One of the more annoying aspects of these confusing times in respect to the Canadian economy is the penchant of our fearless leaders and economists to point out that this country is not in as difficult a position as the United States.
That’s like telling the second-last team in the standings that things are not as bad as they are for the last place team.
Admittedly, that’s an exaggeration for the sole reason that Canada does appear to be better off economically than many countries, particularly the United States, but that’s still little consolation.
Personally, I have two reasons for wanting to hear about the American economy.
One is that I have a lot of American friends who are either in the golf or travel businesses or are personal pals and I don’t want to see their well-being affected through loss of jobs or any other symptom of a tough economy. However, I’ll wait to hear it from them.
Secondly, if I’m going to hear about the U.S. economy, I want it to be related to how it affects our economy directly in terms of trade, etc., and we all know the influence of the American economy is huge here, whether we want to admit it or not.
Let’s face it, the Canadian economy won’t kick into high gear until things improve drastically down south and there’s a long way to go before that happens.
However, politicians shy away from admitting that because it may open them up to criticism from the opposition, so instead of using it as a partial explanation about what’s happening, they use it as a crutch when consoling us about the state of our affairs, seemingly as if they’re taking joy from the tough times faced by our neighbours.
Instead of talking about that, talk to us instead about what’s going to happen in this country and what’s being done to deal with the challenges ahead. Are rising taxes in the cards to pay down our massive debt? What happens when the stimulus money that propped up our modest recovery runs out in March?
This is the stuff we need to know to plan our futures, both professionally and personally.
As the golf season winds down or has already ended depending on where we are in Canada, businesses are formulating their budgets and forecasting for next year at a time when a Nanos Research poll indicates that Canadians’ confidence in the economy is plummeting.
That came about the same time that the Bank of Canada stated that it would take until late 2012 before our economy returned to full capacity.
So, apparently we’re in for at least two more years of people fretting about their personal finances, job security and homes, hardly welcome news for a golf industry that relies so heavily on discretionary income.
Instead of answers, we receive assurances that the credit crisis of 2007 that sunk the American economy couldn’t happen here because of our banking system, but Canadians are tightening their belts to trim their considerable household debt and there is concern about what will happen when interest rates start to rise or if the housing bubbles bursts, which is a real possibility.
Never say never. All they’re talking about is degrees of ramifications if overextended households hit a wall. How big a train wreck it is remains to be seen after low interest rates the past few years sparked the purchase of homes and other big ticket items.
In order to properly prepare our businesses in Canada, we need more answers and specifics on what can happen here, instead of constantly hearing it won’t be as bad as what’s going on down south.
Let’s mind our own business.