13 Nov

Somehow Trump Got Elected – Should We Move Back to Canada?

Normally I try to avoid political issues on this blog, but given the seriousness of the political nightmare that is currently unfolding in the US, I feel compelled to share some thoughts. There is a general feeling down here that the inmates have taken over the asylum and I think we all need to talk about it. Whether you’re a classic liberal, conservative, libertarian, or progressive – I think we all feel uneasy about what just happened.

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As financially independent Canadian citizens who now reside in the US with green cards, Amanda and I have the bittersweet perspective of evaluating US culture through two lenses: as Hosers from the Great White North and as US Permanent Residents who expect to have dual citizenship within the next few years.

Yes, we have the option to move back to Canada and wrap ourselves in the warm blanket of a relatively healthy political climate, and it’s definitely tempting! Having a cost-effective Universal Healthcare System that although has long wait lists for some stuff, is a pretty great system (it just needs more money to keep up with the aging baby boomer population). Trudeau is a leader who understands the scientific method and prioritizes action on climate change. National cannabis legalization has been promised, ranked choice voting will soon be delivered, and the overall well-being of citizens is considered more important than spending money on military.

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Sounds like a progressive paradise, right? Yeah, it really does! I love you Canada.

But down here, the circus sideshow candidate from New York who was just elected leader officially has no policies. Except vague excitement on building a massive wall on the southern border, lowering taxes on corporations and the super rich, spending more money on military, cancelling international trade deals and pushing for a very conservative Supreme Court Judge. Aside from that, nobody really knows what this guy is going to do. Not even Trump knows, since deep down he never thought he would win the election. Democrats were overconfident, apathetic, and not excited about voting for Clinton.

If aliens are watching us, they are probably shaking their heads in disbelief. What if there is an asteroid heading towards us right now and the aliens were considering helping us out by deflecting its course? Because of our collective fuckup here, maybe they’ll just let bygones be bygones and let the asteroid go. Maybe we’d survive it. Or maybe Trump would build an asteroid deflection program. Not to protect the Earth, of course but simply out of the self interest of his business empire! Yes, this is possible.

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In some ways the situation is almost tragically hilarious. It’s an exciting drama, really. Maybe he’ll make the richest 100 Americans bring jobs to middle America by switching all power generation over to wind, solar, and nuclear? This could happen, yeah! On the other hand, maybe he’ll destroy all environmental protection laws and simply allow all corporations to start dumping their waste wherever they want, like in the good ‘ol days? Hrmm, the latter seems more likely, but who really knows?

So why don’t we pack our shit up and try and move back to Canada? Well, because even though the political climate down here is like someone rubbing your face in a nasty pile of dog shit, the US still has it’s charms. Although climate change is slowly warming Canada up over time, it might be another 20 years before you would consider winters to be “pleasant”. So for now, weather is much better in the US. Also, housing is much more affordable in the US. Vancouver and Toronto are off the charts, and even Montreal is expensive.  The great thing about the US is the large number of affordable medium size cities that already have great infrastructure, architecture, and history. Finally, Canada’s economic outlook looks uncertain. A large portion of its GDP relies upon oil exports, which is a shaky foundation.

For now, we’re pretty happy with Asheville, NC as an oasis of progressive values and thought. Even if Trump fucks shit up over the next 4 years – there is always the chance that most if not all could all be undone with a Progressive President and Congress in 2020. Until then, we might as well donate our life savings to Bernie Sanders, sit back, and watch the show. Might as well grab some popcorn!

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  • This has been an emotional week, for sure. I’ve tried to remain positive and optimistic. But with the great unknown looming, it’s hard. And it’s really just a question of how bad it’s going to be at this point. I’m going out of my way to give Trump the benefit of the doubt (“maybe he will shock us all and be just terrible, instead of ending the world as we know it!”). But I think that’s more for my own well-being than anything. I am exaggerating a bit for dramatic effect, but seriously I am worried.

    • Travis

      Yeah, it’s a tough situation. All these folks in middle America are suffering through a long, slow economic downturn… and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. The next big economic trend is for long distance trucking to be automated, and then just imagine how many more of these folks will be struggling! I just can’t see how we can help them, aside from maybe having a Universal Basic Income.

      Even if Trump imposes trade tariffs to try to boost domestic manufacturing, it’ll likely be labor done by robots, not by humans in factory assembly lines like the good ‘ol days. It’s a tough one!

      • mysticaltyger

        I pretty much agree with you here. And if this is the case, why are we importing tons of low wage laborers illegally? It certainly isn’t helping the middle class in the U.S. I think it’s pretty safe to assume your native Canada doesn’t tolerate millions of people immigrating there illegally. If America had sensible immigration policies that were actually enforced (like Canada), then maybe Trump wouldn’t have been elected.

  • takalak

    It has been a wild ride this week. Completely unexpected, still trying to absorb the impact. I’m trying to look for some positives in Trump’s presidency, as it relates to early retirement. The only thing I can think of is that during the next four working years we may be able to save more due to lower taxes. Can your audience think of any other early retirement pros in a Trump presidency?

    • Travis

      Hey takalak! If I had to guess, I’d say capital gains taxes will stay at zero and the Roth Conversion Ladder will continue to exist, but anyone using ACA Healthcare Subsidies (like Amanda and I) can expect insurance premiums to go UP big time!!

  • Wow, what the hell happened this past week? Not totally unexpected since Fivethirtyeight.com blog, probably the most robust prediction/analysis site out there and the only one I followed other than real money prediction markets, had Trump pegged at a 30-35% chance of winning the election in the days before voting day.

    But still, who woulda thunk it? I always took his candidacy as a joke and assumed the large majority of others did too. Very few actually mentioned wanting to vote for big dawg T prior to Nov 8, but just tens of millions actually went out and picked his name out of a line up of some shady characters (except Gary Johnson – love you Gary Johnson!!).

    If I were you I would take a wait and see approach to things. You got it right – we really don’t know what this guy’s policies are. He does lean pretty liberal in some regards (trade being one) and until the past several days hasn’t let on that he’s going to be just another Republican (which wouldn’t be a bad thing given the bat-shit insane stuff he spouted for the past 2 years). I’m hoping for another George Bush personally (perhaps with 1-2 fewer wars; ain’t nobody got no trillions of $$ to spend on those!!).

    Financially, the biggest issue concerning me is the ACA and any replacements. Not being able to access affordable health insurance would make us consider moving to a state that does offer it or a country with a sensible national plan we can buy into (or affordable private pay costs).

    • Travis

      Yeah, you make a good point! It looks like the total cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is expected to be between $4 to $6 Trillion. So to be fair, let’s say if Big Dawg T can spend less than half of that on any of his side adventures, we’ll maybe consider him a better President than G.W. Bush. Maybe?

      I’m thinking another Mexican American War could be interesting. It’s been almost 175 years since the last one. We could invade, install a puppet government and also attack all the drug cartels! Maybe this is how Big T plans to force Mexico into paying for the wall?

      • Politicians love to waste money, but they can’t be this foolish, can they? I just hope we don’t spend $1-2 Trillion invading Mexico in order to prove Trump right (“Mexico will pay for the wall”) and to save $20-100 billion of our own dollars.

        On the bright side, it would be kind of cool to not have to convert USD to pesos when visiting Mexico.

  • Travis

    haha – yeah, it’s gonna be tough to implement a carbon tax and not simultaneously tank the oil industry. I guess that’s the point, really. The oil sands as they currently operate have a gigantic carbon footprint, since crazy amounts of natural gas are needed to make steam which is used to get oil out of the natural bitumen in the ground. It’s gonna be a tough change for Canada!

  • It’s good to have options (like moving back to Canada).

    Our family has similar options, and we’ll use them if healthcare (or anything else) becomes completely unaffordable. The next four years will be interesting, to say the least.

    • Travis

      It’ll be interesting, that’s for sure. Tighten your seat-belts folks! The crazy old man on the bus shouting racist remarks just walked up front and grabbed the steering wheel! Do buses even have seat belts!?

  • mysticaltyger

    I think people in America and all over the world need to understand that the politicians aren’t running the show. We have a tiny global elite that’s doing so. Elections are a scam.

    • Travis

      I’d say the biggest problem is that voters are apathetic and uninformed. The election process mostly works (if you care, you can still show up and legitimately vote in primaries and general elections), but most people who bother to do so seem to be totally confused about what issues actually exist and what the best solutions should be. Does trickle down economics work? Is climate change real? So confusing!!

      Sadly, the tiny global elite you mention spend a ludicrous amount of money with the goal of intentionally confusing people and slowing down change and progress. Maybe when the robots take over they’ll fix the system and get money out of politics?

      • mysticaltyger

        Apathetic, for sure. ‘Uninformed’ is a loaded term, though. We generally think people who don’t agree with us are uninformed. It really depends on which sources of information we trust because we don’t have the ability to go out and verify everything or conduct our own scientific experiments on everything. And there is an overwhelming amount of important and very relevant information that never sees the light of day in mainstream media. I will go so far as to say if you’re only using ‘trusted’ mainstream media outlets, you aren’t getting even 1/10th of the story. Once you start doing some exploring on your own, you find out politicians have a lot less power than people think. Corporations aren’t the top of the power structure, either. But saying that gets me written off as a conspiracy nut. Which is fine. But more and more facts are coming to the light…but you’ll not be getting those facts from mainstream media any time soon. I’ve been studying stuff in alternative media for more than a dozen years, and every time I think I’ve got it down, I find another layer of lies / disinformation / new information that blows my mind.

  • Alphonsus Jr. ✠ Dᴇᴜs ᴠᴜʟᴛ

    I don’t feel at all uneasy about Trump’s election. In fact, not being a pitiful, virtue-signaling white ethnomasochist, traitorous oikophobe, and suicidal xenophile, I’m delighted.

    Yes, Travis, pack up and move back to Canada. Or perhaps you’d feel more comfortable in California, where you can spend the next 50 years furiously cranking it in the corner while watching Paco, Jamal, and Abdul gang rape Lady Liberty.

  • Steve from Arkansas

    Dude, get a grip. Right at half the voters picked him. Not because they are racist or stupid. Probably because the other candidate had no business experience and had lived off public funds almost her whole life. Somebody smart enough to succeed in business sounded better to them than another tax and spend liberal politician who is all for redistributing wealth from productive workers to unemployed, uninsured people and to people like her. Yes, he is far from ideal but not as far as she was, to their way of thinking.

    • Travis

      Hi Steve! It’s great that you feel strongly about politics and the direction of the country. So do I. I think we would both agree that there are a ton of problems that require attention. I think attention to detail is important, since the country is fairly complicated and many of the issues take a bit of research to fully understand.

      Most academics agree that more than any other issue, the biggest problem today is income inequality. Sadly, over the last 40 years it’s gone completely out of control. If the income distribution today was the same as in 1979, each family in the bottom 80% would have an additional $11,000 more per year. That’s huge. I think you’d agree that we should address this problem, right?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_inequality_in_the_United_States

      While some of the super rich folks are nice (like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates), many others just want to keep their wealth to themselves and don’t seem to care much for the well being of their fellow citizens or the prosperity of the country. They don’t need to share very much of their wealth, just enough to fill some budget gaps to help out those people who are losing their jobs to automation.

      To highlight how ridiculous the situation has become, the top marginal tax rates on the rich have not been this low in almost 100 years (since the 1920’s). But instead of raising these taxes to benefit all citizens of the country, Trump plans to do the reverse and significantly lower them. Say what? Ignoring the 100’s of other very serious problems with Trump, this one alone is a deal-breaker. How can he fix a country if he doesn’t even understand one of the biggest problems?
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8ef13d1a2777d0ae73a1b150d3a705b1ba0fa9bd8365fe1856e07c5f521024e5.png