Originally Posted by involuntary_serf
The comparisons here are interesting but also probably misleading. No exact ones can be made.
One thing that is interesting (and probably a bit coincidental) is the comparison between Canada and California. Interesting because these two entities are actually about the same size.
Canada has about 33.6 million people
California has about 36.7 million people
Canada's GDP is about $1.5 trillion
California's GDP is about $1.7 trillion
I don't know what the various taxes burdens or government as % of GDP in each is. Probably similar but I don't know for sure. If anyone can find this information it would be interesting to add.
Clearly though there are differences that likely strongly affect the poltiical and economic climate of each.
First, California is much more densely populated and has more, higher population urban settings. Second, California is not it's own country and must live withing the constraints (and benefits) of the United States.
Now the comparisons between Canada and the U.S. as a whole can be made but might become more problematic. The first problem is that the U.S. is about ten times the size of Canada and while certain general principles and analysis apply, when we're dealing with extremely large groups of diverse people, differences of this magnitude can be quite huge.
We can look at measures like size of government relative to the economy as one way to determine "how socialist" a country might be.
In Canada government spending equaled 39.3 percent of GDP. In the U.S. it's about 36.7 percent (but rising more quickly lately). I can't yet find any good numbers on this at the state level for California, but it would be interesting.
There are lots of measures to figure out "how successful" a particular country (or region) is. Everyone has their bias as to which one matters the most in their opinion. Things like the Gini index for example are a favorite for some. Personally I'd want to look at a cross section of things. Gini might be one (but not the only). Per capita GDP, median incomes, immigration/emigration patterns and trends (people tend to vote with their feet), economic and political freedom indexes, etc.
Bottom line though right now, overall, at least from an anecdotal perspective, California is in some trouble. The U.S. is too. Canada is faring better at this time.