Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pension Protest

Scores of labour activists and seniors occupied the offices of 22 Conservative MPs in Ontario on Thursday afternoon to protest possible changes in the retirement income system. Supporters of the so-called “Blue-Grey” Alliance converged on constituency offices including the one for Finance Minister Jim Flaherty for more than two hours.

Spokesmen for the group said the protests were peaceful and several MPs scheduled meetings with seniors and their supporters in the next few weeks. The group will also start holding town hall meetings in communities across the province to raise public awareness during the next month, said Sid Ryan, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour.

I’m glad to see protesters expressing their concern about the insane things the Harper government is doing to our pensions. I suppose that will make them domestic terrorists in Harpers’ eyes.

Here’s another problem with their Pension math. Giving the banks $65 billion when they didn’t need it then cutting pensions isn’t the only concern. Although that is concern enough. The whole problem is with their math rationalizing the cuts.

We keep hearing about the baby boom. A surge in the population after the war which has subsequently tapered off. I would like to see some stats proving this but either way it’s irrelevant. Their claim is that because a surge in population getting ready to retire means there will be a huge drain on the pension system at some future date because there will be less people paying into the play to pay for the larger number of people retiring all at once.

No one seems to be raising the obvious problem with that math. All of those baby boomers have been paying taxes and paying into CPP all their working lives. I realize Old Age Pension is in a separate account from CPP but the bottom line is that when we make contributions to a pension, that money is supposed to go into a fund where it collects compound interest for when we retire. The fact that they are not doing that is another example of how they are screwing up a good thing unnecessarily.

Corporations are just as bad. When an employee makes a contribution to their pension, it is supposed to physically go into an account where it collects compound interest. This is the same thing with our government pension. If the government has borrowed from the fund our contributions were supposed to be sitting in collecting interest, then the government needs to repay the money it borrowed. That is more important than giving the banks $65 billion when they didn’t need it and expecting us to give up our pensions to pay for that dirty deed.

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