Can anybody explain to me why we need to create jobs*? It seems to me that there's enough stuff that needs doing to keep everyone busy and that's before you factor in (now fanciful but once standard) things like "everyone gets a new car ever 2 years."
The United States has started their protectionist sabre rattling. The US began yesterday debating a nearly $900b "stimulus" package which includes a Buy American clause. This has obviously got Canada, whose largest trading partner, the news is fond of reminding us, is the United States. So,what is Canada's response to this Buy American clause which is being taken as tantamount to a declaration of war? Why, in true Canadian fashion, it's a strongly worded letter, of course.
My favourite part of the letter is "If Buy American becomes part of the stimulus legislation, the United States will lose the moral authority to pressure others not to introduce protectionist policies." That's right, US, this is for your own good.
Since when does a 500 lb gorilla need moral authority? I think the US has shown time and again that if they want other countries to do something, they tell them to do it. And should the people of that country disagree with the US, they will suddnely find themselves unable to trade or or the hosts of the US military. I'm not going to weigh in on how many of those sanctions and invasions I think were or weren't justified: that is clearly a matter of personal taste.
The important thing is that the Canadian Ambassador's letter to the US Senate leaders is hogwash. It is not the product of a well-reasoned point-of-view about the wellbeing of the citizens of the Ambassador's motherland, but rather the product of prodding by politicians at home which is in turn the product of wanting to be seen to be doing something. Because really, isn't that what government is for?
Ultimately, I think that any sort of stimulus package is a bad idea. It has little chance of achieving any sort of lasting happiness or prosperity and it is all but guaranteed to prolong this balance sheet recession in which we now find ourselves.
Want to create jobs in Canada? How about joining a local community support agriculture program and pushing for sustainble farming practices? L and I are currently considering Plan B Organics, which some friends have belonged to for almost a year. And remember, it's good for the environment, the food is better for you and sustainable agriculture is labour intensive so it creates jobs.
* I am well aware of the arguments for creating jobs, but I believe they are predicated on an outdated system which is a lot like feudalism but the landowners are now the bankers with bigger brains, armed with confusing economics instead of the lords with bigger muscles, armed with swords.