Spending Time Wisely

Time to think. I had some recently. Maybe that wasn’t such a good thing, in retrospect.

I came up with a few thoughts that disturb me. As I sat, actually relaxing for a change, at an SCA event (that’s the Society for Creative Anachronism for you Mundanes) I realized that I spent money to attend a camping event to sit around a campfire and watch rogues and wenches get sloppy drunk. OK, so I enjoy this stuff. It’s what I do in my oh so much spare time. Ha ha, that was a joke. Get it? All the spare time we all have?

Anyway, in the morning, as I watched a guy walk by in his undies, to the actual set up we had of an outdoor hot shower they’d rigged up, I realized SCA folks spend a LOT of good money on these events. I felt guilty. Now, while I am certainly not one of the richest SCA members, possibly I number among the poorest for sure, how do I condone spending ANY of my money on this game? This hobby? For Pete’s sake I have a good friend who doesn’t even have a usable sewer system in her own home in the Real World! She can’t use her own Biffy or take a cold shower and here we are bragging about our hot shower system at a hobby event we do in our spare time!

I felt ashamed.

I spent $100 to purchase linoleum that was on clearance. Believe me, I reallllllly needed it. When I pulled up my living room carpet, oh boy was it disgusting! But cruising through pieces of used wood to try to find anything that would work to create an outhouse for my friend, I mean ANYTHING, THE definition of recycling here, again I felt ashamed for having purchased new flooring.

I’ve been spending my time going back and forth between my friend’s house to help her build things out of recycled things, and my house pulling up floor staples and sanding the subfloor. I am not even supposed to be doing these physical things. If social security disability found out I was doing these physical activities they would take away my disability. BUT these things need done and there’s no one to help.

Yup. I said it out loud. NO ONE to help. It is two physically and medically disabled women doing the jobs of several men, albeit over the span of several weeks/months at times, to get things done.  We do ask for help. Do we get it? Obviously not. So we help each other. We do what needs done. We rest when we can and take pain medication. We cry in our pain and cry in our thankfulness for each other. I mean geeze, the woman NEEDS her sewer lines snaked or something done, ANYTHING, so she can use her sinks, shower, and toilet but no one will go out there and help her. WE live in poverty, she and I, but neither our family or others are willing to help us for free. No one wants to donate their time anymore.

Spending time wisely, to me, means helping friends and family any time any place any where for any reason. For free. Not for a favor in return, or an IOU, or out of guilt, but just because it’s what you should do.

There’s some websites about selling items for less than new prices, some freecycle site, bartering sites, and stuff like that.  Many folks don’t seem to understand the concept. Just don’t get it. Bartering means trading for something you want with something you already have, but folks on the site are going out to purchase baking items or gift cards to barter for items they want. They don’t get it. People are putting items on these sites that are used yet they want exorbitant priced barters in return, for example a used $20 baby stroller would sell at a yard sale for maybe $4 but on the barter site wanted to barter for their car washed and cleaned and vacuumed on the inside. Ah, that costs from $50 to $100 or more at a detail shop plus uses water that increases your city water bill and uses electricity increasing that bill. I offered my skills, my time, I got no replies. I offered to cook, bake, baby sit, pull weeds. I got nothin’.

Apparently my time is worthless to the vast majority.

Alas, I will just go about my days offering to spend my time wisely to those who deem my time worthy.

How to Live Frugally

I caught site of an article on MSN today about how to survive/live on ONLY $40,000 a year!

I laughed. Blinked a few times. Had a moment of anger. Then I remembered the rest of the nation really believes most people think $40,000 is poor.

So, I thought about it. I wondered how many people the article thought were supposed to live on that for a year. Was it supposed to be for a single person? If so, that person had better be living like a freakin’ king/queen!  If it was supposed to be for a married couple with that being the sole income, still they should be living well. A small apartment or home with a small mortgage would work. Even if two cars were needed they shouldn’t NEED anything expensive. Two people wouldn’t use a lot of utilities, so there should be a lot left over for food and necessities. Now, IF that $40,000 was for a family with children that would be pushing it, since kids can suck up money, but still, with a good food plan and payment schedules this family would still be able to order out take-out and go to movies and have a social life and be involved in school activities and in the community. It’s all about budgeting and not buying what you don’t need.

Of course I’m talking from a skewed point of view since my son and I live on an annual income of around $14,000 a year.

We get McDonald’s once every few months or so. We go to an actual movie theater maybe 2 or 3 times a year, maybe. We don’t have cable TV. We don’t have a real cell phone. We have TracFones, and they don’t have cameras. I try not to drive unless I have to, so I only need to fill the gas tank once every 2 weeks. I buy generic clothes and food and items on sale. I think I could tell those people who can’t live on $40,000/year how to do it.

It just really bothered me that there even exists an article, a how-to, about how to live on that much money. If they can’t live on it, I’ll take it!

Does it do any good?

Stood at another protest today. Protesting Wall Street and how money seems to be running the country instead of people. Protesting how money runs health programs and who gets medical treatment and how, when, and where and IF you can get medical insurance or not. Protesting how corporations are running politics instead of politicians doing what the people who voted for them wanted them to do. Protesting how even money runs churches and religion instead of how your spirituality is supposed to be within you and from you. Protesting how the wealthy few % of this country are running the country while the rest can’t afford health care, education, or even food.

As I stood there though, I did too much thinking. Isn’t that an oxymoron of some sort? Is it possible to do too much thinking? While standing next to a man with a protest sign that reads: Think.

And I did a lot of listening. I listened to the wizened voices of those around me who have been to protests before, years and years of protests. The new-age college-comers who want to be heard and have the enthusiasm of the young, and the hardened hippies that have been fighting the freedom call from money’s persecution adding lines around their eyes. Anger, lots of anger, but many ideas too. Lessons to be remembered from history that our current politicians and bankers seem to have forgotten.

Is it, are we, really headed toward some sort of national rebellion or uprising on the levels of the Russian or French Revolutions? Is that what it’s really going to take for our leaders to sit up and listen? Will the bankers and corporations ever back down? Power is the root of evil they say, and money is power. They won’t give it up willingly. Wall Street is paved with power and  money. Wall Street runs this country, not the White House or Congress. Anyone who thinks it’s only Republicans who enjoy that power is an idiot. A politician is a politician. Sorry to my Dem. friends, but it takes money to back your bills. At least how things are currently being run.

Honestly, are any of YOU politicians and wealthy folks willing to give up your SUVs and 2 car garage homes? Don’t you know you really should be paying the same for health care and insurance that the rest of us do? Just because you are/were once a politician that does NOT give you the right to vote yourself the right to better or free ins. for life. You should NOT get to pay any less taxes either or have better schools just because you have money. But I know you won’t listen to me, cuz I’m not one of you. I haven’t been corrupted by that greed.

Standing on that corner today I saw the want of greed. Beltrami county is supposed to be one of the poorest counties in MN, but you can’t tell by looking at our cars. There are an awful lot of nice cars driving by. The “Joneses” must be debt deep in loans and credit to pay for all those nice cars, trucks, and SUVs going by, but we all “look” like we’re living pretty well if you go by what we’re driving. An awful lot of those folks were honking in solidarity with us, but they weren’t coming to the sidewalk to stand with us.

I don’t go out there to stand with friends like some club or social time. It’s not a time for me to say “oh hey look at me doing my thing!” I really believe in what I’m out there for and don’t want to be taken for some martyr standing in the cold wind. I just really wonder if it does any good at all. Does anyone see us out there and think about why we’re there? Do the bankers or politicians give a shit or are they laughing? I think one person can make a difference, then I think oh hell this is just Bemidji.

That’s not all I do though. I sign petitions. I make phone calls. I send emails. I write letters. I speak in person to politicians. Not just local and state political stuff, but federal, the White House and the President. I belong to many websites. I’m sure I’m on FBI watch lists. I don’t just talk, I walk my walk. I advocate. I DO. I AM. I don’t just have a liberal reputation. I have a character and morals that I live by.

I guess all that matters is how and what you do in the End.

A day in the life of the Poor (My Day Today)

Filling out forms sucks. Responding to questions that most people deem private information is embarrassing. Then, needing to make copies of your bills, your income, your insurances, proof of or lack of home ownership – auto ownership – medical/life ins.,  proof of you are who you say you are – your birth certificates and social security cards, OK basically telling your financial life story to a stranger is more than humiliating. Plus, you have to do it in front of other people in front of a cubicle that separates you all from the people who aren’t poor.

Just the run-around to even get the papers you need to fill out the forms to make the copies is enough to keep poor people from asking for help in the first place. Does the government think all of us poor people have copying machines at home? Oh sure, we all have computers at home, too. Now, wait a minute and stop what you are thinking. I never said we aren’t smart enough to use these machines. We just don’t own them. Remember, we’re poor. So, some of us do USE them.

IF we are lucky someone has donated a used computer to us, or we scrimped and saved to buy a cheap one. Maybe  we go to the local library to use one to pay our bills online. Anyway, when bills are paid online they are not readily available to be printed or copied. Yes, the financial institution asking us to make all these copies so they can decide whether or not they can give us financial assistance, food stamps, or fuel assistance or whatever whoever could help us with offers to make copies or offer a copying machine for folks to use. Uh huh. I needed to make 40 pages of copies today; 40!

There is always a line at the copying machine on 2nd floor at the Social Services building. Do YOU want to be the person in line who takes up all the time it would take to make 40 copies when most overworked machines make approximately 7 pages per minute not counting how long it takes you to load and unload each page separately by hand? While angry people are complaining and being rude? OK, so go use the library’s copy machine like I did and pay $5.85 to make copies of papers to ask for financial help. Seems wrong to me. Make sure you have correct change or a check at the Library though, because they are NOT helpful if you have a $20 bill. OH, but wait we were talking about printing bills from the computer. Still haven’t done that. At the library that would’ve been and EXTRA .15 cents per page plus waiting around to see IF you could get onto a computer.

So, I went to my bank where they usually charge for everything, right? Low and behold they did NOT charge me for double copies of printouts of my checking account and my son’s saving’s account for the last 3 months!!! I was totally blown away, happily. Even took some of the free popcorn for lunch.  So, now I could prove my Social Security Disability income for the last 3 months. I had to show/prove that my Child Support had stopped 4 months ago even though that doesn’t count as income. I also had to show my son’s Soc. Sec. Dis. Income under my disability even though that doesn’t count either since he is a minor. A waste of paper, time, and resources if you ask me.

Now that I’ve run to 4 different buildings it made me wonder how much gas I had to use just to make copies to ask for financial assistance. Two of these buildings are close to each other, but the other two are on separate sides of town. I’ve driven over 10 miles to do this. What about those who don’t have a car or friends with cars? Taking the bus around here is a joke! This has taken me hours of running around today. There is no way I could have done this on a regular day of work. Anyone needing to use the bus or use a bicycle would take all day. And people wonder why poor people don’t have jobs? After all this, and being treated like 2nd class citizens at the places where we go to ask for help, who has time to get out there and look for a job?!

We feel like a huge pile of humiliated exhausted crap after a day like this. Not only did it take hours and make us feel bad, but it took precious money. The $5.85 plus the gas money could have fed my family for at least two days. So, I’ll go home and turn the heat down to make up for the difference. Now, YOU try to live on $844 a month.

The “System” is built to Piss you off

Which System? Any. All? I am, however, talking about the Social Welfare System.

 

I picked up my forms to fill out to apply for Food Stamps and/or Emergency Assistance only about 3 weeks ago. Along with those forms was a kit of sorts explaining everything you need to bring back, make copies of, your rights and responsibilities and right to privacy (ha, that’s a joke considering the information they are asking for,) and explanation of how to fill out said forms. There is also a page of what days and times are available for interviews for this application, saying you may even qualify for a phone interview. There is information about what you may be eligible for and how to qualify.

These pre-informative forms lie. For example, the SNAP Program info. blurp says it is for MNsotans with low income to buy food, and to qualify you need only to either be single or in a family with or without children and be low income. However, when you are actually filling out the forms you begin to realize that it is tied to whether or not you can work. So, if you are disabled and are receiving Social Security Disability payments you probably will not be able to collect from the SNAP program. Because we all know it is so easy to own a home, pay bills, and cook food for yourself and a child on $844 from Social Security each month.

Yes, apparently you are supposed to be able to live off $844 a month without any other assistance. You do NOT qualify for Emergency Assistance if your car needs repairs. You do NOT qualify for a county driver to a doctor appointment in the Twin Cities to save money OR because it would cause you medical hardship or pain BECAUSE you own a car. You do NOT qualify for Emergency Assistance UNLESS OR UNTIL you are receiving shut off  notices or your large appliances for utilities are not working. NO you can not receive any help with laundry because your machine is broken – you’re supposed to use a laundromat weather you can afford it or not or you can do them by hand (apparently having arthritis isn’t supposed to matter.)

How else do they piss you off? They keep changing the days and times for when you can call or see anyone you need to see IF you qualify to see anyone. I get there to hand in my forms and am then told I need to come another day as they’ve changed their schedule, BUT not this week, because they won’t be open Thursday or Friday.

Where are THEY Shopping?

Where are they shopping?!

OK, ran into a website on the internet, www.moneyning.com, and by perusing a few articles found “10 Tips for Eating Healthy on the Cheap.” Of course I had to also read the comments below. Now I am wondering just where all these folks are shopping and where in the country they live, cuz it sure ain’t in the Northern MN where we have to add on the cost of transportation to the middle of nowhere. I’m thinking that has to be why food costs more here, because I can’t figure out any other good reasons.

It’s the same old stuff I find on all internet articles; use a shopping list, avoid processed foods, only drink water, only buy in-season produce, shop at the farmer’s market for produce not the store, eat healthy cheap staples (oatmeal, beans, and rice,) start your own veggie garden, avoid the drive-thru, clip coupons, and stretch your meats by using tofu and grains.

I’d just like to start by saying this IS MN. The only fruit we ever have in season are apples, and some berries. So, hope you have a nice neighbor, friend, or yourself who grow them, or slather on the (maybe DDT-free) bug repellent for the bird-sized mosquitoes and Lyme disease laden ticks and go berry picking in the woods, or go to a berry farm and pay too much, OR go to a store and pay WAY too much for organic fruit and berries because the cost of being labeled organic and filing the paperwork is frivolously stupid. Purchasing in-season produce in MN only happens from maybe June (with several types of lettuce and spinach, edible flowers, maybe honey and ??,) to early harvest produce some cucumbers, cabbage and summer squash, asparagus ,rhubarb, and said above berries begin, July has peppers and some tomatoes, August has carrots, grapes, beans, garlic, more tomatoes and the apples begin, to  Sept being  the big winner with melons, onions, potatoes, and corn.

Every other type of produce self-gardeners can try their hand at growing, you need to visit a local farmer’s market,  or it’s transported in and we have to go shopping. I know it IS possible to grow certain types of cherries, plums, peaches, apricots, pears, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew, currants, gooseberries, kiwi, garden huckleberry, mulberry, June-berry, elderberry, beets, cabbage, broccoli, herbs, parsnips, peas, radishes, turnips, eggplant, horseradish, leeks, pumpkins in MN.  As far as the herbs go the mint family; Lamiaceae, includes basil, oregano, marjoram, catnip, all the mints, as well as rosemary, thyme, lavender, summer savory, and sage, are all grown for their aromatic leaves. Hardy perennials in this family can become invasive, especially mints. The carrot family, Apiaceae includes dill, parsley, chervil, cilantro (also known as coriander), fennel, and lovage. I know a few other herbs can be tried such as mallow, which are in the next growing zone, it just takes some experimentation and a green thumb. This information is all from the MN Extension Service at the University of MN and is deemed what is normal for MN, but I know many Master Gardeners and hobby gardeners that grow other veggies and herbs that aren’t on their lists.

Of course don’t forget the wild edible fruits that can be made into jams, jellies, sauces, tea, wine, dried fruit, spices, and survival food. http://fruit.cfans.umn.edu/files/2012/08/MN-Wild-Edible-Fruit.pdf has a huge list of these with pictures, tables of when to pick, and uses.

My point is that IF you can’t grow your own garden because you live in an apartment or something, or don’t know how, then you must purchase your produce from someone else. Like I said in the first paragraph, I want to know where the writers of the article are shopping, because the prices they listed are way lower than here. The comments start with someone stating something about canned vegetables at fifty cents. Around here you can maybe find them at that cost when they go on sale, maybe. He goes on to list seasonings+vegetable oil+electricity=fifty cents for a meal. I question that too, with the cost of seasonings around here.

Another commenter says to buy spices, oil, honey, rice, and tea at ethnic stores. He obviously doesn’t live here. Our ONLY ethnic store is in Solway (a don’t blink or you’ll miss it kind of village) and their prices are high. They can do that since they are the only kind of that store. A lot point out farmer’s markets, but I’ve done my comparing shopping. OK, if you compare organic prices the farmers markets MIGHT be lower. However, if you are living on a low set budget from Social Security Disability payments you still can not afford organic and must shop at normal stores and get the drugged food. Even better, you probably have to go to the local food shelf where all you’re going to get is over-processed, GMO, non-organic, but maybe local farmed food.

Also, when you shop it helps to purchase the store brand. Yes, I agree with this. You are going to get some bad-tasting stuff sometimes though or some extra chewy canned fruit or hard cereal. The same goes with some generic brand stuff. However, as with some of the off-brand stuff your store-bought produce is not fresh. It probably sat in cold-storage for a year before it made it to your market. http://www.foodrenegade.com/your-apples-year-old/ Welcome to the world of fungicides and waxes. Food in the U.S. travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to your plate. Much food found in grocery stores is highly processed and grown using pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetic modification. Some of it has been irradiated, waxed, or gassed in transit. This is what us poor folk have to eat. We really don’t have much choice due to pricing. The food industry is backwards. What is good for us is expensive, and what is bad for us is cheap. At the farmers market, you can find meats, cheeses, and eggs from animals that have been raised without hormones or antibiotics, who have grazed on green grass and eaten natural diets, and who have been spared the cramped and unnatural living conditions of feedlots and cages that are typical of animal agriculture. If we are poor we can’t purchase with our conscience. We must force ourselves to eat that bite of conformity.

“I recently got 2 zucchinis, 2 yellow crookneck squash, 6 peppers, two eggplants, several tomatoes, and a watermelon for a total of eleven bucks, from an Amish roadside stand.” Here is an example of a comment from the article. I really want THAT Amish roadside stand to come here, because at any roadside stand or farmers market around here to buy those same items I would pay approximately $20 to $25, and that’s a low guestimate. At the local organic food Co-Ops, pah-lease, add on more money. Of course I am assuming those are colored peppers and not green. Colored peppers seem to be made of gold these days, tomatoes too.

Here are more tips in the comments: Don’t go out to eat ever. OK I don’t. My kids already hate me. Enough said. Don’t buy pop. Like I said, my kids hate me. Use coupons. Well, I tried to clip coupons. I’ve noticed that coupons tend to be for processed food, expensive foods, foods we would never eat, and 2-for-1 deals. So coupons never really help us. But I do make my grocery list around the items on sale in the grocery store weekly circular (I shop often enough to know whether or not it’s a “real” sale.) I also listen to the radio a lot and when an announcement says “meat sale right now at…” I check it out to see if it really is a good sale. See if your local deli or supermarket sells the lunch-meat ends. Ahhh, what? This must be a city thing, or our local deli owners are taking all this home for themselves. I have asked for bruised bananas though. Buy a bread machine at your Goodwill, and make your own bread. You’ll never go back. Well, this only works for those people in the family that don’t have an “allergy” to fresh baked breads. There honestly are those of us out here who can NOT eat fresh baked bread due to the yeast content. It is a trigger for migraine headaches. REAL migraine headaches, not those headaches that everyday people who have an ordinary headache have mistakenly begun to call every headache. Real doctor diagnosed and often food triggered migraines.

I digress, back to more tips. Stop drinking orange juice. Seriously, just stop. The sugar in it is practically pure glucose… and it’s freaking expensive. MMmmm, I wonder how many people would do this. I had to though, as it is yet another migraine trigger. I can not have anything with citrus in it, not even as an additive. There went my Doritos. Well, that’s a combination of the additive and the fake cheese. Spices, oil, and tea? See if you have a grocery “outlet” like Amelia’s, Aldi’s, or any other “bents/bumps/bargains&overstocks” store. Ah, there it is. Now I know these people must be from a city somewhere, because I have never heard of any of these places and don’t know of an overstock store anywhere either. Braising cheap or “undesirable” cuts of meat. These include Boston butts/pork shoulder, brisket, shanks and even ribs. I must admit to not knowing a lot about meat or meat cuts, but I do know I splurged and bought brisket once. Yes, I called it splurging, because it was WAY expensive. So, I don’t know why that’s on the list. In my opinion nothing beef is affordable right now. WELL, the people in this article are calling eggs at $3 a dozen and a quart of cream at $5  cheap, which they are NOT, so now I know I’m poor.

My older brother and I had a conversation about all those articles on the internet about how to live cheaply, or how poor people could save money. In our humble opinions NONE of those articles were actually written by poor people. They were probably written by people with annual incomes of at least $80,000+ with one child and they think they are poor, or at least middle income. To me they are rich. If I ever had that much money I wouldn’t know what to do with it. One popular rule of thumb holds that anyone earning 25% more or 25% less than the median is within the middle class. By that metric, households earning between $38,954 and $64,924 are middle-class. Even if I had $30,000 I would try to do cartwheels! Being disabled and on a fixed income, my average annual income for the last 15 years has been $13,000. I want the people who write these articles to try to eat healthy on that. Actually, I want to shove their article down their throat and ask them how much it cost and if it was healthy.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich

[Inaugural Address, January 20 1961]

― John F. Kennedy

The title of this “note” is a quote. I wasn’t alive during President Kennedy’s years, but somehow I think being poor may have been better then. Watching world economic talks lately and/or any political talks and perusing the internet (yes, I KNOW, don’t believe everything I see on the internet or for Pete’s sake hear from a politician!) I’m becoming morose. OK, for those of you who don’t really know me well, some people used to see me as the glass half full type of person or tell me to take off my rose-colored glasses. It’s just getting so BAD out there, and well right here. The huge gap between the rich and poor.

It’s here in Bemidji, too. That’s why most of you don’t see it, won’t believe me, and just want me to shut up and stop posting about being poor. We have our own gap of rich who want to hide the homeless and poor and the poor who want to do whatever they can to not LOOK poor. When you look at me do you see poor? How many people walking on the sidewalk look poor to you? I was going to ask how many people shopping at Walmart look poor, but many people who read my posts would never be caught shopping THERE. If you can shop your conscience and choose not to shop at Walmart, you are just not poor enough. If you can afford to shop at Harmony, Luekens, Marketplace, Menards or anywhere else without using food stamps or ONLY buying what’s on sale, YOU are the people who need to be reading this. If you don’t have to go to the Food Shelf YOU should be reading this.

I mean, I like President Obama. Let’s just get that out of the way right now. I believe he is doing well with what he was given. He’s trying. He has great ideas, but VERY few people are allowing him to accomplish his ideas to help the ever-receding middle class he’s always talking about. The rich have stomped the middle class into the ground. There aren’t many of them left. According to Jim Rickards, the CIA’s Asymmetric Warfare Adviser, Pres. Obama may have to stop using the term very soon. He’s predicting another very long depression, coming soon, where those middle class will become the low-class, and the now poor- or low-class will be, well, destitute, homeless, and dying. He is also warning of WWIII, but that’s another post. I know you’ll think me crazy, but I am also dreaming of this. Other “empaths” and “gifted” people are having dreams. In the last 2 days I’ve spoken to two other people right here in Bemidji who are also having visions of this coming economic depression. Now, being surrounded by 3 Native American Reservations who am I to not listen to their healers when one talks of this? Today my conversation centered around how the rich are systematically killing off the poor. I figure it’s so they don’t have us on their conscience when they put up walls to block us out. So they don’t have to look at us, watch us die from starvation, when this depression and war hits. They will live inside the walls and be rich and cozy. The stuff of science fiction is coming faster than we think. They CAN afford it.

Enough of science fiction, whether you believe it or not something’s coming. Who knows if it will be 6 months, a year, or 5 years from now, but I think it’s time for us to get together as a community. Yes, there are a few spatterings of community gardens here and there around town. You can pay for classes to learn how to can or freeze fruit and veggies or how to grow a garden or how to make a rain barrel. The specific word to focus on there is “pay.” How many ways can I say it? Poor people NEED this information, but can not afford to pay for it. There are a lot of people out there that have a lot of skills about how to do things the old fashioned ways that don’t need electric tools, or even how to make tools (which people might find handy in a depression,) but poor people can not afford to pay for this information. This lovely ObamaCare Insurance will probably go away, so being able to identify medicinal plants or grow certain herbs may come in handy. Poor people can’t afford to pay to learn this. You think we have some homeless people now? If a huge depression does hit, if social security checks go the way of bye bye, and there is no more county money to hand out then how many more homeless will Bemidji have? I’ll be one more. My son and I will lose our home. How many people are living in homes in Bemidji right now with unused rooms? Think anyone will share? I’ve already offered my empty bedroom, but wait, I’m losing my house so that doesn’t count.