The cost and savings of OAS

Kevin Milligan considers the ramifications of changes to Old Age Security.

By 2031 — at the peak of the baby-boom retirement wave — the share of GDP spent on Old Age Security will rise to 3.14 per cent, for an increase of 0.73 per cent over today’s level. Now, an increase of 0.73 per cent of GDP cannot be ignored, but neither is it disastrous. To provide some scale, David Dodge and Richard Dion project that spending on health will grow from 12 per cent to 18.7 per cent of GDP by 2031, for an increase of 6.7 percentage points. In the fight for government spending dollars in 2031, health is the elephant and the Old Age Security pension is the mouse…

In research in progress, I am finding that around three quarters of those not working in the years just before reaching age 65 have other sources of income sufficient to get them out of low-income range. Of course, the flipside is that one quarter of them do not. If the retirement age increases, these Canadians may suffer as they wait for their public pension cheques to begin flowing.

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