Sunday, June 29, 2008

What kind of “change” does Barack Obama want? He seeks to transform America into Canada. Mr. Obama is not proposing “new politics,” but is a champion of the well-known, already enacted policies in the Great White North. His proposals are more reflective of Canadian values than American national ideals.

For example, Mr. Obama’s economic plan consists of attempting to redress the disparities of wealth in the United States. He also wants to help the middle class, whom he states has been “squeezed” in the last decade. He rails against overpaid CEOs and an economy that is “out of balance.” He will therefore impose higher taxes on those who make more than $250,000 per year, he will increase the capital-gains tax, he will cut taxes for the middle class and ensure that low-income seniors pay no tax. In other words, he will make America a more temperate nation — one in which the lows for those who do not succeed on their merits are not so low, and the highs for those who soar, are not so high. Mr. Obama’s policies will result in stifling initiative and rendering America less meritocratic. This economic plan will have detrimental long-term effects, as has occurred in Canada. Canada suffers from a large “brain drain”: Every year, many of the most talented, dynamic and enterprising individuals flock to America in order to escape the stagnation and limitations imposed on them by their government.

Mr. Obama is also proposing a host of government programs. He is suggesting increased spending for health insurance, homeowners who might default on their mortgage, the nation’s infrastructure, and college tuition in exchange for public service, among others. As a result, he will render America less the land of the brave and the home of the free — and more the land of those who depend on the state. In Canada, government intervention and regulation is rife. This has led to large and unaccountable bureaucracies — and crippling taxation. The Fraser Institute conducted a study in 2001 that demonstrated that the total tax bill of the average Canadian family increased by 1,351 percent since 1961. The report revealed that in 2000, for example, the average Canadian family paid 47.5 percent of their income in federal, provincial and municipal direct and hidden taxes: “The tax bill accounted for more of the average Canadian’s budget than shelter, food and clothing combined.”

Mr. Obama wants the U.S. government to make health care affordable for every American. He says he opposes mandates, but he nonetheless favors universal health care. Canadians have universal health care; their system is inefficient. The wealthiest Canadians travel to the United States for medical care to avoid long waiting periods for tests and operations. In 2005, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that patients must be allowed the possibility of receiving alternative health care if they are forced to wait so long that they are in fact denied treatment: Hence, a private parallel health care system is now emerging.

Despite Mr. Obama’s Christian discourse, his social policies also resemble Canada’s liberal policies. He is ardently pro-choice: He even voted against banning partial-birth abortion. Mr. Obama also supports same-sex unions (but not gay marriage, which he says must be decided by each religious denomination). In Canada, both abortion and same-sex marriage are legal. In Quebec, Canada’s most liberal province, traditional marriage has been eroded to the point that 65 percent of couples do not marry but simply live together - that is, until it is no longer convenient. Is this the direction America should be heading toward?

Mr. Obama is calling for a multilateral foreign policy and greater respect for international law. He wants to “talk” with America’s enemies and he seeks to curtail much of the anti-American sentiment around the world. His suggestions resemble Canadian foreign policy. Canada is a staunch U.S. ally. Canadians are mostly proud of their role as “peacekeepers” in troubled areas. However, Canada is not a superpower. Also, Canadian “peacekeeping” is possible mostly within a larger context in which America bears the brunt of keeping North America safe and free. Canadians can be “doves” because they are protected by American “hawks.”

In summary, when pondering Mr. Obama’s proposals, voters should examine the Canadian record. Canada is on the whole a gentler, softer and more liberal nation — but there is also less freedom, opportunity, prosperity, competition and dynamism. Canada is well-loved by other nations — but the country has little diplomatic or military clout.

During the 2004 presidential campaign, the Democratic candidate, Sen. John Kerry, was dubbed a “Massachusetts liberal” and was compared to a foreign leader: “He will be an ideal president — of France,” mocked his critics. Mr. Kerry lost the election. In a similar manner, Mr. Obama, too, is a great leader — of Canada. But Americans have repeatedly demonstrated that they prefer individualism and freedom rather than the failing Canadian model of collectivism and comfort.

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