All of my frustration with the problems people needlessly create for themselves finds itself reflected in my writing here.
When I say things like "stockpile food, gas, and ammo" it's not because I think the world is going to truly collapse into Mad Max style anarchy overnight. It's because having something stored away makes it a lot easier and more comfortable during the inevitable hard times. All it takes is a nasty tornado or a bad hurricane or a relatively minor earthquake and you can end up without food and water for days, and depending on where you are and what time of year it is having something put away can literally save your life.
On top of that, with everything stretched to the breaking point right now due to the recession, all it would take is one nasty large scale disaster and you could end up like those people in New Orleans, unable to get food or water for more than a week and still underwater a month later.
When a nation gets to the point in its life cycle that it starts doing things like ignoring rule of law and brazenly defying its constitution (and, I'm sorry to say, Obama is still wiretapping without warrants) you can take it as a sign that things are not going to truly get better (though what gets reported in an increasingly entertainment-based media might not reflect this).
The fact that the people who have all the power in this country think that things are better now because the market has gone up, even though unemployment continues to get worse (and please don't give me economic voodoo about leading and trailing indicators, I understand how it works and if you think that is a reasonable response to what I am saying you're missing the point), shows you everything you need to see about why I feel pessimistic about the future here.
People so easily forget this nation's recent history. We need to be using what resources we have left to create a buffer between us and calamity, but instead we're eating our seed corn.