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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ottaw is About to Pick Your Pockets - Again

If you saw a hard working older person being robbed of something they’d worked their entire lives for would you help them? Would you do the right thing or would you simply look the other way?

Would we even stand up for ourselves if we were the ones about to be robbed?

Thanks to the federal government we may soon be given an opportunity to find out.

Ottawa’s plan to move forward with changes to the Old Age Security system (OAS) in the upcoming budget will take money directly out of your pocket in the coming years and the pockets of Canada’s most vulnerable, its seniors.

At present Mr. Harper’s is focused on picking the pockets of those who look forward to collecting OAS at 65 but aren’t quite there yet. He says his plans won’t affect those already collecting OAS but once politicians and bureaucrats begin their tinkering it’s a slippery slope. Who knows where the changes will ultimately end.

For now the target is the average person in their 30’s, 40’s or 50’s, the hard working middle class. They’ll be the ones left to pay now and pay later.

If you’ve worked your entire life and hope to collect OAS at 65, you better think again.

The same people whose tax dollars currently pay for the program those over 65 enjoy are about to be told they’ll have to wait longer, perhaps to 67 or older before being eligible.

While your taxes have been paying for this federally funded plan since the first day you started working, if the Harper government has its way you can plan on toiling away to continue paying for it well out into your so called golden years.

So why is the Harper hell bent on messing with the Old Age Pension?

He says it’s because the crush of Baby Boomers about to retire will drive up the cost making it unsustainable. That’s a lie. In fact the real motive behind this robbery is to keep the working class slaving away even longer in order to prop up a declining workforce and continue paying taxes for a few more years.

The federal finance minister is quick to toss out big numbers as a way of proving the program is unsustainable. As impressive as those numbers appear they’re nothing but smoke and mirrors.

The truth is that 20 years out those same Baby Boomers blamed for putting too much strain on the system will begin to pass away and the cost of providing the OAS will once again naturally slide back to more normal levels.

Even with the “boom” about to happen the cost is projected to be just over 3% of GDP, a sustainable amount considering the rate of fiscal growth in Canada each year. Naturally it isn’t the sort of increase a government would want to manage for too long but as the number of surviving Baby Boomers naturally declines after so will the costs.

There’s a reason the working class are called “wage slaves” and this is it.

Not only will you have Mr. Harper to thank for working longer in order to pay for a system you won’t be able to access until much later in life but as an added bonus you’ll also get to pay more to cover the gap it will create on the provincial level.

Currently provincial governments cease to pay social assistance to low income recipients once they begin collecting Old Age Security at 65. Raising the age of qualification means provincial assistance programs will have to be extended to fill the void, and guess who’ll have to pay for this added tax burden being downloaded to the provinces?

When you add it up, raising the age of qualification for OAS means:

A) Canadians will be forced to work longer before they can retire;

B) Will continue to pay more federal taxes over the extended period in order to support those already on OAS;

C) Will be forced to pay even higher provincial taxes necessary to extend social programs needed to fill the void left by the changes; and

D) In the end will collect less OAS by virtue of receiving it later in life than they would have otherwise.

If that isn’t like someone stealing money out of your pocket I don’t know what is.

If you hope to collect Old Age Security at 65, if you’re a hard working person who doesn’t have a company pension or your pension won’t be enough to retire on, if you are in a physically demanding job and worry that you may not be able to physically continue working past 65, now is the time to stand up and do something for yourself and those around you.

Call, write or email your Member of Parliament. Let them know how you feel about being fleeced. Contact the Prime Minister directly. Send a message to the Conservative Party of Canada letting them know that you won’t stand for it and they’ll pay the price in the next election.

If someone was about to be robbed, would you try to stop it? Somebody is and it’s you.

Note:  If you aren't sure how to contact your Member of Parliament check out the links section on the left side of this page for a site that will allow you to look up their contact information.

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