NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Taxes and Big Government: the Lesson from Canada

April 21, 2004

Canada's Fraser Institute has released two studies -- Economic Freedom in North America and Government Failure in Canada, 1997-2004: A Survey of Reports from the Auditor General -- that show bigger government hasn't been good for Canadians:

  • With few exceptions, all U.S. states have higher levels of economic freedom than the Canadian provinces, and as a result, the richest Canadian provinces have incomes that approximate the poorest U.S. states.
  • The Canadian government is plagued by extensive waste, misrepresentation, red tape, incompetence, program failure, self-service and self-dealing -- for example, the full cost of a gun registry program rose from an estimated $119 million in 1995 to over $1 billion in 2002.

Moreover, Rahn writes, the Canadian health care system has been a disaster, with extensive waiting times, limitations on treatments and massive shortages, all of which have forced tens of thousands of Canadians each year to go to the United States for needed medical treatment.

Canadian-style big government means higher unemployment, lower real incomes and less freedom, says Rahn.

Source: Richard Rahn, "Canada vs. the U.S.," Washington Times, April 8, 2004.

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