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Old 05-14-2014, 07:42 AM  
notorious notorious is offline
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3 ways America should be more like Canada


3 ways America should be more like Canada


By Rick Newman


Its middle class is thriving, its people are universally liked and its government actually works.

Fifty years ago, this description might have fit the United States. But not now. America’s middle class is shrinking and its global reputation is spotty. Congress, meanwhile, creates more problems than it solves.

So for guidance on how to fix America, why not look north to Canada, where the mood is upbeat and life appears to be getting demonstrably better? The New York Times recently reported the Canadian middle class is now the world’s richest, surpassing the U.S. for the first time. In the 2014 “better life index” recently published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Canada outscored the United States in 9 of 11 categories, including education, safety and overall life satisfaction.

The poverty rate is lower in Canada, and every Canadian citizen has government-provided health insurance, which might explain why Canadians enjoy longer life expectancy than Americans and are considerably less obese. As for the government, Canada’s national debt amounts to about $18,000 per person, compared with $55,000 in America.

So what is Canada doing right?

It has a more stable banking system. Canada has virtually never experienced a financial crisis, and there were no bailouts north of the border in 2008 when the U.S. government committed $245 billion to save dozens of U.S. banks. The differences between the two countries are somewhat accidental. In the United States, distrust of a strong central government all the way back in the founders’ days led to a system of state-chartered banks vulnerable to political meddling, and therefore riskier than the big, nationally chartered financial institutions that operate in Canada.

“In the United States, instability was permitted by regulators because it served powerful political interests,” Prof. Charles Calomiris of Columbia University wrote in a 2013 paper for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. “In Canada, the banking system was not used as a means of channeling subsidized credit to a favored political constituency, so there was no need to tolerate instability.” The legacy of that today is a malleable U.S. banking system that, among other things, was deregulated in the late 1990s at the behest of banks themselves — which contributed to the 2008 collapse.

The financial crisis and the abuses that led to it are still holding back the U.S. economy. Shoddy lending standards were a major cause of the housing bust, which has whacked $3 trillion off the value of Americans’ real-estate assets — even with the year-long recovery in the housing market. That’s a huge loss of wealth that continues to hold back U.S. spending. And it’s just part of a 25-year debt binge Americans are still working off. With far fewer lending excesses, Canada didn’t really have a housing bust or a credit crisis to recover from.

Money doesn’t dominate politics. Canada has much stricter rules governing campaign contributions than those in America, where campaign-finance laws are getting weaker on account of recent Supreme Court rulings striking down limits on spending. Tougher limits in Canada give people and businesses with money to spend less influence over laws and regulations. “Every single one of my voters thinks that is terrific,” says former journalist Chrystia Freeland, now a Canadian member of parliament, representing a district in Toronto. “There is a lot less influence of the really wealthy and single-issue interest groups. A regular person has a much bigger voice.”

Many members of the U.S. Congress report spending half their time, or more, raising money for reelection efforts rather than legislating. Freeland estimates she spends less than 5% of her time doing that. There’s virtually no chance the United States will ever adopt a Canadian-style parliamentary system, but Congress could pass new laws or amend the Constitution in order to limit the corrupting influence of Big Money in politics. Were that to happen, however, it would probably make incumbent politicians more vulnerable to challengers. Maybe next century.

There’s less hostility toward immigrants. Canada, like the United States, has limits on the number of foreigners it allows into the country to work. But the whole issue of immigration is far less politicized, and there’s a broad understanding that skilled foreign workers help the economy. Canada actually recruits immigrants, part of a deliberate effort to attract talented foreigners most likely to contribute to economic growth. In the United States, the quota for skilled immigrants is far below the number U.S. firms would hire if they could get them. Despite appeals from many businesses, Congress is paralyzed on reforms that would let more skilled immigrants in, partly because that issue gets conflated with separate reforms aimed at stemming the flow of unskilled illegals.

Canada has its own problems, needless to say. Its government-run healthcare system draws complaints of long wait times for care and trailing-edge medical technology. Some economists think a housing bubble may be forming, for instance, and trends such as rising income inequality affect Canada just as they do every other industrialized country. Plus, it's cold.

In the Land of Moderation, however, such challenges seem manageable. “We’re less anxious because we didn’t have the financial crisis,” says Freeland, “but Canadians should guard against smugness.” Now there's something you're unlikely to hear an American politician say.

http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily...150359533.html
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Old 05-14-2014, 09:57 PM   #31
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Canada's biggest resource is that it is the number 2 electricity exporter in the world. It is also the number 5 exporter of natural gas, just ahead of the Netherlands but comfortably behind Qatar and Norway, which are considerably smaller. It's not within the top ten of oil exporters, again despite its monstrous size.

Overall, it's the number 13 exporter in the world, between Italy and Spain, exporting about 458 billion dollars per year. It's also the number 11 importer in the world, importing about 471 billion dollars per year - $13 billion more than it exports.

There's a reason so few people live there, and 90% of those who do live within 100 miles of its southern border: it can't generate enough food to feed any more than that. Most of its north is either tundra, permafrost, or ice cap. Of its 18 main natural resources, the only edible one is fish (twelve others are all minerals). A whopping 4.3% of its land is arable. It does, however, have trees. Lots and lots of trees.

They do well with the natural resources, especially in the highly developed south, but Canada's geography is such that it doesn't churn forth 'huge' amounts, especially given their size and first-world status. It's the main limiting factor as to why we won't see a Canadian superpower any time soon.
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Old 05-15-2014, 06:04 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Aries Walker View Post
Canada's biggest resource is that it is the number 2 electricity exporter in the world. It is also the number 5 exporter of natural gas, just ahead of the Netherlands but comfortably behind Qatar and Norway, which are considerably smaller. It's not within the top ten of oil exporters, again despite its monstrous size.

Overall, it's the number 13 exporter in the world, between Italy and Spain, exporting about 458 billion dollars per year. It's also the number 11 importer in the world, importing about 471 billion dollars per year - $13 billion more than it exports.

There's a reason so few people live there, and 90% of those who do live within 100 miles of its southern border: it can't generate enough food to feed any more than that. Most of its north is either tundra, permafrost, or ice cap. Of its 18 main natural resources, the only edible one is fish (twelve others are all minerals). A whopping 4.3% of its land is arable. It does, however, have trees. Lots and lots of trees.

They do well with the natural resources, especially in the highly developed south, but Canada's geography is such that it doesn't churn forth 'huge' amounts, especially given their size and first-world status. It's the main limiting factor as to why we won't see a Canadian superpower any time soon.
Is this your way of saying,"I was wrong"?

It's okay to say it. I do all the time.


You left out a little bit:

World leader in zinc, gold, nickel, uranium, lead, alluminum, timber.

Oh, it has more oil than Saudi Arabia.

Last edited by notorious; 05-15-2014 at 06:09 AM..
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Old 05-15-2014, 06:45 AM   #33
BucEyedPea BucEyedPea is offline
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Oh, it has more oil than Saudi Arabia.
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Old 05-15-2014, 06:48 AM   #34
BucEyedPea BucEyedPea is offline
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It's the main limiting factor as to why we won't see a Canadian superpower any time soon.
Well, it is part of the British Commonwealth along with Australia and New Zealand. Britain was once a superpower.
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Old 05-15-2014, 11:33 AM   #35
Aries Walker Aries Walker is offline
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World leader in zinc, gold, nickel, uranium, lead, aluminum, timber.

Oh, it has more oil than Saudi Arabia.
I'll go through these quickly. It's the number 5 zinc producer, 7 in gold, 5 in nickel, 2 in uranium, a distant 7 in lead, 3 in aluminum, and 5 in timber (behind even Japan and Germany). Also, you missed one: it's number 1 in flax worldwide. Granting that and uranium, none of the others here are surprising considering its massive size.

It does not have more oil than Saudi Arabia. Canada has 173.6 bbn of oil reserves (including the oil sands); Saudi Arabia and Venezuela have 267 and 211 bbn respectively. However, Canada actually produces less than 4 million per day, which puts it behind China, and far behind the US and Russia. Instead, it's in the same classification as the mid-sized Middle Eastern countries, and Nigeria and Mexico. (Source.) Also, it uses a lot of oil; crude oil is actually one of Canada's major imports.

The sharp-eyed will notice a few important missing resources on the Canada list. It produces very little coal, for example. It's a distant 9th in iron and copper, and 31st in wine. I mentioned fish before, but it's only 20th even in that. It doesn't rank on sugar, beef, sheep, cotton, or titanium at all. And, of course, there's agriculture; it's the number 5 barley producer, the number 2 blueberry (!) producer, and otherwise it doesn't appear at the top of any worldwide agriculture industries. I also refer you back to the 4.3% arable land figure I quoted earlier, which like the rest of that post came from here. It can't feed itself.

But I get it - it does have a lot of a few resources, but it can't get to many of them (or utilize much of its land for anything) because of the punishing weather. That's why there's such a disconnect between its oil reserves and its much-lower oil production, for example, and it's basically my point. Resource-wise, Canada should be considered with the medium-size countries, because most of it is a frozen wasteland.
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Old 05-15-2014, 11:34 AM   #36
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Due to proximity. Mexico is number two.
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Old 05-15-2014, 11:52 AM   #37
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Comparing US and Canadian immigration is the absolutely asinine.
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