I’m Not Asking For A Handout – But

If that’s not enough - How about going from being pissed-off to apoplectic?

Some of my Editorials that really touch a nerve are subsequently read by far more people than usual.

This is certainly the case with my last Editorial (The Tipping Point Wednesday, May 27, 2009) that triggered a great many comments. All of which carried a similar theme, suggesting that many of the emailers have already reached their TIPPING POINT, or at the very least are well on their way.

One of the issues that really pissed people off MOST had to do with public worker pensions, publicly funded salaries, and the pensions the Auto Workers (Legacy Agreements) will keep, even though their fund is bankrupt.

I’m less than a year away (February 12, 2010) from turning 60, when I will be entitled to draw on my government pension that I’ve paid into from the time I was 18 years old (42 years).

More than just my contribution, I’ve paid the employer’s share of Employee Deductions At Source for well more than 100 people for MORE than 30 years.

Like all businesses, I’ve also been forced to pay my employees NOT TO WORK for “legal days off” and compulsory vacation days, which means that not only did I pay for ZERO PRODUCTIVITY; I also had to pay the taxes on ZERO PRODUCTIVITY.

Anne and I work very hard, and like all business owners we worry everyday about the market, our clients, suppliers, receivables and payables. There have even been very painful periods in our business lives when we’ve had to borrow on our personal credit cards just to keep our employees employed.

Even though our business life has been a real challenge, and has not generally been easy, we have done well enough to enjoy a better than average lifestyle. But, make no mistake about it; NOTHING was ever given to Anne and myself on a silver platter. NOTHING!

Because we will both be turning 60 in the years 2010 and 2011 respectively, we are now thinking about our pensions. Should we take an early pension at 60 years old forfeiting about 30% from what we could collect if we waited until 65 years old?

Or, should we wait until 70 years old and collect about 30% more than we would receive if we collected our pensions at 65 years old?

After much debate and reading various opinions of what to do, I called the Canada Pension Fund to see exactly how much I would receive based upon when I decide to take my pension.

Imagine my horror when the voice at the other end of the phone told me (after calculations on my personal account) that if I waited until 65 I would receive the princely sum of $600 and change per month.

But, if I cashed in at 60, I would earn about $400 per month.

WHOA! $400?

What the hell is this?

$400 per month after paying into the system for 42 years, not just for myself, but also for all of my employees over a concurrent span of more than 30 years is a pittance.

If you add up all of the salaries Anne and I have paid to our employees over the span of more than 30 years, we’re talking in the MILLIONS.

And this ($400 each per month) is our reward?

After doing the math, it is clear that it is NOT to our advantage to wait until we’re 65 years old to start collecting, since the real difference doesn’t kick in until age 75. And who knows what’s going to be in 15 years.

It seems to us that the single biggest investment and insurance policy we can count on going into our old age is the property we’re living in, the few investments we have that are still worth anything, and the business we own and operate.

Anne and I realize that we are indeed blessed with what we’ve been able to build for ourselves over the years, and that our financial position is far better than the vast majority of the NON PUBLIC SECTOR population.

WE DON’T NEED A HANDOUT.

But, even though we never expected to live high on the hog with our government pensions, it was a shock to learn that the best we can expect from years of public contributions individually and corporately is a paltry $400 each per month.

HERE’S WHERE MY BLOOD REALLY BOILS:

When I read about TAXPAYER-PAID-EMPLOYEES including civil servants, teachers, police, judges, politicians – etc, receiving retirement pensions that are FAR GREATER than the average working salary of people in the PRIVATE sector who’ve paid these PUBLIC salaries, I CAN PUKE.

Because I will be adding more personal income to the pension, I will be taxed on the paltry $400 per month in the full knowledge that a good portion of my taxes will go to paying for public service pensions that could easily average $3,000 to $4,000 per month per person.

Think about this: The government is going to pay me an insulting $4,800 per year after all the contributions I’ve made, while the government will be paying $48,000 per year to Public Sector Employees who’ve made NO FISCAL CONTRIBUTIONS whatsoever, since all the money they’ve earned was from your tax dollars and mine.

They don’t employ anyone. They don’t build anything. They don’t risk their own cash. They don’t grow food. All they do is provide less than competent and efficient services more often than not with a screw-you attitude that we pay dearly for.

If that’s not enough – How about going from being pissed-off to apoplectic?

If the deal with the CAW and the UAW goes through, as it appears it will with government bailouts and Legacy Pension guarantees, I WILL BE PAYING FOR THEIR OBSCENE PENSIONS UNTIL THE DAY I DIE!

AND SO WILL YOU!

Doesn’t it seem nuts to you that the people we’ve all been employing (public sector) with our over-taxed dollars will be living better in their retirement, still out of our pockets, than most of us probably did during our entire working years?

And after our working years are done, we’ll still be paying for them.

How does this make you feel knowing that two retired PUBLIC SERVICE employees living together, will be receiving as much as, and maybe more than $100,000 per year in combined pension-money paid by you and me, while the average WORKING family of four are lucky to make half of that BEFORE taxes, while you and your NON Public Service Employed spouse get to “enjoy” less than $10,000 per year?

I’m already over the TIPPING POINT – What about you?

Best Regards . . . Howard Galganov

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