It seems to me, the contrast couldn’t be more stark between the policies of Canadian Prime minister, Stephen Harper and the US President, Barak Obama, the difference being their exuberance to regulate. I am of course talking about Stephen Harper’s response to new regulation over Canada’s oil and gas industries. Harper called the idea, “Crazy economic policy…” While at the very same time, Obama is implementing new regulations to limit the amount of potentially explosive gasses in crude, shipped out of North Dakota. The first protects the wealth and freedom of the people while the second corrodes our economy, wealth and liberty. Unless we grasp this fundamental difference between sound economic policy, and poison pill economic policies, we will be forever trapped in an ever downward spiral of poverty and despotism.
Stephen Harper was the only head of state that successfully navigated the financial crisis with his country’s economy intact. Canada didn’t see the collapse of it’s economy like every other nation on Earth did, (including China), and it’s banking system emerged as one of the most stable on the planet. Today, Canada is experiencing a decline in their fortunes due to the floor dropping from commodities prices, because Canada’s economy is dependent on natural resources as the primary growth mechanism. Yet even with the steep decline in commodity prices the Canadian economy is still firing on all eight cylinders. Because of Harper’s policies.
The US on the other hand, was the primary cause of the financial collapse. The policies that led to the crisis had their roots in Congress’ desire for economic tinkering. Democrats had become incensed by what they called “Redlining of neighborhoods.” To rectify that “unconscionable” situation, they forced lenders, via regulation, to give loans to people who the lenders knew couldn’t pay back. Economics is like water, no matter how tight you hold your hands, you cannot squeeze water, and like water those regulation caused the banking and financial system to have untended consequences. The financial system had to create new and innovative ways to mitigate the risks of default by borrowers, through bundling huge numbers of mortgages together, including many good loans with a few bad loans, (a derivative), with the idea that if a few went underwater, the rest would be fine and the underlying security would be solvent.
When the housing market went into bear territory the whole scheme came crashing down. More loans were going into default than projected, due to home owners not only unable to pay their loans, but unable even to refinance, because their principle had now become higher than the underlying asset price, IE, their homes. Many lost their homes and many voluntarily gave the keys to the bank. This caused the whole economic system to become unbalanced, (since no one could determine the real value of those derived financial products). With no one able to fix the value of the derivatives, the banks balance sheets became opaque, leading to them looking to their insurers to re balance their books. The giant insurers like AIG became insolvent with so many claims, and the house of cards came crashing down… all because of the government meddling in the economy to give a politically favored class an advantage in an otherwise free market exchange.
Canada changed course when they elected Harper. They went from an uber progressive state to a conservative one… just in time. Harper has been trying to remove burdensome regulations from the books and standing strong against new economy destroying regulations. This latest statement from Harper is telling of how cagey he is when it comes to economics. He rightly realized that further hobbling an economy that is already being slowed by external forces, (the global slowdown), would be counter productive if Canada is to see economic expansion and an improving standard of living. The difference was further highlighted by the Canadian dollar versus the US Dollar, during the financial crisis, for the first time the Canadian dollar became more valuable than the US dollar!
Regardless of the economic weakness, Obama and his new class progressives are increasing regulations at light speed. The newest regulations on the US oil and gas industries is supposedly to protect people from exploding rail cars like in Quebec. Now, that makes perfect sense, unless you know the facts of what happened in Quebec. The cause of the accident that burned Lac-Megantic to the ground, was faulty brakes that allowed the untended full train to roll seven miles down a hill, and derail near the waterfront. It had nothing to do with any explosive gasses it had everything to do with the brakes on the train. Moreover, if safety is the real concern, then a pipeline could easily be built that would transport the crude more efficiently and more safely, but the downside of that idea, is that politically favored Warren Buffet would loose millions, since his trains are the ones that transport the crude.
Today the US is mired in an economic depression in some ways more pernicious then FDR’s. The reason is the incessant meddling in the economy by the elite to enrich their cronies at cost to everyone else. Thousands of hard working bureaucrats tirelessly writing new regulations to destroy the world’s economy has become the norm. Canada is trying to chart another course, piloted by Stephen Harper, that will enrich the average Canadian. Every time deregulation has been tried, it has resulted in economic prosperity, and every time the elite have become enamored with economic shenanigans, the economy has gone into depression. This time is no different. What I hope will be different, is that we will learn our lesson, that heavy handed regulation of an economy, destroys that economy. Sadly, with all the hard lessons we have ignored in the past, I doubt we will learn it this time, but at least Canada is on the right course… for now.