I have had the honor of being invited to blog on Small Dead Animals, the premier Canadian web site for independent thought, conservative, free-market thinking, liberty and other sins. Thusly, since it is a Canadian web site, I decided I should make a post about Canada and thought as a kind of token "economics lesson of the day" I would describe the concept of "government spending as a percent of GDP."
The reason I like this measure is that it is "the" measure to gauge how "capitalistic" or "communistic" your economy is. If you take the government budget and divided it by GDP this shows you, more or less, what percent of the economy the government is taking. Now, a lot of people will point out that it should be government revenues, not expenditures that should be divided by GDP to see how much a country is "taxed." The problem is ultimately, whether it is debt spending today or actually taxes collected, taxes is what will inevitably pay for that spending. Thus I prefer to measure what the government spends, not what it takes in.
But imagine my surprise when I, Captain Capitalism, presumed knower-of-all-things-economic, pulled the figures for Canada and realized Canadians have the same tax level as the US. 37%.
It was shocking because Canada is supposed to be the socialist of North America and we're supposed to be the capitalists. Canada is the one with socialized medicine. Canada is the flag cowardly Americans put on their backpacks as they go to Europe. We're the evil capitalist jerks, Canada is the socialists everybody loves. And given the trend it looks like Canada is going to usurp this role.