Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Manufacturing a crisis

The Globe and Mail reports on Harper's plan to import another of Bush's pet policies, taking a first step toward undermining the Canada Pension Plan:
Sources have told The Globe and Mail that Mr. Harper's efforts to fix the fiscal imbalance will become clear over the autumn months and that the government is looking at ways to reduce CPP contributions from both workers and employers.

The government is contemplating pouring some of its federal surplus into the CPP to accomplish this...

The fourth (Con proposal) would be the plan to use money from the annual surplus to top up the CPP. Ottawa hopes that doing so will allow it to cut premiums.
Needless to say, it almost certainly wouldn't be long after a cut in premiums before the federal government would plead poverty and point out how much money from general revenue was being eaten up by the CPP. Which could in turn be easily followed by cuts in benefits and talk of privatization due to the manufactured lack of public resources to meet the needs of Canadian pensioners...accompanied by assurances that the same businesses who are thriving at the current rates couldn't possibly abide an increase to the same rates in the future.

Canadians should rightfully expect that their pension system is self-sustaining, and hopefully won't buy Harper's claim that a temporary bump in take-home pay (in an already-overheating economy) is worth giving up the assurance that they can be secure in planning to receive the CPP upon retirement. It'll fall to public pressure (and to the provinces, who do have some say in the CPP legislation) to force the Cons away from imposing such a damaging tradeoff on Canadians.

Update: See My Blahg and blevkog for more.

New update: The C.D. Howe Institute has come out against any politicization of the CPP.

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