Canadian Middle Class Has Higher Living Standard Than Americans


Here is an old joke about Canadians:

How do you tell the difference between a Canadian and an American?

The Canadian has free health insurance and does not own a gun.

A recent article on Bloomberg says the difference between middle-class Canadians and Americans shows more differences between the two groups of citizens. A Luxembourg Income Study Database study found that the median income between Canadians and Americans has shifted. Projections from the survey show that the median income of Canadians is now greater than middle-class Americans.

Another study conducted by a Canadian government agency found that Canadians’ incomes are now greater in almost every percentile. As Bloomberg opinion commentator Justin Fox wrote, “A report released this summer by the Centre for the Study of Living Standards, an Ottawa nonprofit, contends that as of 2016, Canada had pulled ahead of the U.S. in median household income, with a $59,438 to $58,849 advantage in U.S. dollars.”

Fox also notes that the currency conversion rate used by all the researchers introduces some margin for error.  Still, Fox concludes: “I think most Americans who have visited Canada lately would attest that it feels like a more broadly affluent place than the U.S. does. The claim that most Canadians are more prosperous than most Americans is not patently unreasonable.”

This is a big economic and political shift. It also shows that elected Republicans’ claims that socialized health care in Canada and other extensive social safety-net programs are not detrimental to average Americans are just the opposite. Nations with socialized health care, subsidized or free college tuition, family leaves for illnesses or pregnancies, and other social programs are not the radically disruptive forces Republicans and other conservatives claim.

As someone who just returned from a trip to eastern Canada, I agree with Fox.  Without access to hard economic data, Canadians seem more content with their lives; the cities are cleaner.  I saw less homelessness in Quebec and Montreal; staff workers and servers were efficient and polite. Canadians were also very patriotic, loved everything Canadian, from hockey to maple syrup, and were not wasting tax dollars on endless foreign wars that benefit the military-industrial complex.

All this, of course, is anecdotal, but Americans vote based on anecdotal evidence.  Progressives Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have all endorsed the benefits of the Canadian system, even as Republicans vilify and intentionally malign Canadian programs that benefit their citizens.

This seems to be the point: Republicans oppose all social program that benefits average Americans. From gun control to free college tuition to socialized medicine, Republicans are the reactionary force we can count on to beat back all populist initiatives.

The 2020 election is the last chance to reverse this stranglehold on average Americans. The 2020 election is the last chance to beat back the corrupt system. If Trump wins again, Canada will become very attractive to a greater number of Americans.


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