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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Nyuk, nyuk, Mr. Dion (footnote to previous)

A few hours after hatching the "slapstick deficit" post, I pick up the Edmonton Sun, and there is columnist Greg Weston, stealing my Three Stooges metaphor for the three coalition leaders! Well, it's a natural parallel, and I imagine there will be six or seven smartass journalists using it today.

But, weird confession time: I actually rather like Stephane Dion. Strictly as a human he seems by far the best of the national party leaders. Alas, he is also a professor (whose Ivory-Tower Syndrome [ITS] might have been cured by a decade or two driving a taxi, as I did), and stuck in the dirty, conniving business of politics. Ergo, the coalition, and quite possibly Dion suffering the curse of getting what he wished for.

As Jonathan Kay points out in today's National Post (prophetically perhaps), it is virtually certain that Dion becoming PM and attempting to manage the gargantuan financial crisis (i.e. the unmanageable) will destroy the last shred of his credibility and perhaps the Liberal Party as well. Not to mention turning a bad economic situation into a worse one.

Kay also thinks, as I do, that Harper can only gain from relinquishing power, although his reasons are a bit more elaborate than mine. Alas, Harper, like Dion, is all too preoccupied with clutching the mace of power, whatever the costs.

Laugh or cry.

As for "managing" the crisis, the balloon of bad credit in the system cannot be wished away, legislated away, or transformed into pudding by contractual alchemy. It must work its way through the economy, slamming all of us more or less, regardless of any incantation by the political shamans. The only difference between a "managed" solution and a "free-market" solution is that a supposedly "managed" solution will enrich a few of the shamans and sub-shamans in the process.

For myself, I prefer the free-market solution, if only because it guarantees a higher rate of golden-parachute failure among the wheeler-dealers, a real pleasure to my blue-collar sensibilities.

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