Harper's Dystopian "vision" for Canada

112 posts / 0 new
Last post
Sven Sven's picture

Ken Burch wrote:

It's about solidarity with the vast majority of the human race who have nothing...

Fighting to keep North American retirement ages at 65 is "about solidarity with the vast majority of the human race"?  What is the average household income in Canada?  Something like $45,000 or $50,000 per year?  40% of the human population in this world live (and die) on $2 per day or less. 

Don't make this about some grand fight for the masses of humanity.

Sven Sven's picture

Ken Burch wrote:

Yeah, might as well "think big" and put everybody(other than the upper classes)out on the ice floe when we turn 70.

Yep, a modest increase in the retirement age (from 65 to 67) is exactly like putting everybody on an ice floe to die when they turn 70. 

stevebrown

Sven wrote:

stevebrown wrote:

Just because people LIVE longer doesn't automatically mean they can WORK longer.

If someone is incapable of working, then that's different than not wanting to work.

From all people who have had enough weight thrown on their backs, I say, FUCK YOU.

Gaian

Sven wrote:

Unionist wrote:

How about gradually going from a 5-day to a 6-day work week?

The flaw in your analogy is that a week is finite...while life expectancy is expanding. 

Your sense of humour is killing me, Sven.

Sven Sven's picture

Gaian wrote:
Sven wrote:

Unionist wrote:

How about gradually going from a 5-day to a 6-day work week?

The flaw in your analogy is that a week is finite...while life expectancy is expanding. 

Your sense of humour is killing me, Sven.

Let's say that for the last fifty years there has been a five-day work week and that over that same period of time life expectancy was fixed at 70 years of age and the retirement age was fixed at 50 years of age. 

Changing the work week from five days to six days (cutting the number of days off in a week by half) would be, proportionately, like changing the retirement t age from 50 to 60 (which would also cut the average retirement time in half). But, whereas a week is fixed at seven days, life expectancy continues to increase significantly. Thus, a small increase in the retirement age is nothing like increasing the work week from five days to six days. For that reason, unionist's analogy is flawed.

 

Gaian

I should have said "absence of sense of humour." Sorry. Although calling U's "analogy," "flawed", is itself a chuckle.

It would be in the language of Capital that you might find U's "serious" concerns for the plight of the worker in this society: "in capitalism, of course, is the exchange of labor power for the means of subsistence. And the particular meaning of the above clauses we have already seen in Part VIII. The laborer must have possession of his labor power (not be a slave or serf). The capitalist must have possession of the means of production (having taken them from the workers)."

Ever since people were made commodities the number of hours taken from their lives on the bidding of their employer has been the underlying concern of humanists who may have some familiarity with historical materialism.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Sven wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

Yeah, might as well "think big" and put everybody(other than the upper classes)out on the ice floe when we turn 70.

Yep, a modest increase in the retirement age (from 65 to 67) is exactly like putting everybody on an ice floe to die when they turn 70. 

You're assuming that our rulers will let it go at that, though...that this isn't just the start.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Sven wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

It's about solidarity with the vast majority of the human race who have nothing...

Fighting to keep North American retirement ages at 65 is "about solidarity with the vast majority of the human race"?  What is the average household income in Canada?  Something like $45,000 or $50,000 per year?  40% of the human population in this world live (and die) on $2 per day or less. 

Don't make this about some grand fight for the masses of humanity.

The comment was about that smug, dismissive phrase you put in your status line.

Sven Sven's picture

Ken Burch wrote:

Sven wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

The comment was about that smug, dismissive phrase you put in your status line.

Well, based on my observations over the years, people who are envious tend to be very unhappy people. 

Do you think envious people are happy?

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

But you're implying, in making that part of your posts as your status line, that all of those you disagree with here on economic issues and the distribution wealth are driven mainly, if not exclusively by "envy"(furthermore, you put it there in "all-caps" to drive home the point, as far as I can see).

OK, "envy" isn't something people should feel,  it isn't healthy and it warps the soul, but in making that word part of all your posts it's as if you're saying "you guys don't really care about humanity...you just want what the rich guys have".  If you thought that in the past, you should know by now that it was a bullshit thing to think about us and about the rest of the Left.

We really aren't in it just for ourselves.  Can you please just accept that already?

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Sorry for the thread drift, btw, but this has been bugging the hell out of me for awhile now.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

"Yep, a modest increase in the retirement age (from 65 to 67) is exactly like putting everybody on an ice floe to die when they turn 70. "

Well another way to put it is that the Harpoids plan to legislate millions of senior citizens back to work...because that's what it means.   Taking the princely sum of $540 a month (the current maximum OAS pension) out of folks pockets will mean that they have to work two more years.

Fuck Harper and fuck anyone who thinks that this is alright.

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Sven wrote:

Changing the work week from five days to six days (cutting the number of days off in a week by half) would be, proportionately, like changing the retirement t age from 50 to 60 (which would also cut the average retirement time in half). But, whereas a week is fixed at seven days, life expectancy continues to increase significantly.

And it just wouldn't be fair to let the working classes get all the benefit of their increased lifespan, would it? Equity demands that they share that benefit with the employing classes by working longer!

After all, there is such a labour shortage that we must all pitch in and work those extra two years. The bosses are just begging us to stay on past age 65!

ETA: A week isn't fixed at seven days. If we can reform pensions we can reform the calendar. We can have 8-day weeks, with 6 working days a week. Phased-in, of course!

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

Sven:

I don't know a single New Dem, or politival leftie who would make the kind of arguments you are advancing? What are you politics?

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Sven's our in-house libertarian. 

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

Sven, statitistically, recent studies show life expectancy among women is decreasing. It is likely also doing so among men as well. How do you justify people basically working until they drop dead? What kind of a world do you want to live in?

Frankly, I don't care whether you try to introduce the variable of lifestyle and excpectancy in poorer nations. THe goal shouldn't be to move towards the lowest common denominator, but instide move the poorest up. After all, that is what was supposed to happen with tricke down economics. It's like you are trying to change the  melody and telling everyone that the melody to which you are trying to move the conversation is the one that was always playing.

Just logically, your arguments simply make no sense. If you really want that kind of world, well you are welecome to it. But want don't you show a little respect for people on this board and just move on already on this? We simply don't agree with you. Either make a new and different argument, or admit you have no where else to go with your current one. No one is buying it.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

The real issue with pensions is this, Sven...do we wish to have a society where people, after working for decades, can have some good time in which to do the things they really want to do, to be themselves and live for themselves, or do we move more and more towards a society whose values say "if you don't work, for whatever reason, you might as well die"?

The raising of the pension age isn't just a question of two years...it's a question of whether or not it stays at that, or whether or not(as is likely instead)our ruler keep raising it and raising it, while cutting funds to house and care for the elderly, leaving us with a society where, unless you are a bazillionaire, your life will be work, first while taking care of your kids by yourself, then by taking care of your aged parents by yourself, and then your kids being consigned to have to take care of you until YOU die...a life of nothing but obligation and misery-a life where creativity, joy and self-expression end up being even less possible then they are now, or becoming totally impossible, other than for a priveleged few.

Sven Sven's picture

Arthur Cramer wrote:

Just logically, your arguments simply make no sense.

While I would be among the first to concede that others may have legitimate philosophical disagreements with me on this issue, please articulate where my arguments are logically flawed. 

Sven Sven's picture

Ken, with regard to your comments in Post #67...

As someone who is starting to seriously think about retirement in tangible terms, my primary concern with the coming explosion in spending on those who are retired is with the younger generations. Continuing on the same trajectory will mean that most government spending will be on retirees, leaving very little for education and other spending that is important to future generations. Asking people who are physically and mentally capable of working to continue to work an extra couple of years (to both reduce their draw on the public purse and to continue to contribute to that purse) in order to avoid a dramatic shift in spending to the elderly from young people seems like a very modest sacrifice to ask for. 

vaudree

Harper has dropped so many bombshells during the Xmas break, it is hard to know which things to fight back on the strongest. 

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Quote:
Continuing on the same trajectory will mean that most government spending will be on retirees, leaving very little for education and other spending that is important to future generations.

Or more importantly to buy engines for the F35 fighter jets, build more prisons for unreported crime and to cut corporate taxes.

wage zombie

Sven wrote:

As someone who is starting to seriously think about retirement in tangible terms, my primary concern with the coming explosion in spending on those who are retired is with the younger generations. Continuing on the same trajectory will mean that most government spending will be on retirees, leaving very little for education and other spending that is important to future generations. Asking people who are physically and mentally capable of working to continue to work an extra couple of years (to both reduce their draw on the public purse and to continue to contribute to that purse) in order to avoid a dramatic shift in spending to the elderly from young people seems like a very modest sacrifice to ask for. 

If you're thinking about the younger generations, perhaps consider they need the jobs that the older people would be working 2 more years.

ygtbk

Ken Burch wrote:

Sven's our in-house libertarian. 

A voice of sanity, to be sure.

ygtbk

M. Spector wrote:

ygtbk wrote:

In practice, "social ownership" of wealth and the means of production always ends up as a one-party dictatorship, with a nomenklatura running the place.

Bullshit.

Counterexample, please.

Unionist

Sven wrote:

Unionist wrote:

How about gradually going from a 5-day to a 6-day work week?

The flaw in your analogy is that a week is finite...while life expectancy is expanding. 

Pardon? I don't do flawed analogies.

Work is becoming more intellectual, less physically demanding. People are healthier, with more acesss to good food and exercise. They don't need weekends to recover from exhausting menial labour. Why can't they go to work six days and work from home on the seventh??

The only reason the Lord rested on the seventh day was because she didn't have Internet access at home.

 

KenS

And why shouldn't they be required to work more for their retirement so we can build more prisons to take care of the misfits, and have more tax cuts to help the needy capitalists being deprived of the chance to create more jobs?

More jobs, less pay, more junk you need, work longer.

Can't have all that expanding productivity going to more leisure time.

What dystopia are ya talking about?

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/hussan/2012/01/harpers-grand-plan-what-i...'s grand plan: What it is and how to fight it[/url]

Fidel

ygtbk wrote:

M. Spector wrote:

ygtbk wrote:

In practice, "social ownership" of wealth and the means of production always ends up as a one-party dictatorship, with a nomenklatura running the place.

Bullshit.

Counterexample, please.

Socialism is all around you in the "capitalist" countries since about the 1930s, which was approximately the first of several swan dives for laissez-faire capitalism in the last century.

If you live in Canada, the U.S., or any of the 30 richest countries in the world, there are plenty of examples of socialism making life bearable for millions.

jerrym

You people are all looking at from the wrong perspective. In the spirit of Jonathan Swift (who proposed that the starving children of 18th century Ireland be fed to the English aristocracy to provide their parents with some money) I have an efficient, economic and rational solution to this problem. Have our actuaries determine what percentage of the population could be spared the increasing pains and aches of old age by providing the 1% with a new delicacy - la viande humaine - and at the same keeping average life expectancy at 65. This would allow the Harper government to maintain the current retirement and allow the old to feel useful at the end of their life rather than becoming part of that evil welfare system called OAS.

jerrym

More seriously, this is exactly what the right-wing economist James Buchanan in 1960 advised was the best way to destroy social programs. Cut taxes proclaiming you are giving the people back their own money and when the deficits start piling up, proclaim that social programs are no longer affordable. Harper is following the plan exactly.

NDPP

and it is absolutely the gameplan. A national mobilization to counter the Harper agenda must be organized and mounted. This is not one that should be added to the growing pile of progressive losses due mainly to simple no-show resistance.

ygtbk

@ Fidel: you are saying that Canada is already socialist, while M. Spector is arguing that we have to smash the existing system (which he explicitly calls capitalist) and replace it with communism (since that's what "social ownership of the means of production" means) in order to address retirement income issues.

The two points of view are not compatible: if you are right M. Spector is wrong, and vice versa.

Gaian

ygtbk wrote:

@ Fidel: you are saying that Canada is already socialist, while M. Spector is arguing that we have to smash the existing system (which he explicitly calls capitalist) and replace it with communism (since that's what "social ownership of the means of production" means) in order to address retirement income issues.

The two points of view are not compatible: if you are right M. Spector is wrong, and vice versa.

What Fidel wrote: "Socialism is all around you in the "capitalist" countries since about the 1930s, which was approximately the first of several swan dives for laissez-faire capitalism in the last century.

If you live in Canada, the U.S., or any of the 30 richest countries in the world, there are plenty of examples of socialism making life bearable for millions."

------------

He's talking about the degree of socialism found in the welfate state that emerged in the post-war world of Keynes, of course. No absolutes or contradictions there at all.

Unionist

Thanks Gaian - I was just preparing to defend/explain Fidel's argument in just that fashion - although I would probably have been more verbose.

ygtbk

Gaian wrote:
ygtbk wrote:

@ Fidel: you are saying that Canada is already socialist, while M. Spector is arguing that we have to smash the existing system (which he explicitly calls capitalist) and replace it with communism (since that's what "social ownership of the means of production" means) in order to address retirement income issues.

The two points of view are not compatible: if you are right M. Spector is wrong, and vice versa.

What Fidel wrote: "Socialism is all around you in the "capitalist" countries since about the 1930s, which was approximately the first of several swan dives for laissez-faire capitalism in the last century. If you live in Canada, the U.S., or any of the 30 richest countries in the world, there are plenty of examples of socialism making life bearable for millions." ------------ He's talking about the degree of socialism found in the welfate state that emerged in the post-war world of Keynes, of course. No absolutes or contradictions there at all.

I agree that what Fidel says is internally consistent. However, it is inconsistent with what M. Spector says.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

ygtbk wrote:

I agree that what Fidel says is internally consistent. However, it is inconsistent with what M. Spector says.

First sensible thing you've written in this thread.

------------------------------

John Ibbitson wrote:
Here is what we are going to see in the coming weeks, after Parliament resumes Monday.

  • a budget that balances the books in two or three years;
  • departmental spending slashed by upward of 10 per cent in order to achieve that target;
  • major reforms to the immigration system, with a big push to bring in skilled workers who speak English or French, at the expense of reuniting families;
  • passage of the bill to create pooled retirement plans for workers who currently don’t have pensions.

Most contentious of all, the government plans to raise the age for receiving the Old Age Security pension supplement, probably from 65 to 67....

Both Brian Mulroney and Jean Chrétien vetoed their finance ministers’ proposals to reform the OAS, fearing the political cost of meddling with pensions. Susan Eng of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons is already at battle stations.

“Increasing the age for OAS right now is the wrong thing to do at the wrong time,” she said Sunday on Global TV’s The West Block. “They can find the money elsewhere.”

ygtbk

M. Spector wrote:

ygtbk wrote:

I agree that what Fidel says is internally consistent. However, it is inconsistent with what M. Spector says.

First sensible thing you've written in this thread.

Thank-you, M. Spector.

Sven Sven's picture

M. Spector wrote:

John Ibbitson wrote:
Here is what we are going to see in the coming weeks, after Parliament resumes Monday.

  • a budget that balances the books in two or three years;
  • departmental spending slashed by upward of 10 per cent in order to achieve that target;
  • major reforms to the immigration system, with a big push to bring in skilled workers who speak English or French, at the expense of reuniting families;
  • passage of the bill to create pooled retirement plans for workers who currently don’t have pensions.

Most contentious of all, the government plans to raise the age for receiving the Old Age Security pension supplement, probably from 65 to 67....

Both Brian Mulroney and Jean Chrétien vetoed their finance ministers’ proposals to reform the OAS, fearing the political cost of meddling with pensions. Susan Eng of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons is already at battle stations.

“Increasing the age for OAS right now is the wrong thing to do at the wrong time,” she said Sunday on Global TV’s The West Block. “They can find the money elsewhere.”

It's interesting that an across-the-board cut in spending of 10% now would be considered less contentious than an increase in the retirement age (i.e., the matter that is "most contentious of all") that would not actually go into effect for many years from now.

Unionist

Sven wrote:

It's interesting that an across-the-board cut in spending of 10% now would be considered less contentious than an increase in the retirement age (i.e., the matter that is "most contentious of all") that would not actually go into effect for many years from now.

Spending cuts can be changed, reversed, modified. And the issue is also what will be cut - if it's of value, it can be restored.

But a historic change from the movement for earlier retirement to inducing workers to retire later is a tectonic shift - how does a new government just reverse it? Which opposition politicians have even yet promised that if elected, they would simply annul it?

It would be like comparing a 10% spending cut to a measure that would prevent women from voting in just a few elections, coming into effect only 20 years from now. The fact, Sven, that you would even make such a comment as quoted above helps explain why you find so much opposition to your views on this board. It's not your particular opinions that are problematic (in my view - and they are most often well pondered and well argued). It's your (how shall I put this...) class outlook.

 

Slumberjack

I don't know if it improves anything to appropriate the means of production, only to discover that in doing so, we appropriate the means of our subjectivity by another name, while expanding the model globally.

NDPP

Should Ottawa Increase the OAS age of Eligibility to 67?

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/polls/old-age-pension-138233759.html

Are You Worried that Changes to OAS Could Affect your Retirement?

http://www.cbc.ca/news/yourcommunity/2012/01/would-pension-changes-affec...

NDPP

Chris Hedges: Corporations Have No Use for Borders

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/corporations_have_no_use_for_borders...

"What happened to Canada? It used to be the country we would flee to if life in the US became unpalatable..?"

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

General strike shuts down Belgium on day of EU summit

quote:  All three of Belgium's major unions called the strike to protest government plans to raise the age of retirement and other belt-tightening measures aimed at cutting costs in the government.

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,15701899,00.html

Belgium hit by massive strike as leaders fly in for crisis summit

quote: The Belgian unions are incensed by an austerity packaged approved by the coalition that took office in December which aims to save 11.3 billion euros off the state budget, including through measures what will effectively raise the age at which workers can retire on full pension.

However, the government, led by Socialist Prime Minister Elio di Rupo, is committed to making the cuts and he risks sanctions from the EU if it fails to stick to a program to bring the budget deficit down from last years 4.2 percent of gross domestic product to below 3 percent in 2012.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/120130/belgium-hi...

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

He's going down.

DaveW

back to the subject of pensions ( and since we are nearing the end of this thread, perhaps "pensions"" needs its own thread...)

I work in Europe, am within  a decade of the compulsory retirement here at 62 and much of my career planning is how to avoid that abrupt end; one option, return to Canada and keep working legit through 65 or go freelance...

in any case, French like all European retirement ages, are going up, in Sweden gradually to 67;

despite all the ha-ha ridicule, Sven is right that the human ageing process has changed hugely in recent decades -- people live much longer, decades longer for most, and consequently are in better health at the compulsory retirement ages;

when FDR introduced Social Security in the US, it had a retirement age of 65, which was a sad joke because most of the American population DID NOT LIVE to 65... average lifespan was about 61 years, as I recall;

today that is closer to 91, meaning 2-3 full decades that the State has to partially provide for a large group of citizens basic needs;

it is not unreasonable to ensure that this be fully funded, and if that means more people contributing longer, Canada will do it too -- regardless of the party in power

 

 

 

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..the plan is to introduce austerity measures that place downward pressures on the econopy sending it into a recession where more austerity is called for. this also creates a further loss of jobs. so where are people going to work to get the income to pay for the system which is not in any danger until 2030. this is not about saving the pension system it's about how populations are being set up one country at a time..to be fleeced in an orderly manner. to talk about  defending against this is every bit on topic.

Slumberjack

Everyone should be able to cease working for corporations and their political bureaucracies at a reasonable age, 60 or 65, after having given over the prime of their lives to it, in order to enjoy the remainder in relative comfort. Just as children overseas continue to be drafted into the service of globalized corporate production at all viable ages, the monstrosity seeks to demonstrate to its traditional support base all the loyalty it is capable of by wringing a few more years of work from their bones, as the latest down the throat contingency for systemic economic failure. Bargaining on a political level with any of this is capitulation.

DaveW

... " Bargaining on a political level with any of this is capitulation."....

 

well, the question of a "reasonable age" as you said above, is being negotiated, everywhere, as funding does not cover the emerging pensionable bulge of population

 

KenS

Canadian public pensions are a pittance compared to European ones. That matters. It does not mean the same questions stand.

KenS

People live longer, are healthier, blah, blah. True. And so what?

Two things:

1.] We CAN afford it. The scale of the expenditures is grossly inflated in the framing.

2.] For an increasing number of us, work is hard to come by long before we get close to 65. We're already barely hanging on. AND THAT IS NOT GOING TO CHANGE.

And because of the latter reality and continued dynamic, it is absolutely sick to make a particular target the one part of public pensions that is designed for the most vulnerable.

Pages

Topic locked