Category Archives: interflation

MayDay 2011: Alice Klein of NOW Toronto Encourages Us to Shake Off Cliches

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Alice Klein wrote a piece in NOW Toronto this past week encouraging all of us to accept the fact that in this election, the stakes are extremely high and that the game has definitely changed.

She reminds us that it’s not about voting your passion, but voting for that party that will unseat the Conservative government and push them out of as many ridings as possible.

She’s behind Project Democracy, but there are other projects as well (copied from the Project Democracy site):

  • Avaaz The campaigning community bringing people-powered politics to decision-making worldwide
  • Lead Now Brings generations of Canadians together to take action for our future and hold politicians accountable.
  • Swing 33 Donate strategically in 33 ridings to defeat Harper.
  • Pair Vote – Vote Swapping Support your preferred party while also stopping Harper
  • Catch 22 Campaign A grassroots effort to help defeat the Conservative government in 22 key ridings.
  • The Environment is my Voting Issue Facebook Group An action-oriented Facebook group aimed at holding politicians accountable for their votes on environment issues.
  • Department of Culture A community of Canadian artists, arts professionals and cultural workers concerned about ensuring the social and cultural health and prosperity of our nation in the face of a Federal Government that is aggressively undermining Canadian values.
  • Fair Vote Canada – On August 1, 2000, a group of concerned citizens formed Fair Vote Canada (FVC) with the aim of building a nationwide campaign for voting system reform. We envisioned FVC as a multi-partisan, citizen-based campaign bringing together people from all parts of the country, all walks of life and all points on the political spectrum. Today FVC has members in all provinces and approximately 20 local and regional chapters.

Project Democracy is exciting because it focuses on helping voters get up to date polling data related to their riding.  In many ‘strategic voting’ ridings, the past favours the Liberals, but since the Liberals are sliding in the polls, should we really be electing someone from the past or someone from the future?  I’ve signed up for their email to get riding updates, so I’ll post more information as it comes to my in-basket.

Finally, I can’t repeat this often enough:  you can contact pretty much any riding and help them with calls, even if you’re not from that area.  Human voices are substantially more valuable to campaigners as opposed to those awful ‘robo-calls’ and they remind voters that this is an election about the future of all people in Canada.  Of course, consider your riding and the ridings that are immediately around you as opposed to those that are across the continent!

MayDay 2011: Super Price Me

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Canadian inflation stats came out today and it’s not pretty for Canadians.

A jump of 3.3% in prices means that we are effectively being taxes by bad economic policy.

As the Conservatives continue to lie about their economic track record, it’s important that Canadians remember it’s time we started to gain from the increase in our Canadian dollar and started paying LESS instead of MORE when our exchange rates changes.

Not enough for you?  The resulting jump in prices will likely lead to an increase in interest rates, another f-u to Canadians.

MayDay 2011: Prices

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The leader that proposes to address prices in Canada during the election campaign will win the election.

That’s prices of everything.

Here’s why:  Canadians are getting screwed.

As the value of our dollar rises compared to other currencies, particularly that of the US dollar, the cost of imports should be decreasing.  It’s a simple inverse relationship:  the more valuable our dollar, the more you can buy with the dollar.

It’s called ‘buying power’.

As a refresh, here’s a chart showing the value of the Canadian dollar compared to the US dollar:

Cdn-US-Dollar

Since 2002, the Canadian dollar has appreciated roughly 63%, from a low of about 63 cents to a high of roughly 104 cents (compared to the US dollar).

Despite this massive increase in value, prices have not dropped in a similar and inverse manner.  Of course, not all of our import/export relationship is related to US goods, but the fact is this:  the US accounts for roughly 50% of all imports into Canada.

In fact, the price for basic commodities – gas, food, etc – have increased 50% or more over the last few years.  According to the latest CPI figures, the price of gas has increased 18.3% since last March.

Again, Canadians are getting screwed.

Students, seniors, lower income groups and even the elite that Stephen Harper is courting – those few people that will enjoy tax breaks way off in the future – are paying higher prices RIGHT NOW.  An 18% increase in gas represents an 18% increase in taxes and yet no one is crying for the head of the Prime Minister like they do if the price of their Timbits rises $0.02 when the HST is implemented.

It’s slowly sinking in and Canadians are catching on to the idea that we’re getting hosed, but a wise leader would make this an issue sooner rather than later and attack these price increases.

The first step would be to promise an investigation into gas prices, followed by questions like why Canadians have to pay anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 more for a Honda in Canada compared to the US when it’s made in Alliston and is exactly the same.

Canadian & International Price Issues: The US Dollar Did It

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Analysts everywhere are reminding us that the US dollar is collapsing, both because of exploding debt in the US, but also because of substantial instability in this country.  Political uprisings in Libya have less to do with instability than rallies like this.

I’ve been warning about the prospect of a collapse in the US dollar for some time and have even invented my own term for the impact that this will have on anyone living outside the US:  interflation.  The US will continue to export its inflation to other countries, punishing us in prices for their inability to control their spending.  It’s the internationalization of inflation that none of us can afford.

The ponzi scheme has to stop.  Gerald Calente has described that food and oil prices will continue to skyrocket in the US and that resulting increases in interest rates will crush any opportunity for growth in the American economy.

This situation is what Jeremy Rifkin calls ‘Economic Endgame’, where the US economy (and the global economy by dependency) ping-pongs between states of uncontrollable and unpredictable deflation and growth hitting a wall because any growth translates to rapid expansion in oil prices (which then results in rapid price increases in most other commodities).

Canada, the EU and other countries around the world can avoid this instability by uncoupling themselves and their economies from the influence of pricing everything in US dollars.  Once they do, appreciation will translate to real price decreases in their own economies, fueling real and natural rates of growth and consumption without inflation.  These growth rates will then translate to real demand for US goods and services, presuming they are willing to make anything any more and not survive on the ‘hand in someone else’s pocket’ economy.

Once again, any politician in Canada would be wise to recommend and run on a platform of price equality and stabilization for Canadians, but that’s very unlikely to happen with our current slate of Harper clones.

Another solution for the US will be to eliminate their outrageous level of defense spending, but right now, it’s the only thing keeping this economy alive.

Prices: Why Canadians Should Be Outraged!

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I’ve been hearing a lot of talking heads lately yammering on about how we’re facing increases in prices for food basics like bread, meat, produce and other imports from around the globe.

Unfortunately, they’re all morons and they don’t know what they’re talking about.

Canada is a land of abundant resources and a dollar that’s appreciating because of a number of factors, the main one being the decline in the value of the US dollar.  Other factors include demand for our oil, wheat, soy, corn and other consumable products that are increasing in cost to the rest of the world.

As our dollar appreciates, we should be able to buy MORE goods in exchange for fewer dollars.  We should be selling our goods within Canada at Canadian prices, not international prices.

However, because we’ve surrendered our food security and general sovereignty to multinational corporations, most of which price their goods in US funds and then add a 20-50% markup for Canadians, regardless of the value of our currency, we are facing severe price increases.

If you don’t believe me, here’s an example:  Margaret Atwood publishes a book and the US price is $10.95.  The Canadian price is probably something like $14.95.  Canadian paper and Canadian author, but Canadian buyers get hosed.

This is insane.  If Canadians were faced with a 20 to 50% increase in tax rates, there would be rioting in the streets.

What’s also going to happen is that this will spike inflation, prompting our sophisticated economists with the Bank of Canada to hike interest rates, driving up the costs for all of us to borrow money.  Just when we need it most.

However, when the talking heads with mainstream media tell us that these things are unavoidable (eg. Libyan uprisings mean we pay more for food), we owe it to ourselves to call BULLSHIT.

What astounds me is that we live in a land that is filled with political opportunists, but NO SINGLE PARTY has jumped on the opportunity to demand price parity or price improvements for Canadians.

Until then, do yourself a favour and avoid buying from the companies that are behind these lies.  Loblaws and Weston (which is owned by Loblaws) seem to be the central forces behind this big push to increase prices.