Fighting the union mentality,


Extrait de: Fighting the union mentality, Financial Post, Aug 5, 2011

The facts show public compensation is far higher

Re: letter from Paul Moist, Aug. 3

Unsurprisingly, CUPE head Paul Moist’s response to the Aug. 2 article on public-sector pensions by my colleague Dan Kelly contains the usual “entitled to my entitlements” mentality that pervades public-sector union types.

However, the numerous inaccuracies in his claims must be addressed.

Contrary to the assertion that we are doing nothing, CFIB is currently working with governments, the financial sector and others to develop retirement savings options for entrepreneurs and other Canadians.

As for the “one size fits all” CPP proposal promoted by the unions, the employer-paid portion of CPP premiums absolutely is a payroll tax. Employers and the self-employed pay double the CPP premiums, yet receive exactly the same CPP benefits as employees who pay once.

And within the union CPP scheme, an element often left out of the discussion is that benefits only double after 40 years, benefitting few people approaching retirement age today but putting a big burden on younger workers.

The claim that CFIB “manipulates” Statistics Canada data is absurd. Many other reputable research groups, such as the C.D. Howe Institute, have reached the identical conclusion that public-sector workers on average have compensation and benefits greatly exceeding their private-sector counterparts, retire earlier and enjoy other generous benefits rarely if ever found in the private sector. Those are well-documented facts.

The most egregious claim in Mr. Moist’s letter is that CFIB has a campaign underway to reduce wages and benefits for all workers.

On the contrary, we raise the issue of excessive public-sector compensation and benefits so that private-sector taxpayers can keep a few of their after-tax dollars to put into their own retirement savings plans.

Federal government’s net pension obligation

Net federal Pension

Government employee pensions are rapidly emerging as a major fiscal problem

 

The government’s net pension obligation under the fair-value approach thus stands at almost $208 billion – some $65 billion larger than reported in the Public Accounts. This raises the net public debt by an equivalent amount.

 

Source: The Canada Public-Sector Pension Bubble

If the public-sector unions really wanted to help ordinary private-sector Canadians they would temper their incessant demands for more and permit others to keep a bit of their own hard-earned dollars. And as virtually all public-sector pension plans are grossly underfunded — more than $200-billion for just one plan at the federal level — private-sector taxpayers will be asked to ante up more and more going forward.

With the aging population and increased longevity, something’s got to give.

CFIB’s campaign has been characterized by the public-sector union leaders as anti-public sector. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am hearing from increasing numbers of young public-sector workers recognizing the very real problems with their pensions and that changes are needed to ensure pensions are there for them in future.

Union leaders are doing a great disservice to their younger members by pretending all is well. For the record, CFIB has taken care to state that we are not calling on governments to take away any pension benefits that have already been earned, but to ensure that government workers pay their fair share and that new employees are put on a plan more affordable for taxpayers.

As part of our 40th anniversary celebrations, CFIB recently commissioned a public opinion poll from Angus Reid Forum asking Canadians which groups were most respected in society.

The No. 1 groups were farmers and entrepreneurs.

The least respected?

Unions.

The claptrap consistently put forward by Mr. Moist and his union cohorts is one clear reason Canadians do not hold them in high regard.

Despite public-sector union protests that all is good and nothing needs to change, their views just don’t pass the smell test for the majority of Canadians.

Catherine Swift, chief executive, Canadian Federation of Independent Business