Two New America's: Galt's Junction & The Canadian Dream
It’s time to let them go. Over the past few years, it’s become increasingly clear that as long as far-right crazies and ultra-Conservatives in Washington are preaching policies that eat away at the very ideals our nation was built on, the American Dream will remain out of reach for millions of Americans.
So, if we want to have any chance at taking back the American Dream, we should just let those far-right crazies and ultra-Conservatives running around Washington and in the Red States have their dream of their own country. Let them secede and start their own far-right Any Rand-inspired paradise.
Cliven Bundy, Louie Gohmert, Ted Cruz, Ted Nugent, Shawn Hannity and the rest of America’s far-right wingers can all move to west Texas, and create a country of their own, free from the “tyrannical” influences of the U.S. government. They can even call this new Ayn Rand-inspired country “Galt’s Gulch.” They can run around firing off their guns, not paying taxes, and defying authority all they like.
Meanwhile, the rest of us back in America will get back to rebuilding the American Dream that Reaganomics has largely torn apart. But as Nicholas Kristof points out over at The New York Times, we may have to rename that "dream" part, because the American Dream isn’t really the American Dream anymore. Instead, we’d be better off living the European Dream or the Canadian Dream.
Here's why. Just last month, economists announced that, for the first time in history, the American middle-class was no longer the richest in the world. Canada’s is. Part of that has to do with healthcare costs. While Americans still have to pay for health-care costs with after-tax dollars under Obamacare, Canadians are basically getting free untaxed healthcare, thanks to a single-payer system.
And because Canadians have access to lifesaving and affordable healthcare, they’re living longer lives. Similarly, children in Canada are less likely to die than children in America, and American women are twice as likely to die as a result of pregnancy or childbirth than Canadian women. Canadians also work less than Americans.
The average American worker works 4.6% more hours than the average Canadian worker, even though they have a better quality of life and a stronger and richer middle class. And according to a recent report by the OECD, Canadians are smarter and more literate than us too, thanks to a vibrant, well-funded public school and university system.
That same OECD report found that for people aged 16 to 24, America ranks dead last among wealthy and developed nations in math and technological proficiency. The American Dream has always been about everyone having an equal shot at living a comfortable, middle-class life, from a decent job to a decent retirement.
Whether you’re born in an inner-city neighborhood in Detroit, or on the Upper West Side in New York City, the American Dream isn’t supposed to discriminate. But, as Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has said, “Equality of opportunity - the ‘American dream’ - has always been a cherished American ideal. But data now show that this is a myth: America has become the advanced country not only with the highest level of inequality, but one of those with the least equality of opportunity.” Like Canadian Geese in the summer, it looks like the American Dream has migrated to the great north.
So, after we’ve let all the far-right crazies move to west Texas and establish the world’s newest country, Galt’s Gulch, maybe the rest of us should join up with our neighbors to the north. Creating a new Canadian-American Dream might be the only way to guarantee the equal shots at success and opportunity that the American Dream once promised.