Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Remembering the bad old days of balanced budgets and a growing economy...

Attention spans aren't what they used to be, anything that happened 24 hours ago is already old news. You see it everywhere, people have trouble remembering a conversation from just ten minutes earlier. When I go to Tim Hortons and order an UNtoasted bagel, I pull away and check the bag to find that...yeppers...its been toasted.

Now all of a sudden Stephen Harper and the Conservatives are sound managers of the economy. Our economist PM, (who incidentally has never worked one day as an economist) bloats the size of government to its largest size ever, racks up the biggest debt in the nation's history, and can't provide a budget forecast that stands up to scrutiny for more than 5 minutes.

This is sound economic policy?

What are the solutions to a recession wreaking havoc with the economy and government coffers bleeding red ink? Red ink that at least partially resulted from increasing government spending while systematically reducing government revenues while times were still good.

Borrow, borrow...and then borrow some more people, just like your government.

Interest rates are set at historical lows, meaning consumers can load up on cheap debt to buy houses and finance expensive home renovation projects. Take your old car and get a new one with wads of government cash as an incentive to rack up even more debt.

Who cares that in the coming years many individuals debt servicing costs are going to climb higher and higher. Instead of having money for things like groceries or vacations, Canadians will be seeing more and more of their $$$ going toward paying off mortgages and loans as interest rates climb.

Just look at the recent news from Australia.

What's that future Canadian, leveraged to the hilt? Your mortgage is up for renewal and your carrying costs have doubled? Thank the Harper government of a few years back. What??? You don't remember Stephen Harper? I'm not surprised.

In a few years time the concept of discretionary spending may very well be joining 8-Track tapes on the trash heap of history.

Our dollar is again climbing sky high, meaning our manufacturing sector will continue to bleed jobs. More people in the labour market means more concessions from employees, and lower wage demands in an increasingly competitive job market.

And all this is happening as retirees worry if their pension funds will be able to sustain the mass exodus of baby boomers from the work force.

Oh yeah...Stephen Harper and his gang are doing a great job.

Hard to believe that just a few short years back we were paying down the accumulated debt, not adding to it in record numbers. Does anyone still remember when our Prime Minister was busy pursuing increased trade with emerging economies like China, instead of doing interviews for U.S. media outlets? Are there more than a dozen people out there who can recall our period of unprecedented economic growth, when unemployment was half of what it is now?

Thank goodness we came to our senses and switched direction.

If there is any justice in this world Stephen Harper will be manning the window at my local Tim Horton's in a few years time. And I just know he'll toast my bagel, the same way he's toasting Canada's quickly fading prosperity.

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