Tiny bubbles

– Am I the only person who is baffled by the parity protests? What is it that makes Joe 2-4 think that Canadian prices should be identical to those in another country, with a different size, different transportation costs, and different labour laws? And why is Flaherty grandstanding on this issue, pressuring retailers, who have little pricing power, to lower prices, again, for no apparent reason? Could it be he’d like to keep the angry white male distracted until the anniversary date of the random, harmful, badly-thought-out income trust decision passes next Wednesday? As Jim Stanford points out in the morning’s Globe,

[Flaherty’s] exhortations have nothing to do with effecting change, and everything to do with making sure his government doesn’t suffer any of the public anger resulting from these and other economic outrages.

Strong Leadership at work.

– And the award for weakest argument against Toronto’s Land Transfer Tax goes to… Ward 10 councillor Mike Feldman, who argued that the up-to-2% tax could kill the housing market:

“There is a bubble,” Mr. Feldman said. “And that bubble is very fragile. … It could be burst by a transfer tax.”

There’s a bubble? Here’s someone who’s not reading from the Toronto Real Estate Board‘s songsheet. I’ve blown bubbles before; they all burst eventually. In the case of an asset bubble that leads to an ephemeral sense of wealth, the sooner the better. Is there really a bubble? The average resale house price increased 9% between September and October. You decide.

– The more shrill and hyperbolic the anti-Dion rhetoric becomes, the more convinced I am that Backback Boy will surprise us all in the end. Think of the pundits as contrarian indicators. I’ve certainly been wrong before, but so have they.