The federal government tabled the 2012 budget (the 2012 ‘economic action plan’), and it sounds like things are going very well: we’re weathering the recession as best we can, and it sounds like we’re pulling out of it.
There’s only a couple of things that raised my eyebrows.
The retirement age is being raised from 65 to 67. Technically, they’re raising the age at which you can start collecting Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplements – the idea is that you take OAS in addition to your pension or your savings plan. You can also postpone taking OAS and receive a slightly higher payout later, if you do…kind of a bonus plan. It doesn’t affect anybody who is 54 or older as of this Saturday. It certainly affects me, though. But you know, that’s the way it needs to be: we have to pay into the system to ensure that everybody is covered. I’ve heard people grousing about the baby boomers who are just now starting to prepare to take OAS…but they paid into it, too, and for a lot longer than people my age. This is just the way it has to be.
There’s also mention of starting a pooled pension plan for employers, employees, and the self-employed, which I think is a very good thing. I’m lucky to have a pension plan through work – I go halvsies on it with my employer, which is pretty generous – but a lot of people don’t. And who has money to sock into retirement savings accounts these days?
It also appears that we’ll have paid down the deficit by 2015, if things stay on track. We’re about $21 billion in the hole. There’s a lot of careful statements about how things are still quite tenuous with the economic recovery – but I don’t think that’s really a surprise.
Employment Insurance rates are going to continue to increase to balance the dole, so to speak – though you can hardly argue with something like unemployment benefits. I don’t see as much different from having health insurance, and you can’t go without that.
Investment this, access that, closing loopholes here and there…the usual stuff. But what really surprises me – what really shocks me – is this: we’re getting rid of the penny.
I can’t believe it. My mind just boggles. No more pennies. We’re stopping them. I can’t seem to wrap my head around it. And what will I do with the pennies I have in a jar? What will I do? No more pennies? MADNESS.