Saturday, April 23, 2011

Standard & Poor’s: Canada Highly Rated

Standard and Poor’s on U.S., Canada, April 18 2011
The brief dust-up over Standard & Poor’s signal of concern over the likely stand-off on the U.S. budget (click on link above) failed to notice the statement’s positive assessment of nations considered the U.S.’ peers. France, the U.K., and Canada all have national, universal health care systems. In particular:
“…Canada, the only sovereign of the peer group to suffer no major financial institution failures requiring direct government assistance during the crisis, enjoys by far the lowest net general government debt of the five peers (we estimate it at 34% of GDP this year), largely because of an unbroken string of balanced-or-better general government budgetary outturns from 1997 through 2008. Canada’s general government deficit never exceeded 4% of GDP during the recent recession, and we believe it will likely return to less than 0.5% of GDP by 2013.”
When they get it right they get it right. But S&P is no bellwether of progressive economics - it still leaves the military budget offline, for example, and while expressing some concern over the extremist Republican agenda of slashing taxes and domestic spending, it mostly fusses that the President may continue to disagree for awhile.
For leadership on the program the public supports and needs – raising taxes on the wealthy and on corporations, protecting and expanding Medicare and Medicaid, and investing in a peacetime economy - look to the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

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