So do we need to worry about the sustainability of OAS?The rub, of course, is that Harper is more than willing to ignore facts to introduce legislation based not so much on perception, but in order to create an illusion.
Not according to the Chief Actuary.
Based on the assumption that the cost of living would rise 2.5 per cent a year and that earnings would rise at 3.8 per cent a year (i.e., real wage growth of 1.3 per cent per annum), the Chief Actuary projected that the cost of OAS as a percentage of GDP would be 2.2 per cent in 2007; it would then peak at 3.1 per cent in 2030, then fall (as baby boomers die off) to 2.7 per cent in 2050. He further points out that, if these assumptions prove to be true, each generation of retirees will receive an OAS benefit that will be a smaller ratio of their final pay (the replacement ratio) than the generations before.
Raising the eligibility age for OAS is regressive legislation. It’s well known that wealthy Canadians live longer than poorer Canadians. Look at a blue-collar worker with less than a high-school education who retires at 65. That person’s life expectancy could easily be around 10 years. If you raise the age of eligibility for OAS to 67 from 65, you remove 20 per cent of that person’s expected benefits. A wealthy Canadian, on the other hand, could just as easily be looking at a life expectancy of 20 years. Thus, moving this person’s age of eligibility up by two years is a 10-per-cent reduction in their benefits.Those two questions should be germane. However, we're dealing with narcissistic sociopath in Harper and in order to get to those questions we would first have to get past the personality that first raised the issue.
So two key questions need to be addressed. First, is raising the age of eligibility for OAS really necessary, or is the system sustainable as is? Second, how does one justify a public policy shift that’s so clearly regressive in its impact?
The first question is easily dispatched by looking at the Harper omnibus crime bill. Is raising the age of eligibility for OAS really necessary? Well, were the measures in Harper's crime bill really necessary? In a field of statistics demonstrating a falling crime rate Harper ignored the facts and committed billions of dollars to increase Canada's incarceration rate. Further, he dumped a huge portion of the cost of his bill on the provinces.
Necessity is not the force behind Harper's initiatives. He is creating an illusion.
The second question is even easier using the same example. How does one justify a public policy shift that is so clearly regressive in its impact? Justify? If there is a mantra to the Harper regime which has become patently obvious it is that they justify nothing they do. What they are good at, however, is silencing anyone who opposes their grand plan.
Harper and his crowd are tribalists. Necessity and justification are contrary to the imperatives of the constructed culture centered around the illusion of greatness, however damaging that may be to others.
Added: I had not seen Owen's post when I published. Apparently we're using the same comparisons.