Robin Williams once said of Canada, “it’s like a loft apartment overlooking a really great party.” But a study released this week said that while the U.S. has been partying, it appeared that Canadians’ net worth had leaped ahead of Americans’:

The average Canadian has quietly become richer than the average American. Over the past five years, net worth per Canadian household has exceeded net worth per American household (total combined value of liquid and real estate assets minus debt) for the first time.

The Time Magazine blog sneers:

Watch out, Americans: Your thrifty, socialist neighbors to the north have stealthily become richer than you.

Over the past five years, the average net worth of Canadian households has exceeded that of American households.  So for the the first time in history, Canadians are wealthier than Americans — by more than $40,000, on average.

Not so, writes Elizabeth MacDonald at Fox Business. In fact, she says, ignore it:

The study is impenetrably absurd, and so are the pundits touting it….

Set aside the oversights, including that it appears the study uses U.S. government statistics that leave out Americans’ massive 401(k) accounts as Americans are not required to report these retirement accounts on tax returns. The study attempted to use estimates here, but the disclosures are poor.

Similar, too, is the fact that the study ignores Canada’s microscopic defense spending, which amounts to a fraction of the U.S. military budget. For decades, Canada has relied on the U.S. for its own defense and protection, and instead blows its money on a flawed single-payer health system that is growing more expensive and whose long wait times for exams and doctor or hospital visits has Canadians flying down to the U.S. for health care.

Pundits on the study also ignore the fact that academic data shows health spending is growing at a faster clip in Canada than in America, that heart disease and cancer mortality are worse in Canada, and that lack of MRIs and scanners are worse in Canada, as are the long wait times for care….

But the big problem with such analysis is that even the study’s authors oddly admit they ignored government debt spending, which is turning America weirdly less “capitalist-competitive” and more “me-too socialist.” Moreover, America is sliding into the very kind of government central planning that Canada is running away from, and that’s the problem.

But in order to keep up Robin Williams’s pronouncement, it’s time we stopped partying and started sobering up to the economic realities so that studies like this don’t become true in the future.


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