Credits: QMI Agency/MIKE DIBATTISTA
Barack Obama has been the worst president for the U.S. economy since Jimmy Carter. But Americans chose another four years of that.
What should Canada do to protect ourselves from America’s continuing economic decline? Here are eight things:
1. Pay down Canada’s government debt. The U.S. is $16 trillion in debt, and is racking up another trillion a year. Its credit rating has been downgraded, and surely will be again. That means interest rates will rise and borrowing will be more expensive. It’s a vicious circle. We’ve got to get out of that whirlpool ourselves. Our deficit is on track to be eliminated by next year. We’ve got to keep running a surplus, and retire our debt.
2. Obama ran a class warfare campaign to soak the rich. Too bad, because the rich are the ones starting businesses and paying the lion’s share of taxes. More practically, as both John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan proved, lower tax rates actually increase tax revenues, as economic activity booms. Canada already has lower corporate tax rates than America. We need to keep taxes low to stimulate economic activity.
3. Low taxes could also start a northward “brain drain.” Let’s recruit the best and brightest from America to immigrate to Canada. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney recently returned from a similar trip to Ireland. Why not add on new recruiting trips to Silicon Valley, the Boston-area universities, New York and other pools of talent who might prefer our stronger economy and quality of life?
4. As a country of just 34 million people, we need more human capital. But we need more financial capital, too. Just to develop our oilsands could require $100 billion — more than Canadians could invest. What a perfect time to steer foreign investors away from riskier
U.S. assets and into Canada. We need to immediately modernize our foreign investment review rules, to avoid the confusion and uncertainty arising from our delays of $21 billion in proposed Petronas and CNOOC investments.
5. We need trade agreements with those parts of the world that are actually growing — especially Asia. The Conservatives are currently negotiating more trade treaties than ever before. Some, like with Panama, are small. Some, like with China, are rudimentary. But a few billion here and there starts to add up — and we need it all to offset our dependence on the U.S.
6. One of our biggest exports to the U.S. is oil — about 2.2 million barrels a day. But there are two problems with that: Because all of our oil is sold to the U.S., our oil sells for $25 per barrel less than if we could sell it to other customers at world prices. And there’s another risk: In his election night speech, Obama talked about “global warming” again — signaling that he may permanently block the Keystone XL pipeline to the U.S., or add a new carbon tax, or both.
That means it’s more important than ever to build new pipelines to the Pacific — not just the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline, but the doubling of the existing Transmountain pipeline that already goes to Vancouver.
That’s six ways to inoculate our economy against Obamanomics. But we need to do two things to fix our democracy to guard our prosperity in Canada.
7. End forced union dues. Obama’s win was partly financed by big unions in the U.S., thanking him for his largess with taxpayers’ money. That’s a risk to our democracy, too. It is illegal for employers to force employees to donate to a political campaign supporting Stephen Harper. So why do we allow unions to extract dues from their members to finance ad campaigns that support left-wing candidates?
8. Voter fraud in the U.S. is rampant. But Obama didn’t win a single state with mandatory ID laws. Forget about the fake Canadian scandal of “robocalls” that didn’t actually make a single person switch their vote. We need to require proof of citizenship to vote — and to end the bizarre Elections Canada rule that you can vote while wearing a mask like a burka.