The Ameri-Canada Dream, Ctd

Gopnik ponders Diane Francis’s new book on US-Canada merger:

One never quite knows how seriously to take books of this larksomely utopian kind. That once famous book making an argument for the abolition of television was really meant to point out that we could do well with less—but the seemingly equally unreal “Will the Soviet Union Survive Until 1984?” turned out to be prescient. And Francis’s book, though cheerily deadpan, has some serious points to make. The really significant thing may be that the one crucial holdup to the merger is American medicine. In a section called “America’s Health Care Blind Spot,” she writes, “The US system of health care is indefensible from an economic as well as a business standpoint.” And, she adds, “If Americans had the same system as Canada or Germany the savings would total 1.079 trillion per year.” She also has some harsh things to say—again, strictly from a balance-sheet point of view—about our military. In other words, the takeaway of this free-market, business professor’s view is not that America would engulf Canada but that Canada would need to be sure America was up to grade before it could consider the merger. With all the difficulties Obamacare has had getting set up, that fundamental point is not about to go away.

Earlier Dish on Francis’s book here.