Quantcast

«

»

Jul 21 2012

Canadian families richer than American families — thanks, socialism!

A perhaps startling, but perfectly heartening piece of pro-Canada propaganda err, news from Bloomberg:

According to data from Environics Analytics WealthScapes published in the Globe and Mail, the net worth of the average Canadian household in 2011 was $363,202, while the average American household’s net worth was $319,970.

A few days later, Canada and the U.S. both released the latest job figures. Canada’s unemployment rate fell, again, to 7.2 percent, and America’s was a stagnant 8.2 percent. Canada continues to thrive while the U.S. struggles to find its way out of an intractable economic crisis and a political sine curve of hope and despair.

The difference grows starker by the month: The Canadian system is working; the American system is not. And it’s not just Canadians who are noticing. As Iceland considers switching to a currency other than the krona, its leaders’ primary focus of interest is the loonie — the Canadian dollar.

Honestly, between the absolute commitment to socialized medicine (yes, even our staunchest of far-right Conservative party members dare not touch it!), and the present government’s commitment to enriching its citizens at the long-term expense of the environment by moving full-steam-ahead on the oil sands, this isn’t really surprising to me. Though, I’d give more credit for the viability of the Canadian household to the socialized medicine we have here, for more appropriately distributing health care and resulting in a net increase in population health, as opposed to rationing it to the richest people only and treating it as a for-profit industry. Yes, the oil sands put more wealth in the system, but it stays in the system rather than being siphoned out to the health industry. And let’s face it, the health care crisis in the States — forestalled by Obama’s efforts, but still looming — results directly from the pursuit of profits over health.

Canada topping the States is “startling” only insofar as it completely inverts the trope that America is the land of milk and honey, and Canada’s just where you go to escape idiots gaining power in America. Now, it’s very much the other way around. It only remains to be seen how many rights Harper et al will destroy while they have office, and how many people flee to America to escape his ongoing pursuit of short-term profit over long-term viability.

18 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    Cara

    Be careful drawing conclusions from that comparison of wealth. The US had a housing bubble that crashed in 2008 and destroyed enormous amounts of paper value. However, Canada’s house prices have risen above historical norms, and it’s quite possible that Canada is experiencing its own housing bubble.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-19/congratulations-canada-on-your-ongoing-housing-bubble.html

    In other words, this is probably a transient situation, not based on the fundamentals.

  2. 2
    jimbaerg

    I would be more interested in a comparison of the median incomes than average incomes between countries. A high average can be from a small super wealthy class with much of the population in poverty, while a high median can only be achieved by having most of the population being moderatel well off.

  3. 3
    Corvus illustris

    Down here we thought that Social Security and Medicare were (jointly or severally) the third rail of politics and that touching them meant instant death. Now we have Romney embracing the Ryan “plan,” and Obama seems willing to push the entry-ages up for both programs. You guys really better keep an eye on Harper, not to mention those crazies out in Alberta.

  4. 4
    CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain

    Video: Colbert – Canada’s Economic Growth Despite Melting Currency

  5. 5
    dsmccoy

    I would be more interested in a comparison of the median incomes than average incomes between countries.

    The report says “the net worth of the average Canadian household”. For one, it’s wealth not income being mentioned. Secondly, “the wealth of the average Canadian” is another way of saying the median wealth, otherwise it would say “the average wealth of a Canadian”.

    And while we’re comparing, how about those Australians!

    http://middleclasspoliticaleconomist.blogspot.com/2012/07/us-trails-at-least-15-oecd-countries-in.html

  6. 6
    carlie

    I would be more interested in a comparison of the median incomes than average incomes between countries. A high average can be from a small super wealthy class with much of the population in poverty, while a high median can only be achieved by having most of the population being moderatel well off.

    The US by far has the highest income disparity of pretty much any developed country( source), so odds are comparing the median income would make the US look even worse.

  7. 7
    dsmccoy

    Again, The article isn’t about income, it’s about net worth.

    And yes, the USA looks really bad on median net worth:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/files/2012/07/medianwealth.jpg

  8. 8
    dsmccoy

    The difference being you can have a really high income and still have a really lousy net worth if you are in debt.

  9. 9
    Silo Mowbray

    Jason, as Canadians you do realize that we have to now go spend our largess on communist uniforms, beer, and seal meat for our huskies, right?

    I’ll get the beer and meet you at your igloo. Eh. Tabernac.

  10. 10
    Jason Thibeault

    Caulice! A moose ate my touque, I can’t go out now!

  11. 11
    captainahags

    Secondly, “the wealth of the average Canadian” is another way of saying the median wealth, otherwise it would say “the average wealth of a Canadian.

    I don’t think this is right. Usually when someone says average, it means the arithmetic mean.

  12. 12
    Garnetstar

    You’ve heard of the slogan that Michael Moore suggested that Canada use to attract immigrants?

    “Canada: all the amenities of America without the stupidity and violence.”

  13. 13
    peicurmudgeon

    I certainly see a huge difference in the homes of the rural poor here in Canada vs what I have seen in the rural US. The differences in wealth or net worth are invisible, but the living conditions of the poor are right there for all of us to see.

    Given the way Harper has driven up the deficit and cut taxes, I fear for the future of our social welfare system.

  14. 14
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    A housing bubble would inflate the average net worth.

    The social safety net that gives a ‘floor’ to desperation is priceless.

  15. 15
    Suido

    @Captainahags #11

    The phrase ‘average …ian’ is a colloquial usage of the word average, which actually means the most common person aka the median person. Yes, slightly confusing, but that’s what you get for speaking English :P

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Average_Joe

    http://www.forbes.com/2006/10/16/demographics-income-population-biz_cx_tvr_1017median.html

    @dsmccoy: thanks for those links, very informative.

    @Everyone: indulgent gloating from Australia, where it’s a never ending battle to explain to ‘little Aussie battlers’ that they’re actually in the lucky country, so could we please stop detaining refugees/complaining about aboriginal welfare/etc.

  16. 16
    Suido

    *Not colloquial; using the word as an adjective instead of a noun/verb can mean it has a different definition. Average as an adjective can be synonymous with ordinary, typical or common.

  17. 17
    smrnda

    I wonder how Americans can go on believing in the “American Way” or the “American Dream” when so much evidence suggests that other nations have figured a way around problems we seem to refuse to deal with. Part of it could be ignorance – plenty of Americans, if they were told that ‘health care is Country X is a disaster’ by a media talking head wouldn’t even know how to test whether the claim was true.

    Another issue might be that some Americans believe in a sort of “American Way” regardless of whether or not it yields good or bad outcomes. Some people can’t regard any sort of progressive income tax without viewing it as ‘punishing the successful’ and any talk of shared sacrifice or shared responsibility is shot down as some sort of leftist commie conspiracy without even a hearing as to the possible merits of the program. I’ve actually heard people say that, rather than raising taxes on the rich, Americans should just accept a decreasing standard of living since “you can’t raise taxes on the rich. It’s just wrong.” The discussion ends there.

    I’d like to see more stats, but my own investigations has shown me very few ways the US is superior. When people start making a case that American houses are bigger than ones in Europe, I start to hear some desperation.

  18. 18
    Paul S.

    US houses (and cars) are bigger on average than those in Europe, but that’s because people in the US are generally more willing to go into long-term debt to buy houses and cars than people in Europe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>