would come up in expat forums. I think the US needs major restructuring. I’m starting to think the Fed Reserve could be part of the problem too. The sad thing is no one really knows how to get out of this mess. To top this up, the cost of living is just going crazy. Starting with gas, utilities etc. Earning $10/hour or Walmart wages or having a McJob isn’t part of the solution. It’s not even a living wage.

    An elderly friend of mine, now living very comfortably in northern California, but grew up dirt poor in the depression, wrote me that in his area, there are kids who go to school whose only meal is what they get in school. The teachers managed to get donations on their own to give them breakfast daily. My friend is one of those who donate regularly. What has not been talked about, is the number of invisible poor in the US. He actually got his son who was then in the midwest, to join him because the middle age son is going nowhere but down.

    As for living in the Philippines, expats should really make the adjustment to think “locally” in terms of currency and expenses. We don’t really know what the fallout will be in the event the USD tanks but many people will be hurting for a long time.

    All the best to all. Alex

    • says

      Hi Alex – Really, I don’t think “thinking in Pesos” helps much. I mean, I usually think in Pesos (although my clients pay me in dollars, so I am somewhere caught in the middle), but you only have a certain amount of money to live on. I mean, if a SS recipient things in pesos, that’s great, but since his SS in in dollars, it just means that he has fewer and fewer pesos every month because the source of his income is worth less and less.

      Take care, Alex.

  14. Maynard Handy says

    The declining dollar sure isnt worth much now in any foreign country or its own.Wars and free money to foreign countries sure didnt help the situation and jobs leaveing either.I hope everyone is prepared.

  15. Cheryl says

    I believe Sir you are wrong about the exchange rate being over 46 pesos for a dollar at the beginning of year 2011. All the records I have, and have looked at, show it being right around 43.5 pesos per dollar.

    As far as the dollar falling more in strength, it sure could. In January of 2008 the exchange rate was right around 40 to 41 for a dollar, so we have been here before. But it will eventually, probably within a year, get better and not much worse.

    • says

      Hi Cheryl – I researched my figures through Yahoo Finance, and also through XE.com, and I can assure you that I am correct. Within the first 2 months of 2011 the dollar was at 46.6.

      The dollar may go up or down. Based on US fiscal policies, I believe the trend in the next few years, at least, will be downward. I would not be surprised to see 35.

      • says

        Yep, Bob, I’m one of those American expats living in the Philippines, and I can assure you that your figures are correct. The dollar was around 46.6. Believe me, when you’re living here and exchanging those dollars for pesos, you are keenly aware of what the exchange rate is. But, that said, I’m celebrating two years in the Philippines today with my beautiful Filipina asawa. I’m in it for the long haul.

  16. says

    I am pleased in a way that the majority of posters here understand that this not a one-party problem. This has been done to us by both the Republicans and the Democrats and in equal measure. Should anyone expect that by electing a Republican president we can get out of this mess, I would caution them to consider carefully the last decade or two.

    There are no moderate politicians anymore.

  17. Maynard Handy says

    You know Bob its very depressing also,just to know most of us were born from working people,and depend on ss now because there was nothing for us back then but work,what retirement saving??We had kids to raise lol.

    • says

      Hi John – A while back, I was standing in a bank here in Davao City with a friend who was moving here and had a large sum of money he wanted to exchange… and I mean large. The exchange rate that day was 46.6. My friend said he was going to wait a day and see if it hit 47. The next day, the dollar dropped like a rock, and has never gone back near that territory since. My friend lost a lot of money and is still kicking himself. I have checked a number of services online and every one of them shows that spike.

      OK, I just went back and checked this out…. I made an error. The dollar hit 46.6 within the past year. I meant to say that it was within the past 12 months, and not at the beginning of 2011. Sorry for my error.

  18. Neil says

    Hi Bob
    I believe you are absolutely correct on the U.S. economy. We have been living way beyond our means, whether with credit, equity on our homes of the past decade or having 8-9% federal deficits. What does all this means, is that the standard of living will decline for a large part of the U.S. population. What i see happening in the future is that there will be changes in social security, medicare and medicaid, and pensions. There is no way that we can give retirees the same kind of care and benefits as if they were still working. That is impossible and it will affect Europe, U.S., and Japan.
    In the Philippines where there is a young population, with very few people depending on government assistance, because there is very little, the growth will be much faster. People will feel richer but will never get to the level of the U.S. I see the Peso gaining value overtime unless the BSP decides to intervene and support the dollar in order to gain exchange advantages either for exporters or remittances.
    I know the U.S. wants to raise taxes and demonize the rich, but they became rich because they were able to somethings more people are unable to do. Maybe it was inventing something or managing a successful company. I do however feel that Hedge fund managers should pay income tax and not taxed as carried interest so they only have pay 15%. My ex-wife had a job that did not pay a lot so she was going to get her federal taxes refunded plus an additional $700, that is welfare for the working poor. Not only do they not pay anything except payroll tax they get money from the government.
    Then we have public unions who donate a ton of money to politicians and who become beholden to them and then insist on getting more money. Instead of an immediate pay raise which would not go well with the public they instead give them better pension benefits, and since they won’t be around when that bill comes due their political careers are safe. In my city they are laying off police officers, crime is going up, in large part because of their huge pension obligations.

    • says

      Everything is unfortunate, but I believe correct, Neil. There is pain ahead for lots of Americans. The pain that many are currently experiencing is only the beginning, unfortunately. Everybody needs to be prepared.

  19. John Adams says

    Another thought: I do agree that unless the US does something quickly the US Dollar may continue to slide further down. What I am watching is the problem with OFWs. I strongly believe that over the coming months more and more countries will start turning OFW jobs over to their locals and we will start seeing a huge wave of OFWs coming home. If that happens, I believe that the Philippine economy will fall apart and the Peso will fall to around 49-52 to the US Dollar. The Philippine government can not support (in any fashion) even a couple hundred thousand returning OFWs. Another thing to watch is what is happening wit the Chinese and Philippine growing conflict. Investors are getting nervous and if things get even a little bit worse they either cut back or just leave. More and more call centers are locating back to the USA because there are many people willing to accept minimum wage for starting positions.

    • says

      Hi John – It kind of puts an expat in a tough situation, don’t you think? I mean, I hate to see anybody suffer… then again, I’d love to see 50 to 1 again! :wink:

      • John Adams says

        I, personally, think that the Philippine government’s foundation is nothing but “empty egg shells.” It is a worse bubble than what the US economy was a couple years ago. Remember that over 20% of the Philippine government annual budget is solely based on OFW inflows. Many (and I mean many) of the OFWs will be sent home from Europe in the coming months especially from countries like Greece, Italy, Ireland etc. Combine that with (again, what I believe) massive returns from the Middle East and plus ever shrinking remittances (it will start shrinking because those countries economies will get worse before they get better) from the USA, Canada,Europe etc and you have a formula for a true economic disaster. I just don’t think that a country like the Philippines which is really so weak in governing (such as tax collection, customs collection, graft and corruption at a massive scale) will be able to stay “under the radar” in the global business environment. The world is just to interconnected and you can’t hide your “dirty laundry” in today’s world.
        As an afterthought, my wife has a niece (Fil-Am) who has always sent money home to her mother and grandmother. For the first time ever, she called this week crying that she can not send money for the foreseeable future because she lost her 2nd job and her expenses are growing and growing. My wife has a past college friend whos mother has worked in France for 22 years…she lost her job last week and will have to return to the Philippines.

        I think that the “bullet is slow coming out of the barrel” but it will get to the Philippines and it will hit right on target.

        • says

          Hi John – I have been feeling pretty good about the Philippine economy of late. But, I can also see your side of things too, without a doubt. The remittances are not a good long term solution for the country, in fact, they kill productivity and they also create an attitude of entitlement, which is not what this country needs. We shall see what happens, that’s for sure.

        • Jon B says

          Wrong. OFW is merely 1.9% of the Philippines’ 2010 GDP of $373B – it is the 34th largest economy in the world.

          • Ricardo Sumilang says

            34th largest economy in the world? The August 2011 issue of the Foreign Policy Journal ranks the Philippines 50th in their index of failed states, among countries that are predominantly African. No other countries in Southeast Asia, except the Philippines, made the list.

      • Gary Zies says

        There are scenarios in which the Philippine Peso could again drop to 50 to 1. However, it’s very unlikely that it’s because the Dollar gets stronger. It would only mean that the Peso drops faster than the US Dollar. Just don’t expect that you get the same amount of goods/value for your 50 Pesos as you did the last time, when the Peso was 50:1. Currency Inflation is a BITCH.

        • says

          That’s very true, Gary. It could happen either way. For now, what I see is the Peso value increasing, meaning that the dollar will be worth less. Or should I say worthless? :wink:

  20. says

    the govt is the problem, why let the problem find a solution….only those that participate in paying for the system can sacrifice….those that only take from it can not sacrifice….they have nothing to give….so therefore they should no longer get….and i am not talking current ssi participants…they paid into and believed the contract….bet you won’t do that agin….the american govt is working and has been working against the individuals for over 100 years…only working for the groups…be it corporations, unions, foreign countries, drug lords, ect ect….freedom has been gone for awhile…..be there in 9 months….if i am gonna be broke i will do it on the beach, with my wife by myside haha 2 trees and a hammock will work fine haha

    • says

      Hi Brian – Unfortunately, I don’t know how you can let anybody solve the problem except the government, and indeed they did make the problem! I guess the best thing is to elect a whole new slate of leaders and let them attack it.

  21. Christine says

    Hi Bob, I too am worried for the sliding US$ because of a close friend of mine who will be settling in the Philippines soon. Already we are thinking of ways for him to survive without relying on his military pension, as that too is under threat at the moment and even the Tricare which many veterans depend on.
    http://alpost290web-n.blogspot.com/2011/06/veterans-report-mullen-warns-of-pay.html

    The Aussie $$ is strong at the moment at $Au1 = p46. But this will not last for sure because our current labor government seemed intent on ruining Australia with the carbon tax. And what with the US currently groaning under a US$14.3 trillion debt, there is great fear that it will default on August 2. I just checked the US$ rate and it is trading at $1=P42.88. Worrying times indeed. As for my friend, I will probably train him how to raise chickens and pigs :)

    • says

      Hi Christine – Yeah, I think that any kind of government retirement or benefit is in danger at this point. What has been going on is unsustainable. Former military guys deserve and have earned their pension. Old folks deserve social security and paid into it. Medicare recipients need it or they may die. Kids deserve school lunches. Etc etc etc. That’s the problem, there are more than enough deserving folks out there… but there is no more money!

      • Ricardo Sumilang says

        During a recent exchange of visit with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. military, his PLA counterpart observed that the U.S. is spending too much money on defense (a trillion dollars in 2011) when some of that money could be used elsewhere to help stimulate the economy.

    • Papa Duck says

      Christine,

      It looks like the military may have to start paying for some of there healthcare and pensions or take a paycut. I just started having to pay into the Florida Retirement System (3%) and our health insurance costs are going up. I just want to make to retirement in the Philippines in 2014 before they mess with the pensions again. Have a nice day!

      • Christine says

        Agreed Papa Duck, but what about they start cutting the paychecks for politicians and Generals to begin with before hitting the common soldiers on the bottom? Some of the veterans get very little and as they get older, the more they need healthcare.
        Of course we both know that the Politicians will never start cutting costs from the top. Think Animal Farm (the book).

        And about time America stop taking the role as the world’s policeman. There are pressing needs at home.

        • Ricardo Sumilang says

          Yes and no to being the role as the world’s policeman, Christine. For more than half a century following WWII, a string of ill-conceived “police actions” (interventionism) on the part of the U.S. resulted in the U.S. becoming the most hated country in the world. In my opinion, the four major foreign policy blunders post WWII that really got us into big trouble were, of course, Iran, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan in the making. But there were also good police actions involving U.S. military intervention that actually saved 3 African countries from total chaos: Liberia and Sierra Leone easily come to mind. These countries were pulled by us from the brink of chaos, and are now peaceful countries because we intervened. Ivory Coast may follow suit. Now, Iraq, we not only intervened, we invaded a country that posed no security threat to the U.S. I am not trying to justify the illegality of that war, but if you look at the overall results of that war today compared to the years before the invasion, during and after the war, you will find that there is relative peace in the country, Iraqis are a happier people, a democratic government is functioning and sectarian violence has actually diminished over the last year.

          • Mars Z. says

            Hi Ric, don’t forget Grenada, Panama and other clandestine ops and support for countries like Columbia from Drug Kingpin and Bullies from Nicaragua. Of course other CIA blunder like Allende affair and other non-successful attempts.

            Mars

            • Ricardo Sumilang says

              Thanks, Mars. To be honest, I am not exactly a fan of U.S. interventionism. Yet, it is pretty hard to ignore that some of the U.S.’s police actions throughout the world have ended up as intended in terms of heading off possible chaos in a given region to protect the U.S. from any consequences or a ripple effect arising therefrom, while avoiding alienating the local populace by maintaining a delicate balance involving the insertion of combatant forces as necessary while bolstering humanitarian aid in the affected areas.

            • Papa Duck says

              Also the war in the Balkins, the former Yugoslavia, in the 80’s/90’s, which was both US/NATO was an important intervention for humanitarian reasons due to the genocide and ethnic cleansing.

              • says

                Again, I would respectfully ask that we stay on topic – keep the discussion related to expat issues relating to the economic problems.

          • Rudi says

            Study your history…
            The USA is NOT a global policeman but a brigand!!!
            All actions in Central America started to protect the interests of the United Fruit Company…Hawaii was a sovereign country that was annexed to satisfy US merchants.
            Panama was a province of Columbia. The Great White Fleet was sent out to intimidate the world. Check out the second opium Wars.
            The USA has never done anything for humanitarian reasons, but to back up the very richest in their efforts to control even more of the globe.
            The USA has become a global bullie, and has been doing so for over 100 years. The poor and the minorities serve in your military so the very richest can maintain their poor structure. And politicians such as the Bushs make certain that the military, industrial complex will roll merrily along. (Anyone want to take bets that Jeb Bush runs and wins the Republican nomination for President?)

            • Ricardo Sumilang says

              LOL You have to learn how to read history with objectivity. When your frame of mind is biased against the U.S. to begin with, your understanding of history especially as it pertains to the U.S. is distorted. Your mind retains only what it wants to retain – U.S. mistakes – and completely ignores all the good the U.S. has done throughout the world. In the course of human history, not one nation is perfect. All colonial powers were guilty of the same things you accused the U.S. of.

              • Ricardo Sumilang says

                Furthermore, I have never heard of a country called Columbia. But if you mean Colombia, yes, the U.S. did back Panama to secede from Colombia in order to build the Suez Canal. So, what is wrong with this picture? The construction of the Suez Canal has benefitted you and the rest of the world ever since in economic terms, hasn’t it?

                For you to pronounce that the” U.S. has never done anything for humanitarian reasons” is symptomatic of a shuttered, biased mind. Please go read your history again without blinders.

                Your Vietnam-era thinking that the poor and minorities serve in the military is passe. The all-voluteer force of today come from higher income than from low-income neighborhoods. In a 2007 study, only 11 percent have come from poor families as opposed to 25 percent from wealthier families.

              • Mars Z. says

                Ha ha lol, Rudi, you’ve been watching to many movies. Have ever made a list of what China and Russia did to other countries before? If you made comparisons, I bet the US made more humanitarian assistance than any country in the whole world. As a matter of fact, too generous—- and forgiving.

              • Ricardo Sumilang says

                Hey, Mars, what can you do when Rudi’s mind is alreadyclosed? He sees only an evil U.S. LOL

              • Papa Duck says

                Ricardo, Mars,

                Totally agree with you both. Rudi must be smoking something and it isn’t cigarettes. It sounds like he is one of those Anti-government survivalist. Talking about the Panama Canal, which is being widened now to accommodate the huge ships. Should be completed in 2014 and will greatly increase trade from the US from Asia and for cheaper

    • Dan says

      Tom that is a good question and would be fun to see the next 75 posted comments on what some are doing to get prepared for the comming mess that is comming sooner or later…

      My self I am debt free do not own any body a dime..no credit cards ..no bank loans…no nothing…I live by some a pretty simple life..but happy not to be worrying about where my next dime will come from and etc. If one has 3 to 6 months worth of food put away and 6 months to a year worth of some kind of money put away and some of the other simple essentionals needed to stay alive…they will make it…..for those that live in the big citys it could get rough if all hell breaks loose…Maybe its time for one to step back and find out what is important and what is not important and make the adjustments they can make to survive the comming big mess….I do know or belive this..things will never be the same here in the USA as they have been and change is comming and a lot of it is catching people unprepared becuase of their way of thinking and way of living for so many years….Yet, is it not our very own responsbility to be responsible for our selves the best we can and start using our brain maybe in a more productive way….yet life is great as long as were still alive…I think any way…so would be interesting to hear some of the ideas some are thinking about or changes they are thinking about to weather the comming big storm….

      • says

        I’m in the same situation as you, Dan. No debt. We’ve been debt free for 11 years now, not a dime in debt. It’s a good feeling to be like that, don’t you think? :grin:

      • Miss August says

        Being debt-free is great but if you don’t have any funds set aside for emergency and some long term savings/investment. Then you’re SOL, you will be in the same situation with most Filipinos who are debt-free but no income and/or savings.

        My plan when I retire in the Philippines:
        1. Be Debt-free
        2. Own my house (free and clear)
        3. Have a local income, rice field and copra (coconut)
        4. Vegetable garden, raise pigs, chicken and goat for personal consumption
        5. Cash reserve

        I would try to be self-sufficient so if anything happens with our US pension, investments and SS benefits we won’t be totally destitute.

        • Roselyn says

          Hi Miss August: I agree with you all the way. I’m in the U.S. . I have one addition: live away from the relatives (at least one island away) as I need my peace.

        • Scott Day says

          Miss August,
          Your plan is very sensible and is like mine and my asawa’s plan. We will buy a farm and raise either pigs or chickens and maybe grow rice.

          Roselyn,
          LOL you sound like my asawa, she has relatives in Mindanao so we will live near Cebu or in Ormoc.

        • Papa Duck says

          Miss August, Roselyn,

          Very good plan. I’m currently debt free. Working alot of hours to stash as much money as possible away. i also want start a small business also, to supplement/replace my pension and social security. Rice farming is a good investment due to rice shortagess, if the price of land is reasonable. Our Florida Retirement System is in excellent shape, better than most of them, Gov Scott just wanted us to contribute to help with the budget deficit. So hopefully nothing will happen to that, but you still have to be prepared. Miss August if you don’t mind me asking, how much longer before you retire? Where would you like to retire too. Have a great day!

          • Miss August says

            Hi Papa Duck,
            My husband can retire at 50, (he’s 48 this year) but he already said that he won’t retire just yet. I’m planning to buy properties in Northern Samar, my mother’s province. I already own a vacant lot there to build our house.

            My husband has been very smart about finances and contributes to the max on his TSP (sort of like 401K). We’re fortunate enough to have three income when we retire, his pension, TSP and Social Security supplements until SS benefits kicks in at 62.

            If everything goes well and we don’t lose a lot of money during this economic crisis, more than likely we will only live/retire part-time in the Philippines.

  22. art wolford says

    When I first came to the Philippines the dollar value was 50.65 p to $1. That was in 2001. Ever since it has been dropping lower. I just opened a cash account at BDO. I will transfer money into that account and wait hoping the dollar value will rise some in the future. Like Bob said, I think it is a blink future for the dollar value to get much better. But, if it does get better I will then transfer money to the peso account. I hope I am doing the right thing. We will see.

    Art

    • says

      Hi Art – Actually, the Dollar/Peso rate topped out sometime in about 2004 or 2005 at 56:1, other than that, what you say is very accurate. Good luck with your strategy, I hope it works out well.

    • Gary Zies says

      Art, good plan. However, make sure you let the US government know if you accumulate $10.000 or more in a foreign account. The IRS is looking hard now and requires foreign banks to report the holdings of US citizens/Immigrants. The form you need to submit is called “FBAR”. Make sure you file this thing in a timely manner, because the fines for not doing so are very very stiff.

  23. Allan Kelly says

    Good advise Bob.

    The US still does not seem to have grasp the most simple concept of life. You cannot afford to keep spending more that you take in. Sooner or later, it catches up with you. Canada will not be immune to the US crash. Our economies are too closely tied together. I do have one question. Since the Philippines depends on overseas money, what may happen there? If, God forbid, the amount of money coming into the Philippines dropped by say 30%, would it survive?

    • says

      It’s so true, Allan. Personally, I think that the Philippine economy is pretty well set to ride out the storm, at least so far it has done well while most of the world has had massive trouble.

  24. David S. says

    The economic situation in the world will change radically within the next few years. Why? Remember how the advent of things like personal computers, the Internet and cell phones changed the world? Can you imagine what life was like without automobiles, television sets and vaccinations against diseases?

    More changes are on the horizon. Within the next few years economical electric vehicles will be widely available. This wll negate oil producing countries revenue streams and greatly improve the balance of trade for oil buying countries. Robotics and AI are taking off. More and more manufacturing is done in automated factories. Robots are performing routine surgery. Automated voice systems are widely used in first world countries and have almost entirely replaced receptionists. The Internet has made businesses without large facilities a possibility. This process will rapidly accelerate. Before long cheap labor will be unable to compete with machines.

    The countires who will be the first adopters are the wealthy, first world nations. This coupled with falling populations in the U.S. and Europe will greatly lessen the need for imports from Asia and other third world countries. Why bring over OFWs when robots will do the job for less money and never ask for a day off? It isn’t a question of whether this transition will occur, it’s already happening. The only question is how long will it take for this change to take root?

    When it does, the new “oii” will be raw materials. Countries with smaller populations, wide technology implementation and abundant natural resources will be the winners. Sadly poorer countries, especially those with few natural resources and larger populations will be the loosers.

    • says

      Hmm… I don’t know, David. Maybe you’re right, but there has been talk about “the robots are coming” for several decades now, and I am just not sure that I really see it as being that close to the horizon yet. We shall see, my friend.

    • Ricardo Sumilang says

      David S, regarding robots, Northrop Grumman is currently developing or has already built a prototype of the jet fighter of the future – it is pilotless.

  25. Neal in RI says

    Bob
    Have you at anytime tried to negotiate and lock in rent payable in US dollars so you would not feel the effects of the fluctuating exchange rate.

    • says

      Last year, when we were looking for a new house to rent, Neal, we looked at one beautiful house that was owned by a Filipino who was a long term US resident. I tried to work out a US dollar rent, but sadly, we could not come to terms on the place.

      • Paul Thompson says

        Neal;
        Stick with payments in Peso’s, as with all things economic the rate could someday (not very soon) go back to 50 to one and you’re stuck paying in dollars. There are two sides to every coin! I rented a house 15 years ago in Olongapo with a one year lease for pesos, the rate at the time was 23 to 1$, two months later it was on the way to 50 to 1$. I won when my rent was cut in half.

        • says

          I tend to agree with your philosophy, Paul. The way I feel is that hey, I live in the Philippines… they use Pesos here, and I should too. I mean, why get stuck somewhere in the middle. Decide where you will live, and live there just like everybody else who lives there! :lol:

        • Neal in RI says

          Bob/ Paul
          I agree when in RP you should use the P but I figured it may be a short term way to protect against the falling dollar. But you Bob seem to set your roots pretty deep and stay in one place so maybe it could work against you long term when the $ bounces back.

          Paul
          That sounds like a mid 80’s exchange rate when I was there, I do recall that then 100 bills were king and you could get a better exchange using them. I used to go down by the Victory Liner terminal(black market) and exchange them in and got a better rate than on Magsaysay.

    • says

      I totally agree, Bdul. Historically, at least in recent history, the Philippine Government has taken actions to keep the Peso at a reasonable level against the Dollar. But, in the end the market will rule, despite government interventions. That is only natural.

      • Gary Zies says

        Currency exchange rates can be manipulated by any central bank. To keep the Dollar/Peso rate relatively stable, the Philippine Central Bank has to print more pesos in time of a falling dollar. That policy works good for expats who have long-term contracts in pesos (rent payments etc.) However, all this money printing causes price inflation and is felt every time you go shopping.

  26. Brian says

    This is a good article but answers its own problem. You do have enough money and moneys tight, so you shop at Walmart or Costco ( a division of the Chinese army ) . Reagan went into debt further, BUT got the economy going after Carter. The democrats held the congress and wouldn’t allow him balancing the budget from what I read. Old Bush took over things chugged along. Then Clinton came in balanced the books with Roosevelts backdoor into social security most people don’t know that. He also killed America by signing NAFTA which has sent jobs over seas and to Canada and Mexico. Little Bush took over kept NAFTA, added CAFTA for central America continued borrowing money then giving it away as foriegn aid. YES, borrowed money. Then after 9/11 signed the unPatriot act, made agreements with Mexico and Canada for there military to come in and help us incase of martial law also started the NAU ( North American Union ). Now we have a guy who’s birth cert. was faked, name is faked ( Barry Seotaro ) his social security number is from someone in CT ( thought he was born in HI ) to someone who died in the 1800’s. He has given us more debt then ANY president and the economy’s worse. He said unemployment wouldn’t go above 8% if we didn’t pass the banker bailout it’s now 9.2 % and worse in minority areas. I’m a CNC machinst I was laid off after 3yrs at this company started at another shop a week later was there 6mths til I was laid off there. He’s sold most of his machines and using parts from inventory now. You get a job here and there a week here and few months there. Mostly its who you know for getting a job. I’m going back to school at the end of the month for programming hoping it will help. Theres a reason there willing to give people 96 wks of unemployment because the crime rate would be a 200% increase w/o it. My mother and stepfather moved to S. Carolina. They HAD a 401K and other assets. Got work, got laid off. My stepfather is a bill collector of all things. Couldn’t find work, took early SS, lost there van, new house, I now have there car and make payments on it. Its very bad here, a guy held up a bank demanding a dollar then sat down and waited so he could go to jail so he could eat and get free medical care. Now Obummer is playing scare tactics with SS. He knows that those checks aren’t real money. Its just a check or direct deposit. Nothing about stopping aid to ALL countrys that is borrowed money. Nothing about the federal employees who don’t pay taxes or GE paying only 4% tax. YES I WANT OUT OF THIS COUNTRY But I wonder if the TSA will feel me up at the airport IF I HAD MONEY to go and get out of thins police state.

    • says

      Hi Brian – Costco is not affiliated with the Chinese Army! It is a shipping company called “Cosco” that is affiliated with the Chinese Army. Costco is an American company.

      • Jim H says

        Yeah Bob, you’re right. When I read it I was wondering if the poster was hinting at the fact that almost everything they sell is Chinese made, which is effectively the same thing.

        Worrying times indeed, and it will be interesting to look back at it in 50 years and see how it all panned out. (It will all pan out of course, think Charles Darwin). You and I might just manage another fifty years, and just imagine how annoying it will be to have the experience and knowledge to tell everyone what to do to solve their problems, but they won’t listen because we are both “daft old gits”.

          • Scott Day says

            Bob,
            The first time me and my asawa went to the Walmart here where we live she looked so puzzed. I asked her what is the matter babe? She said where is the stuff made in America. I laughed and said nothing is made in America anymore. One day she said she wanted to goto Chinamart and has called it that ever since. LOL

            • says

              Ha ha… People talk bad about WalMart because many of the products are Chinese. But, as far as I can see, it’s the same for every other store in the USA too! Good story, Scott.

              • Stevo says

                It always amazes me that people always love to bash Walmart. I know you don’t Bob, but other people do. My wife has worked there for 11 years and she is a very hardworking Filipina, are most Filipinos and Filipinas. Walmart provides a lot of jobs, donates to a lot of worthwhile charities, and is a very important asset to our community! Like you said, a lot of other stores sell products made in China! Good luck finding any electronics like computers, cell phones etc., that are not made in China. People cannot just blame Walmart. I know the unions hate Walmart, but who do you think I see a lot at our store? MY union steward! It is still a free country, you can pay more at another store if you want to. Thanks for letting me voice my opinion.

            • Miss August says

              I don’t shop at Walmart if I can avoid it! I really do not like that company. I wonder if Sam Walton is turning in his grave.

        • Katrina says

          What product in the US is not made in China? Even my HP laptop says “Made in China”. Like we have options anymore… “/

          Was elated though that a set of camisole I bought at Costco said “Made in the Philippines”. Sometimes, I get made in Indonesia, Vietnam, Pakistan..but still they are hard to get by as compared to made in China

  27. says

    Hi Bob – Looks like another worm can opened! It’s enough to make this sailor drink! ;)

    Wish you weren’t so doggone accurate with your predictions but then, it’s not your fault. :lol:

  28. rc says

    Hi Bob,

    First…you called it 2 years ago…and so did I, but it was an easy call to make for those with their eyes open. I disagree about the blame part…I really believe that one side carries most of the burden here, but that’s politics and whatever the reason, here we are.

    Here’s my thoughts…the Euro is going to take the plunge as well…mostly for the same reasons the USD is. The question would be…what currency would be best to hold and trade in? If you are bound to the USD as anyone who trades in the US is, what do you convert to? I’m thinking the Singapore Dollar or the HK dollar might be the way to go. BTW, I’m living in the US, but really am thinking that with the massive devaluation of the USD going on…maybe another currency would be a good bet. And there are few stable countries in Asia that might be a good bet. Are you thinking anything along these lines? Just curious.

    • says

      Yep, rc, I did say this is what would happen, but like you say, it wasn’t too hard to see it down the road. I just wonder why the US politicians could not see it!

      For me, it is hard to change currencies. My money comes from selling products and services on the web, and most of my customers are Americans. A couple of years ago, as an experiment, I tried a switch to Euros for my currency, but the truth is that most Americans had no idea what a Euro was, so I switched back to dollars again! :wink:

  29. Randall Jessup says

    Hi Bob,

    It’s amazing what’s happening in the U.S. compared to Canada.

    Today I went to the bank in Toronto, Canada to exchange US dollars for Canadian Dollars.
    They were only paying 0.93 cents Canadian for US dollars. The lowest I’ve ever seen.

    The Toronto housing market is exploding with multiple bids over asking prices which are
    already sky-high. Anything under a half million is a starter home or a condo it seems.

    Most businesses are hiring or planning on hiring new staff.

    Personal debt levels have however hit record highs although the country’s finances are in
    good shape. People are borrowing like crazy because the good times are rolling for now at least.

    I can remember not so long ago when a Canadian dollar only bought 0.64 cents US !

    Somehow I think Canada cannot escape a major world-wide economic decline as we live in an interconnected world now.

      • Rudi says

        The Canadian dollar will continue to strengthen against the green back for the foreseeable future. What most Americans do not realize is that Canada is the USA’s #1 trading partner.
        Canada supplies more oil and gas to the lower 48 that any other country, including Saudi Arabia, Mexico or Venezuela.
        Major water shortages are happening through some 15 southern states, from California to Florida. Canada is the richest nation in the world when it comes to our resources of fresh water. When the people of Los Angleos, Las Vegos or Huston run out of water Canada will be able to supply, BUT, for a price…
        The USA is the most wasteful nation on earth when it comes to it’s water usage, but time is running out and very, very quickly…
        Just my rantings…

    • Rudi says

      Hi Randall,
      Sorry to burst your bubble, but, get out when the going is good because the bubble will burst here too. I live in Whitehorse, Yukon housing prices here have gone up over 700% in just 12 years, this is unsustainable growth when real estate markets historical rise about 4-5%, anything above 6% is a bubble that will burst. Markets due not decline gradually, they crash.
      If you want to see what will happen to the Canadian real estate market in the next 18 months look at the housing markets in the USA.
      Get out as soon as you can.
      Rudi

      • Randall Jessup says

        Hi Rudi,

        I agree that nothing goes up forever. If the US and Europe don’t pull out of
        their slump, sooner or later Canada will get pulled down too including real
        estate prices

        • Rudi says

          Randall your missing the point…
          I worked in the banking system in the late ’70. We we’re paying 14% interest on deposits, and writing open mortgages at up to 27%. And you had better be qualified!!
          Look at the situation now. If your lucky you may get 1% on your savings and mortgages
          are written at between 4-6%. Almost 40% of all US home are in some type of financial
          distress, and the situation in Canada is only marginally better because our bubble hasn’t burst yet. What will happen in the next 12-18 months is the US dollar will tank, BIG TIME!!! Interest rates will again climb to 10-12% on first mortgages, 16-22% on second mortgages, the good news?? interest on your savings will slowly climb back to 8-10%.
          And real estate is the FIRST place that will be hit, with average housing values, especially in markets like Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary that can easily expect average housing prices to decline between 30-60%.
          It happened in Vancouver in the early ’80s, IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN!!
          Get out as soon as you can, converting to gold or silver is not a bad beat..
          Think through your options carefully. Best of luck

  30. Stevo says

    Hi Bob, First of all, we have to vote out the current President. He has botched up the economy, for sure. There is no one else to blame! There are too many people on government assistance, the bailouts were very stupid, the so-called stimulus bill is nothing but a giant bill,something like 800 billion$$$$! 14 trillion dollar deficit, and counting!!!!! So he thinks raising taxes on the so-called ” rich ” is going to solve it? The failed economic policies of this administration are to blame for this mess! Really , is this the Change we can believe in? I certainly don’t believe in it! Liberal economics, sharing the wealth, these things never have worked, never will! There will always be rich people, always poor people! Free minds, free markets! Thanks for letting me speak and give my opinion.

    • says

      Hi Stevo – Thanks for sharing your opinion, much of it I agree with. One thing I want to point out, for the sake of accuracy is that the US does not have a deficit of 14 Trillion. It is the National Debt that is 14+ Trillion. The US Deficit is like $1.7 Trillion or so. The Deficit is the amount that the yearly budget is out of balance. The Debt is the amount that the US owes dating all the way back to 1776 when it became a Republic. Many people confuse the terminology.

      Thanks, Stevo.

      • Rudi says

        Keeping the terminology start is important, but remember the US DEBT that is quoted is only the federal debt, and does not include state, municipal or personal, corporate debts owed by US citizens … and all these add up and the true US debt is probably closer to $30 Trillion. I doubt very much if anyone could give you even a close estimate of what the actual figure is. Frightening isn’t it?? My point being, as individuals there really is nothing we can do to reverse this situation, we can only hope to take care of our own positions.

        • says

          Hi Rudi – Saying that, for example, Texas debt is US debit is just not correct in my estimation. That would be like saying that my son Aaron’s debt is my debt. Yeah, you could add it all up and say that the total is debt that is owned by American entities, but it’s not all American debt. At least that’s how I see it.

          • Rudi says

            Hi Bob,
            My point is that the real situation is even far graver than most people think.
            and, as per your original post, personal preparedness is the ONLY way to survive.
            99% of people believe there is some solution that governments can turn around the shortly coming calamity.
            The sad fact is there is no solution. What we have known and come to expect in the western world for the last 60 years is coming to and end.
            Only those of us with the knowledge, skills and kit to survive… will!
            The rest will perish, and it will not be quick. We have to be prepared to defend your loved ones, and our resources.
            Thank you for your indulgence.

            • says

              Hi Rudi – Actually, I think we are in agreement on this. Really, honestly, I do not see a way out for the USA. They can do a few things to delay the inevitable, but in the end, the debt will catch up with them. It is sad to me, but that’s how I see it.

              • Rudi says

                The saddest point of all is the total lack of awareness of most people.
                It’s not just the US debt that is the problem. In the 50’s and 60’s the US had the finest infrastructure in the world. Now everything is falling apart. One report I read stated that over 50,000 US bridges need replacing, and many counties and states are rebuilding their secondary roads with gravel, because they simply can not afford to pave them any longer. The US power grid is still not fully integrated because of corporate interests. When the next mass coronal ejection happens as it did in 1859, it is highly likely that most power grids will be wiped out, and it will take decades to rebuild. Lake Mead is drying up and yet golf courses flourish in Palm Springs and Las Vegas, when are people going to wise up. What is coming will make the worst disaster movie look like a walk in the park. It’s not a question of if, only a question of when. Things are much worse than most people care to imagine, and the situation will get uglier every day. All that we can do as individuals is to be prepared.

              • Ricardo Sumilang says

                Rudi, you sound like a well-read person. I’m interested to know what books you read, what movies you watch and to which periodicals you subscribe that leads you to the conclusion that the U.S. is on its way to extinction? I ask because your fatalistic predictions and warnings about the U.S., and your exhortations directed at like-minded citizens (fundamentalists?) to flee (to the mountains?) at a moment’s notice armed with survival kits, canned foods, jugs of water, and guns for protection (from whom?) are so Armageddonesque in proportion and cult-like, they remind me somewhat of the Great Flood and Noah’s Ark and Jim Jones combined. :)

                In my opinion, the declining global pre-eminence of the U.S. is a natural order of the universe. There are no illusions whatsoever about the U.S. maintaining this supremacy forever. But just like the Roman Empire and the British Empire “for whom the sun never sets”, civilizations throughout history have come and gone, but to equate the U.S.’s demotion to the second or even third ranking in the economic totem pole below emerging world powers like China and India to the death of America sounds more like a messianic prophesy than reality.

    • Miss August says

      Quote from Stevo: ” First of all, we have to vote out the current President. He has botched up the economy, for sure. There is no one else to blame!”

      Wow! Do you really believe Obama is the only one to blame? The Republicans ran Congress for 13 years (1993-2006) and the White House for 8 years (2000-2008). Let’s give credit where credit is due, both parties are to blame and also the American people. We should have made our representatives in every level be accountable for their action.

      Just my opinion, of course! :-)

      • Scott Day says

        Miss August,
        The simple fact I think Stevo was really making is under the Obama administration the federal debt held by the public increase by $2.5260 trillion. That is more than ALL the presidents from George Washington through Ronald Reagan. Seeing Obama was the one who pushed for and signed into law the Affordable Health Care Act and the gigantic Stimulus Bill yes he is to blame he has VETO power.
        http://www.cnsnews.com/node/72404
        And yes G.W. Bush did have a increase in the national debt, but he didn’t ask for a war nor did he start the housing bubble that burst under his administration. The war was stated by the “late” Osama Bin Laden (whom personally had a meeting with one of our fine Navy Seals) and the housing bubble started under the Clinton Administration whom claimed “Every American has the right to buy a house.” (sorry but some people are naturally born to rent)
        Politicians are like a bunch of kids around a broken glass they point and blame the others for breaking it even if they are just as much at fault.

        • Papa Duck says

          Scott, Miss August

          Actually Bush did start one war. In Iraq. One we never should have been involved in because Iraq was never a threat to us, only to its own people. Miss August totally agree everyone is to blame.

          • Rudi says

            Papa Duck,
            Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t General Shartzkoff want to push through, and take out Saddahm Hosein during the first gulf war? If Bush and Powell would have let him do it, not only would it have stopped 12 additional years opf Iraq suffering, but odds are good there would not have been a second Iraq war. Reminds me of Eisenhower stopping Patton’s push fro Berlin in the last days of the WW2. If the allies had taken Berlin rather than the soviets, the post war position would have beeen quit different. Kennedy’s “Ich bien ein Berliner” would not have happened.

            • Ricardo Sumilang says

              Speaking strictly from memory without bothering to check references, I believe General Schwartzkopf could not have wanted to invade Iraq in the first Gulf War, a la General Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War because it was not the defined mission. He was the ground commander of Allied forces, not just of U.S. forces. The explicit mission drawn up by the JCS and approved by the POTUS, and in line with UN resolution was to ject Saddam from Kuwait, period. Had he invaded Iraq on his own, he would have been court-martialed, or even sentenced to death or hard labor at the minimum, had he invaded and failed. Lessons learned from Vietnam prompted General Colin Powell to institute the following three requirement for all future U.S. wars:

              1. Identify the mission.
              2. Go in with overhwhelming force to defeat the enemy and end the war quickly.
              3. Have an exit strategy.

              Regarding the taking of Berlin in WWII, the Western allies could have assaulted Berlin first before the Soviets, but they would have met fanatical resistance from the Wehrmacht and auxilliary civilian and pro-Nazi foreign combatants that were dug in around Berlin. The assault would have resulted in catastrophic losses to the Western armies, whose governments and citizens place a higher value on human lives. The Soviets, on the other hand, because of the incomparable horror unleashed on their country and people by the invading Wehrmacht, did not care so much about lives lost. They were in for the revenge, and what a revenge they exacted on the Germans, military and civilians alike.

              • Rudi says

                Hi Ricardo,
                Thanks for correcting me on my spelling of Colombia.
                Maybe you can help me further, I was under the mistake belief that the Suez Canal was at the top of the Red Sea linking to the Mediterranean.
                Ha Ha we’re all only human and we can all screw up..
                Rudi

            • Papa Duck says

              Rudi,

              I’m talking about the 2nd Gulf War where there no threat to us or proof of weapons of mass destruction.

      • Stevo says

        Yeah, well Robert Byrd, the former Klansman, and Ted Kennedy were running the show then, so, like you said, both parties share the blame! And I live in the land of Corruption, Illinois. Everyday now, my wife and I discuss more and more that we will probably move to the Philippines, because we are getting taxed to death here! Obama isn’t going away soon, and he is the richest canidate, so he will probably win again. I just hope that our money will still be worth something when we finally get to Davao for good. Hopefully the peso will go back up sometime.

  31. sugar says

    Hey Bob – If the dollar is falling.. then why do many people still want to go to the US and work there and earn dollars? Maybe is it because even if the dollar is weak (?) it’s still a dollar? And it’s still an American dream for many Filipinos to earn green bucks.. or Euros.

    • says

      Hi sugar – Why do many Filipinos still want to go to the States? Ever heard the saying that the “grass is always greener on the other side?” That’s why, IMHO.

      BTW… just so you’ll know, not trying to be critical, but I think you mean “green backs” not green bucks. The US Dollar is known as the green back, because the back of the US paper currency is printed in green. The front of US paper currency is mostly printed in black.

    • Mars Z. says

      Hi Sugar/Bob, reason is answered early on here in the comments: The poor here in the US are rich compare to the poor in the Philippines!

      Timely article. Bob.

      Mars

  32. Kevin Kasperbauer says

    Hi Miss August,

    I appreciate your observation and giving the link to the web site showing the US National Debt. I did what you suggested.

    It showed the US National Debt. was $5.7 trillion around the time George Bush took office in 2000, and $10.0 trillion about the time he left office. That means that in just eight years the National Debt increased almost as much as it had in the previous 200 years.

    But then I advanced the “clock” to find out what the National Debt is after just two and a half years under the Obama Administration. It’s now $14.5 trillion. In other words, in just two and a half years the National Debt has gone up more than it did during the entire eight years under George Bush.

    You are certainly correct when you say both the Republican and Democrat Administrations can be blamed.

    • Miss August says

      There is plenty of blame to go around, some of which rests with an American public that won’t accept cuts in the largest categories of public spending, and also resists tax increases on anybody but “the rich.”

      • Ricardo Sumilang says

        It’s also interesting to note that 13 members of Congress who are stridently opposed to raising the debt ceiling without a a reduction in government spending string attached are themselves guilty of using taxpayers money on extravagant spending on mass mailings and mass communication (flyers, brochures, radio ads, automated phone calls) to promote themselves to their respective constituents who already know who they are and what they have accomplished (which is probably nothing). Each of these legislators (12 Republicans, 1 Democrat) have already spent an average of $50,000 in the first 3 months of 2011, more than 6 times the average spent by their more government spending conscious colleagues. Papa Duck out there in Florida, the worst offender represents Longboat Key in your state, having spent $143,000. Do remember him at the next election. :)

  33. BrianW says

    My dream is to move out of the US asap. If I sold everything we’d have enough for airfare thats it right now. I’m beginning to wonder if this is it for the economy with the debt ceiling talks. They can blame each other, but the US becomes a 3rd world country with worthless money. China collaspes due to us not buying there products, I’ve heard theres riot now. The EU might collaspe between bailing out Portugal and Greece and maybe Italy. Japan’s been having problems for years and buys alot of our debt all the US dollars come back and hyperinflation hits. Its well known 140 million dehydrated meals were ordered by a div. of FEMA and someone sent me a message there bought all the stock of some other companys. I’ve thought of going to Canada being its only 4-5 hrs away by car. I wish my wife had stayed in Davao and I could use my unemployment there. But she’s been here 3 yrs now I wish we had opened a bank acct. there before she left we could send a few bucks a week into it. This cycle of getting work then things slow and you laid off sucks. I’m going to Mastercam classes at the end of the month hoping I can find something good after.

  34. Cheryl says

    Bob, I checked with family members and friends in the Philippines and they said this year they has not seen the peso at anything close to 46.6 and they should know, they get dollars sent to them from myself and other family members.

    If you get over 46 this year you were very fortunate.

    In your own article on prediction you stated the year started out with the peso near 44 to 1. But no need to argue about that, the point is that the peso has not fallen much this year, but it could fall below 40 later, especially if there is not an agreement on the spending bill and the government defaulting.

    The biggest thing that I see in America is the Republicans simply not caring but doing everything in their power to hurt Obama. Since I come to America in five years ago the Republicans did not seem to care about deficits and debt, but since Obama become president that is all they want to talk about.

    Wanting to give the rich tax cuts is not close to the answer, it has not been the answer in any country anywhere in the world. The Republicans had no problem spending huge amounts of money and trying to cut taxes to rich for eight years, but now they are worried.

    I doubt the peso will drop to below 40 if there is budget agreement. If there is not a budget agreement it could easily drop below 40.

    Obama has put all on the table, the only thing Republicans come to the table with is tax cuts to the rich people and big business. Not good enough Republicans. Makes me want to deal with filipine politics.

    • says

      Cheryl – I suspect that you did not read my previous comment to John:

      Hi John – A while back, I was standing in a bank here in Davao City with a friend who was moving here and had a large sum of money he wanted to exchange… and I mean large. The exchange rate that day was 46.6. My friend said he was going to wait a day and see if it hit 47. The next day, the dollar dropped like a rock, and has never gone back near that territory since. My friend lost a lot of money and is still kicking himself. I have checked a number of services online and every one of them shows that spike.

      OK, I just went back and checked this out…. I made an error. The dollar hit 46.6 within the past year. I meant to say that it was within the past 12 months, and not at the beginning of 2011. Sorry for my error.

    • Mars Z. says

      Cheryl, I respect your opinion but it seems that you have pick a side in this discussion already. Since you arrived five years ago, suddenly you became a political, financial and economic expert.

      Let me repeat some of the comments above that are the facts: Rich people and corporations in the US are the most highly taxed in the world. The upper 2% pays 50% of the tax the US received. About 47% of people does not pay any tax at all–freeloaders. Those rich folks are also the ones creating jobs. Poor people does not create jobs!

      It’s just that both republicans and Democrats overspent our money. From 2000-2008, Bush administration increased the debt by just over 3% and that includes expenses due to 9/11. Obama administration already increased the debt 4% in just 2 1/2 years.

      As of today the Obama administration has not put any specific plans for cuts or how to deal with the national debt except more taxes and giveaways. In 2006, i guess the year you came to the US, then Sen. Obama was against the increased in debt ceiling, but now, how thing changed! Hope this help.

      • Mars Z. says

        …..”over 3% and that includes expenses due to 9/11. Obama administration already increased the debt 4% in just 2 1/2 years.”

        correction–should be 3 trillion and 4 trillion respectively instead of %.

  35. Larry Saum says

    In many ways I agree that the economic future of the US is not looking too good. I bought a used 2009 Chevy Equinox (a small SUV, with front wheel drive) last winter. It is a General Motors Chevy brand vehicle, with a Chinese V-6 engine, a Japanese 5-speed transmission, and was assembled in Toronto, Canada. It can sometimes get 25 miles per gallon on the highway, if I keep the tires inflated to a hard enough ride. Gasoline here is today at $3.55 per gallon.

    I do see a couple of bright spots appearing in the US though. There has been a massive new effort at drilling for oil and natual gas, using new methods of horizontal drilling and fracturing the deep shale rocks in the US. Large natural gas finds are coming into production in Texas, Pennsylvania, and North Dakota. These areas are local area boom towns with money flowing fast, and jobs locally plentyful. North Dakota now has an unemplyment rate nearing only 3%. The new techniques are starting to bring up more oil finds too. The US is soon going to be exporting large amounts of liquified natural gas (LNG) to Japan, and Europe. Note that Canada is also expanding their productions using the same techniques. The secondary push is to build new pipelines to ship out the finds from these new fields, and get them to where they can be used.

    These techniques have attracted bidding wars for the companies that origninated them, and even the Chinese are buying into the American companies to learn how these techniques could be used in China.

    Here in Indianapolis, the local federal building, just unveiled their new roof-top solar energy system, that powers most of their building.

    My daughter and her husband are working for a hospital that is building a new 11-story hospital building on the campus of Indiana-U-Purdue University in Indianapolis. He is an orthopedic surgeon that is doing advanced work in repairing people’s pelvises after they were injured in auto crashes. He is being called to present seminars in his techniques at medical gatherings all over the world. Note that this problem is as a result of people surviving auto crashes that would have killed them a few decades ago.

    We are looking forward to the Super Bowl coming to Indy in 2012. Everyone is holding their breath here and watching the NFL contract negotiations that still have the players locked out.
    Indy is also improving it’s highways, has a new airport, and is growing in a lot of ways.

    At the end of this month the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will host the Nascar 400 mile stock car race, and bring another big rush of people into the city, to enjoy our new hotels downtown, our new stadium for the Colts NFL team, our expanded convention center, and other improvements in downtown Indy.

    I also note that Indy has a large inventory of abandoned homes, and a lot of people without jobs, and about 100 murders a year. Note that several new homes were built here with volunteers by the Housing for Humanity charity.

    I also depend on SS, for a major part of my income at age 68, and fear for what the Federal Govt. is doing sometimes; but I think that this article and it’s comments are pushing a negative view a little too much. Many people are really trying to do what they can in their own way.

    • Rudi says

      Hi Larry;
      Just a few points…
      First a few points…
      It’s Habitat for Humanity, it is an organization I volunteer for whenever time permits.
      Jimmy Carter was important is bringing attention to this organization, and he really did work on various projects. I believe Carter was the most under rated president of the last 60 years…
      Second point…
      Ford makes a small van call the Transport, yet in North America you can not get this vehicle with the 1.3lt diesel available in Europe where is is rated at 73miles per gallon highway. Why??
      Jay Leno, about 5 years ago, said in his Popular Mechanics column said that a major solution to oil shortages, was the introduction of low sulfur diesel, low displacement engine vehicles.
      Isn’t it incredible that so many environmentalists drive hummers or other huge SUV’s.

    • says

      Hi Larry – Yes, they have discovered a lot of gas, and mostly from shale. Problem that I see is that the current administration seems to be dead set against extracting any oil or other types of energy from American resources.

      • Dan says

        Bob…I really think the current administration seems to be dead set against anything that would be of any kind of great benifit to the people or the USA. I am not sure the last administration did that much either…but we can all look forward to what the next administration might do!

      • Paul Rice says

        Maybe they realise they can use other people’s resouces and save their own till later. The Australian government will sell everything off as fast as it can and one day soon they will realise we have nothing left.

  36. Rudi says

    Hi Ricardo,
    I know I am can sound like some whacked out cult member, and that really is not my intent.
    The sources I use are all historical, and usually issued by the governemnt, like census imformation, and it all available on the web.
    My grip is over individuals unrealistic expectations. In 1900, the world had a population of just over 2 billion people, the average family of 5 lived in a house just over 700 sq ft. Now we have a population of 7 billion, and the average family of 4 feels hard done by if their house is less than 2,000 sq ft. Globally urban sprawl has eaten up the most product farm lands. Modern agro business is so dependent on petroleum, for production and transportation, that as oil reserves continue to decline so will food supply. In some areas of the world food costs have sored more than 30% in just the last 12 months. Yet we are adding 100 million more mouths to feed each year. Does this sound sustainable? I am not perdicting an Armaggedon
    like any horror movie, no sudden calamity that wipes out society in 24 hours, but a slow lingering death like dying of Prostate Cancer.
    The saddest part of all is there a solutions that could buy society time, as we slowly shift to much more sustainable forms of agriculture, transportaion and a finacial sysytem that is viable. But it would require the personal sacrifies of the individual citizen, and I do not see the likely hood of the happening. As an example, does anyone NEED a large ineffectent vehicle to drive to work?(Read Hummer etc.) the time to be practical is long past yet it seems that everyone seems to think this is only a temporay gliche and next year everything will be back to the way it was. This is a global situation, not restricted to anyone nation. I fear that people lack the will for any meaningful change if it requires the smallest sacrifice on their part. There is still time to make changes, but the window of opporttunity is growing ever smaller.

    • Ricardo Sumilang says

      Hi Rudi – I have absolutely no quarrel about your post above. It is both rational and intelligent, absent the irrational chip-on-the shoulder bashing of America found in your previous posts on this subject. I agree with some of the points you raised especially with your acknowledgement of the ecoomic situation, recognizing it as a global problem, and not exclusive to anyone nation, such as America.

      With respect to your comment about the declining world’s food supply, the urban sprawl that is eating up large chunks of farmlands and the dependency of agro-business on petroleum for production and transportation, you may be interested to know that, (a) farming in America is a re-emerging industry that could help turn around the U.S. economy after decades of hiatus as a major source of employment. According to predictions, farming income will rise steadily in the next few decades, eclipsing that of other industries, with net income of up to 27 percent during the year before and is expected to jump another 20 percent this year, as opposed to the growth rate of the U.S. GDP overall, pegged at an anemic 1.9 percent in the first quarter of 2011.

      And, (b), just an example that no doubt replicates itself across America’s heartland, there is a small town (population 48,500) in Nebraska called, Grand Island. This farming town is surrounded by vast tracts of farmlands. No encroachment there that may be attributed to urban sprawl. Business is booming, and not one of the half a dozen banks located in that city has failed, or came close to failing. Profits are up, and these banks are sitting on plenty of cash.

      And, finally, (c), forget petroleum – the alternative is biofuels, which is booming currently.

      Source: Time Magazine, August 2011 (pp. 39-42)

      • Rudi says

        Hi Ricardo,
        There are only a few points to make about your argument.
        Firstly bio fuels can not be used to manufacture the synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides that are absolutely necessary to maintain yields with the methodologies currently used by agro business. Your are correct, yields are up, but unbelievable acreages are now dedicated to bio-fuels, acreages removed from food production, and yet bio-fuels represent a very small fraction of current fuel needs, to fully replace petroleum food acreages would be greatly compromised. (The is one bright note, a new technology is being perfected that would use algae to produce bio-fuels, this technology offers the hope of almost unlimited bio-fuel production without impacting the food supply). The last point I wish to make is the extreme water shortages that are coming. The Ogallala aquifer is being pumped dry… this is fossil water that accumulated over tens of thousands of years, this water will not be replenished by a few wet years. The water level in Lake Mead is so low that a new tunnel is being constructed so that water can continue to flow to Vegas. The other major concerns is agriculture runoff which destroyed the Sultan Sea in California. I do not believe that the world will starve tomorrow, but there is a major food crisis coming,
        prices will continue to sore. I believe it is a perfectly sane position to encourage as many people as possible to start producing some of their own food supply, just as Victory gardens were a very important part to help Britain survive the WW2.
        Hope this helps clarify my view point.

  37. says

    The discussion on this thread has veered way, way off topic. Guys, I would ask that further comments focus on how the US Economy affects expats in the Philippines, or the general value of the US Dollar, which is what the article was about.

    Thank you.

  38. Rudi says

    I think there has been an overall conciseness, that a major financial crisis is just over the horizon. Who is to blame is a matter of debate, and really achieves nothing in resolving the problem. Your original post was based on preparedness. I believe that although there will be fluctuations in the exchange rate, in the long term the rate will continue in the range of 40-50Pesos to$US. I think it would be prudent for everyone to try and stash a little extra cash just to be able to ride out the rough spots, the more prepared you are the easier the rough spots will be to bear.

    • says

      While neither of us can know for sure until we see it, I believe that in the coming years we will be looking at a rate between 35 to 44 or so. I think it will be a long, long time before we see 50 again, unless there are some major events that occur.

  39. Bryan G says

    The unsustainable borrowing was started by President Reagan who seems to be held in high regard by many Americans but the fact remains that he turned America from the worlds biggest creditor nation to the worlds biggest debtor nation in 7 years.He brought false prosperity to US citizens by borrowing on a massive scale.A further factor preventing realistic action being taken is the electoral system which has elections every 2 years – the presidential campaign also lasts about 2 years in which time no president hopeful will do anything to antagonise the voters. The prospect of massively cutting military spending , raising taxes on the mega rich and removing hidden subsidies is about nil. The result of the political inaction will arrive a lot sooner than most people think and it will provoke a world wide depression the likes of which has never been seen.
    Buy gold – now.

    • Loren Pogue says

      Does gold have some nutrional value that I am not aware of? It may be just me but if food was very scarce and I had more than I realy needed I doubt that I would trade it for gold. I would trade it for something else that I could use such as fuel, clothing, medical supplies, ect.

  40. Ricardo Sumilang says

    Hi Bryan – Conservative Americans hold Ronald Reagan in high regard in the belief that Reagan single-handedly brought down the Soviet Union. Reagan and Margaret Thatcher are usually mentioned in the same breath as they represented everything the Free World stood for against the “evil” Soviet empire – until Glasnost came along.

  41. Bryan G says

    He also allowed the CIA to mine international waterways around Nicaragua – blew the bows off a British ship.This while publicly castigating the Iranians for mining the Gulf. Illegally financed the right wing Contra terrorists in Nicaragua to try to topple a popular leader, causing the death and torture of thousands. He also had striking US air traffic controllers dragged from their homes in handcuffs while complaining about the attempted suppression of trade unions in Poland Reagan was the perfect US president – an actor playing the part,reading a script prepared by others. Thatcher is another story – probably the most corrupt Prime Minister we have had for a century, her son and late husbands financial gains due to her influence are well known – her son has yet to face a parliamentary committee to explain his position regarding the multi – billion arms contract with Saudi Arabia. Even the Swiss would not give him residence his reputation is so bad. I believe he also has legal problems in the US regarding fraud with respect to the aquisition of a company.
    Reagan and Thatcher were praised by the right wing media but in my little country, Scotland she decimated our industries and used us as a testing ground for her policies , knowing that if they failed it would not harm her or her party electorally as we do not vote Conservative politicians into office so she had nothing to lose.Her conduct of the Miners strike was a disgrace and left her hated here – she could not come announced to Scotland due to the civil disturbance that would have been caused. A truly nasty piece of work.

  42. Robert says

    Hi Rudi
    Most of the comments you have made here are absolutely correct.
    BRAVO !!! You are one of the few.
    However I would like to add that the USD is not dead… at least not YET, although we do not have many more years left. If Bob would start a new post I could send him a couple of stock market charts to post here of US dollar with explanation.
    I am a stock market technical analyst with solid 10 years experience and all I see now is dollar going up to approximately 0.87 level. That is roughly 15% up movement from today.
    TAKE NOTE : That will be the last up movement !!!

  43. Rudi says

    Hi Robert, or should we call you Braveheart?
    Thank you, most who read my posts think I am a left wing nut.
    Your comments are right on the money. Ronald Regan was the consummate actor delivering a script written by others, most notable the Bush clan. Senator Prescott George Bush was instrumental in establishing the ‘House of ‘Saud’ as the ‘Royal’ family of the Arabian peninsula in the 1930’s. Besides Ronald Regan and Margaret Thatcher, add Brian Malroney, Canada’s contribution to your list of like minded characters of that era. The situation was global then, and still is. But, let’s not concentrate on the past, but deal with the present.
    Many post on this thread have dealt with the USA pulling their troops out of countries, like Korea, Japan and Germany , how about bases in Greece or Great Britain as well. This is long over due. The down side of this action is if you have 1 million troops returning home, what are they to do with the unemployment rate where it is? What kind of a job can a 20 year old gunner’s mate get in the USA? flipping burgers at McD’s?
    There are many solutions to the problems the USA faces, none of them by themselves will solve the problems, but each if implemented would be one step closer to USA and a global recovery.
    The comments on this thread are showing concerns about China and India. China and India will be crushed by the shear size of their population as they run out of food and water. The desertification of western China will severally reduce their yields of rice and wheat. The Three Gorges Dam, designed to provide the power to drive the Chinese manufacturing power house is already silting up. And, China has the most polluted waters in the world, waters so caustic even bathing in them could kill you. India has been pumping their ground water for 60 years to irrigate the fields to feed it’s people, yet almost 100 million Indian people starve. And the ground water is running out. Yet an Indian Billionaire has just constructed the world’s most extravagant house in Mumbai, a $US1Billion structure. Is there not something wrong with this picture? The country to watch in Brazil. Most of is vehicles run on 85ethanol, produced from sugar cane. And to top that, them have discovered an enormous oil field off their coast in the Atlantic, possibly rivaling Saudi reserves.
    A new post would be very welcome.
    Forget the stock market, unless you are a major player dealing in the 10’s of millions of Dollars per transaction your fate lies in the hands of others. The stock market of today is a phoney as the Tulip trading of Holland in the 1600’s. And just as surely it will collapse. As I have stated before stocks should trade in the range of 5-7 times yearly earnings. Anything beyond that and you are paying to much. The stock market concept was originally establish as a means of sharing the risk of sea voyages. Investments in the stock market should be for long term gains in equity, not short term gains. When it comes to wealth individuals that I respect, Warren Buffet leads the list. He has lived in the same, relatively modest home Omaha, Nebraska for over 40 years, he is not pretentious. Berkshire Holloway has never split and is surely one of the most valuable stocks on any global market. Yet Warren Buffet and Bill Gates have pledge to give away roughly $100 Billion. Maybe this should be the measure of a man?
    Lastly your comment that the $us will maintain a ratio of about .87 to the pound is probably correct, as both currencies are facing very similar pressures and should react in about the same manner, the Phil Peso to the US dollar should also remain in the 40-50 exchange range.
    If you want to play the currency exchange game your best bet is the Brazilian Riel, today trading at 2.527 to the pound, and 1.56 to the US dollar, 10 years ago would anyone have that that Brazil, a “Third World Country” could have such a strong currency. Brazil began making the right moves to move away from the petrol dollars and today it is reaping the rewards.
    Thank you all for you indigence of my ranting, and have a good day. Have a SMB on me.

  44. Robert says

    Hi Rudi
    I am not invested in Stock Market nor do I trade currencies.
    Since I have noticed that something was very wrong with the “system” I have decided to spend all of my cash. ALL OF IT !!! I have no gold and no silver only a farm and a house in Narra here on Palawan island.
    I could have stayed in Canada, Que. but when I saw how the USD was “behaving” I decided that the exchange rate USD/CD was favorable and moved here in Dec. 2009.
    As per my studies, there is absolutely no hope of any recovery in USA. We better forget it !!!
    Actually the only outcome that I can see is a global recession… WITH CONSEQUENCES.
    [email protected]

    • Ricardo Sumilang says

      “As per my studies, there is absolutely no hope of any recovery in USA. We better forget it !!!”

      “Absolutely no hope”? If everyone assumes a defeatist attitude like yours, yes, I believe there would be no hope of recovery for the USA. However, I personally am very optimistic that the USA would recover, not necessarily in the same economic position that it once held, but a recovery nonetheless. And it would not be a recovery to a third world status, either.
      That is my opinion.

  45. Roselyn says

    Hi Bob: Maayong buntag. I would like to hear your input on how expats could prepare psychologically and culturally to relocate to other countries such as the Philippines. My husband has never been to the Philippines and I have persuaded him to consider retiring there when our time is up. (He came from a typical Anglo-American middle class family; a Cleaver-like family .) Thanks in advance.

    • says

      Hi Roselyn – I would say that the very first step, before considering retiring here, you and your husband need to come here for at least a month to let him experience the place. I know Americans who love it here, and I know Americans who hate it here and never even want to visit again, let alone live here. Your husband needs to come here and be able to experience what the Philippines is like before even entertaining the thought of moving here for retirement. That’s the first step. The longer the stay the better, but a month would be the minimum. Three months would be better.

      After he comes and gets a taste of the country, then it’s a better time to decide if he wants to make the adjustments necessary to live here full time, or even part time. When he is ready for that, about the only thing he can do is come with an open mind and attitude, and experience it. I will say, in my opinion, it takes about 5 years to fully adjust. He will go through hard times, loneliness and such, but he just has to push through it and adjust. Once he is able to do that, and embrace the local culture, then he will thrive here, and continue his adjustment more easily.

      • Robert says

        Hi Rosalyn
        If you are able to deal with poverty in a respectful manner then you should have no problems. Overcoming the poverty issue was the most difficult for me here and STILL IS.
        Second was the discovery of in-existence of justice system.
        I spend my time between a small town and a farm so my interacting with locals is very limited. Trust me I do not miss people, the families are big here; once you are part of one of them no need for additional socializing.
        Third would be to follow what Bob advised to do.
        After a little over a year and a half of living here my personal experience is that people are generally very nice to foreigners. No complaint whatsoever. I treat them with respect and get the same in return.

        • Roselyn says

          Hi Robert: Sorry about the mispelled word above. The sentence should read “good advice as well”. Thanks again.

  46. Illini Mike says

    Hi all. Lots of intelligent discussion on this web site. I retired from the State of IL last year and plan to live in my asawa’s hometown of Libmanan Camarines Sur two months each winter. We are building a second story on our nephew’s house to serve as our temporary home. This arrangement gives us options if conditions in the USA deteriorate. I hope the price of jet fuel and airline fares do not get too high.

  47. Katrina says

    On the brighter side, if the US was able to get out of the Depression where 25% (If I remember right) were unemployed, how can one say the US cannot hold on to the current recession?

    People say it was the WW2 that got the economy growing then. But wasn’t it that when the war erupted, the US was already starting to get out of the depression…IMHO, the war just accelerate it.

    Now, if the government will just replace the ‘welfare money’ with ‘jobs’. People need to stop getting freebies, they need to work for their money. And many Americans need to slim down. Maybe, giving them jobs will reduce obesity. LOL

  48. Illini Mike says

    We have photos of our house construction on my asawa’s Facebook page (Bing Henebry) for those interested. It seems to be coming along fine, but we are trying to finish before the dollar loses too much value. By the way, we have used Xoom.com as a quick and conveniet way to transfer money.

      • Robert says

        Using Xoom.com, how many days it would take for the money to arrive into my BDO bank account here in Philippines?

        It seems like a better deal than what I do now.
        When I use Royal Bank of Canada it takes 4-5 days to arrive into my BDO account here and the cost is $9.85 per $1000.00.

        • says

          Hi Robert – It’s been years since I used it, and I don’t remember the ins and outs. Perhaps somebody with more recent experience could give you a more timely answer on this one.

      • Robert says

        Using Xoom.com, how many days it would take for the money to arrive into my BDO bank account here in Philippines?

        It seems like a better deal than what I do now.
        When I use Royal Bank of Canada it takes 4-5 days to arrive into my BDO account here and the cost is $9.85 per $1000.00.

        Sorry for getting a little off the subject.

  49. Illini Mike says

    All transfers with Xoom (and we use BDO in the Philippines) happen within a few hours. My very first transfer occurred within one hour at 11 PM CDT on a Saturday night, and it was free. Needless to say, I was impressed. Xoom nomally charges something like $7.99 for transfers up to $3000 or more with permission from your government. Xoom also makes some money on the exchange rate float.

  50. Loren Pogue says

    I doubt there will be any long term effects in the Philippines from the down turn in the US economy. In the short term it may hurt some individuals. With the high unemployment in the US there are a lot of people suffering big time, maybe 20% of the people. Then maybe another 10 to 20% are also hurt by the bad economy. On the other hand the other 60 to 70 % are doing as well as they ever did or maybe even better. There is no shortage of lines at the shopping centers or empty free ways. If our debt limit is not raised right away we still have Billions coming into the government cash register every day, with out increasing the debt limit we may have to cut back on our spending. You can bet at first they will cut back things to inconvenience the public, but what the heck they will keep the money going to the poor artists so that they can continue to spew their pornographic crap on to the public. Energy is being developed in spite of the current administrations policies. The big new energy finds are on private lands and being developed in spite of government interference. The experts say these fields will supply us for the next couple hundred years. Some people say it takes more energy for us to grow the corn and turn it into fuel than we get energy out of it, thus the government subsidies we pour into making this fuel. For sure the world cost of food goes up because of the tons of grains being turned into fuels. The environmental glum and dumers want us to use electric cars to save oil and the environment; disregarding where the electricity comes from or how it is made. And hey, disposing of the batteries, no problem, lets just not think about it. Any way the US debt limit will be reached one way or another, we will live with in our means and the creditors will be paid. Americas economy will come back in spite of the lying politicians. We may even get a business and energy developing friendly administration voted in one of these days and thing will come roaring back sooner. In the mean time ex-pats may have a little harder time making ends meet but they will make it, and someday things will get better.

  51. Steven Hark says

    As I understand it, the People’s Republic of China is holding a hell of a lot of US Dollar trading notes. What is going to happen when they call them in? Bankruptcy?

    • says

      Seems to me that is what the Congress and President are debating about right now. As the dollar continues to fall. The dollar has dropped down to nearly 42:1 since I wrote this article.

      • Scott Day says

        So sad the US is being run into the ground by Dumb and Dummer. All these politicians are interested in is either getting rich or controlling the voters (Sheeple). If they do not do the right thing and cut spending I fear the peso will out value the dollar.

        • says

          I personally believe that currently, the dumb are leading the dumber… so many Americans have no idea what the debt ceiling is, what the debate is about, or anything of the nature.

    • Scott Day says

      Hi Steve,
      The United States cannot go into Bankruptcy because it would be in violation of the US Constitution. Amendment 14, Section 4:
      The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.

      Really all the controversy is over the AAA credit rating the US has had since it was born. If the US does loose it credit rating the dollar will surely lose its value even more. China has 3 choices keep the debt it has bought, sell it off, or take military action and try to take US territory. I do not see them keeping it or taking military action, so they would most likely sell it off.

  52. Robert says

    Don’t worry about the dollar, at least not yet! It is far from over. We still have at least five years left before the dollar finally expires but when that happens all other currencies will be in the same situation. All of it going down the drain.
    There is much more going on behind the fog than you could ever imagine but that would be beyond the scope of this post.

    Whenever Bob will come up with the new subject of ‘economic un-recovery’ or ‘global un-warming’ that is when we could debate about what is going on. It is all related to each other.

  53. says

    Good time to comment on this post as the time is running out for Congress to vote on the US debt package. It will all get settled, but “Be Prepared” is the best advice. I have been facing this currency exchange issue for many years, I buy in China and sell in the US. You just have to adapt. We all have to adapt, if the dollar drops even further, what is the plan? If you live in Asia, and you have USD assets, it may make sense to move some over. In Hong Kong you can hold HKD or Chinese Yuan, it is open and free there. But holding more Pesos could work too. If you are on a fixed income, say social security only, well just enjoy what you can there in the Philippines. Just budget enough for cold beer and enjoy the beach!

  54. says

    ON my blog I posted an article from Yahoo about Apple being richer than the US !! I explained that anyone who is not in debt is richer than the US at the moment. I read in Len Penso’s blog that the figure of 14.3 trillion dollars is not accurate. It leaves out some pretty major money streams like mortgage figures and some key monies to the states and to the FED. The actual figure is over 100 trillion. Now only the 14.3 trillion is subject to this debt ceiling we keep hearing about. Well how big is 14.3 trillion. If you try to write that figure down you really do get tied up in knots with so many zeros. I looked up Forbes financial review for the top 100 companies in the world. I added up the revenue, yes the revenue not the profits, from all top 20 and it came to a little over 4 trillion. That’s all 20 of the top companies. Wallmart, BP, Exon and so on. These are major players. If you add all 100 of the list you still do not get to 10 trillion. Add all 200 and you do not get to the 14 trillion debt of the US. Image how this works out if you work all the figures out on the 100 trillion true figure. But this seems as if we are pointing the finger just at the States. Just look at Greece, then Ireland, Portugal, Spain. Short on their heels comes Italy. The UK now has it’s highest debt figure ever. I read in Forbes that there are only 2 countries in the world that are not in debt. When Greece defaults, it can’t be an if for that question, it could spell disaster for France and Germany who have huge amounts of the Greek debt. It seems every country in the world has a huge debt. WHY ?? They have every expert in the world to advice them. What are these experts doing ?? Are they doing this on purpose ?? If you believe the conspiracy theories going around this is all a big plan of the big banks, the biggest being the FED. Hands up who thought the Federal Bank of America was a part of the US government. I did, until a few years ago. NO, it is a private bank. It makes the money for the US and quite a few other countries as well. It charges the US government $1.01 for every $1 it produces. 1 cent a dollar. 1%, that doesn’t seem too hot a return . Depending which articles you read there is around 11 trillion $ in circulation. The US has a debt of 14.3 trillion so there is no way they can pay back the FED. So the FED charges standard banking rates on that debt. So every year the FED increases the debt owed to it by the US government. This is one of the figures that is not included in the 14.3 trillion. According to Brian Moore, hold on the laughs please !!, this is exactly what the FED wants. It wants the US to default. The interest rates go up, the US credit rating falls, the interest rates go up, the debt gets bigger, the credit rating goes down further, the interest rates go up, and so on and so on. Who is the winner ?? The FED. Brian Moore may not have been as far off the mark as many people thought. Will a deal be made, of course a deal will be made but it will be around midnight tomorrow and the government will have had to make a huge concession. Does it mean anything? Well only that the ordinary person will suffer as the ordinary people in every country will suffer as their countries try to sort the mess that they have created. Will it ever get sorted out ? No never. It is now impossible for these countries to get out of debt. The best they can hope for is that the debt is manageable. We should invite Brian Moore to sort out the problems of the world….let’s face it he couldn’t do worse than the ‘experts’.

    Have a good one

    Cemlyn

  55. Robert says

    Try to keep in mind that people who decide in this world DO KNOW what is going on. They do not need us to tell them what is wrong with the economy. They may pretend they are unaware, but in reality there is no secret for them.
    Therefore I would have a tendency to look at other TRUE events that may be developing while the TV drama is being played in Washington.
    For instance you may want to know one of those,
    http://www.thegwpf.org/science-news/3208-earth-may-be-headed-into-a-mini-ice-age-within-a-decade.html
    but that is not everything, because the mainstream media is busy with trillions.

  56. Cemlyn says

    Robert. Are you suggesting that if we disagree with something that we should not voice that disagreement ??

    ‘They do not need us to tell them what is wrong with the economy’

    Is it not the role of the electorate in a democracy to do just that; voice their opinions?? How will those that govern know if they are doing what the electorate wants them to do unless they voice their opinions. We elect officials to carry out our will. Now I know that politics has degenerated almost everywhere in the world these days to the point that what the electorate wants is largely ignored. The manifestos become a ‘get elected’ document which is then cast aside once the election is over. In my opinion every ‘decision maker’ needs to hear the voice of the people all the time.

    Cemlyn

  57. Robert says

    Cemlyn
    Electing one presidential candidate out of two, is having NO POLITICAL CHOICE.
    They are one (same) gang.
    Therefore they will only listen to those that butter their bread and that is certainly not the voters. You can write to them as much as you want but if they have no opposition to stop them they will do whatever is right for them.

    This said, don’t worry about american dollar, it is well and alive for at least another 5 years.

  58. Cemlyn says

    I can’t argue with you there Robert. It’s mostly the same in the UK but the electorate must continue to voice their opinions. I happen to agree with your view that once elected our ‘officials’ do whatever they want and I am not sure what can be done to sort that out. There was a move in the UK to have the elected official for a given area to consult his electors before he voted on any issue so that he represented the view of his constituency on every issue. The admin of that made it untenable so it was dropped.

    As for the dollar, yes again I agree. The dollar will always survive but it becomes increasingly open to pressures from the external forces that now own the US debt like China. How long before China starts to use it’s influence for its own ends if they are not already doing that.

    Cemlyn

  59. Cemlyn says

    I don’t like not having the figures to back up what I write so I went back and looked for these.

    Have a look at this lot:

    1836 – The last time the National Debt was paid off, under President Andrew Jackson. Jackson believed the National Debt was a national curse.

    $58 million – Debt the United States owed when Andrew Jackson took office in 1830.

    $14 trillion – The current value of the National Debt, rounded to the nearest trillion.

    $5.7 trillion – Debt that the government currently owes itself — otherwise known as “intragovernmental holdings.”

    $4.4 trillion – Debt currently owed to foreign investors.

    19.4 Percentage of the national debt that is currently held by Asian interests, including governments and corporations.

    $800 million – The debt owed to pension funds.

    $500 million – Debt owed to state and local governments.

    $114 trillion – Total US debt after including all unfunded liabilities such as Medicare, and Social Security.

    $114 trillion. Remember if you add the total revenue of all, I say again ALL, the top 200 companies in the world (Forbes) it comes to just over $10 trillion.

    According to one of the analysts on Forbes today, default in the US is inevitable whether the debt ceiling is raised or not. Inflation will guarantee it. I don’t know how true that is but it sounds closer to the truth than anything I’ve heard from the government spokesman.

    I also read an interesting analogy;

    A man earns $50,000 a year but spends $60,000. He does this every year for 5 years. No prizes for working out this man is now in real debt. So he makes the decision to reduce his spending to $58,000 each year and then celebrates the $10,000 he will ‘save’ over 5 years!!!!
    That’s what the argument is all about in the States at the moment, a little summarized I’ll grant you !!

    Would you like to present that to your bank manger as your debt solution ??

    As I said in an earlier post. This is not limited to the US. This is happening to nearly every company in the world. It is just easier to concentrate on the US as the numbers are so huge.

    • Robert says

      The debt is mathematically impossible to pay back. Therefore that Forbes analyst is absolutely right. The default is 100% guaranteed!
      The only question is when, as we are on borrowed time.

      My $US dollar chart studies are telling me that the final ominous descent will start in early 2016.
      At that moment (early 2016) we should still be above today’s level.

      Expect a NASTY depression (not a recession) afterwords, possibly followed by a war a few years later.

  60. says

    Ricardo. In the UK we call it ‘Doom and Gloom Merchants’. It does read a little like that doesn’t it. I suppose I’m a little worried about it all. With so many countries so close to default it makes me think what will happen over the next 20 yrs or so. I’m on a military pension and everyone says that they are guaranteed. Well they are only guaranteed until the government decides to do differently. Mine is index linked which most are not. Pensions are already a huge burden in the UK and with the retired population growing all the time that issue is never going to go away. My fear is that the government suddenly decides to revalue everything and have cuts to pensions at the same time as it cuts every other aspect of public spending. It is the helplessness of it all that gets to me I suppose. There is nothing I can do about that. Anyway, as I said I get worried about it at time …..and then I have another beer and it doesn’t seem so bad !!

    All the best

    Cemlyn

    • Ricardo Sumilang says

      I think it’s safe to say that every country on Earth has its ups and downs throughout history. Sometimes it sits atop the wheel, sometimes it’s at the bottom. When it’s at the bottom, it will only be temporary as there’s no other way to go but up again. When I look around, I see no cities deteriorating or people in a state of panic, except the worry-warts. But I see signs of affluence and orderliness of American society despite all the talks of doom and gloom. Malls are jammed wall to wall with people. In suburbia with its manicured lawns, residents outdo one another to see who has the most beautiful landscaping. Americans travel round the world for vacations, they flock the beaches and theme parks in their RVs and dine at high end restaurants. For myself, my wife and I are spending a week next week with my wife at a Punta Cana resort in the Dominican Republic just to change the pace, having just returned from a cruise a couple of months ago. I’m neither rich nor poor, but I believe in keeping the money circulating. Marathoners in San Francisco are basking in the sun, jogging across the Bay Bridge on a beautiful weekend. NFL football is about to begin again, million dollar contracts for players will be passed around routinely as usual. Now, does this look like a society that is about to collapse? I don’t buy all these doomsday predictions because I have a lot of faith in the American people, the immigrants who made this country great. They are not going to let the U.S. stay at the bottom for long, you’ll see.

      • says

        Hi Ricardo,

        When it’s at the bottom, it will only be temporary as there’s no other way to go but up again.

        Not necessarily. Think about other empires who have gone into decline. The Ottoman Empire, The Roman Empire and others… they didn’t go up again. Fact is, they no longer exist!

        • Ricardo Sumilang says

          Of course, you are right, Bob, but speaking of modern times, take a look at both Brazil and Argentina.

          • Cemlyn says

            Are we the last empire to fall ?? I suppose we are really. Mind you ( putting my patriotic hat on for a while) I suppose we didn’t really fall !! we sort of gave most of it away. It’s interesting to see that those countries that were once part of the Great Empire that are successful now are those that still use the basic systems that were installed by the Empire. I suppose India is a prime example. Still uses our education, legal, governing systems. In fact probably the one place you can’t see the good old British Education system working these days is Britain itself. Our education system used to be so good and it is total rubbish now. Sadly that it true of most of our systems these days. The NHS is crippled with money problems, The government is a mess. Ah, the good old days !!!! Enough of that eh!!

  61. Robert says

    Ricardo, while you live in hope and denial there are people like myself who are getting ready for the worst.
    Just try to remember this: The government never told us the truth, is not telling us the truth, and will never tell us the truth, so I am trying my best to see through the fog.

    However, it is my sincere wish that you will be right and I will be totally wrong.
    Oh boy, do I ever wish that!

    P.S. Just by curiosity I typed ‘US debt unpayable’ on Google and got 97000 results!

    • Ricardo Sumilang says

      I have no illusions whatsoever about America maintaining its economic supremacy forever. At some point in time, yes, I believe it will decline as did other great civilizations before it in the past, because it is just the natural order of the universe. However, I am not into the lunacy of heading for the hills with canned foods and jugs of water when things get worse, as I am a believer in the cycle of boom after a crash and of sunrise following sunset. What’s the point of worrying about which you can do very little about?

  62. Cemlyn says

    Ricardo. If you are not in Tourism sales, you should be. That was impressive.

    I agree with all that you say because I slightly agree with Robert. As only the people in all of this the effects have not whittled it’s way down to us yet. You cannot deny that the US, as well as almost the whole of the rest of the world, is in a recession. I could point you to many sites that would argue with you about your view of the booming America at the moment. I certainly don’t want people to ‘batten down the hatches’ but simply openly discuss the problems facing the whole world. I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that I am not having a dig at the US but simply using their figures because they are so huge !! If I wanted to really go to town I would start talking about Greece or Ireland or Portugal and unfortunately that list goes on a bit.

    The simple truth is that all of us are living beyond our means and something has to happen. As individuals some people may have enough liquid assets but if your country, whichever country that is, goes broke your personal wealth or relative wealth will count for very little. I think your money is held in a bank or a combination of bank and other financial institutions. If they go broke what then ? Remember Barrings Bank. Went bust overnight. One of the biggest commercial banks in the world. It is the ramifications of the problems facing the countries that worry me. How we, the little people, will be affected.

    I sincerely hope that in years to come we will all be saying “well Ricardo was right”

    have a good holiday

    Cemlyn

    • Ricardo Sumilang says

      Just to clarify, Cemlyn, I never said the U.S. is booming right now, I would never argue that position. What I have described is the reality I witness around me on an average day in the life of the average American despite the forecasts of doom and gloom.

  63. Cemlyn says

    Robert, I don’t think Ricardo is in denial. He is an optimist. I am usually called that as well. I prefer to call myself a realist. The world is facing a problem. That is fact. What we don’t know is what the hell will happen.

    Anyway, what are we worried about?? the world is going to end on 12/12/12 anyway…isn’t it ??

    Cemlyn

    • Robert says

      Don’t worry about 12/21/12 it is only a diversion. Nothing bad will happen on that date.

      If you or anyone wants to see my $US dollar charts you are welcome.

        • Robert says

          Actually Yes, something may happen.
          In stock market technical analysis we call it ‘polarity change’.
          On that particular date we may traverse from positive territory into negative on SP500.
          Nobody is going to tell you anything about it on mainstream news on the evening of 22 of December 2011. On the contrary, the doom sayers will be ridiculed.

          The only ones that will know it, will be stock brokers and they will be worried, trust me!
          Right now there is not much to worry.
          We are nicely into positive territory, we are still dancing on the Titanic.

      • Cemlyn says

        Wow, you’ve opened a door there mate. Nothing bad eh!! I hope to be able to write to you on 13/12/12 and say you were right!! My comment was a little tongue in cheek. I looked into the Planet X theory quite a bit when I first heard of it. Yeah I know, nothing else to do. It was a little strange that that part of the space was blanked out by Google for quite a while. I saw a video by an expert who showed the science involved and what the Planet X would have to look like now if it was to come between Earth and the Moon in Dec 2012. It would already be huge !! So on this one I happen to think you are right.

  64. Rudi says

    Cemlyn, Robert…
    I believe 12/12/12 is no more accurate a prediction than any other prediction of a coming Apocalypse…I watched a very interesting program on the History Channel, “After Armageddon”. What was interesting, was that it was not a rambling about prophecies of Nostradamus, the Mayans the Hopi or the Egyptians. It was a very intelligent conversation on what “COULD” happen if a society should collapse. A large part of the conversation was about preparedness..but in terms of both psychical supply and proper training…The point I like to make is that it seams reasonable to me that it does not take a world ending event to affect you, take Hurricane Katrina, how more people would have survived if they had taken even the simplest step for preparedness… I high recommend After Armageddon…

  65. J.D. Morris says

    Hello Bob, I guess you never wore any kind of uniform of the United States Armed Forces…

    There are, as you well know, 1 war we are currently “waging”.

    Let’s take another look at things, we the US are downsizing our military, while other countries, (I see lots of red on their flag) are ramping up. The people in this country can ill afford any further downsizing of it’s military, especially in light of the current affairs going on to the north of our Korean allies. Kim Jung Un is presently nothing more than a puppet and the people pulling his strings are old senior crusty indoctrinated Generals and Admirals.

    I personally am not a “war monger”, quite the contrary, I wore my uniform because I volunteered, yes, for the 1st 4 years, of a 33 year career, I was an infantryman, then I changed fields to Military Intelligence, yes, I know, that is an oxymoron. but very rarely did I have to lock and load a rifle or pistol once i made SSG (staff sergeant). When I did have to carry a side arm, and on several occasions, was forced to use it, it was in defense of myself and the personnel in my unit or friendlies. I lived by the adage, I’m not shooting at you, why are you shooting at me?

    Yes, America is in dire straits currently, and you can look at the White House, excuse me, the Brown House, to know exactly where the trouble lies. The uneducated people of this country wanted change, well that’s what they are walking around with in their pockets, change!

    As for recalling all troops from foreign countries, some of those countries are mandated by peace accords to have US Military personnel on their soil. There are some countries that pay the US to have US Military personnel on their soil. the real crux of the problem is the government itself…

    A Congressperson or Senator is eligible for a life time pension after only serving 1 term in office. They make how much money per annum? And on top of that we, the tax payers are paying for their medical treatment for the rest of their lives, where as, any retired soldier, sailor, airman or marine, has to pay for dental treatment and we take a back seat to Active Duty personnel, I don’t mind taking a back seat to the youngsters, they are the ones who filled my boots when I retired.

    The next evil are the people who have thousands if not millions to grease the palms of said Congresspeople and Senators to get ad infinitum riders on bills which have nothing to do with the bill in the first place! So, in this old wars horse’s opinion, it should be a felony to approach any Congressperson or Senator with any kind of “gratuity”. The Congresspeople and Senators sit on Capitol hill, in their gilded offices and write up some of the stupidest crap I have ever seen! And these other yo-yos only makes a bad situation worse.

    You live in a country that was once a possession of the United States. If memory serves me correctly, isn’t the 4th of Jul, American Friendship day??? And Philippines Independence day 12 June???

    I am an 80% disabled soldier who is considering moving to the Philippines, but presently, I’m still playing ring around the roses with the VA for my other 20%

    Another major problem are the investors… they put their money in… get in low and sell high, then what ever they bought tanks. I’d like to know what they are going to do with all their money, line their caskets with it?

    Related to that, the “Occupy” movement, okay, the real occupiers have an agenda, but you will find that the vast majority of people it those “occupy camps” are homeless people who are, tongue in cheek here, slightly inebriated. I had one idiot tell me that the tabs on my old field jacket were displayed incorrectly and actually tried to rip off one of the tabs from said jacket. Unfortunately for him, there was a police officer who witnessed this incident and also how a 65 year old man with layed out a 29 year old punk with one swing.

    So, if you do as you and others recommend, and recall the Military personnel, what are we going to do with them? Shake their hand, pat them on the back and say thanks, welcome home and oh, by the way there’s the door. Yep, a major surge in unemployment.

    There, vented my spleen at some one who is supposed to be educated and who lives abroad and hasn’t seen a young kid with no legs, which he lost in an IED attack. A kid with a metal plate i his head, a young native american woman who was killed during an ambush and tossed into a hurriedly dug ditch, her remains however were recovered and given due respect, you do understand that term, due respect, she deserved and earned!

    CSM Morris

    • says

      J.D. – You are right, I did not wear the uniform of my country. Does that make me a bad person? In some of your words, it would seem that you see me that way. I do honor those who did serve our country, and I do so openly and greatly. Some of what you said in your comment seemed to attribute words or attitudes to me, things which I never said and do not believe.

      I am not a fan of President Obama, but when you said “brown house,” frankly, I stopped reading, because that is a very racist comment, and the rest of your comment is not worth my time in reading it, that’s how I see things.

  66. says

    A lot of good points made.. many coming to the same consensus; either here in Philippines or in the US things don’t look so good. Food, especially fruits ‘n veggies, are much cheaper here than in the States. Much cheaper. And to me, eating healthy is an important factor over the long haul.

    When I make stir-fry in the US, I typically spend about $9. To make the same thing here in the Philippines costs about $1.50. I also do lots of fruit juices in the blender and, in the US spent about $30/week just in juice. Here, it’s about $6. Eating out in the US.. even a combo meal at Del Taco (about the cheapest food around) is going to cost at least $6. While I can drop into just about any mall franchise and get a decent meal for $3.25 .

    And cooking at home, I save even more. So, all things considered I’d say ‘going back home’ sounds more like the proverbial jumping from out of the frying pan and into the fire. : /

  67. says

    Hello Bob,

    I’ve called on you several times in the last 4 or 5 years and you have always answered my queries. I’m hoping you are not too busy to come through for me again.

    Last year I spent several glorious months in Davao and over on Samal and Talicud Islands. I fell in love with the people I met there . During my stay in Davao, I walked everywhere, rubbing shoulders with the locals and talking to them as if they were my very closest friends. I made many friends and began relationships with members from a local protestant church there. I was amazed at how well my new friends could sing given they had virtually no materials or leadership. Everywhere the people were friendly and treated me like a king. My reception was such that I cant wait to return .
    My question is regarding living in a more secluded area where there are not so many people. I know being married to a local makes things much easier and that part is taken care of , its more an issue of safety I’m concerned with.
    While traveling around the area, I learned of conflicts between the communists and the rebels. I was told that being too far out from the city would not be a good idea as the threat of kidnapping is higher.
    I would like your opinion on this in the southern Mindanao area and any other area in the Philippines. I already know that the western side of the Island is volatile and not a good choice but are there other areas that are off the radar as far as the conflicts between groups go?
    My pretty bride and our two children want to live in a peaceful place near the water away from the masses so to speak. I am a very compassionate person and want to start some kind of mission or school where I can privately help the locals to have a better life. When I was there last, I helped many people but the next time, I want my efforts to be more focused and less haphazard .’
    Do you know anything specific about the area between Mati and GenSan or out on one of the small islands in the bay?
    Thanks for your help and service to all of us.
    Captain Lot

    • says

      Hi Captain Lot – I used to live in GenSan, and can say that it is a pretty safe area. Mati is also a pretty safe area. It is important to remember that no place in the world is perfectly safe, so we are talking in degrees of safety. I would say that GenSan and Mati are about as safe as most places in the USA. Davao City, in my opinion, is safer than most places in the USA. Over in Western Mindanao, along the Zamboanga Peninsula, yes, it is not as safe, but most parts of the area are still not danger zones. There are places in that region, though, that are very dangerous.

      If you are going to live in the Davao region, there are areas where you can live safely, in my opinion. Think of places like Buda, Mati, Quezon town, etc. Those places are safe for a foreigner to live, in my view.

      Good luck to you.

  68. Carl Davis says

    Hi Bob,

    I enjoy your posts. I have a doctoral degree and appreciate intelligent, beautiful women. Since my divorce several years ago (here in the US), I have had 3 wonderful women in my life but could not encounter in them the warmth, femininity, and lack of a driving desire for their own career. So it did not work for me. I am a 60 year old with a biological age and appearance of about 45, considered pleasant looking. How likely is it, in the Davao area, that I could encounter a well educated, attractive woman that would like to have a family with me? I suspect there would be many more options in Manila, but I don’t want to be in such a large place. Also, I have a deep spiritual calling, but am not into any organized religions. How does that all add up?
    Thanks for your thoughts.

  69. Dave C says

    Hi Bob just an observation on the Boy Scout theme… there are many banks that have a lot of different currency/dollar accounts. When I do my banking I will use several different currency accounts to diversify my risk of dollar fluctuation. Also as noted above in your posts never ever let any one account exceed $10,000 US. The US dollar is getting stronger but for how long? I think China yuan is very stable for part of your holdings and so are a few other countries. I am not an expert but just suggesting possible solutions.

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