CIBC cries the crocodile’s tears

There's been much said this week of a StatCan report released this week that says the real incomes of working people have been stagnant (or declining) for the last fifteen years or so. Right wing commentators and "experts" have the predictable analysis (the answer is more of the same). But this CIBC press release is just over the top obnoxious.

There’s been much said this week of a StatCan report released this week that says the real incomes of working people have been stagnant (or declining) for the last fifteen years or so. Right wing commentators and “experts” have the predictable analysis (the answer is more of the same). But this CIBC press release is just over the top obnoxious.

The release observes that while Canadian’s aspirations (like food, shelter clothing) haven’t dimmed, their income just hasn’t kept up. So instead they’ve taken to borrowing.

We are 20 per cent more in debt than we were ten years ago, the release reports.

But what happens, the release goes on to wonder, if interest rates shoot up or if there’s a sudden downturn. The debt bomb we’re sitting on explodes, we are to infer.

High debtloads, stagnant real wages, chronic inability to create high-paying jobs – these problems weigh heavily on the minds of our CIBC analysts.

And they say all this without even the slightest acknowledgement of any sort of agency or role in causing this situation.

Whether it’s usurious credit card interest rates, savings account rates and bank fees that make the money-stuffed mattress a viable investment option, tougher rules on student debt, the CIBC has a huge role to play in – and is a huge beneficiary of – increasing household debt.

If they’re so darn worried, why don’t they agree to take a bit less profit in exchange for reducing credit card interest rates?

The CIBC has also had a huge role in the downward pressure on wages in this country. They’ve layed off thousands of people and put real pressure on their remaining employees to stick with underpaid jobs. They’ve closed dozens of branches, and yet they bemoan our economy’s inability to create and retain high-paying jobs?

But quite beyond the way they do business daily, the CIBC also does politics. It’s a supporter of some of the institutions and lobby groups that have made the low-wage economy (and all its attendant hardship and suffering) their life’s work.

That the bank can put out this kind of stuff without even a hint of self-questioning (though I’d take a hint of irony) is galling.