New Post has been published on Generation Squeeze
New Post has been published on http://gensqueeze.ca/slides/upstream-thinking-for-generation-squeeze/
Upstream Thinking for Generation Squeeze
New Post has been published on http://gensqueeze.ca/slides/upstream-thinking-for-generation-squeeze/
Upstream Thinking for Generation Squeeze
New Post has been published on http://gensqueeze.ca/slides/need-to-know-gen-squeeze-ontario-election-analysis/
Need to Know: Gen Squeeze Ontario election analysis
New Post has been published on http://gensqueeze.ca/tweets/476388411289239552/
New @GenSqueeze study: Ontario polit parties ignor…
New @GenSqueeze study: Ontario polit parties ignore gen equity. Important Info to Guide Your Vote… http://t.co/JbIeFbOCnJ
New Post has been published on http://gensqueeze.ca/wondering-how-the-ontario-parties-stack-up-on-generational-equity/
Wondering how the Ontario Parties stack up on Generational Equity?
Important Info to Guide Your Vote
For Ontarians who were hoping to see this week’s provincial election shine a light on the new challenges confronting younger generations, Generation Squeeze has some bad news.
A new Gen Squeeze study of the Ontario election shows that the Liberal, Conservative, NDP and Green Parties are all campaigning on platforms that will raise government spending for older generations, but do little to help younger generations adapt to pressing new economic and social pressures that are shaping the 21st century.
This election was triggered by the budget tabled by Ontario Liberals May 1 2014. It proposes an annual spending increase of $1.5 billion for Ontarians age 65 and older. This sizable increase for retirees is not matched by any significant increase in spending for the much larger population that is under age 45.
Since the other parties refused to support the Liberal budget, you might expect them to be proposing something significantly different. Unfortunately, Canadians under 45 are disappointed again. Our analysis of social spending in the NDP and Green Party platforms show their proposals coming in within just half of one per cent of Liberal projections. All three Parties clearly have decided it is important to find new money to spend on retirees, without showing the same concern for younger generations.
The PC Party evades direct comparison with the Liberals, NDP and Greens by failing to cost most of its campaign promises. However, the Generation Squeeze study concludes that the Conservatives are likely to grow Ontario’s generational gap in spending even more than the other parties by targeting funding cuts to programs that primarily affect younger generations.
The decision of all four contenders in the Ontario election to prioritize spending on retirees with far more urgency than they propose adapting for younger Ontarians is out of step with new economic realities. The rise in housing prices that increased wealth for retirees who bought homes decades ago is weighing down younger generations with heavy debts which they must pay with lower wages, despite greater investment in obtaining credentials through postsecondary education.
All four major parties are effectively asking Ontario voters to accept public policy trade-offs that they wouldn’t support in their own families. We don’t know many parents or grandparents who want governments to adapt to their needs as an aging population at the expense of adapting to new pressures facing their kids and grandchildren.
This trade-off being offered to Ontario electors makes clear that it is increasingly important for young and old alike to organize in advance of elections to shape Party platforms. For this reason, Generation Squeeze is building the political clout of younger generations in order to complement the important generational organizing that the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) has performed for decades.
Wondering whether it is important to vote, even when the Parties don’t provide much to choose between when it comes to investing in younger generations? The answer is yes. Until generations exert equal power to influence the world of politics, political parties are unlikely to respond equally to the needs of all generations. Platforms are designed around those who show up on election day, and those who make their voices heard in effective ways well before the writ is dropped.
If we want Ontario to work for all generations, we will ultimately need to mobilize younger Canada to build a powerful organization to speak up for its interests, one that invites Boomers and seniors to join forces in search of a better generational deal for their kids and grandchildren. Such activity in combination with the important work of CARP will be required to build a province and country in which all have the chance to live up to their potential, enough time and money to enjoy life, and the opportunity to work together to leave our country and planet better off than we found it. This is the vision of Ontario and all of Canada for which Generation Squeeze is organizing.
Paul Kershaw is the Founder of Generation Squeeze, and co-author of the new study of Ontario Election Platforms.
Andrea Long is a Gen Squeeze volunteer.
New Post has been published on http://gensqueeze.ca/a-path-to-majority-government-runs-through-gen-squeeze/
A path to majority government runs through Gen Squeeze
As the Ontario election kicks off, party leaders have two paths to majority government. Convince Ontarians who voted for a different party last time to switch parties. Or convince Ontarians who didn’t turn out in the last election to vote this time.
Because fewer than one in two Ontarians cast a ballot in the last provincial election, the second route holds promise. Attracting even a modest portion of this large group could win any party a majority.
We know that Canadians who abstain from voting are disproportionately under age 45. Many in this group tune out from politics because political parties tune them out.
Consider Ontario’s budget last week. After analyzing health, education and social service expenditures by age, the Generation Squeeze campaign calculates that the provincial government plans to increase annual spending by $1.5 billion for the 2.3 million citizens age 65-plus. By contrast, despite announcements about the Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy and the Ontario Child Benefit, the government budgets next to no new money for the 7.8 million Ontarians under age 45 ($12 million, or less than 1 percent of the added spending on retirees. See the Table below for further detail).
This is not a partisan issue. The Conservative and NDP leaders did not trigger the June election by rejecting the Liberal budget on the grounds that it invests in the aging population at the expense of Ontarians in their mid-40s and younger. No one questioned whether this generational division of spending is an appropriate response to the fact that younger Canadians pay housing prices that are nearly twice what they were in 1976 (after adjusting for inflation) with annual earnings that are down thousands of dollars, often despite more years of post-secondary.
There is no doubt the aging population and the socioeconomic decline for younger Canada both pose major societal challenges for which solutions are needed. Yet heading into this election, Ontario’s three major political parties propose to address only the first challenge, not the second. Their visions for Ontario will sustain the combined provincial and federal pattern of spending over $40,000 each year per retiree, while doing little to adjust upward the annual allocation of just $12,000 per person under 45.
There is hope that Ontario may yet adapt for all generations. Notably, the Premier boldly proposes an Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) that aims to address the inadequate amount of retirement savings. This is a growing problem for younger generations squeezed by lower earnings and higher costs.
But we won’t ease this squeeze if governments fail to address the root cause. Insufficient saving for retirement by Canadians in their mid-40s and younger is not primarily a problem of failing to plan for our future. We are not saving enough because the gap between income and costs is far larger than a generation ago.
In 1976, the typical 25 to 34-year-old had to work full-time for five years to save a 20 percent down payment on an average home. Facing housing values that are higher and earnings that are lower, it now takes 10 years. For many, the 10 years only start after years of post-secondary education to compete for jobs, and paying higher tuition for the privilege. Is it any wonder that younger Canada is saving more slowly for retirement?
We have to implement new pension policy alongside policy measures that reduce current cost pressures facing young adults. Otherwise, as the ORPP garners a larger share of young people’s earnings for later retirement, it risks exacerbating the present squeeze for a generation in its prime child rearing years in order to minimize a later squeeze as seniors. The Ontario proposal to add $1.5 billion more for those age 65 and older with no increase for the much larger group under age 45 does not strike this balance.
The current failure of all Ontario political parties to question the age gap in government spending underscores why the Generation Squeeze campaign is building a powerful organization to speak up for younger Canada – one that influences politics for the selfie and stroller crowd to complement what CARP (the Canadian Association of Retired Persons) does for Canadians age 50+.
As Ontario political leaders release their platforms, Generation Squeeze will monitor how each party proposes to spend on retirees as compared to younger generations. Parties that propose significant policy adaptations for the latter while protecting our aging family members are especially likely to attract to the ballot box the biggest share of abstainers from the last election.
That’s a promising path to move from minority to majority government.
Dr. Paul Kershaw is the Founder of Generation Squeeze (gensqueeze.ca), and a policy professor in the University of BC’s School of Population Health
New Post has been published on http://gensqueeze.ca/alberta-budget-2014/
Alberta is the Next Government to Budget for Generations that Organize
As younger Canadians finish school, begin careers and start homes and families, we are squeezed by lower wages, higher costs, less time and a deteriorating environment – even though our economy produces more wealth than ever before.
While governments use this wealth to adapt policy for others, including our aging population, they continue down a path that leaves little left over for younger generations. For example, the Alberta government will table its 2014 budget this week. Fundamentals from its previous budgets mean we can expect approximately an extra $844 million in annual spending for the 11 per cent of the population age 65-plus, compared to $523 million for the 63 per cent of the population under age 45. (See the Gen Squeeze Press Release for the Alberta budget). This Alberta pattern mimics BC, which last month announced an extra $1.2 billion annually for its retirees, with no significant increase for the population under 45; along with Ottawa which budgeted an extra $11 billion annually for those over age 65, and less than one-fifth of this for younger generations.
Nobody wants government budgets to protect spending on seniors at the expense of investing in their kids and grandchildren. Unfortunately, governments will continue this trade-off until we build a powerful organization that speaks up for Younger Canada.
We are inspired to build such an organization by the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP). CARP is on a “march to a million” members because it knows that research about healthy aging yields more influence over policy when it is accompanied by political clout. It builds clout by bringing like-minded people together who are attracted in part by the promise to keep money in their pocket.
We’re glad CARP exists to speak up for our retired parents and grandparents. But our retired parents wonder who stands up for younger generations?
That’s why thousands from coast to coast and of all ages are joining Generation Squeeze to speak up for those in their mid-40s and younger. We are motivated by a vision for Canada that works for all generations. One where all Canadians have the chance to live up to their potential, enough time and money to enjoy life, and work together to leave our country and planet better off than we found it.
We pursue this vision in the market by looking for like-minded companies that can save younger Canadians time and money with member discounts on products and services, just as CARP negotiates discounts for seniors.
In politics, we are disenchanted by scandals surrounding Rob Ford and the Senate. But we know we can change politics from the outside if we have enough people power. Especially in ridings with historically close elections, it will take just a fraction of our allies to make the difference between winning and losing political races.
Then political parties on the right, left and centre will have new incentives to adapt policy for Gen Squeeze as they currently do for retirees, finding reasonable ways to:
- Rein in costs because tuition and housing prices are double what they were a generation ago, and because child care can cost more than university tuition;
- Boost household incomes because younger generations cope with lower wages and skyrocketing costs by working more, but still require time away from paid work, like after the birth of a child, training for a job, or when we retire;
- Free up time to spend with family because often we try to adapt to rising costs and lower wages by taking on even more work or by going back to school, which leaves less time to start a family or spend time with the family we have; and,
- Make it easier to save for retirement because on top of rising costs and lower wages, younger Canadians are less likely to find jobs with generous pensions.
We can pursue these adaptations while safeguarding medical care and retirement income for our aging population; and do so in ways that use natural resources no faster than the earth can sustain them for next generations.
While we do, we’ll change for the better. We’ll feel better equipped to provide for our family and ourselves. We’ll have newfound confidence in our ability to influence our elected officials. We’ll be focused on achieving real prosperity rather than growth for growth’s sake. And we’ll feel less isolated, because we are able to spend more time with family and friends, and possibly less on stuff.
Paul Kershaw is a UBC Professor, and Founder of Generation Squeeze (gensqueeze.ca)
Eric Swanson is Gen Squeeze’s Director of Public Engagement.
New Post has been published on http://gensqueeze.ca/slides/gensqueeze-hits-the-streets/
Gensqueeze hits the streets