Worthwhile Canadian Initiative -- Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek
Interesting piece by Mr. Zakaria. Some of the key elements:
- "Guess which country, alone in the industrialized world, has not faced a single bank failure, calls for bailout or government intervention in the financial or mortgage sectors. Yup, it's Canada. In 2008, the World Economic Forum ranked Canada's banking system the healthiest in the world. America's ranked 40th, Britain's 44th."
- "So what accounts for the genius of the Canadians? Common sense. Over the past 15 years, as the United States and Europe loosened regulations on their financial industries, the Canadians refused to follow suit, seeing the old rules as useful shock absorbers."
- "Canada has been remarkably responsible over the past decade or so. It has had 12 years of budget surpluses, and can now spend money to fuel a recovery from a strong position."
- "Its health-care system is cheaper than America's by far (accounting for 9.7 percent of GDP, versus 15.2 percent here), and yet does better on all major indexes."
Sobering, as well as humbly. We pride ourselves as being the most successful industrialized nation on Earth. And what's that old saying? Pride before a fall? The prescription is straightforward, though:
"If President Obama is looking for smart government, there is much he, and all of us, could learn from our quiet--OK, sometimes boring--neighbor to the north."