- Andrew Jackson discusses why attacks on Old Age Security - including the Fraser Institute's calls for increased clawbacks - serve no useful purpose:
The principled argument for not clawing back OAS benefits is that all seniors should be entitled to a bare-bones public pension as a basic building block of the overall retirement income system. The OAS benefit is very low and is added to a meagre Canada Pension Plan benefit that replaces just 25 per cent of average earnings up to a maximum of $12,144 a year.- Meanwhile, Erin Weir and Lana Payne highlight the effect of the Cons' destruction of EI for seasonal workers who need it most.
Receiving the full OAS benefit – taxed at an already significant marginal rate – is a modest recompense for paying progressive income taxes over a working lifetime. And universality does not stand in the way of providing much more significant benefits to those who are most in need, as we do through the income-tested Guaranteed Income Supplement to OAS.
Experience shows that mean-testing previously universal benefits has undermined support for social security programs among the affluent. Certainly, the more narrowly targeted an income support program becomes, the more the political support for that program tends to evaporate.
Seen from this perspective, universality has benefits over and above the modest fiscal cost.
- Trish Hennessy takes a look at the numbers behind the Cons' pseudo-census.
- And Kevin Press provides an example of the type of evidence which the Cons are so eager to suppress - showing that the relative size of government actually grows more under nominally right-wing parties.Which nicely complements Bruce Stewart's rebuttal to right-wingers who ignore the NDP's track record of responsible government.
- Finally, Russ Ford sees the values behind Upstream as an example of how politics should work:
An increase in GDP historically meant that most members of society prospered.
We know that is no longer true. A strong GDP now means nothing to the lives of most Canadians.
Many have argued that our future health care system will find itself in crisis largely because people are living longer. We have moved from a system that previously addressed episodic illnesses to one that is now focussed on chronic disease management. But to suggest that this will be the iceberg that derails our health system is simply nonsense.
The money is there or at least it was there until governments started cutting our taxes literally taking billions out of the public treasury. The lost tax cut money can easily finance those costs and there will be even money left over to buy the military all the toys it wants.
No chronic disease will not be our undoing. Our undoing will be a failure to acknowledge and address the fact that our new economic order is causing more and more Canadians to be sick by creating more inequality.
The easy solution would be to enter our political parties into a rehab program to end their addiction to public opinion polls. Can you imagine how politics would be different if our parties stood for something, acted on principle rather than focussed on what the polls tell them we want to hear.
Doing politics differently means starting to say what needs to be said.