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Sept. 29: Boomer care costs – letters to the ROB editor Add to ...

Boomer care costs

Re Boomers can’t pay for boomer health care – we need structural productivity Gains (Aug. 25):

Since it’s always possible to improve something, even if it’s already good, we should welcome attempts to make the delivery of health services in Canada more efficient – although perhaps not through greater market “competitive pressure.” It appears that Canadians decided long ago that our health and the education of our children were too important to be left to the market’s whims. Had we decided otherwise, probably there would be less educated and fewer of us now.

But can millennials pay for boomer health care? Probably yes, and they might have to do so for a relatively brief period of time. Although the ratio of seniors to labour-force-aged population is expected to increase from 25 per cent in 2010 to about 45 per cent in 2035, this must be seen as cyclical. This ratio will increase mostly because the bulk of the boomers will reach their retirement age during this time, but it should decrease afterward, since the boomers will eventually pass away. Boomers’ health costs will start falling after 2035 because of the natural dwindling of the this cohort until a new lower “equilibrium” will be achieved in the next 10 years or so.

Further, if the concern is about unfairly imposing the boomers’ health costs on the millennials, keep in mind that the boomers will leave behind a significant inheritance as well. After all, perhaps an increase in inheritance taxes should be considered to help freeing the millennials from having to shoulder the boomers’ health costs. Gustavo Indart, economics department, University of Toronto

Who’s subsidizing

Re Pension haves and have-nots (Sept. 24):

In a nutshell, Barrie McKenna seems to resent that most public-sector pension plan are defined-benefit plans while most in the private sector are not.

Two facts:

  • First, a pension is just one form of compensation. Many private-sector employees benefit from perks such as bonuses and stock options, whereas the public sector does not. So in determining an employee’s total compensation, all factors must be considered.
  • Second, several years ago the government of the day decided that the public-service pension plan was overfunded and unilaterally withdrew $30-billion from it. So the only subsidizing I’ve seen is the public-sector employees subsidizing taxpayers, not the other way around. Raymond Perrin, Ottawa

Data: half the story

Re For mining companies, digitization is the next gold rush (Sept. 19):

The recent op-ed jointly penned by the executive chairmen of Barrick Gold and Cisco spoke of the need for the mining industry to fully embrace digital technologies. For certain, embracing digitization can help drive real and significant gains in all key areas, but getting the data is only half the story.

The other (and arguably more important) half is making sure your people have the skills to review the data, and have the operating discipline to act on them. It is regularly assumed that having data means they are getting well used, but all too often this is not the case.

We’ve all heard the expression that a mediocre strategy well executed is better than a great strategy poorly executed, and the same applies to the interaction between data and their use. I’d rather see fewer data that are well reacted to, than an overwhelming amount of data in which the disciplined day-to-day follow-up, action planning and engagement are weak. Bob Chown, president, Inprove Inc., Oakville, Ont.

Letters to the editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit by e-mail, send to: letters@globeandmail.com.

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How do Canadian pensions compare with the rest of the world? (The Globe and Mail)

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