Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Falling rain, falling leaves, falling markets

What a lovely soft, gray day, as my late aunt used to say. With overnight single-digit temperatures, it is time for heavier coats. The leaves slowly flutter off the branches, but are fewer. The rain is blessing the land and the lakes and soaking the bright reds and yellows that have been sprinkled on our deck. The summer solstice has come and gone, as it should. As with the seasons, our lives rotate around an ebb and flow of diurnal, seasonal, and temporal changes.

Our clever feathered friends do not complain. They know they have no right to. They do not sit around the bird feeder, like the the characters in our local coffee shops, complaining about the weather: too rainy, cloudy, sunny, hot, warm, cold. (These people who have never experienced hurricanes or famine.) The birds are flying from food source to food source and doing something about their condition and do not sit and weep.

The blue heron popped in for a feast this morning. She caught a small sunfish and then took off to fish on other shores. She understands, as all surviving species, that she cannot fish in one place all day, all summer, without jeopardizing her fishing grounds. The frogs have gone underwater, it being too cold for them. Once the sunfish disappear into the deeper waters, that remain a stable 4 degrees all winter, the heron knows to move south to find more available food. Like those workers who moved from the over fished shores of the Atlantic coast to the richer oil-based work out west, she doesn't sit on the frozen land and complain about the fishing industry!

I believe that just like the weather (with its daily changes) and the current climate (and more seasonal patterns) we must read the weather reports on the economy and respond to the anticipated climate and not-so-sudden changes. We could have predicted the current extent of the economic crisis. Beginning with the decline in North American car sales, and decreased appetite for N.A. gas-guzzling cars, and ending with plant closures and job losses in terms of hundreds of jobs at one time, we knew what was happening. Government continued to bail out car companies, rather than supporting a redefinition of this industry. We needed a reshaping of our taxpayer dollars, rather than a rescue and a buy out of our hard-earned dollars here in Canada, as well as the failed Buyout Bill in the USA.

The US under Bush removed the protections and deregulation program for those who borrow, as much as lend, allowed those with no down payments and, therefore, no equity or collateral, to take part in the buy-buy-buy and borrow-borrow-borrow frenzy. To fulfill the American dream some have shouldered loans that were doomed to failure. In a bid to allow Americans to buy their dream homes, investors have turned them into nightmares as jobless rates (600,000 fewer jobs) in the US climb.

On CBC's The Sunday Edition, in a segment Sunday, September 28th, 2008, called Elitism, three panelists pointed out that Wall Street/corporate greed (1% of the population holds 20% of the wealth). With the American taxpayer shouldering the mistakes of many large corporations (Fanny May, Freddy Mac, Behr Sterns, AIG; Lehman Brothers would sh1t outta luck!), and yet CEOs, the American Elites, managed to get their $6 million, $36 million, $68 million bonuses. Bush advisers included those who formerly worked for Goldman Sachs, those in-the-know said.

Currently, what with variable-rate, sub-prime mortgages being in default and the impending doom and gloom, we must realize that rather than moving to another fishing ground, consumers and investors ought to be decreasing their appetites for those things they cannot afford. We ordinary people cannot afford to keep fishing in markets that cannot support such vast amounts of unsecured lending. Despite some economists touting the 'great opportunities' that greet investors, we cannot borrow more money to invest. We are not in that tax bracket! We shall have to retract and regroup.

For us, like our cats who sit and howl at the rain, complaining vociferously, we cannot migrate south, there is little fishing there. We will go to our cupboards and dig into the canned food we have stored and put away for a rainy day. Unlike the man I saw top up his boat gas tank and pay $450, we do not depend upon our investments. We will contract, buy less, spend less and more wisely. We will live within our means and live the lives we can afford to live on fixed income pensions that will limit us. This is all we can do.

1 comment:

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