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Seniors give, not take

I resent Mia Rabson's flawed article The Big Gap (April 27), about how we seniors are such a big drag on our province and nation, when it is the mismanagement of today's governments that is the problem.

I think I can speak for most seniors in saying that we have always been givers to both our families and to all levels of governments, never takers. Where do they think most free volunteer work comes from, if not from senior men and women?

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The investments of wealthier seniors are what help to keep this nation afloat today. These seniors weren't just lucky to obtain this wealth; they worked hard and took risks.

The article talks about RRSP and Canada Pension Plan contributions as if they were socialist welfare handouts to seniors. But we paid into all of those programs and more for most or all of our lives. Many people under 45 and their families live way beyond their means and oftentimes they are still not happy.

As for health care, we seniors have paid our share of these costs and are still paying. Many medical waiting rooms appear to be just as full of younger people as seniors, due to obesity and lack of common sense.




Mia Rabson's story promotes the kind of divisive thinking that has been used so effectively by corporations, the one per cent and their political allies to put less money in the hands of average Canadians and more in the bottomless pockets of the wealthy.

Canada's economic problems are not due to the tension between old and young people, public versus private-sector workers, the employed versus the unemployed, or any such divisions among average Canadians.

The real gap is all average Canadians versus the wealthy and the corporations and politicians they control.

Average Canadians (the 99 per cent) must decide whether they will continue to squabble over which segment of the population is worse off and continue bringing everyone down to the lowest level, or unite and work to restore the balanced distribution of income and wealth that once made for a healthy economy. This has been systematically eroded by a small but greedy minority who can never get a big enough piece of the economic pie.




Mia Rabson hits the nail on the head. Young families need to be far more vocal in demanding the services they need by voting for the party that will provide them.

Multi-year wait times for affordable early learning and child care is a prime example of the challenges young parents face in order to enter or stay in the workforce.

Governments would move much faster to address this shortage if parents with young children voted for the party with social-policy platforms that support all generations, including theirs.


Manitoba Child Care Association



Yes, early childhood education is important, but in the case of governments catering to seniors, there is another factor -- we seniors don't have parents who are responsible for our well-being.




RRSPs defer income

Re: Splitting tax hairs (Letters, April 26). An RRSP contribution does not defer taxes or avoid taxes. An RRSP contribution defers income. In the taxation year of income deferral, a person's income tax liability may or may not be reduced.

For instance, a person who has over-contributed to an RRSP (which is allowed up to a maximum lifetime amount of $2,000) does not receive an in-year tax reduction on the over-contributed amount, but may receive it in future years depending upon the level of future contributions.

When a person receives income out of his or her RRSP, it is taxed in the taxation year received. A person's tax liability depends on the tax rates for that year and the total amount of all income that the person has received.

Thus, a person could end up paying less tax, equal tax or more tax on the RRSP income received than what the income would have been originally taxed at if the RRSP contribution had not been made. It is quite possible that a person who has contributed to an RRSP for many years could end up with a larger income in retirement on average than the person's average income during their working years.




Misleading comments

In your April 17 story NDP tackles massive deficit too slowly: critics, the comments made by Business Council of Manitoba CEO Jim Carr and Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce president Dave Angus about the provincial debt and deficit are misleading. Carr says that the provincial government's debt is going up too quickly and we're "getting out of the comfort zone."

Let's look at the facts: The provincial government's net debt-to-GDP ratio is about 27 per cent. The federal government's net debt-to-GDP ratio is 36 per cent. Even with the gravest economic crisis in 75 years, the Manitoba government has still been able to keep its net debt-to- GDP ratio below the 1999 ratio of almost 33 per cent, which the Filmon Conservative government left us with.

A small deficit in 2013 does not mean debt is spiralling out of control, nor does it mean that spending is spiralling out of control. International Monetary Fund CEO Christine Lagarde recently called on governments to soberly focus on growth and jobs, not hysterical deficit reduction. With the second-best growth rate in the country over 2007-12 and a very low unemployment rate of only five per cent, Manitoba is doing just fine.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 30, 2013 A8

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