Weighing in on pension reform

Posted on November 4, 2013 in Social Security Policy Context

TheStar.com – Opinion/Readers’Letters – Re: Wynne road show targets ‘retirement income crisis,’ Oct. 26
Nov 04 2013.   Frank de Jong,  Abdullah BaMasoud, E. Smith & Gord Deane

Wynne road show targets ‘retirement income crisis,’ Oct. 26

An Ontario pension plan, as suggested by Premier Kathleen Wynne, is warranted. Too many seniors in this province don’t receive sufficient private or public pension benefits.

However, instead of raising taxes on incomes, sales or business (dead-weight taxes that damage the economy), the new pension plan should be financed by capturing some of the unearned income that accrues to Ontario’s monopoly-owned assets like land and resources — wealth that economists call “economic rent.”

Economic rent is revenue with no corresponding cost of production. It is wealth belongs to all citizens by birthright, which makes it an ideal way to finance a pension plan.

Our seniors, who spent their working lives building Ontariom should receive a “senior’s dividend” — their share of the public wealth generated by the commons.

Frank de Jong, Toronto

Cohn: Ontario’s passion for pensions is political, Oct. 29

Martin Regg Cohn is right that our pensions shouldn’t be a political game. The Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) provides striking lessons on what may happen when politics and pensions mix.

The Québécois politicians appoint all directors and can overhaul the board when they wish. The plan’s loss of a quarter of its assets in 2008 ($37 billion) could have been the wake-up call to separate politics from people’s retirement security.

Kathleen Wynne is excused to call for an Ontario Pension Plan given Stephen Harper’s current priority, covering up his old sins. However, what Ontario needs is a pension plan that is independent from political influences, good or bad.

Abdullah BaMasoud, Richmond Hill

As this article states: “unless employers and employees contribute at least 3 per cent of earning, participating in a PRPP (pooled registered pension plan) is not worth it.” Why or how can it be any different for a “made in Ontario supplementary pension plan”?

Ontario’s Liberals have lost $4.2 billion of lottery money, $1.1 billion (and counting) on closing/moving gas plants, and countless more on the ORNGE scandal, eHealth, the now defunct Diabetes Registry and “Green” energy. So, please, save us from another “made in Ontario” money loss scheme.

In this Ontario pension scheme we (being both employee and employer) would face an added 6 per cent Liberal tax. How many billions can we lose before we declare bankruptcy? Detroit comes to mind.

E. Smith, Richmond Hill

Re: Cohn: Ontario’s passion for pensions is political, Oct. 29

This should be interesting. Kathleen Wynne trying to get the anti-social federal Reformers to enhance the CPP. Wake up Canada, Stephen Harper comes from the thinly veiled insurance lobby called the National Citizens Coalition that wants its pension and health care territory back.

Look at the evidence. He sent his finance minister to the last federal-provincial conference on health care to tell the provinces how much they can expect to get from the federal purse until next year when the latest deal runs out. Expect to be told we can’t afford health care from now on.

He also pushed OAS back two years to age 67. This is not the action of people interested in enhancements. After halving the corporate tax rate, there is no argument that companies can’t afford a payroll tax. Harper and his gang are about dismantling, not enhancing.

Gord Deane, Mississauga

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