December 12, 2003
Canadian native Jennifer Meeks explains why she fled her homeland for the relative freedom, prosperity and superior healthcare of the United States:
Living in Canada made me feel like a barn animal in George Orwell's "Animal Farm." My only worry is that someday the United States will resemble Canada. Sort of like one giant Seattle. That would be my nightmare.
Welcome aboard, Jennifer. You're among friends.
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at December 12, 2003 10:43 AM
"You're among friends."
On your blog, yes. In the US, unfortunately, this statement is questionable. we have turned much of the World War II generation into quasi-socialists eternally whining for more handouts. What will happen under the demands of the aging Me generation? I shudder at the thought; I try not to think about it too much, since I'm probably going to live to find out anyway.
Unlike those who lived under communist dictatorships, citizens of social democratic welfare state regimes are free to vote to eliminate those programs in order to lower their own taxes and "take care of their own." They seldom if ever do, however, even when doing so would improve the overall economic standing of the nation. Until capitalism raises the standard of living of those at the bottom of society a lot higher than it is today, large segments of the population are going to be willing to band together and seek to confiscate portions of other people's wealth in order to keep themselves from falling to that bottom.
I'm more optimistic. Much of the so-called poor in our society don't stay poor for very long. They push themselves into the middle class quite easily if they work hard. I think most of the studies about the poor reflect this fact. There is no giant and permanent underclass. We have a very mobile society.
If you spend some time cruising the web you must have stumbled across some spirited discussions about how the average income of black Americans exceed those of average Swedes.
As far as those voters not reducing their taxes when given the chance, one need not look far beyond our own back yard. Tim Eimen (I can't spell his last name) has built an industry getting the public to vote themselves a tax cut. I think voters do this consistently. Why do you think the political class will only place 911 or emergency medical service levies rather than social spending programs or art work for our dumps on the ballot? They know that direct public support for these spending programs is tepid if not hostile.
Markus- The choice to vote for redistribution of wealth has nothing to do with relative standards of living. The well-off very frequently vote for these schemes, particularly if they are in the political class, or if they are in businesses that profit from aiding redistibution schemes and/or want protecction from the competition that capitalism provides.
(Think no further than the US military. It isn't capitalism by which the US buys its' hardware. It's via lobbying. I bet you could grind an axe or two over, magic word, 'Haliburton'.)
And, in the case of the US, those at the bottom of America's socioeconomic scale aren't the ones turning out the vote, the middle- and upper-class voters do that. Those very people who could take care of the poor by themselves, so routinely vote for the process of making everyone else do it, too.
What that vote is really for is the ability to impose your morals on others via the vote. Oh wait. I thought the right cornered that market...
Poverty in the US is wildly overstated. The government says 16% of the nation is poor. The ral number is closer to 2%.
I was classified as poor for the past 2 years. I am unemployed and my income was below the Federal poverty line. So despite being comfortably middle class with assets that would put me in the top 10% of the population, the government considers me to be living in poverty.
The government bases poverty on income and completely disregards assets. One third of the people classified as poor own their own homes without having a mortgage. The same percentage as the non-poverty population.
Real poverty is not having enough to eat or being homeless.
What most don't realize is the government agencies that compute the poverty statistics have an incentive to inflate the figure and they do.
As for Canada, it would be the poorest state if it was part of the US. That's not my opinion but the opinion of the Canadian government.
At least Canadians have the luck to be able to enter the USA.
kiss my large white ample canadian ass!
I can't believe so many people are believing this laughable article by Mrs. Meeks. I realize that it's so rare for average Americans to know anything about Canada, so I'll fill you in on a little something... Most of what Mrs. Meeks writes of in the article you have quoted is either gross exageration or outright fabrication.
I hope that the Meeks family gets their Green Cards soon. You can keep them. America hasn't had such a skillful fiction author in quite some time.
The Meeks article is definitely fiction. Guess what? My husband works for Canada Post and doesn't speak French! My neice works for McDonald's - again no French!
Yes, many Canadians in the middle class take their government-subsidized university educations and go to the land of the big bucks. And you know what, we're happy you have them because we don't want 'em. Forgive me for sounding quaint, but I cannot believe that I was put on this earth only to look after me and mine. I was raised better than that. If I can help someone - yes, through my taxes - then I will. I pay them willingly, and I hold my government accountable for how they spend them! That's democracy . . . and though Meeks may dislike M. Chretien and his liberal government, there's no denying he was ACTUALLY ELECTED by the citizens of Canada, not appointed by the Supreme Court. Of course , that's another issue, isn't it?
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Jenny jenny jenny?!?! What happened? Such a work of fiction.
The article was very skewed and loaded with exaggerations. Very much like saying the US is a horrible place because people die from want of medical treatment, you all are gun toting homicidal maniacs and the cities are little more than ghettos where crime and avarice run rampant...(well, you have to admit the US looks that way on any news cast).
I live in British Columbia. If I need to see a Doctor, I make a call and am usually in later that day. I work for the provincial Government and don't need, or have to, speak french - although I would not mind learning the language.
We have regular elections, provincially and federally, where its true the goverment of the day does have some leeway as to the date but it has to be within a specific time. The only reason Chretien was in office so long (and yes, we ELECTED him) was that there was no real alternative.
As for being poor and over taxed, I have over a years salary in the bank and wage wise, I make about the same as others in my field I have met from the states.
I could go on but it simply seems Jenny has become very bitter about something and that is a sad thing.