What Would the Next Great Depression Look Like in Idaho?
I wouldn’t mind being wrong on this one. I’m personally not ready for a worldwide economic depression. As we grow older, the odds of living through a financial mess lessen. If you died at 75 years old in 1929, you had already experienced recessions in the 1870s and 1890s. They were called panics in those days. What would follow your death wasn’t your problem. It was what scarred your children and grandchildren.
First, a few projections. Idaho would do better than much of the country at the beginning of a depression. People with money have hedged their investments and many are still eyeing the region as a retirement destination. They'll keep buying houses. Prices would drop on new homes as commodity prices would plummet worldwide.
People across the developed world would cut back on electronics, purchase new automobiles, and give up some luxuries. Can you live without 500 TV channels? Of course. People would still need to eat. Potatoes remain a bargain when it comes to nutrients for the price. The same with beets. Demand for agricultural products would provide somewhat of a cushion for southern Idaho. People would again learn how to barter, sew, and can food.
Unlike some more liberal states, Idaho isn’t over-leveraged. There’s no huge budget gap to close.
Getting back to bartering. We may get there soon. As you may have been hearing, the dominance of the U.S. dollar is coming to an end. We could see wild currency fluctuations. The federal government would no longer be able to operate on deficit spending. There would be cuts in defense spending, what is strangely called entitlements, or a combination of both. America would no longer police the world. Extended families would resume living under one roof. All of this has somewhat of a Walton vibe. It just wouldn’t be as pleasant as that piece of fiction.