Today's discussion:

One straightforward way to balance the budget? Cut seniors benefits

The federal government plans to spend nearly 24 percent less per person over the next six years. The trouble is, restraining direct federal expenses doesn't get you very far to balancing the budget. Trimming benefits to high-income seniors, however, would.

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A. Chezzi

Laughable! No party would ever consider it, if I remember correctly, Jean Chretien entertained the idea for a brief moment and then the grey haired army moved into action and that ended that.
I am a senior so you could say I have a conflict of interest but I did grow up in a world where sacrifices had to be made. I grew up in a world where a choice had to be made between a Sunday ride or save the money for gas so my father would get to work the next day. I grew up in a world where butter was replaced by a colourless, white substance which had a yellow patch to mix and make it look like butter. I grew up in a world where money was set aside for the mortgage payment and not Christmas gifts and I survived.
High interest rates, mortgage payments are not new. Listen to the news and one would think these aspects of life are the newest struggle in life. We have had it too good for too long and the idea of sacrifice is foreign to us. It seems we have lost the will and the ability to do without.
There are other ways to trim the budget without going after seniors. The waste in government is incredible. That is well know, so go after the waste. Red tape adds to cost. Cut the red tape. Think differently instead of doing the same thing over and over again, netting nothing. Stop the partisan politics. That has to be one of the greatest determents to a better life. If we are not able, in this day and age, to come up with better solutions than going back to what was tried and failed, we are really bankrupt.

30th November 2023 at 9:09 am
G. Jackson

When I bought my first house, the interest rate on my mortgage was 13 3/4 %. In the ensuing months it climbed to more than 20%. My neighbours were abandoning their homes in the middle of the night. I find it hard to feel sorry for people who are now paying 5 to 7%.
I also paid for OHIP from day one. I suffered through wage and price controls. My wife got 12 weeks of maternity leave, but she never took the full 12 weeks, because we couldn’t afford it. I have never taken any government benefits, like UI, for my entire working life and I was forced to pay into a CPP plan that pays less than I would have got had I invested the money myself. In fact the CPP is nothing more than a device to fill a hole in the funding of government sector pensions. The government already claws back all of my OAS payments. Now, when I am 70 and still working, you suggest that they lighten my wallet even more. Good luck with that.

30th November 2023 at 10:52 am

What was the average house price as a ratio to the average household income in that timeframe? It is a key piece of information in order to fairly compare hardships, no?

30th November 2023 at 12:08 pm
Harriet Worden

Well said Chezzi & I can relate as I’m 93 & a thankful, healthy, Gray-haired, Adamant retiree.

30th November 2023 at 9:50 am

Great reminder of how things have been and could be again!

“going after seniors” and “trimming the budget” not the suggestion in the article. Making significant cuts by reducing or eliminating a benefit for those that truly do not need it is the suggestion, no?

30th November 2023 at 10:13 am
Kim Morton

The real problem is not the benefits that anyone that was born here contributed to for 50+ years, but the cost of the bureaucracy that runs the programs. How about giving us all the money us and our employers were forced to pay int CPP plus interest and let us look after our own money? That way we would not need the rest of the government handouts, with their expensive administration costs. Next step is to cut the pay and perks that politicians and sr bureaucrats get. There is no reason a politician should get more money than a senior gets from CPP. The 15 BILLION our government gave to Volkswagen to build a totally unless battery plant in a liberal stronhold would pay for a lot of things seniors need. The list of waste gos on.

30th November 2023 at 11:16 am
Gary Oxenforth

Libs cutting their budget of the Canadian Armed Forces and now going after seniors.How about cutting foriegn aid and the billions to foriegn auto makers. Just saying.

30th November 2023 at 10:34 am
Dave T

As a senior facing an OAS clawback, I’m ok with it. I would just as soon contribute toward my own health care costs beyond private insurance, or have some assurance the savings would actually contribute toward deficit reduction, but since that isn’t going to happen, I will accede to the cut with some reservations.

At the other end of the spectrum is the GIS supplement. I recognize its necessity, and purported fairness, but I happen to know three or four people who collect it. Two of them for certain did everything humanly possible to avoid having a job all of their lives. Anything short of high crime to not have a job. Of course, they draw the maximum GIS benefit since their CPP pays little because they didn’t work much. One of them does see some humour in this benefit; he may see even more humour at the idea that my OAS is reduced and his benefit increased, which also could happen.

30th November 2023 at 8:23 am
Bill Hertha

As I understand it, the OAS is already clawed back, starting at about $80,000 and fully clawed back at about $130,000. It looks like the author’s proposal essentially accelerates that process by tying it to family income. It is not clear to me that the graphic contemplates current reality. On the point of interest rates, while higher rates might benefit seniors, they come with inflation, which does not. Given the reality of a fixed income on retirement, I would rather have lower interest rates with modest inflation, than the higher-higher.

30th November 2023 at 8:21 am
Lillian Grant

I personally know people that are collecting from three defined benefits plans as well as earning a six figure salary. Why should they also collect CPP? These are high income earners. Instead of being bullies, the government should offer them tax incentives to “donate” their CPP back to the pension fund. The wealthy get a tax break and the poor seniors can get a decent income. After all, they paid into CPP while those politicians who get a pension after six years didn’t pay their fair share.

30th November 2023 at 9:42 am
Harriet Worden

You would see road blocks & marches like you’ve never seen before. We contributed all our working years to Canada, now our children & grand & great onegrandchildren are contributing. We deserve to enjoy our final years, & a safe & happy retirement.

30th November 2023 at 9:43 am

Trevor’s ‘Financial Flows’ chart is amazing – clear, dense, and relevant. It should be included as a standard header for context in any discussion of federal revenue and spending.

30th November 2023 at 7:20 am

Do you really expect Seniors to live on the Streets by cutting Seniors who are alone and living off only pensions. Maybe we should give you a drive around to see the homeless camps where people are dying.
Maybe you should experience it for a month or so to barely exist, then we’ll find out your experiences.
I personally bet your answer would be different.

30th November 2023 at 8:31 am

Yikes! Are you replying to my comment or the article (which you don’t seem to have read)?

30th November 2023 at 9:06 am
The Hub Staff

Thank you for contributing to Hub Forum.

30th November 2023 at 3:20 pm
Gail Tom

Anyone can draw a plan and make it look logical to justify a concept. Everything comes down to raising taxes .

30th November 2023 at 7:42 am
Bob Clark

I take umbrage to the term “seniors’ benefits”. These so called benefits are in fact the repayment by governments to seniors of monies collected by governments every year through seniors’ working lives, levied through taxation. They are not handouts. No seniors were afforded the option of not paying their taxes, they did so because they were required to. Yes, some may collect more than they contributed, many collect less.

30th November 2023 at 7:32 pm
john morel

LOOK pple in gov’t>want to stop inflation DO as your daddy did >>The Anti-Inflation Act (French: Loi anti-inflation) was an Act of the Parliament of Canada, introduced by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s government and passed in 1975, which aimed to slow down the rapidly increasing price and wage inflation.>>it worked then WHY NOT NOW???OH maybe Waterhole wants his C-19 $$ back>>HE is getting MILLIONS back in taxes so why should he stop >>WTF GOV’t doesn’t give a shit bout it’s pple

30th November 2023 at 3:35 pm
Jeff M

Maybe it takes someone both with an interest in public policy, and with a familiarity with the tech industry, but it seems clear what has to happen to the CBC. The CBC is currently a monolith – a vertically integrated media production and news gathering organization. Its problem is that its content selection and editorial policies and practices are out of step with contemporary Canadian demand – not that its technical media production and distribution isn’t modern or of high quality.

It’s clear that the organization should transform from a vertically integrated content production org to a horizontal platform for local and international news gathering and production, open to use by external organizations in order to facilitate the emergence and competition between small-scale local news entrepreneurs and larger cross-country news companies. The idea would be that “CBC” would get out of the content production business, but provide a high quality content production organization for third-party news and content production companies to take advantage of, with a variety of optional disaggregated services. Such services could be technical – like film or recording facilities, digital – like podcasting distribution networks or website hosting, or even “domain”-specific – like editorial assistance via fact-checking.

The benefits of such a platform would be profound – lowering technical and editorial costs for existing and future news organizations, allowing local news to thrive – driving improved local democratic accountability – and providing a level playing field for the emergence and competition of entrepreneurial news and content organizations.

Even the transformation roadmap – specifically how to get from today to tomorrow – has been modelled by the technology industry. Amazon, when building out Amazon Web Services (AWS), made it mandatory that the AWS platform had to be able to be used by all external organizations, and that the ecommerce site had to use AWS – thus providing AWS with a large source of demand. Perhaps Bezos could lead the transformation. He has an interest in newspapers. 🙂

Such a platform could even be made available as a service to other countries, thus producing export revenue – much like the Canadian Mint produces modern, secure coinage design and production to smaller countries without such a capability. And, with the heft of the Canadian state behind it, and presumably security best practices, such a platform could also serve as a secure and independent platform for at risk and under threat democracies and emerging democracies around the world.

Of course, the current management doesn’t inspire much trust such a transformation could occur, and let’s face it, competence and imagination is only one barrier. In such a scenario, the current “CBC” would have to shed its content ideology and partisanship to become a dispassionate provider of local, national, and international news services platform. But that’s why we have an elected legislature, to force necessary change to ossified state-owned organizations in pursuit of better fit and execution of contemporary Canadian demands.

30th November 2023 at 8:18 am