I am 71 years old, a retired teacher, and living in Canoe BC. Paul Kershaw, Generation Squeeze's founder, is my son.
Initially, I got involved in the Gen Squeeze Campaign as a sign of support for my hard-working "boy". However, my enthusiasm for the campaign ramped up when I toured the Robert Lee YMCA on Burrard Street in Vancouver. It wasn't the building or programs that caught my eye -- it was the roof-top tricycle path specifically built for apartment-bound neighborhood children that became the compelling "symbol" for me of the money & space "squeezes" that Generations X & Y parents and their Millennial children face. Two of my grandchildren live in a second-storey apartment, and their play space is pretty well limited to a living room and small balcony. I long for so much more for them!
I'm excited about the new Gen Squeeze website and the "Lobby Game" so I composed a short email to introduce the campaign to my family and friends. Since then, I've been interested in the number of times the $33,000 vs $12,000 disparity in intergenerational government spending mentioned on the Gen Squeeze website has generated comments like "But my employers and I contributed to my CPP, not the government!".
Research shows that medical care, CPP, and OAS drive the age gap in social spending. Yes, the foundational Canada Pension Plan monies come from employees and their employers, but the federal government administers them and redistributes unused payments. That is, much of the contributions made over the last 30 years by a man who died last year at age 59 didn't get passed onto his beneficiaries; they got "plowed back" into the CPP system. At the same time, the 10 years of contributions made 5 decades ago by my 99 year-old mother-in-law ran out years ago but she continues to get a monthly CPP cheque because the government-administered program tops it up. The Canada Pension Plan is an insurance-style system, not a RRSP-type bank account, and Canadians depend on the federal government to manage our contributions wisely so that CPP can continue to provide back-up retirement funds for all generations -- even our young Millennials!
The financing of our medical system, on the other hand, is quite different. Canada's public health-care structure is funded at the federal and provincial levels by a combination of personal/corporate taxes and transfer payments. Some provinces also charge health premiums to supplement their health funding, and others use sales taxes and lottery proceeds. However, the more significant funding difference is the fact that our health care system is NOT prepaid like our CPP system -- it's a pay-as-we-go situation. That distinction is becoming momentous as the "Boomer Bulge" heads into retirement because a greater percentage of our citizenry is going to need MUCH more health care and at a time when the smaller, younger groups of citizens will be expected to pay the personal and corporate taxes that fund it all.
Bottom-line question to Boomers and Seniors: Are the taxes we paid sufficient to cover our upcoming medical bills or do we risk leaving a considerable portion of that cost to our children and grandchildren at a time in their lives when they are squeezed by lower earnings, higher costs, less time, a vulnerable environment, and government debts that are larger than the ones we inherited at their age?
I definitely don't advocate that any negative changes be made to our medical care, CPP, and OAS, but I believe that both senior levels of government can fine-tune their spending priorities to increase their financial support for our kids and grandkids while maintaining our present retirement-based benefits. In fact, I KNOW THEY CAN DO IT -- especially if we Boomers and Seniors make that expectation clear.
Individual citizens can have a small impact, but Generation Squeeze provides us with an easy means of combining those small "voices" into a HUGE ROAR that can be heard across the country. Please join me in making this HAPPEN by becoming an official Gen Squeeze supporter and even a backer!