Meanwhile, in a galaxy far, far away

Home sick last week, I spent some time listening to the radio, where coverage alternated between Obama inauguration previews and the recession. Two days in a row, I tuned in midway to interviews with economists opposed to fiscal stimulus. Both interviewees were upbeat about the prospects of Canada, touting its stronger, more stable fiscal outlookcontinue reading

Easy come, easy go

Or why letting your developed country slide into being a one-trick, resource-exporting copy of a developing one is a poor idea: The November surplus of $1.3-billion is the smallest since October 1997, and analysts warn that Canada is quickly heading to the land of dual deficits – both for the current account and the fiscalcontinue reading

A deconstruction after my own heart

Courtesy of McSweeney’s — CRITIQUE OF YOUR POWERPOINT PRESENTATION TITLED “SALES FORECAST, THIRD QUARTER.” Another highlight was your complete rejection of Tuftean convention through the use of colors without meaning, location without purpose, and position without movement. How daring it was to represent the quarterly shortfalls in revenue with the color purple—the color associated notcontinue reading

The new normal

After the barrage of happy-happy new year stories on the turnaround that’s no doubt just around the corner, some bracing blasts of common sense from some of the best financial bloggers around. From the Cassandra Does Tokyo blog, an excellent rant about the “when things get back to normal” school of thought. When massive shiftscontinue reading

Your call is important to us

The Financial Times has announced the 2008 winners of “twaddle” awards for ludicrous business phrases and practices — they’re all good, but this one is truly outstanding: Third is the award for Most Aggravating On Hold Message, which in 2008 was as hotly contested as ever. However, the clear winner was the UK’s Driving Standardscontinue reading

Out with the old, but do we really want the new?

Many people were happy to say goodbye to 2008, which will go down in history as the terrifying year we realized absolutely no one is in control of the economy, anywhere. Personally, I’d rather skip through 2009 to 2010 or beyond, especially living in Canada, where the recession fun has just started. Even the BMOcontinue reading

End of year mindless headline extravaganza, day 2

Another helpful headline: TSX expected to reopen after stall Was there any question about that? Gigantic Hound’s recommendation of a year-long prorogation of the market aside, the TSX isn’t really designed to stay shut. Here, by contrast, is an informative headline on the same topic: TSX to resume trading Thursday And for bonus points oncontinue reading

What nice teeth you have, Mr. Horse

From a Financial Post story on how consumers are using non-cash rewards to buy Christmas gifts: Of those polled by Air Miles, 40% said they were redeeming their points to get Christmas gifts for others, and more than 65% of those polled deemed it socially appropriate to give friends and family gifts that have beencontinue reading

Spreading like a rash

Diane Francis gets on the sales tax cut train: 3. The GST and PST should be eliminated immediately for purchases of cars that are fuel efficient. This would reduce consumer prices and help enhance demand for cars. Great idea. Of course, we already have a rebate program for buyers of fuel-efficient vehicles, it being onecontinue reading

This is your brain on online shopping

It’s amazing how self-reinforcing some concepts can be. For example, the idea that a GST cut is a stimulative action. It’s true that consumer spending in Canada hit new highs concurrent with the 1, then 2 per cent cut in the GST. Other factors, such as the wealth effect from a peaking stock market, ballooningcontinue reading