Skip to comments.Should Advocates of Small Government Now Escape to Canada?
Posted on 09/25/2012 12:00:13 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
Back in 2010, I wrote about the Free State Project, which is based on the idea that libertarians should all move to New Hampshire and turn the state into a free market experiment.
I was impressed when I spoke at one of their conferences and gave them a plug, but more recently Im running into people who are so discouraged about Americas fiscal outlook that theyre thinking of moving to some other nation.
Wealthy people seem to prefer Switzerland and the Cayman Islands, while middle-class people mostly talk about Australia and Latin America (mainly Costa Rica or Panama).
But maybe Canada is the place to go. Its now the 5th-freest economy in the world, while the United States has dropped to 18th place.
Im a big fan of Canadas fiscal reforms. On several occasions, Ive explained how Canadian lawmakers boosted economic and fiscal performance by restraining the growth of government spending.
Indeed, Canada is my main example when I explain why the United States should follow my Golden Rule of fiscal policy.
By allowing the private sector to grow faster than the government, Canada has also been able to implement big tax cuts. Heck, they even privatized their air traffic control system.
Canadas reforms got some positive attention in todays Wall Street Journal from Mary Anastasia OGrady.
Former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin has a stern warning for the U.S. political class: Get real about the gap between federal revenues and spending, or get ready for disaster. Mr. Martin knows of what he speaks. In 1993, when he was Canadas finance minister, his country faced a daunting fiscal crisis. When the Liberal Party government of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien took power in October 1993, Mr. Martin was charged with pulling his nation out of the fiscal death spiral. He did it with deep cuts in federal spending over two years that amounted to 10% of the budget, excluding interest costs. Nothing was spared. Even federal transfers to the provinces to fund Canadas sacred national health-care system got hit. The federal government also cut and block-granted money for welfare programs to the provinces, giving them almost full control over how the money would be spent. In the 1997 election, the Liberals increased their majority in parliament. The Chrétien government followed with tax cuts starting in 1998 and one of the largest tax cutsboth corporate and personalin the history of the country in 2000. The Liberals won again in 2000.
In the U.S., by contrast, weve degenerated to the point where the central bank is now financing a disturbingly large share of the deficit.
Market discipline doesnt exist in Washington, which has the privilege of an accommodating central bank issuing the worlds reserve currency. The big spenders dont need to pay attention to pesky numbers. the Fed bought 77% of all new federal debt last year. It is doing so at rock-bottom interest rates. By holding the short-term fed-funds rate low while it buys up long-term securities, Mr. Bernanke is helping our political class ignore the real cost of rising federal indebtedness.
This doesnt mean were at near-term risk of becoming another Argentina or Zimbabwe, but I definitely dont like the trend. No wonder the Canadian dollar is now stronger than the dollar.
But thats a separate issue. This post is mostly about fiscal policy and Canadas outlook.
In the short run, Canadas a good bet. Reforms have been implemented, and they happened under a left-of-center government and have been continued more recently by a right-of-center government.
Weve had bipartisanship in the United States as well, but the wrong kind. For the past 12 years, weve endured big spenders from both parties. No wonder Canada now ranks higher.
In the long run, though, Im not sure Canadas the right choice. I joke about the cold weather, but Im more concerned about the fact that the burden of government spending remains too high, consuming about 42 percent of economic output. And even though Canada has implemented some pension reforms, it has a government-run healthcare system that will become a greater burden on taxpayers as the population ages.
This doesnt mean Im optimistic about the long-run outlook in the United States. Yes, we can fix our fiscal problems if we cap the growth of spending and implement entitlement reform to address the long-run problem, but Im not holding my breath expecting those policies.
So Im back to my original plan of finding somebody to give me millions of dollars so I can escape to the Cayman Islands.
P.S. If youre thinking of sending me a big check, give me some advance notice. To avoid nasty headaches with the IRS, I should go to the Cayman Islands first and then have somebody give me millions of dollars.
P.P.S. On a more serious note, heres my video highlighting nations including Canada that successfully restrained government spending.
P.P.P.S. The Canadian government also deserves praise for resisting global schemes to raise taxes on the banking sector.
P.P.P.P.S. But there are bad people in Canada, such as the politician who escaped to the U.S. for surgery while leaving ordinary Canadians stuck in long waiting lines.
P.P.P.P.P.S. To close on a light note, heres a satirical article about American leftists trying to escape to Canada after the 2010 elections.
In a land mass of roughly 4000x2000 miles, I’m sure you can find a nice corner to hole up in with your pals. “Going Galt” isn’t that hard once you decide to. You can disassociate from most of the system here with little effort. Going elsewhere won’t improve things much freedom-wise; few countries don’t consider outright socialism the accepted norm.
Appreciate your post.
If Baraq wins in Nov, the topic of “bolt or revolt” will be a serious one here on FR.
Talk to any Canadian and they’ll tell you there’s not much small government up there.
The split of the C-CRAP Conservatives from the Tories was necessary, but it gave Liberals a free hand for over a decade to build the government (which was already bigger than ours) as BIG as they wanted.
PM Harper is a very smart guy who is doing a fine job, but it’s gonna take decades to undo all that.
If one where going to flee, Canada would be a wise choice.
The thing is that the global collapse is coming no matter what and the last thing you want to be is a stranger in a strange land When it happens. Being a minority would make that worse by many times over.
Me personally, I’m an American and they’ll have to kill me where I stand because I’m not going anywhere.
what a bunch of drivel..
the canadians come over here in droves to buy stuff, not because of the currency exchange rates, but because of the significant tax savings in buy here and taking it home..
they come over in motor homes, with huge trailers, and large trucks and just fill ‘em up...
try to drive through port huron on a weekend, and count the number of american versus canadian license plates..
they have one of the highest tax rates in the world...
This doesn't mean were at near-term risk of becoming another Argentina or Zimbabwe
10%? We borrow 40% of what we spend today.
We are more likely to end up like Japan, 20 years of economic stagnation and loss of standard of living.
Not to mention the dramatic loss of freedom for us and our children.
One strong possibility I’m following is somewhere in the Caribbean.
As Obamacare clamps down, the best and brightest of the medical profession will head offshore, and set up medical clinic/spas for the US upper class who can afford to pay for their own care and want something better than the govt offers.
What about Singapore?
I’m hoping that conservative talk radio has plans to move overseas and continue to broadcast via short wave as if there is a second Obama term all free speech will be banned.
Singapore would be great if you don’t mind being the first to die when the global collapse hits. Those who are different will be the first targets of the angry mobs.
I ain’t “fleeing” anywhere!
Canada and/or the free states bordering Canada (New Hampshire, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota) would make good bases from which to “bolt AND revolt.” Texas, Arizona and the gulf states, too. What we need is a state whose governor and legislature tell the feds to stop violating the constitution, and confronts it. Texas is the only one that can lead such a movement.
Singapore is a very prosperous market-based economy, but there is very little actual “freedom” there. A virtual dictatorship with Michael Bloomberg-style nanny rules writ large.
There is nowhere else to go.
USA was the last best hope.
Certainly a possibility, but a long ways away from the US.
I'm sure if Baraq wins in Nov, we'll spend a lot of time here on FR with discussion and fact finding.
Where do you ship all of them?
I hate being cold.
I like Virginia just fine, thanks. It’s already a nice place. And it’ll still be a nice place after “the divorce.”
The only question in my mind is whether the divorce happens after a long attempt at reconciliation or is a relatively quick parting of the ways.
Canada is c-c-cold.
“I have a better Idea. Stand, Fight and WIN”
Please define a “win” for us.
“What about Singapore?”
What about it? Very prosperous, small country with a very low birthrate and without the ability to defend itself if push comes to shove. It also has zero political freedom, and no gun rights.
“USA was the last best hope.”
It still is. Although perhaps not in the same political construct.
“I aint fleeing anywhere!”
I’m of the same mind. But staying put doesn’t mean settling for hind teat.
“Texas is the only one that can lead such a movement.”
They don’t need to lead much of anything. Just do the electoral math of a post-TX rest of the United States.
To all those who might think of moving to Canada,
I say Fine, go ahead.
Well what are you waiting for?
You’re blocking my berm.
My idea of American policy toward the Soviet Union is simple, and some would say simplistic. It is this: We win and they lose. What do you think of that? -Ronald Reagan
My idea of American policy toward the leftists that run the White House, the Senate, the media, and academia is simple, and some would say simplistic. It is this: We win and they lose. What do you think of that?
Winning starts with removing Obama and repealing Obamacare. What do you think of that?
Removing hussein and obamneycare would be a small first step. What next?
Winning in foreign policy would mean what? You’re not defining the end result very clearly.
>>>The thing is that the global collapse is coming no matter what and the last thing you want to be is a stranger in a strange land When it happens. Being a minority would make that worse by many times over.
Me personally, Im an American and theyll have to kill me where I stand because Im not going anywhere.<<<
I agree. Becoming a refugee is not an appealing prospect. And the truth is that there really is no place to run. God help us.
Just why should HE?
Are you still killing your unborn?
Let me see if I understand you.
You want to follow the big-rich offshore -- why?
Are you going to work for them down there? They'll want locals, cheap locals. Or do you really want to live in a cinderblock house with a dirt floor? That's why Ford moved one big plant to Torreon, Mexico, in the early 90's: Business Week told us how their board members were, um, pleasuring themselves under the table at the reality that they had a guy who lived like that with his wife, mom, two kids and another in the oven, welding for them for $75/week. His "bennies" were taco lunch and car fare. Whoooo--EEE!! Dirt-poor skilled labor, working for free! Viva Mexico!!
So, you want a thick slice of that for yourself, huh?
You want to be like the shop girls on Rodeo Drive who can't afford to buy where they work? The Ferrari salesman who drives an '85 Audi Quattro because it's a "classic"?
Those clinics won't be treating you. That's the whole point, their whole raison d'etre. Guys like you drag their averages down. When Donald Trump checks in with a boo-boo, on the other hand, they treat him and then retire to the back office to fire up a Macanudo.
Remember, the whole idea of "trickle down" shuts down the minute the new accountant settles into his job. He's in charge of anti-trickle, just like Henry Clay Frick was for Andrew Carnegie, back in the day. Thousands for armed Pinkertons, but we'll make our workers pay for them with the 50% wage cut. Yeah, go work for Frick.
OK, maybe I’ll move to Cuba and help them fix 55 Chevys.....
The Men Who Built America - Series Premiere
Tue., Oct. 16 at 9/8c
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Using state of the art computer generated imagery that incorporates 12 million historical negatives, many made available for the first time by the Library of Congress, this series will bring back to life the world they knew and the one they created. The event series will show how these men took a failed experiment in democracy and created the greatest superpower the world has ever seen. We see how their historic achievements came to create the America of today.
******I will be watching this for sure!!!
Oh, so that's what De Tocqueville's Jacksonian America was? Well, it guess it was unsatisfactory -- if you were a self-consequent, ruthlessly self-aggrandizing prig like Lewis Tappan, John Forbes, Nicholas Biddle, or John D. Rockefeller Sr.
Sounds like someone is trying to lay a pseudointellectual foundation for a pitch for totalitarian fascism, based on Great Man theories about American history. "You didn't build that -- Henry Ford did."