In this blog I usually like to stick to issues that directly affect Kamloops. Sometimes they are large and out of our control, like continued investment in oil-based infrastructure. Other times they are federal or provincial budget decisions. This time I cannot help but rave about the United States.

Fox News, has compared the riots to the freedom fights in Egypt and Libya. While Jon Stewart comments that this comparison is ridiculous, as it is, there might be a valuable thought hidden in the never-ceasing Bi-Partisan rhetoric of  our southern neighbours. Union members are not achieving freedom from decades of dictatorship, but their plight is by far more futile.

The United States is expected to achieve public debt of 90% of GDP in the month of march. This amount of debt is also nearing the federally mandated ‘debt ceiling’. The ceiling is $4.3 trillion dollars. U.S. federal debt is currently at $4 trillion. This figure does not include household debt! China owns 25% of U.S. federal debt. A large amount of China’s exports are consumed in the United States. It is said, similar to Wall Street’s collapse two years ago, that the US is too big to fail. The US debt mountain is held entirely by foreign powers. The time when the US is no longer capable of servicing the interest payments on it debt is near.

The Obama administration has threatened to cut all non-essential public services by the end of the week. This includes: Social Security, Planned Parenthood, Medicare for the poor, Pension cuts, and many other programs.

As published by MSN Canada last week, the middle class in the United States and Canada has all but disappeared. Disparity has been growing for half a century–acutely in the United States. These programs will literally affect 90% of the day-to-day lives, or lives of a family member in the US. All the while the student unions are protesting wage cuts. The figures are clear, all Americans, Rich and Poor, but particularly the poor, are living light years beyond their means. TD Waterhouse has reported that average North American cyclical credit card debt is in excess of $10,000. It makes me wonder cynically if the middle class was only an idealistic dream plugging away from the French Revolution.

Here in Kamloops and vicinity, we have an average house price of $400,000. In Sunpeaks there are dozens of vacation homes assessed in excess of $4 million. While thousands of Kamloopsians struggle with mortgage payments, the same franchise fees and dividends get siphoned off to distant corporate entities, which vacation to our piece of paradise. It is appalling that we as Canadians, the egalitarians that we are, put up with this graphic disparity. It is worse that we fail to see how we encourage it.

If the United States is in fact allowed to go bankrupt, as some of the european PIIGS countries are flirting with, our Canadian export market will disappear overnight. In Kamloops we had better be ready to grow our own food, be able to build with our local building materials and govern ourselves without corporate guidance in running businesses. For places like Edmonton, Yellowknife, Grande Prairie and other northern cities, their future may not be so optimistic. Clearly the United States is in its death throes as a world “super-power”, however as Canadians, many of us still considered ‘branch-plants’ to the american economy,  are in dire need of localization and diversification if we are truly committed to sustaining our middle class–as any large fluctuation in the United States market will cripple Canada’s market. We need to cut our losses and re-invest in our community.

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