Saturday, March 19, 2011

 

PARADISE FORECLOSED

Amidst a surprising litany of political scandals on Parliament Hill, some reaching practically all the way into the inner sanctum of the Office of the Prime Minister; Mr. Harper has travelled to Europe to a hastily convened meeting over Libya's civil war. A calculated effort to bolster the illusion that, just as it did in the Great Wars of the Twentieth Century, Canada can still affect the course of human history.

Marching into war, even if it's only with a token force of six ageing jet fighters, is the cost we'll be paying for the Conservatives to show (at least if you believe their barrage of TV advertising) the Prime Minister's firm grip on the tiller of power - As was the case when he (single handily) rescued the planet's battered economy a couple of years back.

To no one's surprise, to proffer an illusion on the eve of tabling next Tuesday's Federal Budget confirms it almost seems, despite rhetoric to the contrary, that the Conservatives are preparing to launch into a national election campaign by week's end. It becomes thus safe to conclude that Tuesday's budget will itself be an illusion, without hope of passage, designed to springboard Mr. Harper's ruling party into the election ahead of their competitors.(see: Abusing Power - March 16/11)

But beware! Dark economic clouds may be gathering once again as the list of crises grows; not the least of which is Libya's civil war; to nip the world's recovery at its roots, and set the stage for another meltdown.

For the first time in more than 10 years, the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank intervened in currency markets on Friday as a direct result of the twin disasters of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, which have brought the world's third largest economy to its knees. There are fears of runaway inflation with the developing economies of China and India; geopolitical uprisings and potential oil disruptions in the Middle East and North Africa; debt crises in Europe (most recently in Portugal); and pretty much a stalled recovery in the United States.

And (Alas!) Canada is stuck with the economy of its closest neighbour and very largest trading partner. The news south of the border is somewhat gloomy:
Unemployment in the United-States remains about 9%; growth is slow; States are slashing spending to balance budgets; investment is shaky; the Federal budget proposed by President Obama is a disaster with little prospects of American politicians doing anything constructive about it. The American Dream of owning a home has evaporated...the Census Bureau says that a staggering 12.1% of all residences (18,394,000 homes) are vacant mainly as the result of Foreclosures by lenders and their subsequent repossession by the sheriff. In short, the net worth of America is about $54-Trillion, still 23% below the pre-recession peak of $65.8-Trillion.

Mr. Harper's handlers wish to convey his skillful handling of the last recession and his decisive grasp of erupting world crises as we are quite obviously perched on the edge of another Canadian Federal Election. Budget illusions and voodoo war making on a grand scale ultimately may not serve any of us very well.

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