The Illusory Savings of Hiking the Age of Eligibility for OAS

Former Assistant Chief Statistician Michael Wolfson shows that governments collectively stand to save very little from hiking the age of eligibility for the OAS/GIS, a measure that is widely expected to be in Thursday’s Budget.

The math (based on the SPSDM):

In 2011, cutting OAS/GIS from seniors age 65 and 66 would save the federal government $4 Billion.

However, the feds lose $500 million and the provinces $300 million in personal income tax revenues  (since benefits are taxable.)

Plus there is a $300 Million loss in sales and similar indirect tax revenues due to reduced purchasing power,  $200 Million of which would be at the provincial level.

Plus – assuming no increase in employment income and no accelerated draw down on savings – poverty rates for the age group would double, forcing many on to social assistance and increasing other provincial program expenditures.

If the feds cushioned that blow to low income seniors and the provinces by preserving access to the GIS for the most vulnerable seniors “the net effect on the fiscal balances of both levels of government combined – what ultimately matters to taxpayers and the economy – would be essentially nil.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.