Par For The Dollar

Back in 1980 I was working in Buffalo. My Philadelphia friend, Lucy, invited me to join her for a weekend at a family owned compound in what is referred to as “Cottage Country,” north of Toronto.

On a frigid, crystal clear lake, reachable only by their classic mahogany power boat, it was pretty close to heaven. For that weekend I was part of her family, joining them for every activity. I even went to church with them (and throughly enjoyed that experience too).

While driving up, I got hungry and stopped along the road for some food. I bought a sandwich and a Coke, handed the clerk a US $20 bill and got $22 Canadian change… plus my food!

What a country!

Actually, all that meant was, the US dollar was worth a lot more than its Canadian equivalent. As of today, they’re of nearly equal value. I think the proper term is, they’re at par.

I’m not an economist, but I’m pretty sure the value of a nations currency is directly tied to the strength of its economy. Our dollar is weak.

Over times, things tend to even out. A weaker US dollar makes our exports more reasonably priced overseas… at least it does with those things we still make here. Conversely, imports continue to cost more. That’s an incentive to buy American, here and abroad.

Still, having the US and Canadian dollars at par troubles me on an emotional level. Our dollar being more valuable has always been a given. It’s the first time in my life it’s not.

I don’t personally see signs of a weak economy, but obviously, others do. Our cheaper dollar is screaming that to anyone who will listen.