When Is Enough Enough?


Toronto Ontario Canada SkylineLet’s get one thing straight: I am not a pinko communist! But you’d have to be blind not to notice the scandalous events of our government over the last few years, and any thinking person has had to ask themself; what is wrong with this picture? Personally, I’m fed up, and sadly, I’m not so sure that anything can change the mess that big money and nepotism has created in the U.S. Thus, my tirade about living in the U.S. . . .

Is Election Fraud Enough?

When Baby Bush stole the 2004 U.S. Election, I swore we would move to Canada. Obviously, other lefties like myself had the same idea, because within a week after the election fiasco, an email went around the Internet that begged those upset about the election not to leave the U.S. If we left, it warned, the neocons will get exactly what they want. The U.S. Needed all of the blue state residents that it could get. So I stayed.

I’ve always had the utmost respect for Canada’s peaceful, conscientious society, and over the years I’ve continued to look north, and wonder; at what point would conditions in the U.S. get so bad that Jim and I would get fed up and cross the border for good?

Is A Broken Health Care System Enough?

During our too-brief visit in Toronto this week, we had long conversations about Canadian life with the locals. We spoke with people like Heather Donaldson, our B&B host. Heather lived in the U.S. At one time, so she has a good perspective on the differences between American and Canadian society. Today, as a retired teacher living in super posh Oakville, she also enjoys a Canadian pension fund that provides a healthy chunk of her former salary, and complete health care coverage — including free prescriptions — that costs her about $200 USD a year. She’s really not sure how much she pays for her health care, since it gets taken out of her pension. She doesn’t even notice it.

Rude Native, Oakville Toronto Canada bartender ScotOthers on the street we spoke with – ranging from younger service workers to business owners — also felt that they were getting a fair deal from the Canadian government. Nobody had any real complaints about their high taxes, which come to about 15% of their income, because they get free health care and retirement pensions out of it. One bartender we spoke with was stunned to find out that when a friend visited Las Vegas and had an allergic reaction to a bee sting, it cost him over $700 in medical bills. And, while another person did say that health care wasn’t as good as it once was, she said “it’s still not bad.”

Is A Homeless Nation Enough?

As we drove around Toronto, it was clear that Canada’s people place a high value on infrastructure and social services. There were plenty of nice looking old folks homes. I don’t recall hitting any big potholes on the street. I didn’t notice a ton of homeless people sleeping on the sidewalks. And, even the sketchiest neighborhoods we drove through were still far cleaner than any I’d seen in San Francisco.

Now then, if the U.S. is such a great place, then

  • Why aren’t we looking out for our people?
  • Why do our own people die of cold on the streets in winter?
  • Why do so many go bankrupt after seeking costly medical treatment?
  • Why is the U.S. ranked eighth in the 2006 UN Standard of Living Index, and Canada ranks sixth?

Is the State of the Economy Enough?

I love what the U.S. stands for in principle, but am ashamed at how it treats its people (not to mention those living in foreign countries). I wonder, wouldn’t it be something to live in a country with a government system that I respect?

During our stay, the Globe and Mail newspaper had a business article about the bleak future for the U.S. Economy. It pointed out how Canadan’s economy will continue to hum along and prosper, as the American economy spirals downward into an upcoming two year recession.

That was all I needed to download the Canadian Immigration application, and continue to try to persuade Jim that if we move to Canada, we can ride out the hard times that are coming to the States. I’m working on this, and even though there’s lots of U.S. for us To see, I still think that when this is all over, I’ll still be telling him that I want to move North.



11 thoughts on “When Is Enough Enough?”

  1. I couldn’t understand some parts of this article Versus the United States, but I guess I just need to check some more resources regarding this, because it sounds interesting.

  2. AND ABOUT BROKEN HEALTH CARE….. More people die from mis treatment in US medical facilities than in all other coutries put together times a jillion. George Clooney was the only good doctor and he retired to some other show… I’m going back to Marcus Welby and Squad 51 re-runs….

  3. Hi Guys,

    Enjoying reading about you. Might that be Eric Aukerman who posted in this thread?? Might you have his email (weather or not it is or was his post?)

    Which brings me to ask: Why not make some sort of Friends and Family directory so your old friends who may have lost track with each other could get back in touch? You could charge a fee to sign in like Classmates does and all other capitolist endeavors. Like my health care… We pay $1200 a month for the Family plan that lets us see any doctor we want on a 80/20 basis with a six million dollar miniimum before they pay and 24,912.00 co payment at time of treatment. They called and said our insurance would not cover a check up…BELIEVE me I am not living here for the health care… I live here in earnest to become the bourgoise pig of my endeavors hoping to one day go somewhere ELSE!!! Somewhere you can make a deposit at your local bank without getting a $4.00 service charge for them to take my money. KINYEWBLEEVE_ET $%&# Union Bank of California. They should rot in $%^& Hell. I switched to WaMU.


  4. Ok everyone, a rebuttal for your perusal…

    I do truly believe in the fact that yes, in principle, it’s possible to become anything you want to be in this country. I know because as a second-generation Mexican American, I was the first in my family to graduate from college. So yes, I do believe that with hard work, it’s possible to live the American dream.

    However, what really depresses me is that the economic system in this country is making it harder and harder for people to reach the same level of economic success that our parents had. My Dad raised us five girls on a mechanic’s salary alone, my Mother never worked outside the home. Dad had the backing of a strong Mechanic’s Union, with full benefits and a decent living wage, and arrangements like his were the norm back then. Today, the government allows corporations to get away with offering nothing in the way of benefits, unions are busted up, and good luck finding a one-income family that’s as materially well off, and not in debt, as my family was.

    When you throw in the fact that health care premiums are robbing Americans blind, you have a society that’s increasingly becoming sicker because we avoid doctors, and when we do see doctors, we have hefty bills to pay. I know firsthand how medical bills can bankrupt you; they almost did when I had a motorcycle wreck and needed three surgeries. My joke of an insurance plan didn’t cover much, and Jim and I were in debt for several years.

    I’m not looking for a “nanny government” to take care of us! What I, and so many others want, is an equitable society. One of the best ways to achieve this, is to have a national health care plan that covers everyone from top to bottom. If we are all as physically healthy as can be, our society as a whole is healthy too, and we can all keep moving on up.

    As Michael Keenan (above) as pointed out, Canada’s health care system isn’t perfect. I know that. But the insurance coverage that Canadians receive is a thousand times better than what we’ve got here. I’m also not saying doctors should work for free, what I am saying is that there are better ways to pay for their time than our current system. My own doctor dropped out of the health care insurance mess, and now runs a retainer-based practice. We pay him $1k a year, he doesn’t deal with insurance, we get long (30 minutes or more) visits with him (he has less than 300 patients) and everyone his happy. Not saying that retainer medicine is perfect either, but it’s one method that works.

    Beyond that, what I want is a government that has real programs in place for people to take advantage of, that will allow them to pull themselves up out of the gutter. Those programs should be easily accessible and not bound by red tape, as so many are. I know what these programs are like and how quickly people can fall through the net, because I used to work for a homeless agency.

    In short, I want a society that truly sees the value in investing in education and well-being, instead of more bombs and lame excuses for economic development, like building more Wal Marts.

    Until people do this, and put their money where their mouths are, we will see more poverty, crime and horribly uneducated citizens that will ensure the U.S. spirals down into lower and lower Quality of Living rankings.

  5. Our medical technology here is great, but w/ limited availability for so many, and ridiculous costs and profits for large co.s. So…. that is being discussed right now on a national level so give your opinion to the politicians, everybody. The system needs to be fixed or replace by something better.

    The bigger Q – when is enough enough? (Materially). I am in a business where I see a lot of wealthy people, some of whom won’t quit working or amassing wealth when they have enough to live on forever and leave generous amounts to their kids. Some love their work (like a Buffet), but some are just scared of the future no matter what they have. Some maybe are escaping being home w/ their mate – after years of togetherness but no intimacy. Most are not creative about how to use their time or volunteer to help others. And most could live on a LOT less than they do now anyway.

    So I have great respect for those who “retire” at a reasonable time, or take “sabbaticals” like you have and are willing to live on less but still enjoy life to the fullest. Many people talk about it, but few do it.

    We don’t have a lot, but we have “enough” and I am going to stop working next year to travel as long as we can or as long as we want to – and do it in a simple, cost effective way.

    And if the medical system ever get straightened out, that would make it all the easier.

    Also, I think you are running a great site and love reading about your adventures and questions about life. Go further!

  6. Rene, what a surprise! someone like yourself who is obviously a risk taker looking for freedom….I assumed by what you have been posting (except for this last posting about Canada).

    What happened to the basic principle that made this country great. We should be free to succeed and also free to fail. We should have and do have the right to make mistakes and go broke. Why should we look for nanny government to take care of us.

    Rene, the government doesn’t do many things right, if the health care system in Canada were so wonderful we would see people go to Canada to seek medical attention. People all over the world actually come to the US for the latest medical care. What we need is competition to make medical care greater and bring the price down. The next time you think that a doctor should provide free or nearly free medical care, which really means that you own part of his/her time and effort, ask yourself what part of your time and effort should that doctor own.

    We live in the greatest country in the world, a place where you are free to fail or to succeed

    Happy traveling

  7. Our good friend Eric sent us the following via email, after reading our post, and we think it’s so funny, we wanted to share it with you:

    Dear Team Pinko!
    Hmmm, better Zed than dead is what your saying I gather from your most recent posting? Sure, Canada might appear to be the up and coming fun zone from the perspective of those who wear hemp polos and drive french (or is it “freedom”) fried powered bio burners but take a moment to reflect on what is right with America?

    Hell, we’ve got Oprah, Bruce Willis, internet porn, Mai Tais, South Park, and host of other items that make this a feature rich culture. C’mon, what are you trying to say in your last blog, that those in North can offer a deeper sense of well being? Sure, Canadian health care looks like an orchid in a Zen temple, but what about monster trucks and HBO? How pinko can you be cause this is the land of the free.

    Maybe it’s the politics that turn your belly, OK, fine, mine too, but does that mean we emigrate and or high tail it to the next zone of perceived balance and civil structure? Nah, we stick around and try and improve our communities by making a contribution wherever we can.

    The problem as I see it is distribution of wealth, the lines have been drawn and many folks are on the stinky sleeping bag in the shopping cart side of the line. People are getting older and getter no where it seems and I’m sure this doesn’t sit well when you enter your forties. It used to be so much cheaper in this country but now our economies are more intertwined and influenced by the rampant market speculations that appear more like loose gambling houses than institutions that adhere to market fundamentals. People are manipulating the world’s cash-flow and this is what’s making the little guy confused because said little guy doesn’t have a clue as to what happened until after it has happened and then still doesn’t know what happened. But that’s another story.

    On Kauai I knew quite a few people who just yielded to the situation and just went with it. But if you’re not willing to do something about your economic situation don’t expect anyone else to do it for you, why should they? The thing about the US is choices. We do not enjoy the social services of other countries such as Germany, France, the UK, Canada and so on but we do have options to change our station in life.

    I, like you, probably don’t need much to get by. I’m referring to things of course. How many iPods, laptops, CDs, clothes and other things do we really need? As I get older I want less not more because more means more things to care for, to move with, to store and so on. On Kauai I lived in a 400 sq feet apartment and was doing fine. I borrowed books from the library, bought the New York Times on occasion and went surfing most weekends and did my radio gig – a complete life I tell you but economically I was going nowhere and that’s not good.

    Now that I live in OC things are quite smooth and very groovy. I should really say Newport Beach whose town motto should read, “Newport Beach, changing the world one millionaire at a time.” Ah, I like that. Not that I’m so flush that I can puff up my chest and sing the town motto but it does read well doesn’t it?

    No, it’s not about being wealthy but I can honestly say that money solves a lot of problems but then again the question that rears it’s beastly head remains, what are you willing to do for it’s acquisition and it’s preservation? In the US anything you want, that’s the problem and that’s the solution.

    Take care and be good,

  8. Nice site you have here! I’m Canadian but jumped ship to the UK five years ago mainly because finding a job decent in Canada straight out of uni is a huge pain. It is a great place (although not the utopia that Michael Moore seems to think) and I love our socialist tendencies. Only as strong as your weakest link and all that stuff.

    Good luck with your attempt to move!


  9. Go for it. If I were younger I sure would make the move to Canada. We almost did five years ago but we did not and now regreat it.


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