The Hon. Ron McKinnon (my MP) sets up a council for Seniors Issues

I excerpt here, the bulk of a note I sent to my MP in response to this announcement, commending him for taking an interest in what is often a very vulnerable community, and yet...

Speaking as someone just behind the bulk of the Baby Boomers as they've progressed through each demographic ahead of me (my birth year in the not-so-late 60s marks me as a "trailing edge boomer")...

It strikes me that the best way to guarantee that things will be okay for me when I get to be in that demographic, would be to turn back the clock on some of the pension off-loading that was done as a result of the governments that the current seniors voted in time after time.

The whole transition away from defined-benefit pensions to RRSPs was a great social injustice. Individuals are not set up to absorb risk well and I am looking at my impending retirement with a mixture of grim determination and thankfulness that my trade does not depend on a hale constitution but only on the retention of a sharp mind which, so far, has shown no sign of beginning to ebb. I write software.

It strikes me, further, that an annual limit on CPP contributions benefits the rich only and I would ask that this limit be removed, at least insofar as the contributions are concerned. Given that all CPP contributions are currently tax free, it would be wise to retain the limit there: to make CPP contributions up to the current limit tax free (as now) but not those above and beyond that point. This should prevent any impact on general revenue that my proposal would otherwise have.

Further, I believe it is moral and desirable to make all personal capital gains subject to a small CPP-contribution sur-tax as well. I am, in a very small way, borrowing from Piketty here, in his proposal to fund re-equalization across all of society. I'm not proposing that this sur-tax be very big. Something along the lines of 0.2% of the Capital Gains Tax already being charged would be small enough not to be odious to the individual, but potentially effective enough to make sure there'll be some CPP there for me (and my generation) to collect. This will be something we'll be thankful for in our turn, when we finally realize that we haven't been such financial wizards as we were told we could be, with a mechanism (RRSPs) that was originally crafted, in the days of highly progressive income tax (before the days of Reagan, Thatcher, Murdoch and Mulroney), to tax executive bonus schemes more gently and over the longer term. Of course, the returns of the markets of those days have gone away and it's not clear that they're ever coming back.

I admit that I may be able to retire comfortably on the proceeds of down-sizing my dwelling at some point -- but then again, maybe not. And what about my kids? This is a proposal for the long term, not just for me in a case where BC Real Estate suddenly becomes far less desirable than it currently is.

Expanding the CPP contribution base like that would be an action that I would support whole-heartedly, so that I might even vote Liberal next time. As it stands now, though, an announcement like yours strikes me, emotionally, like pandering to a large group of people other than me who have already benefited greatly from a certain set of one-time economic conditions and poisoned the well even for the long tail (me) of their own demographic. I don't begrudge them the support you are giving them as they have entered the "other" (besides infancy and early childhood) "most-vulnerable" time of their lives and desperately need more support. I just wonder if anything can be done so that something is there for me, not to mention the next generations, when we all get to be that age.

Sincerely, etc. etc.

Perhaps some of you want to propose similar things to your Liberal member of parliament? A simple idea coming from several directions has a better chance of succeeding than a single voice, no? To quote an elder statesman from the history of the current "anti-tax" political party from our large boisterous neighbour: "Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society."

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