Memo to Mrs. MaloneJuly 23, 2010 | Access and use are subject to your User Service Agreement.
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Memo to Mrs. Malone The chairman of Liberty Media, John Malone, let it drop in a July 12 interview with The Wall Street Journal that his wife had moved her cash to Canada and Australia and that he himself was none too happy with the drift of things in the United States. "Canada," said Malone, "has a lot more fiscal and bank responsibility than most places in the world and lots of natural resources." Should worse come to worse in America, he added, his wife and he could slip across the border from Maine to Quebec without necessarily introducing themselves to the customs or immigration authorities on the way. "We own 18 miles on the border, so we can cross. . . . Actually, our snowmobile trail goes right on the border." That the Malones might, after all, choose to stay home with their money is the thesis of this unfolding essay. House prices are, or have been, almost bubbly north of the 49th parallel, and Canadian mortgage finance has evolved into something almost American. North, south, east or west, ultra-low interest rates distort asset prices and seduce otherwise prudent people, even the safe-and-sane Canadians. Maybe the place to deposit one's cash is a country in which a housing bubble has already popped, rather than one--Canada, for instance--in which it is just beginning to deflate. Unusually in the so-called developed world, the Canadian residential real estate market put in a strong showing in 2009. At the March 2010 reading, prices ...
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