Kentucky Rain keeps pouring down. And up ahead's another town that I'll go walking through. With the rain in my shoes.
~ Elvis Presley
I've been driving through small towns in Kentucky and I keep seeing the same thing. Businesses that have suddenly closed or are holding "going out of business" sales.
I'm not a big fan of Ben Bernanke or Alan Greenspan. As John Paulson proved, you can make billions of dollars betting against the advice that Ben and Alan have been dishing out over the last decade.
Ben and Alan are making noises about a "double dip recession." Most who watch the economy closely say the same thing.
To people on Main Street, it's not been a dip. We took a drop to the bottom two years ago and stayed there.
Although Wall Street has done well and paid themselves multimillion dollar bonuses, Main Street has had a hard time.
I blame the bailouts. The country would have been better off letting the "too big to fail" banks fail and rebuild the economy from ground zero.
Instead we are bouncing along in a "lost decade" like Japan had in the 1990's. We had a choice between having a financial heart attack and quick recovery or financial cancer. Washington (and its lobbyists) chose cancer.
I look at the boarded-up stores, high unemployment, higher underemployment, the lack of economic activity and inability for small businesses to borrow even in a low interest rate environment.
The problems of Main Street are not going away soon.
For those of us who are looking to create wealth without Wall Street, I come back to three points.
First and foremost, Move Your Money. You can learn how to do it at http://moveyourmoney.info
Arianna Huffington and others at Huffington Post created a movement that is growing by leaps and bounds.
People are moving their money out of Wall Street banks into community banks and credit unions.
They are encouraging the charities they support and the government entities who get their tax dollars to do the same thing.
People who move their money are making a statement. They are mad as hell and not going to let Wall Street control their lives.
Community banks and credit unions are more likely to be spreading the money around on Main Street. They don't have million dollar bonuses to shell out.
Community banks and credit unions might keep some Main Street businesses from falling over the edge.
The second thing every individual can do is keep on getting rid of debt.
Cut up your credit cards. Pay off the car loans and if you have good credit (and a job); look for every opportunity to refinance while interest rates are low.
The third factor is for people to start creating their own jobs and not depending on big business.
Entrepreneurship is not a new idea. According to Tom Peters, in 1900, 50% of Americans were self-employed. By 1977, that number had dropped to 7% as big corporations ruled.
Now big businesses are cutting back, outsourcing to other countries and slashing wages and pensions.
The idea of lifetime employment doesn't exist in the private sector.
I've seen cases where employees put in a lifetime of service, expecting a good retirement, only to find that the pension they planned on is not available or greatly reduced.
Those of us on Main Street need to protect ourselves.
Moving our money, cutting up our credit cards, and owning our own businesses are the way to do it.