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There's been lots of attention paid recently to the Canada Pension Plan and how to extend it, alongside news stories and commentary about how adequate or otherwise Canadians' retirement situation will be. The sunshine boys over at the C.D. Howe Institute (a.k.a. the Isn't Capitalism Wonderful Institute -- ICWI) reassure us that everything is just fine and we should just shut up and ignore all the warnings. The author of an ICWI study, one Malcolm Hamilton, observes: "Canadians frequently read that they borrow too much, spend too much, save too little, retire too early and live too long."
"Dream no little dreams," Tommy Douglas was fond of telling us. As premier of Saskatchewan and leader of the federal NDP, Tommy was true to his words -- delivering the first publicly funded health care system in North America while balancing 17 consecutive budgets.
Decades later, New Democrats are still dreaming big.
In his latest piece, "We need a federal politics of Big Ideas" Tyee and rabble columnist Murray Dobbin rightly points out that successive Liberal and Conservative governments have emptied the federal coffers by doling out billions in wasteful corporate tax giveaways while doing nothing to stop the growing income inequality in our country.
In the U.S., the "M" word has been on the lips of politicians from the left to the right of the political spectrum, albeit for different reasons. President Obama is not an exception. Indeed, he made the mention of the middle-class part of his electoral rhetoric immediately after the 2008 financial crisis and after hundreds of thousands of Americans lost their houses, their American dream.
As both the Bank of Canada and the IMF have now reported, the Canadian economic recovery slowed in early 2013. Sadly, this contains good news.
A return to economic strength would bring an increase in interest rates. This would cause Canadian households deeply in debt to dig down even deeper to make ends meet. With weakness, rate hikes are likely delayed until 2014.