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Pension Ponzi: How Public Sector Unions are Bankrupting Canada's Health Care, Education and Your Retirement [Paperback]

Bill Tufts , Lee Fairbanks
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 25 2011 1118098730 978-1118098738 First Edition
The vast majority of Canadians are blissfully unaware that every man, woman and child in Canada now owes a $35,000 share of government debt and must pay this back, with interest!  Make no mistake, this debt will change our country and affect every single Canadian in the decades to come. You may think you have planned for your retirement and are safe, but the government must find a way to recover this borrowed money, and they can only do that by raising your taxes and reducing your hard-earned benefits. How did this debt come about, and why can't we simply pay it off?

Pension Ponzi lays the blame squarely at the feet of the politicians who refused to stand up to Canada's public sector unions. The fact is Canada's public sector, which accounts for 20% of the workforce, has been grossly overpaid relative to their counterparts in the private sector with cushy pensions paid for with your taxes and new debt.  There is no denying that the country does not have the financial resources to ensure that the next generation of Canadians will have the same standard of living as the ones before it-or to support our growing seniors population. Meeting our public sector pension obligations will break the current social safety net that is a pillar of the Canadian way.  

Can you escape this bleak future? Can you afford to live longer? Nationally-recognized pension expert Bill Tufts and award-winning journalist Lee Fairbanks explore how this catastrophe came about and then suggest ways that government can fix what's broken, and how you as an individual can protect yourself from the financial calamity that is about to engulf Canada.

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From the Back Cover


Once upon a time, working in the public sector in Canada meant that in exchange for a lesser salary, one would enjoy additional job security and a reasonable pension upon retirement—fair and just rewards for a life in public service. But somewhere along the way, the 20% of Canadians belonging to public sector unions managed to negotiate bulletproof job security, salaries that far outstrip anything comparable in the private sector, and incredibly generous pensions. The net effect? The way things are set up, many public sector workers will collect more income in retirement than they earned during their working careers.

And the 80% of taxpayers who don't belong to a public sector union—most of whom have no true pension at all—get the privilege of paying for it all. Nearly every one of those public sector union pension plans is underfunded to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, and taxpayers are legally on the hook to make up the difference, as well as any investment losses, until death do us part. How is that fair to anyone?

This book will open your eyes to one of the greatest legal asset re-allocations in the history of the world. Some call it pension envy, some call it pension apartheid. We call it a Pension Ponzi plan, an unsustainable funneling of money from one group of Canadians to another. Canadians are being bilked out of their hard-earned money and cheated of secure retirements in order to gold-plate the pensions of those who have engineered the system in their favour.

Pension expert Bill Tufts and journalist Lee Fairbanks investigate the history, the present situation and the future repercussions of a system out of control.

About the Author

Bill Tufts has been helping companies with their employee pension plans for 15 years and is one of Canada's leading experts on public sector pension reform. He speaks regularly on pension matters and has consulted for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. He was a participant of the Ontario Government Round Table on Retirement Security and testified at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources. Bill is regularly interviewed by the Globe and Mail, CBC, Toronto Star, Hamilton Spectator, Montreal Gazette and the Wall Street Journal.

Lee Fairbanks began his writing career with the Globe and Mail, first achieving notoriety by exposing the source of the bullets that killed Canadian peacekeepers in Cyprus in 1974. In 1980 he received the Walter Brebner Award for Best Editorial in Ontario as Editor of the Milton Tribune, for an editorial about ethics in journalism. He is an award-winning playwright and the author of seven plays and Keep Canada Slim, a book on healthy weight loss.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Eye-Opener... Disturbing Dec 8 2011
This book is a real eye opener. Pension Ponzi illustrates how Canada has become plagued with an enormous, bloated, militant public "service", which is most concerned with using extortion tactics to serve themselves. They're organized, they're well financed (with our tax dollars) and they're greedy and motivated. As such they have a lot of sway over our elections and our expenditure policies, and they have no qualms about living high on the hog today at the expense of the next generation.

This book cites countless empirical sources that clearly illustrate why we are having a global debt crisis: because public sector unions are collectively bargaining the industrialized world into bankruptcy. When you consider that approximately 80% of budgets go to salaries and pensions, and that massive deficits are now the norm everywhere, this is pretty hard to dispute.

Pension Ponzi illustrates the vast discrepancy in pay scales that have emerged between the private and public sectors:

"Current data shows public sector wages and benefits are about 40% MORE than they are for equivalent jobs in the private sector....Other benefits are so generous that the phrase, "Come for the maternity leave, stay for the pension" is jokingly used as a recruiting slogan...The joke, of course, is on private-sector taxpayers"

Pension Ponzi illustrates the vast discrepancy in pensions: "The average CPP benefit payment is $5,919 per year.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What I have been waiting for! Dec 13 2011
I am thrilled that this book has been written(except that I wish that I had written it)!
Exceedingly well researched and explained, anyone can read the book and understand the situation, or crisis, with Candian government pensions.
Let's hope that the truth will lead to reform.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The truth will always out. Dec 17 2011
For a long time I have known that the public sector unions were running amok with outrageous demands,which are far to often granted by government bureaucrats that for whatever reason don't know how to say "No".Finally a book that is long over due tells the real truth about how we have been had.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Our elected leaders bookdockle Aug. 21 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a great book, finally exposing the trugh about unfunded pensions, & the significantly overpaid salaries plus benefits that most public servants receive.

I know most will bleme the unions, but this is the fault of gutless elected MP's, MLA's, Mayors, you name it. The name of the game is, "if I give you taxpayer money that I don't have, will you vote for me?"

School teachers in Canada is a prime example. Give us what we want or we will go on strike, so the poor parents have to try to find sitters, etc. Pure blackmail, from people who call themselves "professional".

We need an offsetting private school system, as well as an offsetting private health care system. As a taxpayer, we all know that Governments have never run anything efficiently & cost effective & never will.

We're doomed to bankruptcy unless something changes fast. As a non union non DB pensioner, I hope we go bankrupt. It is probably the only way to fix the really broken system. Then who will pay the fat cat DB pensions of the civil servants? noone.

Let's get on with it. We'll be just one step behind the US!!
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