Where is modern civilization heading?

As a society are we heading in the same direction as the ancient Romans? If so the question becomes.......

Are our leaders fiddling while civilization burns?

While we ponder the question I will post my personal thoughts on this blog. Often I will focus on current events that catch my interest, however I am not and do not pretend to be a news organization. I'm simply a guy with his own thoughts on issues that I believe affect our country and society.

Be forewarned, I have been accused of being a right wing thinker and if that is offensive please move on. Remember, this is my blog and my opinions, and unlike many facets of our already over-governed modern society they are not being forced on anyone.

However, please feel free to leave your comments, good, bad or indifferent, after all this is a free society we live in (at least for now).

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Once again the pigs are at the trough....

If you keep abreast of current news you have probably noticed that the topic of MP Pensions has been rearing its head again lately. Although these pensions have been in place for many years they seem to become the focus of attentions every once in a while. What amazes me personally as a taxpayer is that this issue is ever allowed to creep back into the shadows.This is probably one of the most blatant example of how our elected officials ensure their own pockets are lined at the expense of those that elected them. Don't believe me, well read on and you will....

Unlike most pension plans whose contributions and funds are carefully accounted for the MP Pension Plan actually has no money set aside or even invested. It is simply a number on paper that continuously changes to reflect the growing liability. So if the plan has no assets where does the money actually come from to pay pensions? Out of general revenues of course, (translation = taxpayers pockets).

So, if there are no actual funds in the plan per say, how is it invested? Well folks that is where it gets really interesting, it isn't invested. The government simply mandates a return on the plan which once again is funded by the taxpayer. Now, if your not sitting down please do so as I am about to tell you the amount of the return ...10.4% per year! That's right, in an economy where the average hard working taxpayer feels like he has won the lottery if he can achieve a 2% return on an investment our MP's see 5 times that amount on funds that are not invested and don't even exist except on paper! Sound terribly wrong? You bet. In fact Canada's Chief Actuary thought so too and suggested  two years ago that the rate be cut in half to be more in line with current investment realities, naturally this request was ignored.

Unfortunately it just keeps getting better (or worse if don't happen to be an MP), a recent report by the C.D. Howe Institute, a Toronto-based non-profit think-tank found that if ordinary Canadians want to guarantee themselves a retirement income equivalent to an MP’s pension, they would have to save 50 per cent of their income every year. Unfortunately even if the average taxpayer had the ability or means to put aside half of their pretax income, there is a problem. Canada's Income Tax Act only allows Canadians (most who have no pension at all) to contribute a maximum of  18 per cent of their annual incomes to their own RRSPs.

So here are just a few more facts to stew over
  • For every $1.00 an MP contributes to their pension plan, the taxpayer contributes an additional $23.30.
  • As the plan is unfunded and has no assets it currently is a long term liability to the taxpayer of over $1 Billion. Only a billion you say? You must be an elected official with that mind set!
  • The cost of the plan each year including contributions and "interest" is about $102 Million to the taxpayer, while MP's themselves contribute another $4.5 Million
  • Based on the 10.4% interest the plan is mandated to "earn" the plan has outperformed the Canada Pension Plan by 60 per cent over the last 10 years.
  • While a MP has to contribute just $10,900 annually for six years to receive minimum backbencher pension, a regular Canadian would have to save $129,000 annually over six years for the same retirement payment.
Last but not least here are some actual examples courtesy of the CTF (Canadian Taxpayers Federation) of pensions payouts our MP's will receive on retirement from government.
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper can collect a pension of at least $223,500 per year by 2015
  • Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae, if he stays on as leader, can collect a pension of at least $71,400 per year by 2015
  • NDP MP Pierre-Luc Dusseault, elected last year at age 19, can collect a pension of $40,000 per year if he retires at 27
  • 20 MPs will be able to collect more than $100,000 a year if they retire or lose after the next election in 2015
  • In addition to the 113 defeated and retired MPs from the May 2, 2011 General Election, 97 former MPs and 20 former Senators were collecting an annual pension in excess of $70,000 per year as of April 2010.
So, the next time you speak to your MP as them how they feel about their pension plan and how they justify it in today's economy.


    1. Nice post Frustrated Joe,
      Aptly titled and I could not have said it better myself. I am a long time member of the CTF and they have published a detailed report on MP and Senate pensions, reading it is enough to make you sick. Even worse is the fact that many former Bloc MP's are entitled to these windfalls, even though they belonged to a party whose sole purpose was to break apart this country. Where is the logic in that?

    2. Logic? Who ever said there was any logic involved in many of our governments undertakings.

      The one thing that the Bloc MP's proved by excepting federal pensions is their personal level of hypocrisy. Am I surprised? Not in the least. After all, an individual would have to be deluded, stupid, or be following an agenda that had nothing to do with reality to work on the premise that Quebec is getting a raw deal from Canada and would better as a sovereign nation. In the case of many Bloc Mp's I would suggest they fit into all three categories.

      Thanks for your support and comment


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