Pension Debate Framing Undermines all Working People

Pension Debate Framing Undermines all Working People

As published in the Hill Times: Sept. 11, 2019 › 2019/09/11 › pension-debate-framing-underm...

There has been a well-funded and effective campaign in the US (Koch brothers/Cato Institute etc.) and Canada (Canadian Council of Chief Executives/Fraser Institute etc.) to discredit all levels of government, public institutions and the public service. The military, police and security services are generally spared the lash.

Concerning pensions, when private sector employees demand that defined public service pensions either be reduced or like their defined contribution plans; be linked directly to "market performance", they tend to forget a few important factors.

Highly-subsidized politicians often suggest that both private sector employees and rank and file public servants increase their own pension contributions using the "best and the brightest" justification for their own hypocrisy. Unsurprisingly, many of these notables spend their political careers angling for a lucrative corporate perch.

Over the last two decades private sector wages and research investment have stagnated while corporate profits are increasingly funneled upward to CEOs and major stockholders without foundational links to the company. In order to do this, management must therefore reduce their own employee pension contributions and pressure employees to contribute more.

Disgruntled private sector employees are encouraged by the mainstream media to criticise public sector pensions rather than demand a fair share of their company's wealth. When critical employees attract any attention the mainstream media are quick to warn that only enormous salaries, stock buyback options and huge severance packages will attract and retain top managers.

This divisive tactic is effectively setting private sector employees against the unionised public sector to distract attention from the greed at the top. Working people in both sectors must become allies if they are to effectively resist such impoverishing manipulation.

Morgan Duchesney: Ottawa, Canada