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Posts Tagged ‘government spending’

Previously, I uncovered that the CIA is overstating Canada’s government spending by more than 200%, by inconsistently reporting all government spending for Canada, and only federal spending for the U.S., despite both having a federal system of government.

Looking through Canada’s numbers again, I noticed its massive exports hemorrhage from 2008 to 2009. This time, the CIA’s numbers are correct.

From Canada’s entry in The World Factbook:

Exports:
$323.4 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
$459.1 billion (2008 est.)

Exports decreased by a whopping 30% from 2008 to 2009, despite the downturn not hitting Canada hard until September 2008, when, as one example, the Canadian dollar declined by 20% relative to the USD in less than a full month.

By comparison, U.S. exports “only” fell by 14% from 2008 to 2009, despite officially being in recession since December 2007.

The CIA states that export figures are stated in U.S. dollars based on the official exchange rate. Given an estimated GDP of $1.335 trillion for 2009, Canada’s exports only accounted for 24% of its GDP. Imports for 2009 were estimated to be $327.2 billion, resulting in net exports of -$3.8 billion.

In a forthcoming article, I’ll expand on my discussion from July 1 on “Crash! Are You Ready?” on why claims of a higher dollar being bad for exports are overly simplistic, and how it’s been completely counterproductive for Canada’s central bank and leading politicians to be slavishly devoted to keeping the Canadian dollar below par with the USD. In doing so, they argue for and support government intervention for 24% of the economy at the expense of the other 76%.

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With the conservative Heritage Foundation’s 2010 ranking of Canada as more economically free than the United States, the CIA’s overstatement of Canada’s government intervention in the economy is particularly striking.

From Canada’s Economy section of the CIA’s World Factbook, we see:

GDP (official exchange rate):
$1.335 trillion (2009 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $514.5 billion
expenditures: $547.2 billion (2009 est.)

Government spending is reported to be 41% of Canada’s GDP in 2009.

From the United States‘ Economy page, we see:

GDP (official exchange rate):
$14.43 trillion (2009 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $1.914 trillion
expenditures: $3.615 trillion (2009 est.)

Government spending is reported to be 25% of the United States’ GDP in 2009.

From the official U.S. federal budget numbers for 2009, total spending was $3.518 trillion. The CIA’s estimate was off by less than 3%.

From Canada’s federal budget numbers for 2009, total spending was $237.8 billion or only 17.8% of Canada’s GDP, seven percentage points lower than that of the U.S., with the CIA’s estimate off by more than 200%.

Since both countries have federal governments, and the CIA is reporting the federal budget numbers for the U.S., the same should be true for Canada.

As further evidence the CIA’s data for Canada’s government spending is incorrect, the conservative Heritage Foundation ranked Canada as more economically free than the United States in 2010. If Canada truly had 41% of its GDP tied up in government spending versus 25% for the U.S, how could and why would the Heritage Foundation rank Canada as more economically free?

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The conservative Heritage Foundation, no friend of socialism, has ranked Canada ahead of the United States in economic freedom, at 7th and 8th place, respectively.

From their 2010 Index of Economic Freedom, the top 10 countries with the most economic freedom in descending order are:

  • Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Switzerland, Canada, United States, Denmark, and Chile.

Ranked by Business Freedom, Trade Freedom, Fiscal Freedom, Government Spending, Monetary Freedom, Investment Freedom, Financial Freedom, Property Rights, Freedom from Corruption, and Labor Freedom, Canada beats the U.S. on 6 out of 10, ties on Investment Freedom, and falls behind only on Government Spending, Monetary Spending, and Labor Freedom.

Particularly embarrassing to the U.S. should be Canada’s ranking of 90% for Property Rights versus 85% for the U.S., given that the U.S. Constitution explicitly provides for just compensation for the taking of property, and the Canadian Constitution does not. Instead, it leaves property rights to the jurisdiction of the provincial legislatures. Even the Chinese Constitution provides for compensation for the taking of property, whereas Canada’s doesn’t.

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