Income transfers, means testing, and universality, oh, my!

Overall, the NDP leadership race has provided a lot for progressive economists to be excited about. From progressive tax reform to fair wages and worker’s rights, poverty fighting income transfers to new universal social programs, the four leadership candidates have put substantive and laudable social democratic proposals on the table. Unfortunately, the last debate waded into unhelpful – if not […]

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The NDP and Old Age Security

NDP leadership candidate Jagmeet Singh has proposed (with few details) to reform the current Old Age Security system by integrating Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS.) “A Jagmeet Singh-led government will implement the Canada Seniors Guarantee to ensure that no Canadian senior has to live in poverty. The Canada Seniors Guarantee will combine a number of […]

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The Federal Role in Poverty Reduction

I’m co-author of a blog post titled “The Federal Role in Poverty Reduction.” Points raised in the blog post include the following: -Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development has been tasked to lead the development of a Canada Poverty Reduction Strategy. -Total public social spending in Canada (as a % of GDP) is well below the OECD average. […]

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Ten things to know about the CPP debate

This fall, Canada’s Parliament will debate a proposal to expand the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).  And over at the Behind the Numbers web site, I’m co-author of a blog post titled “Ten things to know about the CPP debate.” The blog post’s other co-authors are Allan Moscovitch and Richard Lochead. Points raised in the blog post include the following: -CPP […]

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Guaranteed Annual Income

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “Ten things to know about Canada’s guaranteed annual income debate.” Points raised in the blog post include the following: -There are people and groups on both the left and right of the political spectrum who favour a Guaranteed Annual Income (also known as a […]

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OAS, the Budget and the Baby Boomers

The Budget justifies raising the age of eligibility for OAS and GIS on the grounds that  the long-term fiscal sustainability of the program is being undermined by rising life expectancy. No estimates of savings are provided. They will be very modest. Given that average life expectancy at age 65 is 20 years, raising the eligibility age by two years could […]

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Budget 2012: Pennywise But Pound Foolish

Marc, Andrew and Toby have posted substantial analyses of yesterday’s federal budget and I have some comments in today’s Hamilton Spectator. My two cents about the budget’s economic forecasts follow. Table 2.1 envisions a 7.5% unemployment rate this year, slightly above last year’s rate of 7.4%. That seems like an admission of failure from a budget ostensibly about job creation. […]

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Stapleton on Harper’s Proposed OAS/GIS Changes

John Stapleton has an opinion piece out on Prime Minister Harper’s proposed changes to Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). I find the following quote from Stapleton to be particularly troubling: By providing OAS and GIS at age 65, Canada has greatly reduced the incidence of poverty among seniors. By moving the age of eligibility for OAS […]

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Old Age (In)Security

Here is an overview of today’s timely Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives paper on Old Age Security: Old Age Security (OAS) is the basic building block of Canada’s retirement income system. Canadians build on that foundation, saving for their retirement with benefits from the Canada or Quebec Pension Plan, a workplace pension if they’re lucky enough to have one, and […]

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Diane Finley’s Demographics

On CTV yesterday, human resources minister Diane Finley said (45 seconds into this interview): “As we go forward, we’re going to have three times the expense in Old Age Security as we do now, but we’re only going to have half the population to pay for it.” That sounds pretty scary. If the total cost triples, with only half as […]

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Is The OAS/GIS Program Unaffordable?

No. Of course not. Even if the government waves around scary large increases in nominal dollar terms. As has been widely reported, the most recent OAS actuarial report shows that total program expenditures will rise from $38.8 billion in 2011 to $107.9 billion in 2030. However, the dollar figure reflects, not just an increase in the number of OAS beneficiaries […]

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Hiking the Retirement Age is the Wrong Answer to the Retirement Crisis

Raising the age of eligibility for Old Age Security/Guaranteed Income Supplement (OAS/GIS) benefits is the worst possible way to deal with the retirement income security crisis facing Canadians. Experts such as former Assistant Chief Statistician Michael Wolfson project that one half of all middle income baby boomers face a severe cut to their living standards in old age. This is […]

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