Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Be Careful of What You Wish For Iffy

Iffy thinks he has the perfect ballot question that he thinks he can win on which is really poached from  former US President Ronald Reagan.  The question is "Are you better off than you were 5 years ago?"   L Ian MacDonald states  that the Liberal leader is no Ronald Reagan. and that it was a much different ball game in the US then than we have now in Canada.
Ignatieff is no Ronald Reagan, but leaving that aside, his question needs context.
For example, the Wall Street Journal recently ran a comparative chart on its front page on the Canadian and U.S. housing sectors. Between 2005 and 2010, the price of housing in six major Canadian cities increased by 44 per cent. Over the same period, the home index in the U.S. fell by 18 per cent, and is projected by the New York Times to fall a further five per cent this year. Six million American families have lost their homes. Noted the Journal: "One difference: Canada never embraced sub-prime mortgages."
Canada has done much better than the U.S. in two other key measurements -fiscal frameworks and the health of our financial-services industry, rated the best in the world by the World Economic Forum for the last three years. While Wall St. needed a $700-billion bailout from Washington to get through the 2008-09 financial crisis, Canadian banks never drew down a nickel of $150 billion of standby credit in the 2009 budget. And while U.S. banks have shrunk in both market capitalization and asset value, four of the Big Five Canadian banks now rank in the Top 10 in North America.
L Ian Macdonald says if you ask a question like that, you may not like the answer.
Ask a question and you get an answer, though not necessarily the one you want.
Like this answer from  a survey taken last fall by Farm Credit Canada that asked that same question to farmers.
While we await results from the rest of the country and a possible election, farmers have already spoken. An annual survey of farmers for Farm Credit Canada, a government agency, asked farmers whether they are better off now than they were five years ago and whether they will be better off in five years.
The answer is yes on both counts and the numbers are increasing.
67% of respondents believe that they are better off now than they were five years ago. This is a significant shift from last year (2009: 60%).
55% of producers are planning to expand and/or diversify their farm or business in the next five years.
76% of respondents said that their farm will be better off in five years time.
The online panel survey of nearly 4,900 farmers was conducted last fall.
If farmers are better off, I'm willing to bet most other Canadians are better off too than they were 5 years ago.  Go ahead Iffy, ask that question, you may not like the results!