I don't like Dwight Duncan, the Ontario Finance Minister. I've never met the guy, I don't know any of his character traits, he could be the nicest guy in the world, but I still don't like the guy. It's probably got something to do with the $20 billion deficit or the HST or how Duncan likes to defend deficit spending as a means for economic growth. Or maybe it's because for all his schooling and experience, Dwight Duncan, the Ontario Finance Minister, still has no idea how the economy works. Or better yet, he has no idea how bad it's going to get.
This morning I caught a glimpse at the Business section in the Toronto Star. Right on the front page, below a story about economists winning Nobel Prizes, and right beside a picture of a guy making crepes, there was Duncan's little blurb about saving money. It's what he's telling his son.
Duncan claims that most of his knowledge about retirement income has come from the last 18 months. This guy has been Finance Minister for four years now, and he's just getting around to figuring out Ontario's retirement mess. In his article he looks at the pillars of Ontario retirement.
The first couple are Old Age Security (OAS), and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) which are administered by the Federal Government. So he skips over those, leaving the reader to do his own research. I won't get into this either, because of my criticisms of those two ponzi schemes are similar to the CPP scam. And Duncan talks at length about the CPP.
The CPP stands for Canada Pension Plan, “a monthly benefit paid to people who have contributed to the plan over the course of their working life”. I'm highly critical of the CPP for a number of reasons. First off, it takes money off my paycheck. Whenever I, or any other Ontarian, has gotten paid there's the first amount, then there's all the tax deductions and the CPP deduction, then there's the amount we have left over.
The problem is that I don't want my money to go into the CPP. I'd rather look after my own pension and my own retirement. The CPP is a government run retirement plan enforced by law. This is absolute insanity. Think about this – the government cuts into the private transaction between you and your employer, takes some of your money (and after awhile it adds up) puts into a bank account and then allows you to get it back, only after you're 65. Essentially the government is telling me I can't have some of my own money until I'm 65. Obviously it's more 'complex' than that, but I'm getting right down to the basics here. The purchasing power of the dollar will have lost most of its value (if not all) by the time I can get to that money.
But even if the CPP converts its funds to gold, there's something morally wrong about this situation. What right does Duncan have to do this? And he's advocating taking more from our paychecks. At a time when our economy is in the shitter and Ontarians are supposed to be saving, Duncan wants you to contribute more to the CPP scam.
I don't think Duncan realizes how much trouble this economy is in. We're $200 billion in debt, the government is spending far more than it's bringing in, we're still part of this stupid Equalization process with the other provinces so there goes another chunk of our money. And to top it off our economy is so interlocked with the Americans that anything the Fed does, we're going to feel the effects. And future US scenarios all point in one direction – hyperinflation.
There ain't no point in putting more money into the CPP if the Fed is going to make that money completely worthless. And it's a shame Duncan doesn't know it. Not only could he properly prepare Ontario, but he could warn his son. After all, that was the whole spin in his piece. Duncan cares about the retirement of millions of Ontarians because his son is one of them.
I can see the sincerity in his article. But I still don't like him. I imagine Duncan's never been introduced to the economic teachings of men like Murray Rothbard or F.A. Hayek. And even if he were there's no guarantee that he'd agree with them, and if he did he'd probably be kicked out the Liberal Party. But something in his head has got to be telling him that the status quo is wrong, that 'our solution to the debt crisis is more debt' can't be economically sound.
Finally Duncan talks about RRSPs (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) and all about employers making sure their employees have adequate pensions. Obviously this guy works in the public sector, where pensions are just a given. In the private sectors employers are subject to market forces and can't always provide the kind of retirement security the government is demanding on them. Employees really are better at just providing their own means of retirement. We don't need big brother looking out for us, or forcing our employers to give us more. We just need low taxes, our entire paychecks and we'll figure out retirement on our own.
And for those of us unsure of what to do with our money, the private sector will always be around to provide financial services. Just because the government runs OAS's and GIS's doesn't mean their fool proof. The government can go bankrupt just as any company can. In this case however, they're liable to pressure the federal government to keep printing money to cover the costs of this welfare decadent province.
Now with that said, I feel like I should give some of my own retirement advice before signing off. So I've taken Duncan's three tips for his son and added my own advice in the mix:
Start saving early. Who cares if the price of gold is over $1300! Buy what you can right now, because it's going to go higher. Start now and you'll be on the right track.
A little is better than nothing. A single silver dollar will be more valuable than millions in fiat currency, if we continue this trend of low interest rates. So even if you have little gold or silver saved up, it's better than thousands in RRSPs.
Spend less than you make. That's great advice coming from a guy who's running a $20 billion deficit without any plans to run surpluses until 2017. But by then he should be long out of government and collecting pension checks. Of course, those checks will be in worthless dollars. My advice as far as this point goes – it's up to you. I have a crazy friend who has always talked about buying gold and silver on credit, burying it somewhere, leave the country for 10 years so when he returns his credit card debt will be forgotten. Free of debt, he'll dig up his buried treasure and retire a rich man.... or you could just spend less than you make. You know, common sense.