Who needs CPP?

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There is probably nothing more galling than listening to a federal politician talk righteously about the need to keep belts tightened on the Canada Pension Plan.

“We believe that CPP payroll taxes can hurt the economy and distract from what truly matters for all Canadians — keeping our economy strong and our finances in a strong fiscal footing is the plan of this government,” federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Monday, after a meeting with provincial finance ministers where Flaherty steadfastly refused to talk about increasing CPP premiums and future payouts.

Yeah — a strong economy. That’s what we all wake up in the morning thinking about. Forget coffee or food or heat — there are seniors across this country who get up, stretch, look out the window and say, “I hope this is another strong-economy day. I hope we don’t get distracted from what really matters by having to buy eggs.”

It’s enough to leave a very bad taste in your mouth.

First, there’s Flaherty’s glib little spin line about “payroll taxes.” The CPP is not a payroll tax: it is the last bastion of a pension for seniors in this county, a measly $12,000 a year that is, for many, the one remaining constant in a working world that has seen, under Flaherty’s watch, companies flee from defined benefit pension plans and from pensions altogether.

Companies that argued for the need to take over pension surpluses when times were good now plead poverty and claim they can’t live with the requirement that they actually should pay out the benefits they’ve promised. (Of course, that’s not the way the companies dress it up. The language usually goes, “Our employees don’t want to just settle for a fixed pension. They want to take contributions and manage the money themselves.” File that under Flaherty’s “what truly matters for all Canadians” — or, more realistically, what really matters for Bay Street.)

There’s a wave of grey coming in Canada, an aging population that’s, more and more, going to have to depend on a CPP that is ill-equipped to meet even their basic needs. And, in case the country’s most senior finance official doesn’t understand economics, those without money have needs that have to be met by governments in other ways — and, with no money to spend, can’t help power that all-important economy.

Think of it this way: instead of hurting the

economy, Flaherty and his fellows are willing to hurt people — real people — instead.

Merry, Merry Christmas, brought to you by

Canada’s caring party.

Of course, what makes it all so galling is that the CPP will probably be chump change to Flaherty when he retires. Why? Because, while he is not willing to vote for a viable pension for all Canadians, he and his fellows have been more than willing to vote themselves generous pensions that no longer exist for anyone else.

Unlike Flaherty’s cute description of CPP as a payroll tax, we’ll be paying into his comfortable retirement funds with real taxes.

The hardship of the many, the benefit of the few.

Geographic location: Canada

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Recent comments

  • Expate Fed Up
    December 19, 2013 - 07:00

    I am a non resident, and for this very reason, I live in a foreign land, void of anything tangible to connect me to the Great Northern country,,,,my homeland Canada. I still call it home, although i only carry a Canadian passport,,,,,,my pension from my employer I receive, minus a 25% with-holding tax, which i can claim nothing against, its lost to the feds. Next when i draw my Canada pension, which i paid into for 32 years, yet lose another 25 % with-holding tax,,,,,,,,,all because i worked in Canada all my life ,,,,,,,, sustainable economy what a joke,,,,,,lets do something meaningful,,as you see i am forthright on what i have to give up to Canada, without any benifits,,,,lets say no more limit to expense accounts for MP's,,,reciepts legitimate ones for every penny spent,,,,,,,never mind no receipts for the first $ xx,xxx.00 dollars, account for every penny, no more free family accompanyment on those Kyoto conferences,,,, tours of European countries are awesome arn't they,,,,,wher you want to spend your easter vacation son?...........Time for those silly people to look at their own spending instead of the citizens !!!!!!!!!

  • Ken
    December 18, 2013 - 21:49

    Ron.. I didn't say I will never use health care. Last time I checked, there is a huge difference. Google it.

  • Ken
    December 18, 2013 - 12:59

    You are obviously not listening to what Flaherty is saying. He is opposed to increasing the CPP contributions by employees and employers alike. It's the Liberals who are fighting to increase the contributions. Why the hell should they be increased?? Seems like you want the Government to baysit your/our money for you. We already pay in 2400.00 per year plus another 1200.00 or so in EI. I will never use EI. I should not have to pay in if I will never use it. It's about time Canadian look after their own future instead of always whining that Government/us taxpayers are not saving your money for you.

    • Ron
      December 18, 2013 - 14:26

      You will never use EI? Well, aren't you special. I will never use the healthcare system, I assume you will neither.

    • david
      December 18, 2013 - 18:23

      Ron: That you clearly consider anyone's eventual use or need for EI as being as normal and inevitable as someone's eventual need for health care is as damning an indictment of both the dysfunctional mindset of Newfoundlanders towards EI, as well as the complete unsustainability of the EI system given such abusive attitudes. Well done.

  • Joe
    December 18, 2013 - 10:33

    If your not a boomer why are you stay in Newfoundland? I will be getting all my stuff by EBay drone so there won't be any jobs or need for people to fill them.

  • saelcove
    December 18, 2013 - 10:28

    CPP does not cost the government a cent you invest 2500 per year for 40 years into an rrsp and see what you get, we are looking after the one to lazy to work

  • J
    December 18, 2013 - 07:59

    Please, I for one do not need to continue to fund the retiring baby boomers in this ponzi scheme of the canada pension plan. Going to be hard to pay into the CPP for a lot of people when they find themselves out of a job when Employer's start running the numbers.

    • Ken Collis
      December 18, 2013 - 08:59

      Increased CPP would not help many baby boomers. It would take some time for this to kick in. An increase would mostly help YOU, if you are less than 50. The current federal govt. wants everyone to have to work. If you can walk, you can work is their motto. They've already passed legislation to force most people to work until 67. These actions help keep wages lower and big business richer. Walk into Kents, Walmart, or a lot of fast food places. You'll see seniors working for minimum wages just to make ends meet. The companies love it because they can pay low wages and they don't have to make EI or CPP payments for seniors. Do you think employers will close up shop because they will have to pay an extra $1.50 a day? That is what the increase will cost them. Think about that.

  • Pierre Neary
    December 18, 2013 - 07:48

    Again this government decides to help the corporations instead of ordinary citizens. Flaherty can use all the semantics and trickery he wants. Most people can see right through him. His big pension is not on the line.

  • picky
    December 18, 2013 - 06:01

    CPP deductions are not a "payroll tax" but a contribution to your pension plan. Your deduction is contributed equally by your employer. If you contribute $ 5.00, your employer contributes the same. The employer's portion if fully tax deductible from their taxable income. An increase in the CPP contribution would not be a hardship on both the employer and employee. The employee's portion can also be claimed on their personal income tax return as well. Bottom line is, the economy will still be trudging along as usual.