Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

An open letter to The Economy

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To: The Canadian Economy
From: A heartbroken taxpayer
Re: It was all my fault

Dear Economy: This is probably the hardest letter I've ever had to write, but I need to let you know how much I miss you and how despondent I am over our recent breakup.

I know you are busy sinking into a depression and forcing businesses into bankruptcy and stuff like that, so I'll get right to the point -- this tragic financial affair is all my fault.

I realize now that I took you for granted, Economy. I just assumed you would always be there for me. I was a fool. I guess, in hindsight, I just never really appreciated anything you did for me. You were always supplying and I was just demanding all the time.

You gave me everything a consumer could ever want: Couches for no money down; cars with no payments for 90 days; interest-free plasma TVs, for God's sake! And how did I repay you? I stopped borrowing! Stopped spending! And worst of all -- there's no easy way to say this so I'll just be blunt -- I started saving and paying off debts. OH DEAR GOD WHAT WAS I THINKING???

I should have known months ago that you weren't happy. I mean all the leading economic indicators were there, weren't they? Seriously, I should have seen it coming. My banker tried to tell me your interest was dropping, but I just wouldn't listen.

I mean, hey, it wasn't like we hadn't had our ups and downs before, was it? It was always like a roller-coaster ride between the two of us. But I never thought our bonds (or our stocks, for that matter) could ever be broken.

I'm so sorry for the stupid things I said when I was young. I remember talking about you with my dad. "Money isn't everything," I tried to tell him. He almost wept when I said: "There's more to life than money." What did I know back then? I was young. I couldn't even spell RRSP!

Ever since you left I have been in a downward spiral. In fact, I'm having a hard time writing this because I'm crying so hard that the teardrops are making my keyboard extremely slippery. My wallet just feels so (bad word) empty now that you've gone away.

I know our messy breakup has been hard on you, too. I've seen you on the news a few times and you just haven't looked like your old robust self. The news anchors keep saying you're in a depression and that, since we split, you have been hitting all-time lows.

I blame myself, Economy. I sincerely apologize for some of the cruel remarks I made, like suggesting you were no longer in your prime and that you were maybe a little bloated and sluggish. I was so insensitive.

Listen, I think you are perfect and definitely do not need to have your rates cut. Your rates are just great the way they are. You know I still dig your supply curve. You taught me the meaning of inflation. And please, Economy, whatever you do, don't go listening to that slick Stephen Harper guy with all his fancy financial talk.

If you look in your heart, Economy, you will realize that I am the only stimulus package that you will ever need. You will find this hard to believe but since you went away I have gotten back into writing poetry. Here's one that I think expresses what's truly in my heart of hearts:

"Roses are red
Violets are blue
My assets are depleting
I wish they'd accrue"

Look, Economy, I'm no Conrad Black (Hey, did you hear that he's learning to play the piano in prison? Seriously!) or Samuel Bronfman, but I know I can't go on without you for much longer. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a word that rhymes with accrue?

But that's not the point, Economy. The point is -- and yes, I know I've told you this before -- I am willing to change. If you will consider giving me another chance, I am prepared to make the following promises:

1) Whatever money I have, I will give to you. This comes from the heart, Economy. I am talking here about Grande Lattemochaespressfrappachinos every single day. New golf equipment. If it can be consumed, I will consume it. With imported mustard whenever possible.

2) If those nice telemarketers call at dinner time to tell me that I am pre-approved for yet another credit card, I will stop swearing at them and hanging up the phone. Instead, I will say: "Thank you! In fact, go ahead and send me two. I feel like getting my debt on!"

3) I swear, if you come back, I will never take you for granted again, Economy. I promise to start wearing T-shirts that say: "Reward is its own virtue!" And: "Let's raise housing starts together!" Or: "Economists do it with crystal balls!"

You know I'm right, Economy. We were meant to be together. Think of it as an investment in our future. So, please, let our love rebound. I don't want equity in a world without you. What I'm trying to say is: I really want to get fiscal with you one more time!

I hope the feeling is "mutual," if you catch my general drift.

Yours with insufficient funds,
A devalued Canadian taxpayer,
Doug Speirs

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 5, 2009 A2

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