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Deborah Yedlin: Don't weep for Wagoner, GM's overhaul was overdue

By Deborah Yedlin, business columnist, Calgary Herald.

Who would ever have thought that there would come a day when the U.S. government would effectively backstop the service and warranty agreements of cars made by GM and Chrysler? But that’s what happened on Monday. In an effort not to scare away potential car buyers, U.S. president Barack Obama made it very clear that even if either of the two companies found themselves in bankruptcy protection, consumers would still be able to have their cars serviced.

Obama is absolutely right in what he announced on Monday, although it remains somewhat unsettling that it was his administration, and not the GM board of directors that forced the resignation of the company’s president, Rick Wagoner.

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Deborah Yedlin: Fed moves in the right direction

By Deborah Yedlin, business columnist, Calgary Herald.

By George he might have got it!

U.S. Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke certainly caught the market by surprise earlier this week when he announced the Fed would be buying $300 billion in medium- to long-term treasuries.

Of course, this was one of the next steps it had to consider because the other source of firepower to deal with the ongoing economic malaise, interest rates, had no room to move because rates are effectively at zero.

The effect of buying treasuries is the quantitative easing that the Fed talked about when it dropped interest rates to the current, historically low levels.

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Deborah Yedlin: Carney is doing the right thing

By Deborah Yedlin, business columnist, Calgary Herald

As Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney chopped rates in half to an historic low of half of one per cent, the banks followed suit and dropped their prime rates by the same amount. But does this mean consumers are going to see that interest rate drop? Or will the rates they pay simply stay the same, with a 50 basis point differential now
part of the spread over the prime rate?

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Deborah Yedlin: Retribution for Canadian banking system

By Deborah Yedlin, business columnist, Calgary Herald

The comment made by the U.S. President to CBC’s Peter Mansbridge during Tuesday’s interview about said it all.

Obama praised the Canadian banking system for having sidestepped the issues currently facing its American cousins. The irony is that it wasn’t that long ago grumblings were heard that Canada’s banks weren’t being aggressive enough and were lagging the fortunes of the U.S. and other international banks like the Royal Bank of Scotland.

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Deborah Yedlin: Government should be offering up hope, inspiration and vision

By Deborah Yedlin, business columnist, Calgary Herald

Perhaps the most telling comment in advance of Tuesday’s budget coming from the Prime Minister’s office was that people with experience were in charge of the process this time.

This implies that the last attempt, which brought the country to the edge of a constitutional crisis, had been handled by a bunch of amateurs unable to understand that the country comes first, not political dogma.

While there are still many detractors ready to criticize the feds for climbing on board the stimulus train, the reality is that the federal government had no choice.

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Deborah Yedlin: Canada not insulated from global recession

By Deborah Yedlin, business columnist, Calgary Herald

There wasn’t much that was positive in a forum involving five prominent economists that took place in Toronto on Wednesday morning. The message, consistently delivered by each participant, was clear enough: that 2009 is going to be a tough year for the Canadian economy.

The notion that developing countries were charting their own economic path independent of the developed world have proven false; somehow, those who advanced this concept had forgotten that we live in a global economy where everything is interlinked.

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Deborah Yedlin: Keynesian economics is back in vogue

By Deborah Yedlin, business columnist, Calgary Herald

There’s an old Joni Mitchell song about needing to hear some good news. And that’s certainly not the case these days when it comes to the markets and the global economy. It’s tough to find a shred of optimism in the daily deluge of numbers.

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Deborah Yedlin: Getting the most bang from stimulus bucks

By Deborah Yedlin, business columnist, Calgary Herald

As markets around the world staged a modest rebound this week, a few optimistic souls are cautiously suggesting the bottom has been found. But it doesn’t mean the pain is over.

It just means that the volatility that has characterized trading for the better part of the last two months is waning. And now the work begins.

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Deborah Yedlin: Oil prices should be heading north, not south

By Deborah Yedlin, business columnist, Calgary Herald

It is certainly a sign of the times when the International Energy Agency publishes a study showing the risks of underinvestment in oil and gas projects around the world and oil prices respond by dropping more than $3 a barrel.

But so it is when market psychology is overwhelmingly negative and short-sighted. The numbers released on Wednesday by the IEA demand further reflection.

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Deborah Yedlin: How do we build confidence in the economy?

Money Talks is a daily business column from CBC radio.

By Deborah Yedlin, business columnist, Calgary Herald

Judging from the way U.S. stock markets behaved two hours after the U.S. Federal Reserve announced its half point rate cut on Wednesday, it’s going to take more than a drop in interest rates to restore some confidence in the stock markets.

In case anyone missed it, the Dow Jones Industrial Average swung in a 450 point range in the last 15 minutes of trading on Wednesday, ending the day down 74.16 points.

It was a stomach churning ride - one that is becoming all too common. If investors were skeptical of the impact of the cut, which has taken rates down to 1 per cent and marks their lowest levels since 2003, what will it take for a measure of confidence and optimism to return to the markets?

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