Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Unretired debts

No wonder the Liberals aren't eager to see any positive pension reform, as it comes out today that some of the recent surpluses reflect money siphoned out of public pension plans - and that the money was taken out only a few years after the same workers' premiums were raised out of financial need:
Public service unions began a court battle on Tuesday to require the federal government to repay billions of surplus dollars taken from pension funds.

To get access to workers' funds, the government changed the law on pension surpluses in the late 1990s. The move made its financial position look better, at least in accounting terms, although its obligations to employees and retirees did not change...

One of the plaintiffs is the Professional Institute of the Public Service, whose president, Michele Demers, says the government slashed jobs, put a freeze on wages and increased pension premiums in the 1990s. She says pension money was never supposed to be used to help the government out of a financial jam...

Jose Aggrey, president of the Canadian Association of Professional Employees, says private-sector employers generally don't have access to pension money, and neither should the federal government.
This seems to be one more clear indication that the Liberals' reputation for fiscal management is merely a reflection of their ability to find ways to turn unrelated programs into general revenue funds. (See Insurance, Employment.) Hopefully added public knowledge of the tactic will push a few more Liberals toward having to make use of their own pensions.

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