Sunday, November 30, 2008

Solid Economic Advice for these Troubled Times

In my quest to understand the current financial crisis, and the wisdom of our current government's policy of not running deficits and its consequent reluctance to provide a stimulus package, I decided to turn to the experts on the internet. Here is the best of what I could find.

First, a quote from the Number 2 economist of the Number 1 bank in Canada [1]

"' I think a lot of us were a bit flabbergasted by the government’s priorities,' said Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets. 'Who exactly are they trying to impress' with the deficit-fighting rhetoric? he asked, since Canadians know very well that temporary deficits are far preferable to a deepening recession." (Courtesy of Paul Wells)

Second, a quote from the Number 1 economist of the Number 2 bank in Canada [2]

" 'I'm not a big fan of short-term stimulus packages,' said Don Drummond, chief economist at TD Bank. 'They don't really generate very much short-term stimulus and they very quickly become long-term structural problems.' " (Canadian Press)

There you have it. One expert arguing broadly against the current governments practices. Another broadly supportive. Thanks for the help guys.

I've searched a bit for other evidence either for or against stimulus packages, and haven't come up with anything better than the above two quotes. The next best argument that I've heard is, more or less, "but everyone else is doing it!" I doubt there are too many of us who didn't try using that one to defend our actions at some point in our lives. When we were in grade three [3]. I remember somebody asking me something about my friends and a cliff. On the other hand, if you compare some of the major stock indices, over the last year or so, it seems like we've already followed our friends off a cliff.

[1] Number 1 by assets and in market capitalization

[2] Number 2 by assets and in market capitalization

[3] Well I was in grade three when I first tried to use it. The truth is, I wasn't actually defending myself. I was hoping to bring my friends down with me. The truth is, they weren't actually my friends.

Friday, November 28, 2008

My Spelling is Already Bad and You're not Helping!

Well, it seems that spelling has won yet another battle in its war against me. Frequently in my class (which ends tomorrow), I have to take about parameterizations. Whatever that means. It doesn't matter. This isn't a math lesson [1]. Normally, I only need to talk about one of them at a time. You would think that forming the singular of that word would be as simple as deleting the s. But according to the spell-checkers of both Firefox and my text editor, the singular of parameterizations is parametrization. Look carefully. The 'e' after the first 't' that appears in the plural is absent in the singular. Really! What's up with that? I mean, the word is long. You could afford to leave out a few more letters, and the word would still be recognizable to most people to whom parameterizations are relevant. But why does that 'e' disappear when you form the singular from the plural?

One of these days I'll beat you spelling, one of these days [2]!

[1] The other day in class, I needed to write the word symmetric. After I had written it, it looked wrong. It was right. It just looked wrong. There seemed to be one too many m's. I asked the class what they thought. "This isn't a grammar lesson," I heard one student say. No, it's not. Nor was it a spelling lesson.

[2] I'm entertaining the hypothesis that both my text editor and the Firefox spell-check guys are using the same dictionary, in which there is an error. I'm just too lazy to figure out which spelling is the right one.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Daylight Savings Explained

I always appreciate the extra hour of sleep I get when we switch from daylight savings to standard time, although it's a bit shocking in the following days when it gets dark "so early". Now that the the switch is well past, and we're heading into the shortest days of the year, it's usually dark before I leave work. On days like this, I sometimes hope that the day will come when we are on daylight savings all year. Though I think I should put that hope behind me. I've just discovered that being on daylight savings all year would be a very bad idea.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

100 bucks says...

What have I done this time? A while ago, my credit limit dropped by a mysteriously inconsequential 4 dollars. A few days later, it was raised by the same amount. I just checked my accounts again, and it seems my credit limit has been reduced by 100 dollars. It's still inconsequential. And still mysterious. Also mysterious is that I have a balance of $30.19, but no recent transactions. Why is it that they bother to tell me how much I am in debt to them without telling me how I incurred that debt?

Nowhere to go but up

It seems the market has hit croc bottom.

East meets... the other East

Well yes.