So there's really no new model for how to run this economy, and nobody's even, I think, thinking about that question, much less an answer."
-Doug Henwood, of Left Business Observer, on The Real News Network
Tepid GDP numbers released Tuesday by Statistics Canada confirm that Canada's economic recovery, such as it was, is sliding completely into the ditch. We're clearly heading for stagnation at best, and quite possibly another "double dip" downturn.
The headline number was disappointing, to say the least. Real GDP grew only 2 per cent (annualized) in the spring quarter. That's just a hair faster than the U.S. economy (which everyone knows is still deeply in the soup). Two per cent doesn't keep up with population and productivity -- implying higher unemployment ahead, not lower. Typically, at this stage of recovery, the economy should be growing three times faster.
The U.S. federal government has been paralyzed for two weeks by a lack of budget spending authority, with hundreds of thousands of federal employees off the job. And that's just the immediate economic fallout from a political showdown over whether the U.S. government will be allowed to borrow beyond its current $16.7 trillion (U.S.) debt ceiling. Without that authorization, many more government operations would cease immediately, and the U.S. would likely default on some of its existing debt. Perhaps most painful of all, even the best-case outcome to this week's drama seems to be a compromise that would permit four months' additional borrowing -- merely setting the stage for another showdown in February.