The "Prosperity Gap"

A term PM Martin uses referring to the GDP per capita differential between the US and Canada. Apparently, in 1981 the per capita GDP of Canada and the US was roughly equal at $30,000 per person. The gap is now around $7,200. Each American citizen has a "share" of the annual GDP of the country that is $7,200 more than that of each Canadian.

If you read the papers you would get the impression that the decisive issues for the future of Canadians are gay marriage, foreign aid, waiting times for MRI's or non-functioning helicopters and submarines. Those are not the decisive issues for the future well being of Canadians.

You cannot spend that which you do not have. The US gets to spend significantly more because it makes significantly more. The first order of business of the politicians and topic No. 1 of the national public discourse should be how to achieve maximum possible economic performance in Canada. First priority should be given to debate over policy and measures which will cause the magnitude of incremental production of goods and services to increase at the fastest possible rate.

All other topics are a distraction if those issues are not front and center. Lines will be long if there are few MRI machines. The only way to have more MRI machines is to buy them and the way to buy them is to earn more (as a nation). The approach of looking to buy more MRI machines by further redistribution of wealth from one group of Canadians to the other is sub-optimal.

It's the economy stupid. Or has somebody already said that?


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