At this point I am going to name you mathgirl, though the math is more about me than you. Your 2 year old baby sister is the new mathbaby.
I am living in hotels in Ohio. Working a new job, trying to move. Arizona is going into another recession. It is actually just continuing the one that it had been in. One can't treat the symptom and remove the disease. One must treat the disease. Treating the symptoms works to hide minor ailments, not major damage. The politicians who never read this should hear it.
So here is a picture of two fish. Which would you rather be, the one on the left with a drain that can only take a portion of what you need to live, or the one on the right who will run out of water, dry up, and die?
Our "leaders" have decided on policies that, at all scales, make us the fish on the right and not the fish on the left. Production (creation of water) is in China. Capability to make production is there to, not here. We have some water left, and we can make a temporary water called credit, but even the value it creates is moving out of our nation and our communities. Walmart can out-compete every mom and pop. McDonalds can out compete the locally grown, locally sourced, sustainable models. It is only a matter of time, not of "if".
Between now and system death we must make wise decisions.
There is a (false) legend that a ancient group that was destroyed in the following way. They were made to form a ring of people facing inward. Every odd person stepped forward and every even one stepped backward. The ones who stepped forward were killed by those who had stepped back. This process was repeated over and over until there was only one person left. It is said that there was a clever soldier who realized the position of the soldier who would survive, and by taking it was able to save his own life.
There are places where every metaphor breaks down and the same is true with this story. This myth puts saving ones life as being higher than being required to kill ones comrades. I don't like that, but I feel like we are on the titanic and the captain and senior officers are all drunk. The rate per iteration of deaths was 50%. Each time this was repeated about half of the people died. In our case the rate is lower. It is not uniform in geometry, but it is uniform in other dimensions. Fiscal responsibility. Building community. Building sustainable community economics. Building a culture of actual empowerment. These are the things that are going to make us more successful. Buying into consumerism. The gang or drug culture. Fiscal irresponsibility. Unsustainable practices. These are going to take away our tomorrows. These are the dimensions along which the pseudo-decimation is going to be most visible.
I want to live. I want you to live. Some folks say "living is more than survival" but that is a poor picture. It is a consumerist picture. True life, true heart health, is like standing on the top of a hill in that there are a number of ways to go down. Too much pleasure is as bad as (or worse than) too little. Eating too much is just as unhealthy as eating too little. Those who starve as children often become obese as adults - the body and emotional centers lead us along roads of darkness sometimes. Balance is the wonderful trick of finding the place where, by staying there, any change in it leads to less life. It is a Nash equilibrium.
I have to go. Lunch calls. Duty calls.
PS: I need to put the pictures from the "Commemorative Air Force" museum tour here. I wish your mathmom had more "Grand Canyon" and "Montezuma's Castle" pictures. I would put them here.