What if the world’s economic movers and shakers sent me letters to seek advice, sort of in the style of the old Betty and Veronica advice columns on fashion, dating and social etiquette? This week the mail bag might contain some beauties like these:
I’m worried about deflation, so I’ve instructed my country’s central bank to increase its inflation target to 2 per cent, and to fire up the money printing press. Have I overstepped my bounds?
Prime Minister of Japan
There’s been a distinct difference in the rate of economic growth between Canada’s regions over the past several years. Momentum has clearly favoured Western Canada, particularly Alberta and Saskatchewan where energy, agriculture and natural resources have led the way. On the other hand, Central Canada has struggled with a loss of manufacturing and export struggles with the high Canadian dollar.
The stronger pace of growth has been the source of much pride here in the West—and the nastier side of people can even lead to childish gloating that we are doing better economically than Ontario or Quebec.
But new forecasts from some of Canada’s private sector economists are now expecting the gap to close. Certainly the West will continue to have a faster pace of growth than Central or Atlantic Canada, but the difference may start to be less pronounced. A distinct moderation in energy prices on the Prairies and cooling of the housing market in British Columbia have scaled back growth forecasts for the western provinces. At the same time, better-than-expected growth for the U.S. has upped the forecast for Ontario and Quebec.
This narrowing of the economic gap may not be welcomed by some Westerners who (stupidly) want to see other parts of the country suffer while we prosper.
But it is a good development for three reasons.
The start of the year is a good time to look forward and make predictions about what’s coming up. And as always, Alberta’s economy has some thrilling and chilling events in store. Here’s a Top Five list of trends to watch:
Consider a typical household or individual, who makes a relatively low income of $21,700 per year.
Now, what if that household racked up $16,500 on its credit card last year. We probably wouldn't consider that good money management.
On top of that, consider that the household credit card is already at $143,000!! We'd really question the wisdom of the credit card company that expends credit like that.
And finally, we learn that this household has only reduced its spending by a mere $385 -- hoping that will help solve the problem.
WELCOME TO THE U.S. GOVERNMENT!
By slashing the last 8 zeroes off of the current fiscal numbers in Washington, we get a fairly rough estimate of the extremely dire situation of a typical low-income family.
US GOVERNMENT BUDGET
Tax Revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
Federal Budget: $3,820,000,000,000
New Debt: $1,650,000,000,000
National Debt: $14,271,000,000,000
Recent Budget Cuts; $38,500,000,000
US FAMILY BUDGET (8 zeros removed from government budget)
Annual Family Income: $21,700
Money the family spent: $38,200
New debt on credit card: $16,500
Outstanding balance on credit card: $142,710
Total budget cuts so far: $385