08/13/2012 10:53 EDT | Updated 08/13/2012 11:52 EDT

Paul Ryan: Canada Has The Right Idea On Taxes


Mitt Romney's newly-minted running mate Paul Ryan is a big fan of the cuts made to Canada's corporate tax rate by Stephen Harper's Conservative government. Just don't ask him about the country's health care system.

In interviews, speeches and other literature, Ryan has praised the Tories' decision to cut Canada's corporate rate to 15 per cent, pointing to the U.S. rate of 35 per cent as increasingly uncompetitive and arguing President Barack Obama will only raise taxes on businesses.

"The top marginal federal tax rate that many small businesses pay is set to rise to 44.8 percent just 14 months from now. And the President and Democrats in the Senate are seeking to impose a surtax that would raise that top rate to over 50 percent," Ryan said in a speech at the Claremount Institute last year. "Meanwhile, overseas — and in Wisconsin, that often means Lake Superior — countries such as Canada are actually cutting their business taxes; in Canada’s case, to 15 per cent."

When it comes to Canada's health care system, however, the 42-year-old Congressman from Wisconsin's 1st district has little nice to say.

In a widely circulated 2009 article on the health-care reform debate for the American Spectator, Ryan argues Canada's public system results in long wait times, less-advanced care and the problem of brain drain caused by doctors choosing to practice in the U.S.

"The average Canadian now has to wait over a month after getting a primary doctor's instruction just for a CT scan, and more than two months for an MRI. Canada's medical equipment is old, unreliable, and obsolete," Ryan writes. "Canadians notoriously travel to the U.S. if possible for treatments for everything from cancer and emergency care to hip surgery and childbirth."

Ryan, however, makes no mention of the fact that in 2006 the U.S. spent nearly double the money on a per-capita basis that Canada did on health care, according to the OECD. Yet, in 2000 the World Health Organization ranked Canada's system as 30th in the world while placing the U.S. 37th.

That didn't stop Sun News, often referred to as Fox News North, from hoping out loud on Monday that Ryan's criticism might lead to health care changes in Canada.

On energy, Ryan is a supporter of plans to import more oil from the Canadian province of Alberta, notably via the Keystone XL pipeline.

But Ryan clearly isn't up to speed on the ongoing debate over what to call the bitumen mined from Albertan sand. In literature on his website, Ryan refers to the "tar oil sands" in Alberta rather than the "oilsands" preferred by backers of the industry in Canada.

His choice of words does not, however, indicate any opposition to mining the oil in Alberta and transporting it to the U.S.. Ryan has been critical of the Obama administration's decision to delay any decision on Keystone until 2013, after the presidential election.

Ryan has argued the project will "create tens of thousands high-quality, good-paying construction jobs in addition to several thousand more 'spin off' jobs" while also increasing the supply of energy to U.S. refineries.

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