Dear America: Here’s how to solve your debt crisis

Dear America:

Hello, neighbours! And no, I did not misspell ‘neighbor’. This is just one of those Canadian things. Sometimes we spell works with an extra ‘u’ (like colour) and sometimes we don’t. It’s the whole zee/zed thing. You wouldn’t understand.

Anyway, as always I’ve been watching over the fence at what’s happening in your neck of the woods. I’m not snooping or anything. It’s just that your place is kind of the epicenter of this neighbourhood (sorry ‘neighborhood’) we call the world, and we’re quite concerned about you, even if you don’t really care a rat’s ass about us. And besides, you’re very, very noisy and impossible to ignore.

So we here in Canada have been watching this whole default dance you’ve been going through with some fascination. Seems that you just stepped up to the precipice of not paying your loans, but stepped back when a sliver of common sense overtook your lawmakers. It’s kind of ironic that you avoided defaulting on your loans by borrowing even MORE money, but that’s neither here nor there.

Now, if you’ll pardon my meddling, I think I might have a solution to this whole ‘borrow a trillion, save a trillion’ dance you’ve been going through. It’s surprisingly simple, and not even very painful. Please forgive me if I offend some of you with my salty language, but this has to be said… OK, here goes. The solution to your financial woes is …

RAISE YOUR TAXES, IDIOTS!

Oops, sorry about that ‘idiot’ line. And the boldface. It’s just when the answer to a puzzle is painfully obvious, I get a little frustrated.

So, here’s the deal. You think that you’re overtaxed. Everyone thinks that, in every country. But you’re not. In fact, you are grossly UNDERTAXED.

I have in front of me a chart of all of the nations of the developed world that shows the tax revenue as a percentage of GDP. The most taxed nation is Denmark, at 48.2 per cent. That’s a lot of krones. Those people should be throwing their wooden shoes at their politicians, but they’re not. We here in Canada are paying 31.1 per cent, which is just a little below the middle of the rankings. I think we pay too much tax, too, and this proves it.

But you folks? You ‘overtaxed’ Americans? You’re at 24 per cent, that’s third from the bottom. Only Chile and Mexico are lower, and they’re poor.

So the simple, indisputable fact of the matter is that you are not overtaxed, but undertaxed compared to the rest of the world. In fact, you’re actually paying less than you were in 1965, and it’s still falling.

So you’ve got to raise taxes. It’s easy. We do it all the time.

Here in Canada, we have a national goods and services tax, called the GST. It was instituted by a Conservative prime minister, believe it or not. For a while, people were angry, and called it a Gouge and Screw Tax. I hate it; hell, we all hate it. But it’s fair, in that it taxes consumption. You folks are the world’s leading consumers of everything, and a GST would bring in hundreds of billions in revenue, without damaging the economy. We do it, Britain does it, France does it. Hell, everyone does it. Why not you? And if you really hate the idea, why not demand that the GST be applied entirely towards paying off the debt. Call it the Debt Repayment Tax. You’d get that sucker paid off in no time.

Then there are your taxes on smokes, and gas, and booze. They’re ludicrously undertaxed, and anyone who travels to or from your country will attest. You’ve got to raise taxes on those things to bring in billions more. On the plus side, it might cause more people to quit smoking and cut back on their drinking and their driving. Net result? A healthier America, through taxation!

Oh, and that tax cut for the wealthiest Americans, brought in by that pinhead George Bush (sorry … he really riles me)? That’s a $700 BILLION gift to people who already have way more money than you do. Do you really think all those millionaires and billionaires out there who got that tax cut spent it on creating jobs? Not likely. Like Mr. Burns, they probably just threw it on the pile of money with all the rest. Even if you were making ‘only’ a half mil a year, do you think you would notice if you paid an extra ten grand in taxes?

Here’s the thing, America. Almost every country in the world taxes liquor, smokes and gas more than you do, and survives. Almost every country in the world taxes its citizens more, and survives.  Almost every country in the world makes the rich pay more, and survives. You, my friend, are heading full speed towards an economic cliff which will ultimately wreck your economy, and the actual solution to your problems is so clear. All it takes is a politician or a party with the balls to say, “OK, America. We’re screwed. We have no choice. We have to pay more taxes.”

Oh… I guess that’s why it will never happen.

Sorry to interrupt. You may resume your screaming.

Your pal

Canada

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