By Raymond Freeman 07/10/2014
What if the Redcoats had won? Answer: We’d be part of Canada, happier and better off.
Canadians weren’t sold Ronald Reagan’s “trickle-down economics” rip-off. Workers shared in their growth in productivity. Here, wages have stayed flat for 40 years (Sharper Focus, “Short of Money?”). The American Dream has become a myth. Nobel-prizewinning economist Joseph Stiglitz stated (May 2012, Vanity Fair): “The chances of even a middle-class citizen making it to the top in America are smaller than in many countries in Europe. The cards are stacked against them.”
The New York Times agreed (5/1/12, “Harder for Americans to Rise From Lower Rungs”). And a Pew survey (July 2012) agreed. Seven in 10 people who start out poor stay in the lower class as adults. More than six in 10 who start out rich (in top income brackets) stay in the upper class as adults. Canada’s social mobility is higher than America’s. Unlike America, Canada doesn’t have a permanent underclass.
Another Times article (4/22/14), “The American Middle Class Is No Longer the World’s Richest, ” needs no explanation. It reported the latest Luxembourg Income Study. Canadians have greater disposable incomes, measured as median after-tax income (excluding the few high earners such as CEOs). Just to rub it in, Americans work longer hours.
As a result of earning more, for so long, Canadians have stashed away more moolah. The average Canadian household now owns more wealth than the average American household, according to Wall Street analyst Bloomberg (July 2012, “Hardheaded Socialism”). Swiss bank Credit Suisse (2012 Global Wealth Report) concurred.
Wait, wait; Canadian socialism? The Legatum Institute has developed a Prosperity Index. Countries are analyzed with 89 economic and social measures. The top 20 are: Norway, Switzerland, Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, Denmark, Australia, Finland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, U.S., Ireland, Iceland, Germany, Austria, U.K., Belgium, Singapore, Hong Kong, France. Note, Canadians are third overall. We’re 11th. They’re first in freedom. We’re 16th. Go figure.
Canadians are a happy bunch. They finished sixth in the U.N.’s 2013 Global Happiness Report. That’s because of their high incomes, excellent educations, affordable further education, good social services and good health care. We came 17th. Yes, seventeenth. The U.S. has staggeringly high inequality and poverty, exceptionally expensive higher education, and lousy health care overall.
A definite factor in Canadians’ happiness is their health-care system. It’s emphatically not government-run “socialized medicine.” It’s a single-payer system (like Medicare) based on nonprofit medical insurance. Most hospitals are nonprofits. Doctors, dentists, optometrists, etc., are in private practice.
If you started with a blank sheet of paper and designed the best system possible, you’d come up with something like Canada’s. It covers 100 percent of the population. Its cost is about average, around 11 percent of the economy (GDP). It’s seen as basic social protection, like police or defense. They aren’t afraid of getting sick and losing everything, as millions of Americans are.
The World Health Organization once ranked America’s at 37th worldwide. Analysts at Bloomberg (August 2013) ranked Canada’s system 17th out of 48 advanced economies in a cost/benefit analysis. It ranked America’s 46th. If you designed the worst medical delivery system possible, you’d come up with ours. It gobbles up around 17.5 percent of GDP, almost double the OECD average of 9.3 percent. But it leaves around 80 million people uninsured or with junk policies, risking bankruptcy.
The decline of America’s middle class, and thus America’s entire economy, is due to a steady stream of policy choices relentlessly putting the 1 percent ahead of the 99 percent since around 1975. This has not happened in Canada. Canada still has a strong middle class and unions to negotiate for them. Why?
Canadians have limits on money in politics. It’s not “free speech.” They aren’t impressed by the “Excited States” and see American politics as fatally corrupted by money. The Founding Fathers’ ideals of rational debate have been perverted by cunning PR, slime and outright lies (e.g., “swift-boating”). Republican “think tanks” have spent millions perfecting propaganda techniques based on subconscious manipulation. Americans are brainwashed by experts into not thinking. America’s yokels are getting dimmer. This worries Canadians (Maclean’s, 5/15/14, “America Dumbs Down”).
The conclusion from all this is simple. All that rootin’, tootin’, six-gun shootin’ Reaganism hasn’t cut it. If you want to get the American Dream, get educated, and get more freedom, move to Canada. Because according to the U.N., W.H.O., Bloomberg, Credit Suisse, Stiglitz, Pew, Luxembourg Income Survey, Legatum and The New York Times, the typical Canadian is now richer, healthier and happier than the typical American.
Don’t take this lying down. You have a vote. Ask your Republican candidates why Redcoat policies would be better for 99 percent of Americans than Republican policies. Demand answers!