The Future Belongs To Seniors

January 2nd, 2017 | J. Hodgson
seniors in canada

“Demographics show that we are entering a battle between young and old. I call it the 'Age War.' The young want to hang onto their money to grow their families, businesses, and wealth. The old want the tax and investment dollars of the young to sustain their old age.” ~ Robert Kiyosaki

Many people think Harper lost the 2015 election due to niqab issues and a barbaric hotline controversy. Others think it was a nasty tone during the campaign. Some, like Brian Mulroney, shrugged and said, “The tides go in and the tides go out.” Maybe it was just time for a change.

One issue that wasn’t given enough consideration was the policy regarding increasing the age for OAS payments. Waiting until you’re 67, instead of 65, to get a few hundred bucks a month from the government might seem trivial to the middle-aged media and politicians running the government, but to many senior Canadians this was a single-issue voting decision. It was the right policy to implement, but it had negative electoral repercussions for Harper.

"As the Canadian population gets older, we've got more and more retired people...that puts pressure on the health system and pension system because there's a smaller cohort of working age people to support that."   ~ Mike Moffatt of the Richard Ivey School of Business in London, via CBC

We’ve all heard the scare reports about Canada’s aging population. Here’s a Stats Canada link to refresh some facts. The basic summary of all of these types of reports goes like this: Canadians stopped having enough kids in the 1970’s. We cranked up immigration in the 90’s in order to help mitigate the problems of an aging society. It kind of worked, but the problem is too large for immigration to solve.

What sort of problem needs solving?

Economic stagnation is a result of more people saving instead of spending. They then end their careers and begin taking more out of the system than they put back in. They will begin draining the CPP and OAS...and then later...sucking up enormous amounts of health-care dollars. This is going to place Canada into a declining economic tailspin. On top all of this, Canadians are drowning in unprecedented levels of personal debt. more thing. Roughly half of all Canadians between the ages of 55-64 have basically no retirement savings.

In 2019, most baby-boomers will be over the age of 60. What do you think is going to happen to our elections in the future?

I’ll tell you.

Beginning in 2019, every election for the next 20 years is going to be dominated by senior citizens. The two issues that will matter more than anything?

Retirement and healthcare.

#1. Retirement

Millions of Canadian seniors are not prepared for retirement. Their first solution will be to continue to work, (as they are now doing) but we are nearing a time when that won’t be a realistic solution any longer.

What happens then?

They will vote shop. When elections roll around they will look for the candidate that offers them the best deal. Wealthy seniors will want protection for their savings, but poor (most) seniors will want free money from the public purse.

The natural gravitation will be for most seniors to veer toward the NDP. Somebody has to pay for their old age and it isn’t going to be the individuals themselves. Therefore...socialism!

Conservatives need to outbid the NDP early...and hard. Conservatives already have a strong base of wealthy and middle-class seniors, but in order to keep it and expand it, Conservatives need to get out the goodie bag and start buying the (poorer) senior vote. Make the goodies universal and you’ll dominate the senior vote across class lines.

If you dominate the senior vote you will win elections.

Need proof? Look at this chart in regards to voter turnout. A political party is far better off getting the 65-74 year old vote than the 25-34 year old vote. Look at this breakdown revealing age group preferences for political parties. Conservatives already have a serious advantage.

Do the math. This is a no brainer. Conservatives need to stop chasing the under-50 crowd and stick with what wins.

#2. Healthcare

Every time a conservative party in Canada starts talking about healthcare reform the leftists go apocalyptic and talk about the threat to our universal system. They fear-monger and smear conservatives as heartless heathens trying to introduce U.S.-style healthcare.

It’s time to attack this debate and frame anyone against healthcare reform as an enemy of compassion and progress. Any critic that attempts to vilify a conservative promoting innovation and creative, market-based solutions needs to be called out and dragged through the mud. No more “yes, but” followed by placating fears instilled by leftist framing. It’s time to be bold on health care and advocate for a 21st century modernization. The point is compassion and innovation. The old system is going to continue to decline unless new solutions are found. Solutions centred around compassion and innovation. Framing: If you’re against this then you’re despicable.

Why will seniors respond?

Because when “health problem time” arrives, the rich seniors will go to the United States. The middle-income ones will rage that they can’t afford to do the same. The poor ones will be terrified of losing what they already have available.

So this is what you promise…

Promote increasing innovation (privatization), promise to increase public funding (whether affordable or not...winning comes first) tied to results, preach compassion, vilify critics. The party that bridges these angers and fears will win all classes of seniors.

Canada is a nation on economic pause. The next 20 years will be an exercise in decline management. The reasons for this are varied, but the macro-economic reasons are basically this...we have an enormous aging population of heavily indebted citizens who have very little saved for retirement. When poverty and illness stare them in the face, they will vote as a block to take what they don’t have. If the Conservative Party doesn’t capitalize on this situation and make a priority appeal to this voting block, then these seniors will vote for the party that does...

Likely the NDP.

Then we end up with a total scorched-Earth policy of eco-obsessed socialists destroying the country and wealth transferring everything to their constituents. By 2039, Canada will look like Venezuela. At least if the Conservatives manage the decline we’ll look more like Greece.

I know this sounds bleak, but pretending that we can economically grow our way out of this predicament under these conditions is absurd. Canada is saddled with: record levels of consumer, corporate, and government debt; a "can't do" culture; a housing bubble; an extinction level fertility rate; an America First President; and current political leadership in this country the likes of Notley, Wynne and Trudeau.

The “20 next years” cake is already baked.

Meanwhile, our Conservative leadership candidates argue about milk subsidies, citizenship oaths, and implementing a carbon tax...the conservative way!

Wake up Conservatives. The future is coming and if you don’t wrestle it to your advantage, you’ll be left standing in ashes with the rest of us.