We've been talking about the depression for a while here. Back when we started, it was a kooky idea. Now it seems to be more and more the consensus. Even permabull Warren Buffett now says "the economy will be in shambles throughout 2009 -- and, for that matter, probably well beyond."
The optimists can hope for something like Japan, a long stagnation without too much pain. But Japan actually produces things people want. All we produce is debt and derivatives. The world's appetite for those is not what it used to be.
We've had a couple discussions on navigating the depression here and here. The same sentiments still hold, and I'd add that it would be a good idea to get a government job. As businesses are downsizing, Schwarzenegger is giving state employee unions generous new no-layoff deals. And nationally, Obama plans to crush businesses with additional taxes while ramping up government jobs. If you can get into a cushy government job, you'll be on easy street through this depression while your poor neighbors in the private sector really struggle.
Here's the ideal positioning for the depression. Obviously, not everyone will be able to achieve all of these, but work toward as many as you can:
* Government job
* Own a home with a 30-year-fixed mortgage (because those dollars will be worthless by the time you pay them back)
* 12+ months of expenses saved, equally split between cash and gold
* Canned and dry bulk food stockpiled
* Guns and ammo stockpiled