Friday, January 11, 2013

The Tide's Going Out

Carol Goar writes that Stephen Harper's reputation as a brilliant economic manager has more to do with luck than expertise. That luck showed up in the person of Mark Carney:

As Harper and Flaherty implemented their hit-and-miss fiscal plan, Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of Canada, moved sure-footedly, slashing interest rates more aggressively than any other central banker in the world. After watching with a mixture of awe and doubt, his counterparts in Washington, London and the European Union eventually followed his lead.

It was Carney’s swift action more than anything else that blunted the impact of the recession. Low borrowing costs kept consumers spending and triggered a surprisingly robust and long-lasting real estate boom. That, combined with China’s growing appetite for oil, the prudence of Canada’s chartered banks and the surplus Harper inherited all allowed the prime minister to claim credit for developments over which he had little control.

Carney will soon be gone; and the economic winds are not blowing in Stephen Harper's direction:

But heading into 2013, Canada’s two pillars of economic strength — residential construction housing and oil and gas exports — look wobbly. Condo prices are falling, the U.S. is becoming self-sufficient in natural gas and the Chinese economy is slowing, reducing its demand for oil.

In addition, the structural problems that existed before the recession — low productivity, high personal debt, overdependence on the U.S. market — still hamper the nation’s prospects now. Forecasters expect the U.S. to outperform Canada in the coming year.

Don't expect any humility from Mr. Harper. Don't expect him to give Carney credit for Canada's (relatively) good fortune. But, as Shakespeare wrote, "There is a tide in the affairs of men."  And, in Mr. Harper's case, it's going out.


Anonymous said...

What Harper does succeed at are, being a traitor, lies, deceit, corruption, thefts, dirty tactics, dirty politics and many Canadians believe, Harper cheated to win the election.

The tide may be going out? But, when a monster such as Harper gets into office, just you try and get rid of him. You have to stoop to Harper's level and, be just as vile as he is.

We all know what other country's have to resort to, getting rid of their corrupt evil leaders? Canadians just do not behave that way, no matter how bizarre Harper's personality is.

Harper is totally destroying our Democracy. Our Civil Rights and Liberties, have been taken from us. Our Freedom of Speech is under attack. Our Human Rights are being eroded. While we Canadians very stupidly accept, all of Harper's treachery.

The most evil of Harper's insanity is, giving our country to Communist China. Provinces are too stupid, to get the hell out of Harper's Canada. We Canadians prefer, China's peoples Human Rights. That's exactly what Harper is giving us.

Harper is also planning, Communist China's entry into the High Arctic. Those resources and resource jobs, won't belong to Canadians either.

The tide is going out for us, not for Harper. Canadians refuse to anything about it. We are deserving, what we are getting.

Owen Gray said...

I agree that we have passively accepted the damage which Harper has done, Anon.

But it just may be that Canada's native peoples are teaching the rest of us how to fight back.

Troy Thomas said...

There is one point I wanna quibble with, "the U.S. is becoming self-sufficient in natural gas".
It ain't. Natural gas production hasn't grown. Just its price, meaning, bubble economy (gas extraction and production has actually declined). Of course, right about now, the bubble is approaching a bursting point.
This will hurt the US economy when it finally bursts, which in turn will again hurt the Canadian economy. However, with interest rates already at the floor, what will Canada be able to do, then?
My guess is, Harper will finally have the excuse he needs to begin real austerity.

Owen Gray said...

The talk of American energy self sufficiency is overblown, Troy. When Americans feel that supply of anything is loosening up, they use more of it.

Harper's -- and Canada's -- problem is that all our eggs are in the energy basket.

A real economist would know that a diversified economy is a vibrant economy. And a real economist would know that you can't cut your way to prosperity.