Headwinds, Fiscal Ciff and a Dow Peak

April 1, 2014

Yesterday March 31, 2014 the image of Mr. Bernanke’s successor was all but fixed in the bottom right hand corner of the BNN television image. Her statement for the day repeated in print across the bottom of the screen from early morning till evening was that the U.S. economy still needed support. At first bond yields looked to be climbing, but as the day wore on they began steadily declining and by day’s end all but the 10 year bond yield had declined while the Dow Jones index of industrials was again soaring.

December 19, 2023 am

“Headwinds” “Cliffs” and A Dow Peak

On December 18, I saw the US Federal Reserve chairman interacting with journalists as the Dow Jones Industrial Average neared 250 points on its way to closing up over 290 and a new record. Journalists sounded tepid in their questioning; as usual the chairman seemed nervous as he cloaked his comments in terms such as the now central to financial talkers usage “headwinds”, “transparency” and even that tired old “fiscal cliff”. And though all of the questions I heard being put to the chairman were disappointing, one asking if he had done anything during his now concluding tenure that in retrospect he might not have done stands out because his answer was surprisingly self congratulatory as he talked of his successes despite hardships like ” headwinds” and even the “fiscal cliff”.

“Leadership”

May 8 2014

On Monday, May 5 while attempting to purchase TTC tickets at the main Union Station subway entrance fare box I was reminded of an incident at a convenience store in a plaza at Port Union and Lawrence Avenues in Scarborough East. When at the Union Station subway entrance I handed the lady in the TTC booth a twenty-dollar bill asking for tickets, she gave me a handful of change and told me to put that in the fare box. My bewildered response was “no tickets?” she said no it’s just 5 cents more without a ticket. Fearing that the TTC had run out of tickets I decided to try the booth as I got out of the subway at St George and Bloor. I asked the man in the booth if he had tickets, and without hesitation he sold me the tickets I could not buy at Union Station. He seemed surprised when I told him about my Union Station experience because he believed all TTC stationary ticket sellers would have tickets readily available. And I too was surprised: that the TTC had not been running out of tickets.

The convenience store incident is similar in the way that it too was about my failed effort to purchase tickets but a bit more revealing as to how the Toronto Transportation Commission is managed. This convenience store was the only location that did not require a TTC bus fare or a car to get to, to purchase tickets from where I live. But that unsuccessful attempt to buy tickets there just before or as Scarborough was joined in the Greater Toronto Area municipality was the result of the TTC person who delivered tickets choosing to not deliver tickets there any more because he did not like the attitude of the store’s proprietor who had requested that tickets not be delivered during lunch hours because kids steal things while the proprietor is attending to the TTC ticket delivery. I wrote to the local alderman/councillor about this incident for which I still hold his two responses about his apparent inquiry.

On returning home on May 5 after my morning TTC subway, no ticket experience, I heard Premier Wynne on television making a rather glowing comment about “leadership”, a popular cliché these days, that reminded me of my recent TTC subway experience and the one at the convenience store in Scarborough a number of years ago.