Unfunded pension liabilities are a burden

While the letter writer and I agree there is a ‘pension crisis’ in Canada, our perspectives could hardly be more different.

To the Editor,

Re: Pension crisis is real and it’s concerning, Letters, Sept. 22.

While the letter writer and I agree there is a ‘pension crisis’ in Canada, our perspectives could hardly be more different.

While she sees Canadians as being incapable of planning and saving for their future, I see unfunded pension liabilities that burden and threaten our ability to save. Former Prime Minister Harper recognized that people begin contributing later than in the past while living on pension earnings for a much longer time, necessitating a slight increase in year of eligibility for a future generation. Prime Minister Trudeau rolled back that legislation while mandating an increase in contribution levels by both employee and employer.

More than 3.6 million government employees enjoy the prospect of a fully indexed, defined benefit pension plan. Provincially, Ontario alone has more than one million public employees. Every additional dollar contributed by them will be matched with a dollar from their employer, the Canadian taxpayer. Millions of prudent, careful savers, many of whom have no pension plan, will be taxed to improve the latter years of those with generous, guaranteed defined-benefit pensions. Unfunded public pension liabilities are estimated to exceed $300 billion, or more than $9,000 for every Canadian man, woman and child.

The letter writer claims that we are all “subsidized” due to unpaid tax on our personal savings being “owed to society.” Has she conveniently forgotten that those savings are taxed as they are withdrawn?

Randy O’DonnellNanaimo

 

To the Editor,

Re: Pension crisis is real and it’s concerning, Letters, Sept. 22.

This letter to the editor is loaded with misinformation and demonstrates a lack of understanding of basic finance and economics. The letter relies on outdated socialist dogma for whichVenezuela’s current crisis is a prime example.

In light of the debate over the CPP and old-age security, we can readily examine how Canada’s system stacks up against other countries around the world. The Mercer Melbourne Global Pension Index Report in 2015 ranked Canada’s retirement income system seventh out of 25 countries. There is room for improvement, but Canada’s system is solvent. Moreover, our national per-person debt is lower than many other countries.

As a former business owner, the proposed changes to the CPP will adversely affect small businesses and the self-employed. Consequently, business will have less capital to invest in growth and expansion, which would then increase employment opportunities.

Anthonie den BoefNanoose Bay

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