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The “Canadian Peso”?

Many years ago my wife and I attended a timeshare condo presentation to get a deal on a zip-line tour while vacationing at Whistler mountain in Canada.  (I highly recommend the zip-line tour if you’re ever at Whistler, BTW.  The condo sales presentation is only for those who can resist temptation)  I distinctly remember the salesman repeatedly denigrating the Canadian dollar as the “Canadian Peso”.  This was a reference to the financial troubles in Mexico and the low value of the Canadian dollar relative to the then high-flying US Dollar.  Well, he can’t use that line any more since the Canadian dollar is worth *more* than the US dollar.  While Canada isn’t perfect, their government deficit is far lower and much of their economy is based on commodity exports, such as oil, timber, uranium, and various ores.  With commodity prices booming, Canada is sitting pretty.

The US, on the other hand, continues to spend too much on things we don’t need.  While we do need oil, it’s safe to say we don’t need as much as we’re using today.  As of February, oil imports account for over 46% of the US trade deficit (compare numbers from here and here for the details).  Think about it – almost *half* of our trade deficit is due to our overuse of a single commodity – Oil.  And which country is the number one exporter of oil to the United States?  You guessed it, Canada.

This isn’t some sort of anti-Canadian rant.  I’m just pointing out that our over-consumption of oil leads to more problems than just pollution and global warming.  It also is significantly contributing to our economic decline as well.  So the next time you’re driving somewhere think about ways combine trips, carpool, etc…  Heck, maybe you can even take a bus or even ride your bike.  Some options aren’t very attractive today, depending on where you live, but looking for alternatives, and using them when possible, is something we can all try to do.

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  1. Michael Gillman
    April 25, 2011 at 10:06 am

    They also spend much less of the GDP on milatary adventures than we do. And that may very well be the key.

    • April 25, 2011 at 10:20 am

      … but also rely heavily on our military power for their protection. Don’t get me wrong, I’m with you on the whole “we spend too much on defense” argument. Do we really need to spend more on defense than the next 6 countries *combined*? You and I will agree the answer is “no”. That said, I’d argue that many of the NATO powers probably should spend more while we should be cutting back.

  2. Peristaltor
    June 16, 2011 at 10:51 am

    While I agree wholeheartedly with the thrust of your argument, I would back away just a bit from distinguishing between expenses that are “needed” and not. Yes, we are currently shifting more and more money away from the “not” in order to pay for fuel; which fuel expenditures, though, would be branded “not needed?”

    Those in the exurbs feel they need every mile they drive, I’m sure, even though there are alternatives. Why they feel they need these traveled miles proves the nub of the problem. After almost a hundred years of the automobile transforming the human built environment, I would suggest that driving and all it has created has become the cultural norm. To insist that a driver’s mile is or is not “needed” is to threaten that driver’s culture.

    Which, if you think about it, explains quite a lot. People get defensive when they think their Way of Life® is threatened. Now that gas gobbles more and more of any given driver’s available money, many drivers are expressing this defensiveness about their chosen (and sometimes imposed) lifestyles, for example by choosing monster trucks not for any practical reason, but more as a statement of the lifestyle they feel they are losing unless they defend it.

    Remember, their largest monuments were started just as the Roman Empire was on the brink of collapse.

    (BTW, annoying 545 driver here.)

    • June 16, 2011 at 11:53 am

      “Remember, their largest monuments were started just as the Roman Empire was on the brink of collapse.”

      Hmmm… By that measure the 3 Gorges Dam in China means that they are headed toward Collapse, right? 🙂

      “(BTW, annoying 545 driver here.)”

      Welcome… Always glad to have another Metro driver familiar with the exciting and challenging driving that is the Microsoft campus.

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