Thursday, January 15, 2009

Canadian Bailouts begin

I shouldn't be shocked. It's not like we didn't see this coming. The up side is I now can say I finally own a piece of Nortel, the sad part is, it's worth a lot less then this warm cup of coffee in my non typing hand ( yes i type with one hand sometimes) .

This is concerning. If Nortel, at one point the most valuable company in Canada and technology giant, can crash and burn, then certainly others will follow.

If we can remember all the way back to October, it started with one big collapse, Bear Sterns, and then boom, down came the whole house. Yes I recognise Bear Sterns was not the first affected, but first major firm, and first really noticed one, because of it's impact.

So Stepehen " i'll trade my principles any day" Harper, has decided to bailout this massive corporation. Some of you may ask, well why is that so bad? It's bad because the precedent it sets is staggering.

Surely now every business that is in trouble, every corporation looking ahead at tough years, and most likely our banks, will want our money. How can the government say no. If it's okay for a company, once seen as a world leader, flush with cash, and staffed by some of the brightest minds in the world , to get a handout, then how can we disallow any other group.

The crisis is affecting every sector. The government has to recognise this fact. It also has to recognise that the government has a bad track record in and shouldn't be engaged in, picking winners and losers in the market. Winners and losers in the business sector will be declared through spread sheets and profitability.

If your business fails, your business fails, everyday many businesses close shop. That's okay. If Nortel is so poorly managed, so broke, so incapable of surviving in this economic climate, then so be it. Government isn't here to be a revolving line of credit.

A friend of mine, successful in the business world, said to me once, his strategy for investing is to stay out of things the government is involved with. He once said to me, " If I need government money to run my business, I am not running it correctly."

He told me he has three colleagues, all involved in business through government programs. All failed. Two of them tried again, sans government help, same business, same model, same plan, different results.

My point is this, governments shouldn't be in the job of picking winners and losers. Governments should be creating a business environment that enables those who can be successful to do just that. Through reduction of red tape, corporate tax levels and infrastructure investments, the government can make the business climate healthy, without putting billions of taxpayers dollars at risk.

Harper is handing out Billions to big banks and his corporate buddies, not much fan fare. I see Harper re-announced some money he was going to spend. Making the announcement twice was for what purpose? Does Harper think saying he will invest 10 billion twice, means he can claim a 20 billion investment.

From now on, the government should have to put on a big show, like Harper does when he hands out money to community groups. He likes to go on stage, hold up a big cheque and say look at all the money we are giving to you common folk. Next time he hands out billions to banks or tech giants, he should have to go on stage, with a big cheque, and hand it to the CEO. If Harper believes his bailout is just, then he should have no problem doing this.

I hope Harper hasn't flip flopped while I was writing this, it happens so much now, it's hard to keep track of.

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