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Bob from Calgary wrote New York Times' most popular comment of all time

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DH Calgary Staff Dec 30, 2015 11:16 am

Oh the irony – who would have guessed that the most popular comment ever made on a New York Times article would be by a Canadian praising Canada.

The well-known U.S. paper published insights into their comment section in November and revealed that the most popular comment ever written was by “Bob from Calgary” on a post about angry rich Americans who complain about modest tax increases.

With more than 9,000 comments submitted to the paper per day, there are approximately two million comment “recommendations” (similar to “likes”) per month. Bob from Calgary’s comment, praising Canada for its freedoms and government systems that put it ahead of the U.S. while charging slightly more taxes, received the most with just over 7,000 recommendations. His was one of 1,300 comments on Paul Krugman’s op-ed “The Angry Rich” from September 19, 2010.

Bob boasts about Canada’s public school system, lack of crime and violence, our universal health care, modern infrastructure, and generous maternity leave benefits, among other things, that make Canada a more free country than the United States.

“I enjoy one of the free-est countries on earth. Our business freedoms are as extensive as the USA. We are free to hunt and own guns (aside from assault weapons and who needs those anyways). IN fact, I have lived in the USA and I have to say, I can’t see any freedoms there that we don’t have here,” he summarizes.

The Times moderates every comment submitted online and allows comments on only a few select stories. “We review each submission, passing along your corrections and concerns to the newsroom, and protect thoughtful contributors from swarms of trolls,” said Times staffer Bassey Etim, who helps review each and every comment.

Bob’s was among five comments highlighted by the Times’ community desk and has received the coveted “NYT Pick” badge given to comments that are judged as interesting and thoughtful or from readers from an interesting region or with first-hand knowledge of an issue.

Read Bob’s full comment below:

My household makes just over $250,000 here in Canada. One of the best bargains I get for my money is living in a place where I and everyone I know sends their kids to public schools because they are really good. We end up with few criminals, because students learn how to be productive good citizens in schools.

A second bargin I get is universal health care. Great care (rated well above the American system in most measures) whenever you need it without worry about not being approved. It all comes at a bargain price of about 50% of the cost of the US health system.

A third bargain is the modernizing infrastructure. Cities in Canada are building new commuter train systems, rebuilding old overpasses and other roadways, building new schools, new recreation centres, etc. We are not quite like a new city in China, but we are not the decrepit cities of the USA where governments are shutting the lights out at night because they have no money. In Canada, we realize that we can’t live off of the work of our grandfathers forever.

A forth bargin is the right of Canadian mothers (or fathers) to spend a decent period of time with their children when they are born. With one year maternity leave, we can ensure that parents and kids bond and families have some time to look after one another. I personally think it preserves a lot of marriages. (the pay is about 60% your full pay for the year so it is still a financial sacrifice).

Speaking of marriage, I am glad that my tax dollars don’t go to perverse things like trying to stop gay people from getting married or raising children together – what a waste.

The next bargin is public universities – a place where my children and the children from all types of households can go to and graduate with a big debt, but not a devistating one.

Lastly (there are more, but I have to get back to my work), we get governance. This includes a banking system that is there to support the economy, not end run it to make a few $$.

With all of that said, I have to say that along with this, I enjoy one of the free-est countries on earth. Our business freedoms are as extensive as the USA. We are free to hunt and own guns (aside from assault weapons and who needs those anyways). IN fact, I have lived in the USA and I have to say, I can’t see any freedoms there that we don’t have here.

Oh yeah, and my total tax bill is about 2% higher than it would be in the USA. To me, its a bargain!


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DH Calgary Staff
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