As I write this article the financial markets on both sides of the border have been in complete turmoil for a couple weeks and have lost the overall confidence of pretty much everyone who has been within earshot of a radio or have watched the news. These latest financial headaches were all living through were brought on by the division between the Republicans in the US not being prepared to allow the Democrats to raise the debt ceiling so they could pay their bills.
It makes one wonder what their budget exercise is really for, it wasn’t that long ago that both sides fought vehemently over what the US budget would contain and finally each side appeared to capitulate and they had an agreement. Didn’t that budget spell out the money the US would need in the foreseeable future, it’s a financial budget right? Of course it did, so what was this debt ceiling crisis all about, nothing more than grandstanding and arrogance at the people’s expense, and complete disregard for what the implications might be.
So how does this affect you as you drive down the highway trying to flog your freight? I’ll get to that a little later, we as Canadians do not have a perfect system, no doubt about it but when the rest of the world look over here at the great White North and notice that we have our house somewhat in order, I like that, I think our guys at the federal level did and continue to do a pretty good job overall. We all got a bit of a beating back 3 years ago but it was mild compared to the rest of the industrialized nations of the world.
What happened in 2008, coming out of the US was an exercise in greed at its worst, banks selling security backed mortgages that had no equity and then absolving themselves of the responsibility of any kind of recourse when the bubble finally burst. I have always said that you can steel more money with a briefcase that you can with a gun, but this little charade was a theft of biblical proportions brought on by politicians who were grossly incompetent to say the least and these folks had no conscience as they pretended to be the stewards of that countries piggy bank, and no one goes to jail despicable! It is out of control, if the US government was a family, they would be making $58,000 a year; they spend $75,000 a year and are $327,000 in credit card debt. They are currently proposing BIG spending cuts to reduce their spending to $72,000 a year. These are the actual proportions of the federal budget that we can understand.
This latest financial crisis in the US is almost as bad, the fact that two political parties have such distain for each other that unless there is complete capitulation to the other party’s position there will be no agreement on anything. These folks have no regard for the greater good of their constituents’ or the general population, they appear in a continual state of campaign, the thought of governance never enters into their mind until they get into full campaign mode and have to formulate platforms that they then sell like a commodity to the voter, with no real intention of seeing anything through to fruition let alone fight for what is right.
Our own Dalton McGuinty here in Ontario is a great example when he ran on a platform of no way he would harmonize the sales tax with the GST and here we are folks. As I recall the HST was sold to us as a short term pain making our industries more competitive on the world market and then after some time we would see a relaxing of the pain and we would all see lower pricing, of course that didn’t happen. I also can’t believe that we receive rebate cheques from our government, who ever thought this up is a on the Premier’s Christmas card list forever, you got to know that. Here is the premise, we will take more of their money from the tax payer than we deserve up front and then we will give them some back a little at a time, every once in a while and they’ll think were great!
It’s kind of like your parent giving you an allowance right, NO, it’s our money and you ripped us off for it and then give us some back every once in a while, this don’t work for me folks, I for one can’t wait to get into the voters booth, can’t happen soon enough.
A quick overview of the pedigree of the American congress shows that 67% of the folks currently sitting in these chambers are lawyers, if that doesn’t scare the average Joe I don’t know what will. A good lawyer is a good debater, good debaters don’t really care what side of an issue they are on, they are motivated by winning first not by what is right but by winning the argument and ensuring that the other side is revealed to be inadequate. This is how gridlock happens; it is almost a pre-requisite to be a successful Politian these days that you need a law degree, getting scared yet. Politicians should be business people, they should be scientist, they should be truckers, they should be folks who live in the real world that interact with other real people so that they can represent other real people and know what their needs and desires are, legal ease does not replace common sense, cant, never will!
We are tied to the hip to the US and as the old saying goes if they get a cold we up here get the flue. Canada has shown amazing resilience with how we have managed our affairs at the federal level compared to what is going on around us but that can only last so long before we are drawn down with what is happening in the rest of the world.
So when you’re wondering where your next load is and worrying if you will make enough miles to cover your expenses, think about the silly display put on by these supposed political leaders and watch as folks lose faith, stop buying new homes, aren’t interested in risking their credit a loan for a new car or the cottage and trucking slows down to a little more. People become worried about their job security so they are not going to spend money on items that are not absolutely necessary, boomers are not retiring at 60 or 65 because they are worried for what might happen to their RRSP’s or their 401K’s and will their old age pension even be there? And trucking slows down to a crawl, rates don’t do go up, wages don’t go up, the middle class that drives our economy stops spending and continues to shrink while we watch and wait for the next display of stupidity to go on display by our elected officials?
Mr. Ray Haight has enjoyed a successful career in transportation starting as a company driver and Owner Operator logging over one million accident free miles prior to starting his own company. After stepping down from a successful career managing one of Canada’s 50 largest trucking companies, Ray focused on industry involvement including terms as Chairman of each of the following, the Truckload Carriers Association, Professional Truck Drivers Institute, North American Training and Management Institute and the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities voluntary apprenticeship of Tractor Trailer Commercial Driver, along with many other business interests, he enjoys a successful consulting business, also sitting on various Boards of both industry associations a private motor carriers. He is also Co-Founder of StakUp O/A TCAinGauge an online bench marking service designed to assist trucking companies throughout North America focus on efficiency and profitability within their operations. All posts by Ray Haight