Thursday, July 19, 2012

Americans now poorer than Canadians

Canadians used to be America's poorer neighbors.  That has changed.  The Toronto Globe and Mail reports:
Currently, the average Canadian household is more than $40,000 richer than the average American household. (According to the latest Environics Analytics WealthScapes data, the average household net worth in Canada was $363,202 in 2011; in the U.S. it was $319,970.) And these are not 60-cent dollars, but Canadian dollars more or less at par with the U.S. greenback.
It gets worse: 
Furthermore, these figures ignore public-sector (government) debt that presumably people on both sides of the border or their children will some day have to pay. Such debt is higher in the U.S. as a percentage of GDP than it is in Canada.
What happened is that, starting in the 1990s, Canada adopted Reaganesque solutions: reining in government and privatizing it.  Fred Barnes, writing in the Wall Street Journal, explains the challenge Canada faced and how it recovered:
When Jean Chretien became prime minister in 1993, Canada faced a fiscal and economic breakdown. The government's share of the economy had climbed to 53% in 1992, from 28% in 1960. Deficits had tripled as a percentage of gross domestic product over the prior two decades. Government debt was nearly 70% of GDP and growing rapidly. Interest payments on the debt took up 35 cents of every tax dollar.

Mr. Chretien and his finance minister, Paul Martin, took decisive action. "Canadians have told us that they want the deficit brought down by reducing government spending, not by raising taxes, and we agree," Mr. Martin said. The new administration slashed spending. Unemployment benefits were cut by nearly 40%. The ratio of spending cuts to tax increases was nearly 7-to-1. Federal employment was reduced by 14%. Canada's national railway and air-traffic-control system were privatized.
Canada's success continues.  At a time when America needs more jobs, American companies moving north to Canada because of the lower tax rates there.

Canada's economy was repaired by Canada's "Liberal" party.   The contrast between them and Obama's Democrats couldn't be greater.

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