One of my undergraduate degrees is in International Relations and through this I began to study other nations and their public policies. Over the years, I have continued to follow the politics of other nations- my post on Yulia Tymoshenko, former PM of Ukraine, is one of my most popular posts. And of course I live a short distance from the great nation of Canada, so it was with great interest that I read the story of how Canadians are now more wealthy than Americans.
Here is the important data:
...In 2011 the net worth of the average Canadian household was $363,202 compared to the average American household at $319,970. That gives the average Canadian $43,232 more than the average American… America’s “liquid (non-real estate) assets are still greater than Canadians’”… while Canada’s unemployment rate has fallen to 7.2 percent, America’s was stuck at 8.2 percent…
Although I’m no expert in Canadian politics, I will note a couple reasons why Canadian wealth seems to be holding steady or going slightly up. A lot of the credit goes to Paul Martin, who as finance minister for most of the 90s made huge budget cuts, scaling down government to 1951 levels and eventually balancing the budget. Although this led to a short term reduction in economic growth and a temporary loss in tax revenue, the economy was crucially rebalanced away from the public sector towards the private sector, soon resulting to an increase in Canada’s credit rating and rapid increases in government revenue resulting from a quickly growing economy. Martin was even responsible for lowering Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio from a peak of seventy per cent to about fifty per cent in the mid-1990s.
Although his stint as prime minister from 2003 to 2006 was less successful, Canadian politics had been moved in a crucial way more towards conservatism and the results of this turn were very successful. After Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party took control of the government, he continued to make cuts to government, attempt to balance the budget, expand free trade, expand drilling and the energy industry, and move away from other failed liberal ideas such as green energy and increased regulations.
But the real story here is not the growth of the wealth of Canadians households, which we should applaud, but rather the sudden and stunning decline in wealth in American households, which should lead to hard and important questions. Canadian Douglas Haddow, writing in The Guardian, put it best when he wrote (source):
“Being richer than an America that has seen its blue-collar cities gutted and its middle class begin to hollow out is a rather empty sort of victory. Especially when you begin to suspect that we’re not actually winning, we’re just losing more slowly.”
Or as Rulein Hades at The Globe and Mail put it (source)-
“We’re not suddenly that much richer – our American cousins are suddenly that much poorer.”
The whole world is catching on that under President Barack Obama and the Democrats who support him in Congress, including Senator Stabenow here in Michigan, America is in decline- its middle class is being hallowed out as government policy increases the divide between rich (those who have government connections) and poor (those who do not have government connections) and government ceaselessly attacks capitalism and wealth creation. Although I have my doubts that we will ever recover to where we once were, the first step is for us to stop digging the hole, and we can do this by changing our leadership in November.
UPDATE: Let me be clear about something- Canada has not become a ‘conservative’ nation, it has instead become more conservative than it used to be and thus experienced growth (or at least less decline). Relative to its past, it has now more embraced life, liberty, and the creation and protection of property, and the results have been an increase in household wealth. Of course there are still many liberal elements in Canada, but these do not explain the growth in wealth and I would argue are in reality holding Canada back from further wealth and happiness. Conservative policies are a positive variable to the government equation, and the introduction of them into a closed system brings more prosperity and happiness to people.
Original Post: A Conservative Teacher