Want to protect seniors? Give them their money back!

Since the tragic death of Gilles Duceppe’s mother several weeks, there has been focus once again — much needed focus — on the plight of seniors. It is a shame that it seems to take a terrible event for us to pay more attention to the fastest growing segment of our population.

By 2030 fully a third of our population will be over sixty-five. The definition of seniors is changing. People are living longer and better. They are also working longer either because they have to or want to. Corporations are actually hiring people over sixty-five for their experience. As one observer quipped, “Today’s 65 is yesterday’s 55.” And that is true. America had it’s second oldest elected President. And his opponent was the same age.

But some 40% of those over 65 have neither private pensions nor any savings. I large part of the reason are savage tax rates that have doubled over their working lives. Part of the taxes taken from Quebecers are our deductions for pensions. But the social security payments haven’t grown much past 1998 levels. And many of those pension deductions – which are trust monies – were actually taken into the general treasury and were never segregated and properly invested. The result is that seniors in Quebec, in fact in Canada, can expect a maximum of $14,300 a year. The official poverty line is $23,500. We are the only G7 country with that large a discrepancy according to the OECD. In Montreal alone 34% of households live below the poverty line.

Protecting seniors starts with protecting their independence. And protecting their independence starts with making them financially secure. So before we expand another expensive bureaucracy for social engineering, perhaps some thought should be given as to how to raise seniors pensions so that so many don’t get even weaker – physically and psychologically. It’s time to give people their money back!

Last week was the 17th commemoration of the murder of Wall Street Journal writer Daniel Pearl. Many newspapers — this one included — see it as a responsibility to remember and bear witness. Pearl was beheaded by Jihadi barbarians in Karachi, Pakistan. Slaughtered like cattle. His killer pulled his head back exposing his neck, and sliced through skin, veins, arteries, gristle,muscle and bone until his body fell away. His “crime”? He was a Jew.

All this his murderers videotaped. In that tape, just before the blade violated him, Daniel proclaimed, “My mother is Jewish. My father is Jewish. I am a Jew.” In March 2007, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, at a military hearing in Guantanamo Bay, admitted that he had personally beheaded Pearl. UCLA Prof. Judea Pearl, Daniel’s father, said, “Civilized society, so it seems, is so numbed by violence that it has lost its gift to be disgusted by evil.” As we seek the tools to fight back against all the horrors that are committed around the globe almost daily, perhaps those words should guide us. Let us never become so numbed that we become immune “to be disgusted by evil.” Let us analyze less. Let us simply resolve to revive our courage to loathe.

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