I'm still new to posting here, so forgive me if I don't have the format completely down yet.
My name's Luke, and I'm a Canadian.
Yes, I hail from the land of banned books and a joke of a "Human Rights Tribunal" that can smack down free speech (and often does).
See if any of this sounds familiar.
My country was once great. In 1947, Canada had the third largest military in the world, and a flourishing economy. Immediately, the decline started. We began to emulate the European Social Democracies almost instantly. Maybe it was our tight relationship with the U.K. that drew us in, maybe our constitution (Yes, we do have a constitution) was not strong enough to bind the power of a burgeoning bureaucracy, and maybe our far too efficient government got in over it's head and never stopped digging.
But it was Tommy Douglas who doomed us.
In the late 40s, a new political party came to force in several Canadian provinces, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF). This was essentially the Social Democratic party of Canada, and is now the New Democratic Party. The current Leader of the NDP, Jack Layton, makes Obama look like Reagan.
But back to Tommy Douglas.
Tommy Douglas was elected the leader of the Provincal CCF in Saskatchewan when it was still a fringe party, in 1942. In 1944, they won the provincial election, and held over a supermajority of seats. Douglas proceeded to work on transforming Canadian politics, as an influential Premier (Governor, in American terms). At this time, Canada was only 77 years old. Yes, seventy-seven. (We are a young country, confederated in 1867.) Douglas created new Crown Corporations (Owned by the Federal Government) and bought out many private corporations to create a market for the Government produced goods.
In 1962, his party passed his bill, the Medicare Act. I'm sure you are all familiar with Medicare, in it's various incarnations.
In 1964, the federal government began to incentivize the creation of provincial Medicare systems. In the late 70s, they consolidated them into the monster that you see today.
You may forget that Canadians were a frontier people, more similar to our American neighbors than any other people on earth. We were gradually bought and paid for by entitlement programs, and we became the nation you see today. We have had the "Conservative Party of Canada" in power for the last 6 or 7 years, and our deficit is through the roof. And they show no sign of stopping.
They're nearly as bad as Obama, but at least there's no Cap'n'trade...Just a hefty Carbon Emission Tax.
I filled up my car today, and gas was $1.17 a litre, that works out to $4.68 a gallon.
I bought a used DVD for $4.99, and paid 13% sales tax. (7 percent provincial sales tax and 5 percent federal). Pretty soon it's going to 15% (November? December?), and it may reach 17% again, if they keep growing the debt.
To insure my car through the government monopoly on car insurance, with no surcharges for any collisions included, is nearly $3,500 a year. There is no competition. ICBC (The monopoly) makes an increasingly large profit each year by raising rates. If you did nothing wrong at all in a year's worth of insurance, no violations of any kind, you get a 5% discount. This barely offsets the roughly 3% increase in premiums yearly.
Our public schools hire avowed communists who are open about their views.
Our teacher's unions strike every year or two, and never give up anything of value in negotiation.
Our stimulus package for 2010 was $62 billion (Canadian) dollars. That equates to just over 25% of our expected incoming revenue for the year, or 4.8% of our GDP. Your stimulus was larger, at $987 billion, but will last for two years, at roughly 3.5% of GDP per year, if I've done the math right (All GDP figures were gleaned from www.cia.gov). We had a larger stimulus last year as well, but I can't remember the exact total.
Our income taxes are high, but here's the kicker.
I am a student. Full-Time.
I work hard to pay for my school, and as of right now I have no student loans.
My summer job pays pretty well for hard and dangerous work, so I get by.
Let me be clear, what I have said in the past is this: I worked part-time for 8 months, full-time for 3 months, and was unemployed for 1 month in the last year.
I paid over 1/10 of my income in taxes, after every possible claimed credit. A full-time student can claim a lot, and I used every tax credit and incentive there was. I made under $25,000 (Canadian) Dollars. And I paid over $2700 in taxes. There is nothing wrong with paying taxes, but I don't even havea hope of using any of the services that I am paying for.
My grandpa recently passed away from Lung Cancer. This time, our health care system did well helping him. This being said, my grandpa had a history with our health-care system. In the early 90s he sued them and was the second person in Canada who was able to unlock his pension funds early to pay for treatment in the States. In Canada, it was an experimental treatment, so it wasn't covered. In the U.S., it had been used for nearly a decade.
This is coming to a country near you in the immediate future, if you don't stop it. I have far more faith that you will hold strong then I have of reforming my own country single-handedly.
I plan on eventually escaping my socialist homeland, and emigrating to a saner place.
If you have any suggestions on which state I should move to, I'd appreciate it.
(cross-posted at http://politicsandtrivialstuff.blogspot.com)