As the US presidential election draws nearer and the drums of war beat louder in the middle east, a faint echo can be heard coming from the Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, warning the world of the possibility that QE3 could be on the horizon. No, It's not a cruise ship. Instead read; money printing ,excessive borrowing and more sovereign debt for the next generation. This should not surpirse us however, as the first two rounds of QE bought the very thing they were employed to - time. Temporary restoration of market strength and a measure of equilibrium was achieved in both cases, however short lived it may have been. The problem with this strategy is that can ONLY ever buy temporary relief, that is until the tough choices finally get made. Which is what we are seeing in Greece,Italy, Spain and Portugal. Eventually the piper, or in this case "The Banker" must be paid. Austerity - is the buzz word currently being used to describe the plight of many first world nations that will begin to pay more and get less... for a very long time to come. The simple fact is, that you cannot borrow your way out of debt and eventually a day of reckoning does come and the impacts are severe on the populus. Currencies are devalued, bond/credit ratings suffer, borrowing costs jump,the cost of goods rises at many times the rate of real wage increases and the net effect is - the people who shoulder the burden of the debt are financially bludgeoned. If it happens south of the border, make no mistake, we will feel the effects of it in Canada.
The unique part about the notion above is that the subject country this is happening to has been the economic engine of the world for the last 60+ years. The United States has been the largest economy on the planet for as long as I can remember. Capitalism's cradle of evolution, if you will. To illustrate, according to The World Bank in 2010, the state of California had the 8th largest economy in the world. More cars are sold annually in California than in all of Canada, but I digress. My point for saying all of this is that currently we are in uncharted waters wiith respect to the global economy.Nobody knows for sure what another four years of "The One" will do for the US economy and the world for that matter. Four years of "Rom-enomics" is a bet that only about 46% of voting Americans are ready to make if they had to vote today. One thing that is certain in my mind is that changing horses in November is by no means a guarantee of success. Regardless of one's political stripe, it is fair to say that America is in a very tough economic state that will require even tougher measures to turn it around,regardless of which candidate is elected. Currently, neither political party is really prepared to make the real tough decisions at this point and deal with the unfunded liabilities associated with entitlement programs. As a result, the can will be kicked down the road another four years and we will likely see QE3 after the fall election.
What I would rather see this November ,is a box on the Presidential ballot that says:
( X ) Tough Unpopular Decisions
You may be asking yourself how does this all relate to Canada, BC and my own life in the Kootenays? Well, simply put - you will have a similar choice to make in May of 2013.