A developed, North American First World nation is in an existential crisis. Its government debt and deficit are at gray hair-inducing levels. Its currency is the laughing-stock of the world, its onetime strength sapped by unbearable levels of spendthrift habits. Leadership appears utterly absent, and there is a general tone of disenfranchisement and hopelessness.
Sound familiar? It should , to us.
In the early 1990's, this was your country--if you were a Canadian.
I recently saw these comparisons in separate pieces in both the Wall Street Journal and the National Review, drawing similarities between these two situations.
In 1993 (incidentally, the last time a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup), Jean Chritien and his Liberal Party (yes folks, the Liberal Party), capitalized on voter anger over government debt at 70% of GDP. By 1998, the country had a $3 billion surplus thanks to a 40% cut in unemployment benefits and a 7:1 ratio of cuts to tax increases.
Fast forward to 2010. Canada's trillion-dollar-plus economy grew at 3.3%, faster than the US at 2.9%. It has a 7.2% unemployment rate (compared to 9.2% for the US). And its lowly dollar eclipsed ours in the strength department (although it recently slipped back below parity).
Quite frankly, I find this humiliating.
Is a similar turnaround possible here? Is the leadership present to make it happen? At the risk of seeming like those people (you know the type) who are always threatening to move to Canada, but wouldn't be caught dead actually living there...does an extended trip up north look more appealing than ever right now?