Canada’s big chance

August 31, 2009

This piece appears in the August 27th issue of MacLean’s magazine:


Canada’s economy is a small fraction of the size of America’s and we’re less productive, but prudent fiscal management has put us in a relatively good position going forward.  Mulroney’s much maligned GST and Paul Martin’s careful management of federal government finances contributed to our strength today.  It’s going to be up to Harper to ensure this isn’t squandered.

These matters are very topical for our political and free enterprise leaders.  President Obama, Prime Minister Harper, Prime Minister Brown and other leaders are facing tremendous economic challenges.

While one may think these are matters isolated to 2009 and beyond, you may be interested in taking a few minutes to watch this excerpt from the 1980 Republican leadership debate between George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.

As we now all know, Reagan went on to defeat Bush and then Carter to become president.  President Reagan embarked on a terrific agenda of tax cutting and free enterprise policies.  They worked.

One can only hope that President Obama, presiding over one of the largest increases of government in history, reviews his history lessons and takes a second look at the direction he has selected.

I received this note from a good friend and thought it was worth sharing. I don’t know the original source.

Subject: Socialism

Lesson An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before but had once failed an entire class.

That class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism. All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A. The Class agreed!

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.

As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

The second test average was a D!

No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward and shares it with those not earning it, no one will try or want to succeed.

It just doesn’t get any simpler than this.