Friday, June 25, 2010

I Agree With All This But...

I know I shouldn't pick on Fox News but I can't help myself today. I actually agree with everything in the post, except one big thing, causality. I do think the US should follow all the policies Canada is following that are mentioned in this article but I'm not sure they have more than a very marginal impact on Canada's relative success.

Important to consider in the Canadian case is that they have a very highly regulated, concentrated banking industry that is forced to be highly conservative. Also, Canada has single payer health care so they are not facing the same pressures we are in that area. Add to this that natural resource extraction is a much larger part of the economy, and a sector that held up unusually well in this recession, and you have further reasons to question the causality implied in the original post.

Also, it shouldn't be ignored that Canada already has higher taxes for individuals and a more diversified revenue stream in the form of the General Sales Tax (GST), so is less constrained than we are when engaging with revenue issues linked to corporate taxes due to their more diverse revenue streams. Not that I personally don't want corporate taxes eliminated, I just think the reality that this means raising taxes on individuals, consumption, capital gains, and capital exports needs to mentioned as part of this discussion to give the full picture.

In short, I agree with everything said in it but too much emphasis is being given to factors that seem likely to be having a relatively small marginal impact on the Canadian economy while the primary drivers are being ignored. Not that I'm surprised, this is Fox News after all, but now and then I like to point on the necessity of basic reading comprehension skills when analyzing news from these sources. [These being Fox News and the Heritage Foundation, both of which occaisionally publish something worthwhile but require very careful reading to sort out the valuable bits from the trash.]

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