Canadians may pay more taxes than Americans, but here’s what they get for their money

Even with all kinds of taxes considered, including income, local and sales taxes, among others — and contrary to what President Donald Trump has repeatedly said — Americans do not pay the highest taxes in the world. Not even close. Actually, the U.S. is a little below average compared to our 34 peer countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

But what about Canada? Given all the social services that Canadian citizens enjoy relative to their neighbors to the south, including health care, many Americans assume that Canadians bear a significantly heavier tax burden.


The reality is more complex.

Canadians pay more — sometimes

The OECD analyzes the tax burdens of 35 countries, including the United States and Canada. According to its data, in terms of total tax revenue as a percentage of GDP, in 2010, the U.S. collected a slightly lower than average amount of taxes from its citizens ($11,365 USD per capita). Canada collected a slightly higher than average amount ($14,693 USD).

The average for OECD countries was $12,911 USD.

That total tax revenue figure includes not merely federal income taxes, but all taxes, including “taxes on income and profits, social security contributions, taxes levied on goods and services, payroll taxes, taxes on the ownership and transfer of property, and other taxes.”

US Canada tax

OECD (2017), Tax revenue (indicator). doi: 10.1787/d98b8cf5-en (Accessed on 01 August 2017)


At times, for example, in 2000 and again in 2014, Canada and the U.S. swapped places. The U.S. paid a slightly higher than average amount and Canada paid a slightly lower than average amount. For the most part, however, both countries hover around the OECD average.

And both remain far lower than high-tax countries such as Luxembourg, Norway, Denmark Switzerland and Sweden.

“Canada’s total tax revenue over all levels of government as a percentage of GDP is modest relative to our OECD peers,” reports the Broadbent Institute. “Of all 35 OECD countries, Canada ranks 25th in terms of total tax revenue to GDP.”

Here’s how much individuals pay

Because Canada has a progressive tax system much like America’s, the amount any individual pays varies according to their circumstances. The typical Canadian family pays an effective total tax rate of 24 percent, according to Broadbent.

The effective total tax rate for Americans varies, too: “The top 1 percent of American taxpayers still pay an effective tax rate of approximately 31.9 percent, on average, while the bottom 20 percent of the population pays an average of approximately 3.9 percent,” reports the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.

Middle-class Canadians probably pay more in taxes than middle-class Americans, David Macdonald, senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, tells CNBC Make It. They also must contend with higher sales taxes and a higher cost of goods, especially in the wealthier provinces, which affects buying power.

But some rich Americans actually tend to pay a bit more than rich Canadians. The average top marginal tax rate on wage income in Canada is 45.7 percent. In America, it’s a bit higher: 47.9 percent.

The rate is highest in California (51.9 percent) and Quebec (50 percent), and it’s lowest in Alberta (39 percent) and Texas, Washington and Wyoming (42.8 percent), according to a Policy Alternatives report from 2015.

The rates in Quebec have subsequently risen: Now the highest rate there, on people who make at least $225,000 Canadian a year, is 53.3 percent.

What Canadians get for their taxes

Canadians may not pay that much more than Americans — and, on occasion, as a nation, they have even paid less — but they do get a lot more from their government in terms of social services. That’s part of what makes Canada one of the Top 10 happiest countries on earth, ranking seven spots higher than America.

As Vice Money puts it, “American marginal tax brackets aren’t too different from Canadians’, yet [Canadians] get universal health care and [Americans] don’t.” Currently, Americans pay $3.4 trillion a year for medical care and, unfortunately, don’t : “The U.S. life expectancy of 78.8 years ranks 27th. It has the fourth highest infant mortality rate in the OECD, the sixth highest maternal mortality rate and the ninth highest likelihood of dying at a younger age from a host of ailments, including cardiovascular disease and cancer,” reports Bloomberg.

Per capita health-care spending in the U.S. is more than $9,000.

By contrast, per capita health-care spending in Canada is half that, or $4,500. Yet life expectancy in Canada is 81.7, and the country ranks 13th, significantly ahead of the U.S.

Critics of Canada’s single-payer health-care system call it a “cautionary tale,” one that’s “failing.” It’s universal and affordable, sure, but the quality isn’t high. And the waits for procedures can be unnecessarily long: As Forbes points out, “In 2013, the average wait time for an MRI was over two months, while Canadians needing a CT scan waited for almost a month.”

Overall, though, Canadians enjoy the kind of perks Americans only get if they work for the most generous, prestigious corporations. Those include free health care without deductibles as well as up to 18 months of subsidized parental leave when they have children.

They also enjoy access to high-quality education for children across the income spectrum. Even top-notch colleges and universities are cheaper than comparable institutions in the U.S.

Vice cites a 2009 Canadian study by the Centre for Policy Alternatives that found that “the vast majority of Canada’s population” gets a great deal: “Middle-income Canadian families enjoy public services worth about $41,000 — or 63 percent of their income. Even households earning $80,000–$90,000 a year enjoy public services benefits equivalent to about half of their income.”

In short, the study concludes, “the majority of Canadian households enjoy a higher quality of life because of the public services their taxes fund.”

What Americans get for their taxes

Americans enjoy a strong national defense. As of April 2017, the U.S. spent $611 billion on defense, which, as the Peterson Foundation points out, is “more than China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, United Kingdom, India, France and Japan combined.” Additionally, “the United States has historically devoted a larger share of its economy to defense than many of its key allies.

The military accounts for about half of all discretionary spending in America.

Mandatory spending priorities include social security and Medicare, the Supplementary Nutritional Assistance Program and transportation. “Mandatory spending makes up nearly two-thirds of the total federal budget. Social Security alone comprises more than a third of mandatory spending and around 23 percent of the total federal budget. Medicare makes up an additional 23 percent of mandatory spending and 15 percent of the total federal budget,” reports the National Priorities Project.

Education spending accounts for six percent of discretionary spending, and additional spending on Medicare and health accounts for another six percent.

Most Americans aren’t covered through the government, though: They must pay for health insurance themselves or, if they obtain coverage through the Affordable Care Act exchanges and they qualify, with the help of subsidies. “Public health insurance, such as Medicare and Medicaid, accounts for 27 percent of coverage,” reports Bloomberg.

Government involvement in paying for health insurance has been shown to both lower prices and help citizens live longer: “The 10 countries with the highest life expectancy depend on voluntary insurance for an average of less than six percent of their costs, and government spending for nearly half.”

Many of the other programs covered by discretionary spending also help vulnerable populations but not the country at large. Those include “the early childhood education program Head Start (included in Housing & Community), Title I grants to disadvantaged schools and Pell grants for low-income college students (Education), food assistance for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), training and placement for unemployed people provided by Workforce Investment Boards (in Social Security, Unemployment and Labor),” reports the National Priorities Project.

Perhaps that’s why so many Americans, as well as the president, feel that Americans pay more than anyone else in taxes: Because while many U.S. residents pay nearly as much, or in some cases more, than our neighbors to the north, Canadians in general can get so much more in exchange.

This article has been revised and updated.

Bidens Mark MLK Day By Packing Food Bank Boxes

Philadelphia’s Fox News affiliate reports:

President-Elect Joe Biden spent the morning of Martin Luther King Day, Jr. in service to the homeless and those less fortunate, in Philadelphia. Biden was volunteering as part of MLK Day of Service at Philabundance, assembling boxes of food for those in need.

The President-Elect and Dr. Jill Biden were among the many volunteers at the South Philadelphia location, working together to fill boxes of food. Philabundance is a member of Feeding America, a network of food banks across the United States.

So I was reading tonight …


We do not need more billionaires. We need a more robust middle class. All boats will rise.


Pro-life gaslight, the right wing calling card.


Conservatives make unity non-negotiable becuase they are incapable of excluding horrible evil from their base.


They are called lies.


Trump to flee Washington and seek rehabilitation in a MAGA oasis: Florida

President Trump will leave Washington this week politically wounded, silenced on social media and essentially unwelcome in his lifelong hometown of New York.

a man wearing a suit and tie: President Trump takes a question from a member of the media at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., on Dec. 24, 2019.© Andrew Harnik/Associated Press President Trump takes a question from a member of the media at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., on Dec. 24, 2019.

By migrating instead to Palm Beach, Fla., Trump plans to inhabit an alternative reality of adoration and affirmation. The defeated president will take up residence at his gilded Mar-a-Lago Club, where dues-paying members applaud him whenever he eats meals or mingles on the deck. He is sure to take in the same celebratory fervor whenever he plays golf at one of the two Trump-branded courses nearby.

In Florida — one of only two top battleground states Trump won in November — Trump will be living in a veritable MAGA oasis, to use the acronym for his “Make American Great Again” campaign slogan. South Florida has fast become a hub of right-wing power brokers and media characters, and some of Trump’s adult children are making plans to move to the area.


Even as Trump broods privately over his second impeachment this past week and the election he continues to falsely insist he won, his aides are at work to establish a Trump fiefdom in the Sunshine State aimed at maintaining his influence over Republican politics, according to allies and advisers, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal internal discussions.

Some of Trump’s associates are buzzing about a possible presidential library and museum — likely located, yes, in Florida — and about the birth of a family dynasty, should his children, Donald Jr. or Ivanka, someday run for political office. Florida is seen as a better launchpad for the Trumps than New York, given the outgoing president’s popularity in the former. Some in Trump’s orbit are talking up the idea of Ivanka possibly running for Senate in 2022, when the term of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will be up.

Trump has become something of a pariah in the nation’s capital of Washington and its financial center of New York in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol that he incited, but Florida offers him a place to try to rehabilitate himself.

Newsmax chief executive Christopher Ruddy, a longtime Trump friend and Mar-a-Lago member, predicted that the president would remain a powerful force in politics and the media regardless of his current woes.

“We don’t know what legal issues are going to arise, but discounting those, I think he’s going to remain a global force,” Ruddy said. “I think he’s going to like being post-president more than he liked being president, because you have a lot of the perks without as many of the restrictions.”

Donald Trump standing in front of a building: Then-President-elect Donald Trump makes a statement to the media at Mar-a-Lago on Dec. 28, 2016.© Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post Then-President-elect Donald Trump makes a statement to the media at Mar-a-Lago on Dec. 28, 2016.

Trump may have imagined a mischief-making, mega-rally farewell — complete with a tease about reclaiming the White House in 2024 — to draw attention from President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration and to remind fellow Republicans that he still rules the roost.

But there will be no such grand departure in the wake of the Capitol insurrection.

Trump instead is winding down his presidency largely out of public view, though he still intends to take some actions in his four days remaining as president. There remain sharp disputes among the president and his advisers about a final round of pardons he may issue, including for members of the Trump family, according to people familiar with the discussions. The president continues to talk about wanting to pardon himself, they said.

The White House is a fortress guarded by armed military ahead of Wednesday’s inauguration and now practically deserted. “It looks like a war zone around here,” one official said.

[Trump is isolated and angry at aides for failing to defend him as he is impeached again]

Aides spent last week boxing up their offices and desks — White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’s wife, Debbie, was spotted packing a taxidermy bird into an SUV. Aides posed for goodbye photos; snared oversized framed snapshots of Trump’s presidency from West Wing walls; and scavenged for challenge coins and other mementos.

Staffers stood on West Executive Drive for a big send-off Thursday for Larry Kudlow, the National Economic Council director and one of the most well-liked figures in the West Wing.

Four years of roaring commotion are ending in a whimper. An aggrieved Trump has told aides he is uninterested in doing ceremonial events, a senior administration official said.

Other than flying last Tuesday to Texas to autograph a piece of the soaring steel border wall his administration constructed, Trump has demurred on suggestions from advisers to spend his final days touting his achievements and attempting to burnish his legacy.

a helicopter flying in the sky: Marine One carrying President Trump departs from the South Lawn at the White House on Tuesday.© Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Marine One carrying President Trump departs from the South Lawn at the White House on Tuesday.

Rather, Trump has been consumed with anger over his impeachment Wednesday by the House for inciting the Capitol riot, advisers said. He is also upset by the silence from many of his most vigorous defenders, and is nursing feelings of betrayal from Republican congressional leaders, they said.

As aides visited with him to say goodbye and take farewell pictures, Trump complained bitterly about Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and other Republicans who voted to impeach him. “They’ll have primaries, all of them,” one aide recalled Trump saying Thursday.

Homing in on Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.), who voted for impeachment, the president referred to himself in the third person and remarked, “You can’t vote against Trump in South Carolina,” according to the aide, who like some others interviewed spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose private conversations.

Some aides have tried to explain to Trump that these and many other members of Congress are angry about the attack and scared for their lives, but the president has often returned to his popularity among Republican voters in their districts and has shown no remorse for his role in the riot, two officials said.

[The president as pariah: Trump faces a torrent of retribution over his role in Capitol siege]

Aides said Trump has occasionally brought up the Georgia Senate races unprompted with them, arguing that he is not to blame for the two Republicans, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, losing their seats in the Jan. 5 runoff elections — and that the candidates, particularly Loeffler, were bad.

Michael D’Antonio, a Trump biographer, said the president’s state of victimhood fits the narrative he has concocted for his entire life.

“This is the end that he would have scripted for himself, actually,” D’Antonio said. “He has always imagined himself as an embattled person. He’s talked about life itself being a constant struggle for survival and how he’s surrounded by enemies . . . that the world conspires against him and that he is a lonely hero who is underappreciated and besieged.”

a person in a uniform standing in front of a building: My Pillow CEO Michael Lindell is seen outside the door of the West Wing at the White House on Friday.© Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post My Pillow CEO Michael Lindell is seen outside the door of the West Wing at the White House on Friday.My Pillow CEO Michael Lindell is seen outside the door of the West Wing at the White House on Friday.© Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post My Pillow CEO Michael Lindell is seen outside the door of the West Wing at the White House on Friday.

One of Trump’s final Oval Office visitors was Mike Lindell, the My Pillow founder and television pitchman, who showed up Friday afternoon brandishing notes that he said were from a lawyer, whom he would not identify, advising to institute “martial law” and install Trump loyalist Kash Patel in CIA leadership.

Lindell, a vociferous supporter of the president, spent the afternoon at the White House but said in an interview that he left unsatisfied. “I had to make an appointment like everyone else,” he said. “People were lined up to see him.”

Lindell claimed ignorance about the contents of the memo, which was partially captured by a Washington Post photographer as Lindell waited to enter the White House.

“I didn’t know what was in it,” he said. “I didn’t know who some of the people even were.” He explained that the unnamed lawyer asked him, “If you get a meeting, can you drop this off?”

Lindell said he presented his information to the president for about five minutes before Trump referred him to the White House Counsel’s Office. He also argued that China and Russia hacked the election, bringing a false article from the American Report, a conspiracy-theory right-wing website, as his evidence.

Lindell said he has been working with a large team to try to prove widespread voter fraud and falsely argued that Trump had won by 11 million votes. “I have spent a lot of money and gone down every rabbit hole in this country,” he said.

But Lindell said Trump was noncommittal on what he would do with the information and told him to talk to the lawyers, who were dismissive and argued with him.

“They were skeptical,” Lindell said. “They were disinterested, very disinterested. They are giving the president the wrong advice.”

He said the lawyers did not allow him to see Trump again.

[Inside the remarkable rift between Donald Trump and Mike Pence]

With Trump cocooned in the White House, Vice President Pence has looked more like the commander in chief. He visited the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters last week for a briefing on inauguration security preparations and visited with National Guard soldiers stationed at the Capitol.

On Saturday, Pence departed on a two-day trip to Naval Air Station Lemoore in California and Fort Drum in New York to personally thank service members and to tout the administration’s foreign policy achievements.

Workers load boxes of newspapers and other items into a truck inside the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex on Thursday.© Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Workers load boxes of newspapers and other items into a truck inside the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex on Thursday.

Trump is leaving office with his popularity at one of the lowest points of his presidency. Just 38 percent of Americans approve of his job performance and 60 percent disapprove, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted after the Capitol attack and released Friday. The survey found that 15 percent said Trump would be remembered by history as an “outstanding” president, while 48 percent said he would be remembered as “poor” and 11 percent as “below average.”

Trump, who has refused to participate in traditional transfer-of-power rituals, plans to leave Washington on Wednesday morning, just before Biden is inaugurated. Trump instead will stage his own departure ceremony at Joint Base Andrews before his final trip aboard Air Force One. A military ceremony is being planned similar to the receptions visiting dignitaries receive for state visits.

In New York, residents have long shunned him and Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) last week announced the city was terminating its contracts with the Trump Organization because of the Capitol insurrection.

[Backlash to Capitol riot hobbles Trump’s business as banks, partners flee the brand]

But in Florida, Trump looks to be surrounded by supporters, including some of his adult children.

Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, are shopping for a house in Jupiter, Fla., about 15 miles from Palm Beach, according to a person familiar with their plans, confirming a New York Post report. Trump Jr.’s ex-wife, Vanessa, and their five children moved to the area last year, this person said.

Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner, both White House senior advisers, recently purchased land owned by pop star Julio Iglesias in Indian Creek, a gated private island near Miami that is home to celebrities, business figures and professional athletes, including Jay-Z, Beyoncé and football star Tom Brady.

Daughter Tiffany Trump also is shopping for property in Miami, according to Page Six.

Donald Trump Jr. et al. standing in front of a crowd: Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Kimberly Guilfoyle and Donald Trump Jr. listen as President Trump addresses a campaign rally on Nov. 3, 2020, in Grand Rapids, Mich.© Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Kimberly Guilfoyle and Donald Trump Jr. listen as President Trump addresses a campaign rally on Nov. 3, 2020, in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Trump will have a small post-presidential staff working for him in Florida, including a trio of White House aides — Cassidy Hutchinson, Nick Luna and Molly Michael — according to an administration official, who confirmed a Bloomberg report.

South Florida is home to talk-radio stars Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin, conservative commentator Ann Coulter and several Fox personalities, including Geraldo Rivera and Dan Bongino. And at least two of Trump’s Cabinet members — Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson — have homes in South Florida.

Broward and Palm Beach counties also are home to a growing number of Republican direct-mail firms as well as server farms and other companies that handle back-end processing for conservative digital operations.

And Newsmax — whose cable channel has seen a surge in viewers in recent months as Trump, angry over Fox News Channel’s coverage of the election and its aftermath, has urged his fans to migrate — is headquartered in West Palm Beach.

“It’s sort of like his home state, in a way,” Ruddy said. “There’s a lot of New Yorkers there, a lot of personal friends he has that live down there. It’s a New York environment.”

[Six hours of paralysis: Inside Trump’s failure to act after mob stormed Capitol]

In addition, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, whose show Trump regularly watches despite their sharply critical assessments of him and attacks, spend time in South Florida and sometimes broadcast their show from there.

Rick Wilson, a longtime Republican strategist in Florida who is a senior adviser to the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, explained the state’s appeal to Trump — including that Florida’s Republican base is especially “Trumpy.”

“It fits in with Florida’s overall character of being the magnet for all insanity in the universe,” Wilson said. “We are what we are in the great state of Florida, and that is a state of lives restarting and second-chances and reboots and low property taxes and liberal bankruptcy laws and a fairly casual approach to public ethics. Florida, in some freakish, horrible way, is the Trumpiest of states. This is the logical place for them to come.”

a group of people standing in front of a car: Supporters of President Trump watch as his motorcade passes by in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Dec. 31, 2020.© Patrick Semansky/AP Supporters of President Trump watch as his motorcade passes by in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Dec. 31, 2020.

Trump has floated a 2024 bid and his campaign and the Republican Party raised more than $200 million after the election with fundraising bids to help overturn it. Much of that money will go to Save America, a leadership PAC Trump set up after the election that will allow him to support candidates and maintain political influence after leaving office.

Speculation is also coursing through Trump World about a possible presidential library and museum. No announcements have been made, but two people familiar with internal discussions said it is likely to be located in Florida and run by Dan Scavino, one of Trump’s longest-serving and most loyal aides who advises him on social media and most recently served as deputy White House chief of staff.

One of these people, who was a top fundraiser on Trump’s campaign, said the president has told supporters he wants to raise $2 billion for the library — a far greater sum than has been raised for past presidential libraries — and thinks he can collect it in small-dollar donations from his grass-roots supporters.

“I thought to myself, what is this alternative fantasy life you’re living?” this fundraiser said. “I have no clue where they think they’ll get this money raised. Anyone who gives to him will be radioactive.”

[Trump leaves behind a Republican Party both broken and still in his grip]

Asked about raising money for the library, another former top Trump fundraiser wrote in a text message: “Insane.” This person noted that, “except for the wackos, everybody’s running for the hills.”

The mood in the West Wing has been generally dour, aides said, with many deeply upset over the president’s actions on Jan. 6 and frantically searching to find a job.

Aides said Trump has been working only sporadically in the Oval Office, spending a lot of time lately in the residence. He also has been bouncing around the West Wing taking pictures with departing staffers.

One senior administration official who visited with the president last week described his mood as decent. But when asked whether it seemed like he had made peace with the fact that his presidency was coming to an end, this official said, “I doubt it. It’s probably just like a moment there.”

a squirrel sitting on top of a grass covered field: A squirrel is seen outside the West Wing of the White House last Wednesday, shortly after President Trump was impeached.© Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post A squirrel is seen outside the West Wing of the White House last Wednesday, shortly after President Trump was impeached.