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Posts Tagged ‘Economy

CTV Halifax interviewer Steve Murphy, in a sit-down interview with Liberal Leader Stephane Dion, asked if he were prime minister today, what would he do differently than Prime Minister Steven Harper on the economy.

Much is being made of Dion’s not understanding the question. The beginning of the interview is shown above courtesy of Youtube.

The wise falcon never shows its claws. Add to that, “until after the vote”.

Unfortunately Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, just had to stick her tongue out at the Republicans just before todays momentous and historic vote for a $700 billion credit crisis bailout and blame Bush and his party for the mess.

On such pivital moments does the political world spin. Who knows what the vote would have been had she not made that unnecessary speech?

The Republicans stuck it in Pelosi’s ear, 133 Republican members of the House of Representatives- the chamber where money bills must be passed- voting it down. So did 95 members of Pelosi’s own party.

On September 11, 2001, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 684 points following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. It would be nice if that was still a record. Today the Dow dropped 777 points. In Canada, following the news the bailout vote was lost, the Toronto Stock Exchange lost seven per cent of its value.

Politicians like to make the speech for the momentous moment. The times when they get it right are thankfully more famous than the times they get it wrong.

Neville Chamberlain’s showing his piece of paper signed by Adolf Hitler and declaring he had brought “peace for our time” comes to mind as another misstatement made by a politician.

Less tragic was Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau’s statement that the Montreal Olympics could no more have a deficit than a man could have a baby. No stock market crisis loomed in that case, but cartoon storks were marketed as well as a cartoon of a pregnant Drapeau. The deficit was paid on for two decades.

The fall seems like the time for these mistakes. Back in October 1929, Irving Fisher, one of the most famous economists of the day, declared, “Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” Days after Fisher made his pronouncement, stock prices plummeted, not to recover for decades. Fisher’s then-eminent reputation suffered along with it.

Fast forward to a more recent October. In 2003, on an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, U.S. President George W. Bush declared “MIssion Accomplished” in Iraq beneath a large banner that declared it again in case anyone missed it. Five years later, the Iraq war rages on.

Another fall day that became a nation’s winter. In an open car the wife of a Texas governor said to the president sitting in the back seat, “You certainly can’t say that the people of Texas haven’t given you a nice welcome, Mr. President.” Enough said about that November 1963 event.

Newspapers can get facts wrong, too, but few apologies were so late in coming as this one. In 1920, rocket pioneer Robert Goddard pioneered on paper the science of the escape velocity of rockets and the use of rockets in space. The New York Times skewered Goddard’s work, saying he lacked the “knowledge ladled out daily in high schools” and ridiculed the idea that rockets could operate in the vacuum of space. After the Apollo 11 moon landing the New York Times printed an overdue correction: “..it is now definitely established that a rocket can function in a vacuum as well as in an atmosphere. The Times regrets the error.”

One more to end on. Playwright Henrik Ibsen, told by a nurse he was looking much better, declared to her, “On the contrary!” and promptly died. The poor nurse.

“..it has created chaos,” said Nancy Pelosi in her speech today on the deregulation of the now-vanished great American investment banks and the chilling spillover effect into the world financial markets. Today, more chaos. Tomorrow and Wednesday we may see even more.

An amendment to the bailout bill which could be voted on again Thursday or Friday may include the unwritten clause that Pelosi keep her mouth shut.

Scribe Allan Fotheringham (in Canada all who write are writers; Foth is our only scribe) described his fellow Canadians as people who will, as pedestrians, stop on a sidewalk intersection in the middle of the night, no traffic coming, no one looking, and wait politely until the “walk” light comes on before crossing the street. It does actually describe something about our national psyche. We Canadians put up with a lot of bullshit (a Canadian word used, at times, even in polite company).

Americans, on the other hand, are a different kind of animal. While we founded our country talking bullshit (William Lyon Mackenzie, Louis Riel, and other like-minded forefathers’ attempts excepted) Americans founded their country by kicking royal hiney.

American comedian Richard Pryor included a bit in a routine describing an imagined Japanese tour group visiting California before Pearl Harbour to assess American butt-kicking gumption. The visitors from the Empire of Japan, Pryor said, found Californians to be laid back, easy going, with nothing ever bothering them.

“They didn’t go as far as Alabama,” Pryor quipped, adding if they had gone into the U.S. that far, they would have found people-beasts (my description, not his) chained up in basements to be let out only for fights. He clowned on stage as if struggling with something wild at the end of a chain.

Pryor touched on something real about the American psyche. Americans can get seriously pissed off about stuff very quickly in a way we don’t seem to. Everyone will kick back if pushed, but history shows if you sucker punch Americans, expect more than a hard kick in the teeth. Expect the world to change. Read your history or see a Hollywood Western.

Now my point.

When will Americans figure out this whole sub-prime mortgage affair meant what seemed like the giant pillars of their financial system- including some that survived the Crash of 1929- were felled by managers that didn’t manage, accounting practices that hid huge problems, and a regulatory system that was absolutely ineffective?

During the biggest financial crisis in the United States in 79 years, will Americans be pissed off over banks that booked credits as assets to perform the all-time mother of magic tricks- crumpling the greatest financial sector the world has ever known so it fits into a toilet bowl. With the U.S. economy dizzy as it circles the bowl in the middle of this flush, will Americans get pissed off?

Will Americans kick in the hiney whichever presidential candidate does not appear to have a grasp of these financial issues while giving the other one a desk and told to damn well get to work and straighten out the mess?

I close with this link to the web site of a junior senator from Illinois, who wrote Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson back in March 27, 2007, 18 long months ago, out of concern over the looming crisis in sub-prime mortgage lending, including his suggestion for a summit to discuss matters including, “how to ensure adequate liquidity across all mortgage markets..”

Meanwhile, a certain senator from Arizona ‘s presidential campaign co-chair (well, until last July) – who has been described as an economic advisor to him, and had a history of fighting regulation of the financial sector as a senator from Texas- said in a huff as recent as July- just two months ago-(see post) that Americans citizens were a bunch of whiners.

I’m not an American citizen, but if I was, given those two choices right now, I’d be severely pissed right off.

No bullshit.

Thank you for drinking AardvarkCola



  • None
  • wordbeeps: No, he doesn't deserve an apology. Who tweets during a funeral? If you do, expect feedback. I didn't say the mourners were faking it. I think they we
  • Holly Stick: Look you fuckwit, are you too stupid to realise that Ghomeshi was an actual friend of Layton's, when you tweeted to him that the mourners were faking
  • aardvarkcola: Thank you. I see the rest of your message now. i'm honoured to to have your words on my blog. That alone is a delight. Lawrence

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