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Why Is Canada So Poor?


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Good question. I suspect the explanation is unfamiliarity with what poverty really looks like.

I think it would be wise to avoid pride and jingoism when trying to defend the accusation that Canada is no longer as rich a country as it once was.

I'm 55. I remember living standards and disposable income when I was 19 and today. I remember being told that Canada was rated 6 or 7th among developed nations. Now the last stat I saw was more like 17 or 18th, after Norway.

Perhaps age brings the perspective of history. We can all google up stats, often from biased sources, to bolster our arguments. I think instead of how in the early 70's my mother did not have to work to help my steel worker father pay the mortage and feed and clothe 4 kids. In a year or so I worked an entry level unskilled job for $85 a week. I had a modest apartment, a magnificent stereo and spent 6 nights a week with friends drinking and listening to live bands in the bar scene.

Now there are no 6 nighter bars with bands! The two income family is the norm. People have fewer children because they don't feel they can adequately provide for as many as before. And NOT because they're simply greedy and materialistic! In the 60's a working man could afford a car and home. A colour tv was very expensive. Now the tv and other toys are dirt cheap. It's the car and house that are budget killers!

Figures lie and liars figure. I feel sorry for kids today. Things are NOT the same financially, simply scaled for inflation!

I remember how shocked I was when I read that the "expense basket" used by StatsCan to calculate inflation did not include tax increases...

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I think it would be wise to avoid pride and jingoism when trying to defend the accusation that Canada is no longer as rich a country as it once was.

Why this was addressed to my post is hard to fathom. But certainly I agree with what you say here. Who do you think has been relying on pride or jingoism?

I'm 55. I remember living standards and disposable income when I was 19 and today. I remember being told that Canada was rated 6 or 7th among developed nations. Now the last stat I saw was more like 17 or 18th, after Norway.

Perhaps age brings the perspective of history. We can all google up stats, often from biased sources, to bolster our arguments. I think instead of how in the early 70's my mother did not have to work to help my steel worker father pay the mortage and feed and clothe 4 kids. In a year or so I worked an entry level unskilled job for $85 a week. I had a modest apartment, a magnificent stereo and spent 6 nights a week with friends drinking and listening to live bands in the bar scene.

Stats can be biased. But anecdotes definitely are. The thing to do is use reliable sources, and to make clear and explicit challenges to the reliability of sources that are dubious.

On the other hand, you're raising an important semantic point about how the word "poor" might have different meanings over time. I don't agree with your take on the question, but it's a good one to raise.

The two income family is the norm. People have fewer children because they don't feel they can adequately provide for as many as before. And NOT because they're simply greedy and materialistic! In the 60's a working man could afford a car and home. A colour tv was very expensive. Now the tv and other toys are dirt cheap. It's the car and house that are budget killers!

How many of those homes were 5-level sidesplits backing onto greenbelts, with soaring (ie., heat-swallowing) ceilings and master-bedroom jacuzzis? Of course housing prices have gone up enormously, but you should make sure you're comparing apples and apples. How many kids needed cellphones with monthly plans when you were a kid? How many "working men" needed to afford two, or three, or four cars, so that nobody in the family ever had to walk, bike, take the bus? I'll reserve the word greed for now, but I think materialism may be playing a larger role than you're allowing.

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Why this was addressed to my post is hard to fathom. But certainly I agree with what you say here. Who do you think has been relying on pride or jingoism?

Stats can be biased. But anecdotes definitely are. The thing to do is use reliable sources, and to make clear and explicit challenges to the reliability of sources that are dubious.

On the other hand, you're raising an important semantic point about how the word "poor" might have different meanings over time. I don't agree with your take on the question, but it's a good one to raise.

How many of those homes were 5-level sidesplits backing onto greenbelts, with soaring (ie., heat-swallowing) ceilings and master-bedroom jacuzzis? Of course housing prices have gone up enormously, but you should make sure you're comparing apples and apples. How many kids needed cellphones with monthly plans when you were a kid? How many "working men" needed to afford two, or three, or four cars, so that nobody in the family ever had to walk, bike, take the bus? I'll reserve the word greed for now, but I think materialism may be playing a larger role than you're allowing.

Sorry! I intended to reply to post #22 by msj.

I really should try to post AFTER coffee! :lol:

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Why this was addressed to my post is hard to fathom. But certainly I agree with what you say here. Who do you think has been relying on pride or jingoism?

Stats can be biased. But anecdotes definitely are. The thing to do is use reliable sources, and to make clear and explicit challenges to the reliability of sources that are dubious.

On the other hand, you're raising an important semantic point about how the word "poor" might have different meanings over time. I don't agree with your take on the question, but it's a good one to raise.

How many of those homes were 5-level sidesplits backing onto greenbelts, with soaring (ie., heat-swallowing) ceilings and master-bedroom jacuzzis? Of course housing prices have gone up enormously, but you should make sure you're comparing apples and apples. How many kids needed cellphones with monthly plans when you were a kid? How many "working men" needed to afford two, or three, or four cars, so that nobody in the family ever had to walk, bike, take the bus? I'll reserve the word greed for now, but I think materialism may be playing a larger role than you're allowing.

For some things the stats just don't seem to be available! Conveniently so, perhaps. While in general I agree with you about the value of anecdotal evidence, in the absence of hard data it's a little cavalier to dismiss A LOT of identical anecdotal evidence! We enter the territory of common knowledge.

Hence my point about the StatsCan inflation basket. Any observer knows that from the late 80's on the increase in taxation, particularly in the cumulative effect of innumerable small ones, user fees and the like was incredibly high! In his book "The Trouble with Canada" Bill Gairdner showed StatsCan data that put the increase around 1200%! This was at the end of the 80's. I shudder to think what it could be up to today.

Not including inflation is really disingenuous. Taxes are a real expense and deduct from disposable income. You can issue stats showing inflation at less than 2% yet due to taxes disposable income may have dropped far more. Yet the political benefits of such "rigged" data cannot be denied.

As for the super houses you describe, I can't say. I live beside Hamilton, ON. We're a much poorer city. The economy was largely based upon manufacturing jobs, which over the last decade or so have taken a HUGE hit! So incomes dropped within a comparatively short time. There's a difference between over-extending your budget in the first place and and suddenly having the rug pulled out from under you. Who can plan for your household income dropping by up to two thirds! overnight? With no prospect of a similar paying job in a similar industry?

Of course, this strays from my original point, which is the cost of living for today's generation. It is easier not to overextend yourself in the first place but hat only means you can more easily sustain a lower standard. As I had said, today the toys are cheap and it's the house and car that are far more expensive. Many younger folks reason that they may never be able to afford a home as good as that of their parents so they choose to have an apartment-based lifestyle, which leaves much more disposable income for the toys and for luxuries like travel.

I mentioned live music because I have intimate experience with that field. In the early 70's it was normal for clubs to host a live band for 6 nights a week. Even small towns would book 3 nighters. And there were a LOT more clubs! This revenue stream meant that even C level bands could go on road tours for months at a time. We rec'd $2400 for a 6 nighter, perhaps $1600 for 3 nights. This at a time when a GALLON of gas sold for $0.25! A package of cigarettes might be the same! In 1971 my best friend's father bought a brand new Plymouth Duster for $1800.

This scene was based not just on popular tastes and the times but on how much disposable income the average citizen had to spend on entertainment. At least here in Ontario the number of clubs and the pay scale dropped precipitiously by the end of the 80's. Today clubs are far smaller and rarely can pay for a band more than a one-night gig for a Friday or Saturday. The usual pay is perhaps $250 for a night, for the entire band and not each musician!

There are other factors, of course. The RIDE programs made many uncomfortable with driving 20 miles or more at the drop of a hat to see a favourite band. Anti-smoking laws were touted as a way to BOOST attendance but of course this idea was unsubtantiated and simply pulled from some nico-nazi's butt! The story was that once the stink of nicotine was gone there were 2-3 times as many non-smokers who had been chomping at the bit to come to the clubs and tobacco had been the only negative factor. The reality was that those non-smokers didn't seem to have really wanted to come out at all. The smoke cleared out and you could see all the empty tables. The barkeeps lost smokers and didn't see them replaced.

And for the record, I'm NOT a smoker! I'm simply citing direct experience.

Still, these were minor factors. Common sense tells us that people likely didn't suddenly lose all inclination for drinking beer and dancing/listening to live music. They just no longer could afford it! Clubs adjusted by shrinking and by trying to be everything at once. They wanted to be a corner pub restaurant pool hall. A club that can hold maybe 50 people cannot possibly sell enough drinks to afford any but the most mediocre band.

No, kids today are used to having less money for entertainment, and spend a lot of it on cheap, cocoon-favouring choices like an Xbox.

Yet constantly they are told that the times today are no different than those when their parents were young. Wages and prices are implied to have been similar, once adjusted for inflation. Any financial constraints are dismissed as being THEIR fault, for being too greedy and wasteful!

By my life experiences, I simply can't agree with this premise.

Now, consider that many of my musician customers still make a very good living, BY PLAYING IN OTHER COUNTRIES! They will spend a few months in countries like Denmark, where the culture is such that people can and do afford to spend most nights in clubs, and will come home with a NET of perhaps $20k in US dollars! Young "slam-dancing" bands regularly go on tours from Britain, to Norway and then Germany and earn a living.

I am unaware of any similar opportunities in Canada, at least here in my neck of the woods. The reasons are obvious. In those other countries people have a higher level of disposable income, which brings us back to our initial premise. Canada has become a poorer country over the past few decades.

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Canada is poor in spirit. I can say this with confidence because we are a nation of wishy washy politics and dispassionate leaders. There are few inspirational figures active in our society and our society has no unique identification.

In terms of pure wealth, that is an exercise in statistics. You know the kind, ask the right question and get the right answer kind of thing. Mostly those stats have answers with questions designed to prove them. An exercise in foolishness at best.

The cold hard reality is that if you take the actual value of our natural resources in this country and divided it by the number of people we would find ourselves the richest citizens per capita on the planet. I don't think we want to do that, I don't think that we want to go there because it smacks of socialism.

Does this mean we are rich or poor? It means it is subject to the perceptions of the person asking the question. Canada is a failed experiment in democracy. Our politics suck and our standard of living is un-naturally suppressed. We need to grow up and start thinking with the big head instead of the little head in very real terms.

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oh man.. Another Rue?

Please, say it t'aint so.

Sorry guys, but until your writing is as witty and interesting as Mark Steyn's, I'm not reading over one paragraph.

Anyways, I think August is right, he just said it wrong. It's not Canada vs. someone else in my mind. It's Canada how it IS and Canada as how it could easily be.

Right now we ARE squandering our resources, we should be CRAZY rich, but we are not.

We should be striving for better, I think we have started to - but we still have along ways to go.

Our national Psyche needs to change. Right now that is our number one enemy.

You can't even talk about looking at Healthcare to improve it wthout screams of 'US private healthcare ruins people!%#$%!!!! You can't even talk about it.

That is merely an example. When we get over this and become comfortable in our own skin, as a nation, we will be able to better reach our potenial.

But right now, with this mind-set - we are stuck in neutral.

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We are afraid of our own skin. We have no identity because of it. There was a time when we were moving in the right direction, then along came Def the Chief. After him what had what was left to us, they called them peace keepers. Several years later we got the "Canadian Forces" and a gutted defense budget.

This nation will not even stand up for itself, let alone act in the interests of peace.

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Sorry! I intended to reply to post #22 by msj.

I really should try to post AFTER coffee! :lol:

I really don't see what you are referring to my post.

August1991's original post is ridiculous, imo, because he uses anecdotal evidence.

My presentation of the facts surrounding US SS vs. CAN CPP to refute his comment about better benefits for Americans also is not specifically addressed by you.

Sure, present your anecdotal evidence (based on what you think you are capable of remembering) all you want. No, this does not mean it is better quality than statistics where at least we can argue about the methodology used to collect the evidence.

With anecdotal evidence there is no chance at objectivity. That is why it may prove very interesting (and August1991's post was interesting) but ultimately useless.

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Canada is poor in spirit. I can say this with confidence because we are a nation of wishy washy politics and dispassionate leaders.

Ah, well, as long as you say it with confidence. There are few inspirational figures active in our society and our society has no unique identification.

In terms of pure wealth, that is an exercise in statistics. You know the kind, ask the right question and get the right answer kind of thing. Mostly those stats have answers with questions designed to prove them. An exercise in foolishness at best.

Yes, your claims are unsupported by data.

Canada is a failed experiment in democracy. Our politics suck and our standard of living is un-naturally suppressed.

I've lived in various countries around the world. Every time I moved back to Canada, I was overwhelmingly struck by two impressions: what an unbelievably wonderful country Canada is; and how many Canadians whine like selfish children about Canada's problems.

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Oh, of course you wanted to avoid statistics.

You would prefer to rely on your personal anecdotal evidence method of inquiry that is unworthy of proving anything other than you drive as selectively as you cherry pick statistics.

Now, I'll let the others on here come up with stats which show one thing or another.

The only nonsense I want to point out here is regarding the US SS vs CAN CPP:

1) They pay more into their system than Canadians do - 6.2% up to $102,000 of earnings for 2008 whereas in Canada we pay 4.95% on up to $44,900 (note - for both instances the employee matches the employer deduction effectively making the rates 12.4% and 9.9%).

One would expect higher benefits when people are paying more into the system.

2) Canada started to overhaul its CPP system in the mid-90's and there have been reports in the media for years that it is actuarially sound.

The same cannot be said for Social Security in the US where some have claimed that it needs huge changes:

Just one example of many if anyone were to choose to research this: Greenspan urges Social Security cuts

Clearly, if one were to dig further than some superficial drive-by look at benefits, the situation is much more complex than you make it out to be.

Statistics, and statistics.

I wanted to avoid them for this reason but let me wade in.

msj, forget about State pensions as some sort of private pension scheme. They're not. A State pension scheme has no actuarial sense (unless the population is about to disappear). If you were going to live forever, you'd have no need for an actuary. Well, Canada will exist forever and so it makes no sense to ask actuaries to calculate anything for such an entity. [i know that what I state is radical to you but it's well understood by most modern economists.]

----

US Social Security or our CPP/QPP contributions are payroll taxes. In effect, the government imposes various taxes on younger citizens and transfers money to older citizens. All things considered, US citizens pay lower taxes. All things considered, older US citizens receive higher benefits. Why? All things considered, the US is a richer society.

Is the difference that much? There is a big difference with the lowest paid states to lowest paid Canadian provinces. It is probably one reason why Alberta and Manitoba teachers don't run to teach in Montana and North Dakota.
Heck, I dunno. My example of teachers salaries came from 1999 (when the Canadian dollar was at about 0.65 US and the Toronto teachers union was in negotiation to justify raises).

Nevertheless, in 1999, public teachers in some US jurisdictions were earning six figures. Many were in the high five figures. Why? The US is a richer society. (After tax, the difference in teachers salaries is even more notable. And keep in mind that a kilo of cheddar cheese sells for about $7 in the US whereas in Canada, it's about $10.)

Look, if I were to compare statistics, I'd look at GDP per capita in PPP terms and then compare how that GDP is distributed, how it has changed in the past few years. I wanted to avoid statistics.

Anyways, I think August is right, he just said it wrong. It's not Canada vs. someone else in my mind. It's Canada how it IS and Canada as how it could easily be.
I think this is what I meant. We should be far richer than what we are. We should be able to achieve great wealth for each citizen, and do this in a way that does not harm the environment. We have the natural resources, human talent and technical ability to achieve this.

And yet, after a few weeks in the US, I cross the border and find a lumpy highway, decrepit buildings and a bilingual roadsign explaining that the federal government is working to a better future. That's pathetic (and to be partisan, it's also Warren Kinsella/Jean Chretien/Denis Coderre/Ralph Goodale Liberal.) "When it comes to public affairs, appearance matters - not reality." If the government appears to be doing something, then most people will accept that.

Let's put up a road sign to announce the government is fixing our roads. As Jean Chretien or Warren Kinsella would argue, ordinary people need confidence and direction. It's all about perception. That's all.

----

In all honesty, I can't blame the federal Liberals for our (relative) poverty.

First, I'd blame the ongoing debate in Quebec about sovereignty. When a large minority contemplates seriously separating, no one benefits. This is like a 30 year divorce dispute. Or rather, that's how Parizeau presents it. In fact, a squabbling couple is not the metaphor at all. A society where right-handed want to dominate and left-handed people seek a way to manage is a better metaphor. Mulroney suggested a feasible compromise but English Canada rejected it. As long as Canadians argue about Quebec's status, we will be poorer.

Second, I'd blame the Canadian (Catholic) propensity to seek security and stability. Leftist (Catholic) Canadians want to protect weaker people against change. We do this through institutions such as the government, church and unions. We try to protect ourselves against the outside world. Well, change is inevitable and change can occur in several small tremors or in large earthquakes. Or, it can never occur at all. For the collective, change is good. For individuals, change is both bad and good.

IME, Ontarians are slow to change and this largely explains Canada's poverty.

Edited by August1991
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Statistics, and statistics.

I wanted to avoid them for this reason but let me wade in.

msj, forget about State pensions as some sort of private pension scheme. They're not. A State pension scheme has no actuarial sense (unless the population is about to disappear). If you were going to live forever, you'd have no need for an actuary. Well, Canada will exist forever and so it makes no sense to ask actuaries to calculate anything for such an entity. [i know that what I state is radical to you but it's well understood by most modern economists.]

----

US Social Security or our CPP/QPP contributions are payroll taxes. In effect, the government imposes various taxes on younger citizens and transfers money to older citizens. All things considered, US citizens pay lower taxes. All things considered, older US citizens receive higher benefits. Why? All things considered, the US is a richer society.

Don't see the point of your lecture about State pensions.

US SS is a state pension just like Canada has the state pensions CPP (special fund) and the OAS (out of general revenue and, therefore, is funded through general taxation like GST, income tax, EI surplus, tariffs).

Yes, we are talking payroll taxes but at least with CPP the actuaries have said the system is sound at the current levels (for paying in and paying of benefits and also when considering the investment of surplus funds for payment of future benefits).

It makes perfect sense to have acturaries make these calculations since we should be attempting to match, as best as is possible, the payment into the CPP with the investment return and the payment of benefits from the system.

What you are proposing is not radical at all - it was business as usual until the Liberals had the sense to change things in the mid-90's.

Otherwise, we would be stuck with the same sad system where a continuing diminishing pool of young try to maintain the benefits of a growing pool of old.

As for the amounts - well, in Canada our CPP is set up to be based on what a person pays into it. In the US it appears that this is also the case.

If you want to extend the argument to all taxes then it should be extended to all services received too but I do not see the point of moving the goal posts now.

The fact remains your claim was/is erroneousness.

You claimed that since a person, on average, would be getting more benefits from the US SS then that is one proof of the US being richer than Canada.

I have merely pointed out the fact that on this particular item Canadians pay less into their CPP system so it should be no surprise the benefits would also be less.

It is simple logic and your claim pales when considered in this light.

Just because you are unable to fathom that the CPP is a special "tax" that actually goes into a separate fund to be invested and used to pay out benefits does not change this fact.

Presumably the US SS payroll tax also goes into a separate account but, given what I have seen of the way they treat this fund, they may as well be putting it into general revenue.

Which is exactly why the US is not nearly as rich as you make them out to be.

They continue to fund the present by borrowing from the future.

US taxes and/or US SS benefits will be adjusted one of these years. Many economists and accountants have been clear on this since the mid-90's.

While Canada started to do something (by eliminating budget deficits and setting up the CPP as a proper pension scheme) the US has just fiddled (which is not to say that Canada is home free - we have not gone far enough but that is beyond the scope of this topic).

Edited by msj
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Don't see the point of your lecture about State pensions.

...

If you want to extend the argument to all taxes then it should be extended to all services received too but I do not see the point of moving the goal posts now.

...

While Canada started to do something (by eliminating budget deficits and setting up the CPP as a proper pension scheme) the US has just fiddled (which is not to say that Canada is home free - we have not gone far enough but that is beyond the scope of this topic).

Does Canada have a fund for future medical liabilities? Why do we have a fund for future pension liabilities?

These are State funds. As such, in Canada, provincial governments pay for our current medical needs through current taxes. That makes sense. For some strange reason, people think we should "finance" our pension payments with a "pension insurance fund" - yet no "medical insurance fund" is necessary for our State medical scheme. Why?

msj, why does the CPP/QPP (la Caisse) have billions to invest for our pensions but there is no equivalent for our state health insurance system? Each province has future health liabilities, why no health fund with a bureaucracy to invest our health savings?

----

The simple answer is that (English and French) Canadians are confused conservatives. They misunderstand the role of the State. We foolishly look to governments to protect us while simultaneously mistrusting governments.

We pay into State pension schemes insisting on sufficient funds for retirement. And then we pay into State medical schemes through general taxes expecting no similar "actuarial" fund. Why? Canadians will draw as much from their State pension insurance scheme as through their State medical insurance scheme.

In fact, the CPP/QPP (and EI) deductions are just taxes - they're not "premiums". A smart politician would abolish EI and CPP/QPP contributions, and abolish the State savings apparatus (CPPIB/la Caisse). They shouldn't exist and we should roll their contributions into general taxes. Governments should continue to pay pensions and unemployment transfers.

Savings should be privatized.

Why is Canada so poor? Our governments have failed us. Bureaucrats try to pick winners.

Edited by August1991
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Does Canada have a fund for future medical liabilities? Why do we have a fund for future pension liabilities?

These are State funds. As such, in Canada, provincial governments pay for our current medical needs through current taxes. That makes sense. For some strange reason, people think we should "finance" our pension payments with a "pension insurance fund" - yet no "medical insurance fund" is necessary for our State medical scheme. Why?

msj, why does the CPP/QPP (la Caisse) have billions to invest for our pensions but there is no equivalent for our state health insurance system? Each province has future health liabilities, why no health fund with a bureaucracy to invest our health savings?

----

The simple answer is that (English and French) Canadians are confused conservatives. They misunderstand the role of the State. We foolishly look to governments to protect us while simultaneously mistrusting governments.

We pay into State pension schemes insisting on sufficient funds for retirement. And then we pay into State medical schemes through general taxes expecting no similar "actuarial" fund. Why? Canadians will draw as much from their State pension insurance scheme as through their State medical insurance scheme.

In fact, the CPP/QPP (and EI) deductions are just taxes - they're not "premiums". A smart politician would abolish EI and CPP/QPP contributions, and abolish the State savings apparatus (CPPIB/la Caisse). They shouldn't exist and we should roll their contributions into general taxes. Governments should continue to pay pensions and unemployment transfers.

Savings should be privatized.

Why is Canada so poor? Our governments have failed us. Bureaucrats try to pick winners.

August, I like how you try to continue to change the subject rather than admit the evidence you used was used poorly (to say the least).

CPP is a "tax" in that the government deducts it (and it is matched by the employer). CPP, unlike income tax or EI, does not go into general revenue.

It is separately accounted for and rightly so - CPP is more accountable that way.

Otherwise we would have politicians stealing CPP surpluses to spend on their pet projects - kind of like what the US currently does.

As for medical liabilities - your right. They should be measured and when they are the US is shown to have a huge defict (trillions each year) and Canada would certainly have a huge one of billions each year.

The government should be using GAAP properly in order for Canadians (and Americans) to make informed decisions as to how much they want to be taxed and how much and on what programs the funds should be spent.

But that is a topic well beyond the scope of the original posting.

For most people it makes sense to try to match government revenue with eventual government expenditures for a number of reasons:

1) It better matches taxes to expenditures so that one generation isn't going to get lots of benefits to the detriment of the generation(s) to come.

2) It lets people know that this is what it does cost to enjoy the benefits. Otherwise the subsidy by borrowing from future generations (by not properly funding in the here and now) is taken for granted.

3) Simple demographic realities - it's easy to charge taxes on a growing base of 25-50 year olds. When the demographics shift, however, there are real challenges.

As for privatizing savings - well, given how poorly the banks have done in the US, with little regulation on their liar loans, I really don't think people will have an appetite for "market" solutions.

Of course Americans get to blame the Fed (read Congress) for not having enough regulations in the first place rather than admit that the private sector has completely failed.

Merrill Lynch helped OC go bankrupt. Bear Stearns isn't doing so well. Nor is Citi Bank.

The private sector has shown itself to be equally inept and bureaucratic when it comes to savings, lending, securitizing, well, just about anything really.

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Excellent post, August.

I as well have travelled extensively in the U.S.

Throughout Montana, Idaho, Florida, Louisiana, Washington, New York, Oregon, California, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Michigan, California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, Texas.

Surely I'm not stupid, I know there is poverty in the US.

But generally I agree with your post. Canada is mediocre and always has been. American roads, freeway systems (the interstate system is genius and brilliant and wonderful), airports, ferries, etc. are all excellent in the US. All of my healthcare experiences (limited) in the US have been spectacularly, noticabley excellent. Houses and large, neighbourbhoods are beautiful, clean, selection of products is better, pricing is better, raods are superb....

By comparison much of Canada is buttf*ck miserable. But we continue to eat up this BS that we're "the best country" fed to us by the feds.

I think some of it has to do with that theory about Lottery winners. Did you know MOST lottery winners have spent all of it after 5 years and are right back to square one? Apparently people have a "psychological" level of financial success that they keep reverting to.

I think Canada has a national case of this.

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Then my conjecture is wrong. I'm left with no explanation for the false presupposition in the thread title.
We are poorer than we should be. We are below our potential.

If you travel abroad to other rich countries and then return to Canada, you will perhaps realize this.

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Canadians are not poor, but extravagant and conspicuous wealth is not generally valued here, thank goodness.

Perhaps there are more rich Americans, but there are also more poor ones and the poor ones are poorer than here and many without medical care, though more money per capita is spent on health care there than here. That is because our government health care system has 'economies of size' and spends far less on administration than the many private plans in the states.

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