North Central Labour Council Says Golden Years Aren't
By 250 News
Prince George, B.C. - The Vice-President of the North Central Labour Council says the most important issue that comes to mind this Labour Day is the need to re-vamp the Canada Pension Plan.
"We need to acknowledge our seniors and the work they've put into our society and treat them as though we value them," says Sussanne Skidmore.
"So many people who are trying to retire now aren't able to do so," says the Local 1211 BCGEU rep, "They're having to take on jobs to subsidize their pension because their pension isn't adequate to pay their basic needs."
Skidmore says seniors are deserving of a pension that's liveable, "So that people aren't picking between whether or not they buy their groceries, or they buy their medication."
In addition to overhauling CPP, Skidmore says not enough is being done at either the federal or provincial level to ensure working families have long-term, well-paying jobs. "I think there are some short-term, quick fixes being tried," she says. "(But) we know that if you pay people good wages and give them good benefits, they put that money back into the community - they spend the money at small businesses, they go out to dinner more often, they're kids play sports and all of those things."
Skidmore would like to see some stability for working familes and she'd like to see it carry over into the golden years.
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It would not be fair to expect taxpayers who do not contribute to CPP to subsidize this retirement program. So, government should not be responsible for funding it either.
One of the other obvious problems is how many people want to retire at age 50 or 55 or 60. Now I realize that we are not able to apply for early CPP benefits until age 60. But this also means that people will have paid less into CPP by age 60 than 65.
However, there are still things we can do.
a)Increase the contributions for the Employer and the Employee. (already doing this)
b) Work longer before we can have access to the benefits.(not a very popular option if it is implemented without having a choice)
c) Settle for less if you retire at 60. (already doing this)
d) Set up your own retirement plan that you are responsible for funding.(RRSP's)
e) Realize that you may need to continue working part-time indefinitely to maintain your standard of living, or you may have to downsize.
f) Attempt to receive a higher rate of return on your investments. (government or individually)
g) Eliminate compulsory retirement. People should be able to work as long as they want and or are able to.
h) The reality is that some people will never be able to retire based on their inability to manage their finances, their addictions or their spending habits.
i) Take on a boarder or find a roommate in the same situation.
j) Start a small part-time business that you will earn enough to subsidize your pension income.
k) Keep in mind that CPP does not and will not be available to help anyone who works for cash or does not work at all. And that is the way it should be.
l) CPP is only one form of retirement income. Many people will need to create multiple sources of income to fund their current lifestyles. The cabin at the lake, the cabin at the ski hill, the snowmobiles, quads, horses, boats, 5th wheel trailers, motorhomes, motorcycles, travel trailers, multiple vehicles in the driveway plus their large homes and their travel plans in retirement. Yes, thankfully these people have lots to give up. Not everyone is in this position, but many are and they are going to have to make the biggest changes.
While it is more than fair to expect a modest level of support from CPP after we retire (after all, we paid into it during our working years)...it is unreasonable to expect taxpayers to support individuals' demands for higher and higher government-funded pensions just so they can retire at 55 or 60 and continue to live in the manner to which they were accustomed while employed. This is what's happening all over Europe where the sense of entitlement of otherwise healthy and able-bodied 60 year olds is bankrupting those countries.
CPP should be a complementary/supplementary income for people in retirement...a way to ease the burdens on their own personal savings and provide a little more pleasant lifestyle...but it should not be considered the sole means of support for 25+ years. People need to look after themselves--maybe save a little more in their working years!
Younger workers should be willing to contribute more to subsidise those who have put their whole life into this country, in the expectation that they will be treated the same.
The CPP then 'invests' those dollars, it doesn't 'spend' them, which creates ANOTHER set of 'costs'. While leaving the 'costs' of the goods and services originally provided by the contribution incapable of being FULLY liquidated from the remaining incomes left for distribution as wages, salaries or dividends. Unless from somewhere an additional sum of money equal to the contribution is created, (as an increase in overall debt), or received from abroad, (from an international 'trade' of our 'real' goods for some other country's 'money' ~ which CAN'T then be spent for THEIR alternate goods.)
Until this is fully understood and its importance appreciated, any talk of increasing contributions to CPP, or the desirability or undesirability of ANY additional taxation to fund retirees, or of raising the retirement age, etc. will NEVER even begin to touch the real problem.
With the advancement of technology in the last 100 years it is utterly ludicrous to believe that we 'need' everyone 'working', let alone keep them working until they drop. What is needed is a fundamental reform of our 'money' system itself, so the 'figures' properly REFLECT physical 'facts'.
And the more universalised these plans become, the greater the likelihood they will simply fail to deliver what is expected of them. This is already starting to happen.
The reason? These Plans "invest" the contributions. But as we continue to displace labour with technology, we are also displacing the 'incomes' labour used to make.
The overall 'spending from incomes' begins to fall (masked by the FACT that more and more Canadians are now BORROWING against FUTURE 'expected' incomes, or existing equity, just to continue to live. ~ Don't take my word for it, that's what the head of the Certified General Accountants Ass'n of Canada recently told a Parliamentary Committee that our tax dollars are funding to receive such information.)
We are now, on average, again according to the CGA's head honcho, $ 1.47 in hock for every $1.00 being received in disposable income.
(From which, anyone with a shread of intelligence, can easily see the attractiveness to politicians of CONSUMPTION taxes, like the HST. They tax your spending from BORROWING, right now, not only what you're spending from your 'earnings', right now.)
And with this fall in 'spending from incomes', and the inability to fully fund the demand for consumer credit from incomes that are diminishing and won't be fully able to repay what has been borrowed overall, the PROFITS of those businesses the retirement plan contributions have been "invested" in will also FALL. They will be inadequate to provide the returns on investment that's expected.
invested is a relatively new phenomena. CPP
might be able to pay better benefits had it not suffered years of mismanagement, usually at the hands of a liberal government.
Ah, yes, there it is again. The endless fixation on the "job".
Why don't those well-meaning Neanderthals in the Labour Movement finally begin to focus on the desired "end" instead of only ONE "means" towards it?
The 'end' in this instance is an INCOME. Adequate to secure for the recipient his needs in the way of food, clothing, shelter, education, medical assistance, and personal security. And beyond that as many of his individual desires as are physically capable of being provided and he or anyone else is willing to provide.
An INCOME is an entirely separate thing from a JOB. Many people already receive an income who do not have a job. And a desirable goal for a modern Labour Movement would be to extend their numbers further, not reverse them.
For is it not also true, if anyone cares to think about it, that a great many jobs are done where no one receives, or expects to receive, any income whatsoever for doing them? Why are they done? Think about it.
The ONLY difference between 'unemployment' and 'leisure', so far as I'm aware, is that the former is penalised by an involuntary loss of 'income' and the latter is not.
There is a substantial difference between 'leisure' and 'idleness'. Most people do not like to be 'idle' for long. They get bored. They want something to do, and often want that to be something they perceive as being 'useful'. But most, I think, would agree that they'd hardly want to be subjected to endless and ever increasing drudgery just "to have something to do". Or to earn an income.
Whether we like it or not, the world is working to put itself out of work. Every increase in productivity, and there seems to be no end in sight of those calling for just that, means and can only mean that we are displacing human 'labour'. The "job".
Strange that for all our marvellous inventiveness in aid of increasing productivity we cannot discover how to distribute sufficient INCOMES, to all, separate from the pretense ~ and it becomes more of a ridiculous pretense daily ~ that all must not only still work for them, but also all must work harder and longer than ever before.
It is a 'macro-economic' problem, and it has its counterpart in all modern industrial countries where "labour displacement" is increasingly prevalent.
It might be noted that in China the retirement age is currently 55. And their retirees receive pensions that go substantially further in the purchase of necessary goods and services there than our retirees do from their OAS and CPP pensions here.
China is still largely in the 'pioneer' phase of its development as a modern industrial nation. As it becomes more fully industrially developed they will begin to have the same problems we're having.
To put it shortly, the rate of flow of overall 'incomes' being distributed will start to lag the rate of flow of overall 'costs' being continually impressed into Consumer product 'prices' at the point of retail sale.
They will become like we are rapidly becoming. Unable to buy all the goods and services we have created from the incomes distributed in their making alone.
There is a solution, it's been known for years, but none of the current political Parties here are yet willing to examine it again. I hope that will eventually change, and the Conservatives, for whom the solution would be most acceptable philosophically, will be the ones to adopt it.
a Pension from the GOV. Money collected from us should be used to take care of your own at Home first. So if someone calls it quits at 50 after working for 35 Years it is his Choice, he know he will not get the max Payout on his Pension but if he lives thrifty all his live he should have no Problem doing so. Remember Time is limited , you only have so many Years, so have Fun and no Boss.(except your Wife)
If we have some people doing nothing (because they were displaced by technology), others still working (because their job is labour intensive) and yet they both "earn" the same benefits, how would that work? Would people not feel somewhat put out by this reality?
Furthermore, if the system you propose was to work, I would think that it would be the extreme wealthy who would have to give up the most in order for it to function. I think there would have to be a "pooling" of resources and a fundamental shift in how we distribute the collective "wealth" that we create in our society. I actually think that the Conservatives would be the last party to want to entertain this proposal.
I don't really think so, NMG. First of all, they wouldn't both receive the same benefits. The person who is still working would still receive more.
What the proposals long known as "Social Credit" postulate is NOT an 'equality', where we try to level everyone down to some particular externally imposed standard, and keep them there. Like 'socialism' would do.
But rather where we try to ensure that everyone first has a 'sufficiency', for their own needs, whatever they may be individually. And then be able to satiate any desires beyond that they may individually possess that are physically capable of attainment.
We want to enable everyone to level themselves up, if this is what they wish to do. This certainly doesn't come about by everyone stopping work and supposing they could get everything they want just handed to them. What it does do is enable a big enough economic pie to be baked that everyone can get a slice of that's sufficient to ensure no one has to go away from the table hungry.
You can look at this two ways. With unemployment as either as a curse or a blessing. When we view it as the former we bemoan the fact that a growing percentage of the workforce is unemployed every time there is an economic slowdown. And governments are called upon to provide 'work' for them. The focus is misplaced on the "job", and away from where it should be, on the "income".
In such downturns do we ever ask ourselves whether anyone is actually going short of real goods and services because there is a 'genuine' shortage of the same due to the unemployed not being employed?
Or are those people going short of actual goods and services, often ones that increasingly they do need, and also often ones that are already made or easily provided, and ones that those offering them would dearly love to continue to sell, simply because they have no, or an inadequate, 'income' with which to access them?
If a man's continued 'production' is of no economic advantage to himself or his fellow man, (and if it were, wouldn't he still be employed?), then how can his continued 'consumption' be a detriment? Think about it.
Look at the "big picture", NMG. Right now we can only distribute sufficient incomes through 'employment' to buy those goods and services that normally come within the buying range of the general public ~'consumer' goods, in other words ~ IF we ALSO engage in the production of goods which do NOT ever come with the buying range of the general public.
But we'll still end up having to try to pay for BOTH. Because there is no one else TO pay for them. Only from 'earned' incomes, which in their totality are not only presently inadequate to do what's required of them, but become ever the more so with each advancement of technology and every job outsourced overseas that further displaces those incomes.
The problem is that the way we do the accounting ~ and every 'money' system is simply an accounting system ~ does not accurately or fully REFLECT physical reality.
The REAL, as opposed to the financial, 'costs of production' are FALLING with each improvement in efficiency we make to the productive process.
In accounting, we properly charge the costs of these improvements to Consumers through allocation of charges for Capital depreciation into prices. But what we do NOT con-currently do is fully CREDIT Consumers for the increase in Capital Appreciation these improvements have enabled. The improvement in EFFICIENCY. Being able to obtain MORE product output from LESS labour input.
An increase which is continually GREATER (barring the destruction of war or natural disasters which actually impede or reduce our ability to 'produce').
Neither the 'extremely wealthy', nor anyone else, would have to give up any of their wealth, NMG. We're not the slightest bit concerned about how much wealth the "extremely wealthy" have, except to hope that they enjoy it, and won't object to others joining them.
The only thing that would be removed from them is the economic power they are currently able to exercise over others through the use of this wealth as a basis for credit. Some would no doubt not want to lose that, but they are already losing it.
NMG continues:-" I think there would have to be a "pooling" of resources and a fundamental shift in how we distribute the collective "wealth" that we create in our society."
There would be a fundamental shift in the way we distribute "incomes", which are the 'tickets' to real wealth. Increasingly they would become less dependent, collectively, on "employment". And more in the nature of a "dividend" paid equally to all. Either directly, and/or through a rebate on retail prices as they are presently determined by individual merchants.
There would not need to be any change in the private 'ownership' of resources, industries, etc. in regards to the way such ownership is presently "administrative" in nature.
But the public would receive a far greater return in regards to our collective "beneficial" ownership of all the ever growing body of 'knowledge' that enables natural resources to be turned into everything we need or desire ever more efficiently.
NMG continues:- "I actually think that the Conservatives would be the last party to want to entertain this proposal."
No, I don't think so. The other things they'll try won't work. I would give the present Federal Conservatives under Harper enough of a desire for political 'self-preservation' to learn from their mistakes. And well before the electorate puts the country back on a path they definitely don't want us to travel again.