Tuesday, August 02, 2011

You're Poorer than You Think! Statistics show only wealthy Canadians getting ahead

 It's true! You're poorer than you think! - stuartpilbrow photo

Latest stats confirm vast gap between ordinary folks and pension-rich CEOs.

Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee column

Tuesday August 2, 2011

By Bill Tieleman

"I've been rich and I've been poor -- believe me, rich is better."

- Mae West

A major bank's ads say "you're richer than you think" but in fact, you're poorer!

New statistics actually prove it.

If you believe you have been working harder but not getting ahead year after year, you're probably right.

That is, unless you are wealthy.

The sad reality is revealed in a new Conference Board of Canada study and other statistical information.

In the 33 years between 1976 and 2009 median income increased by just 5.5 per cent -- from $45,800 in 1976 to $48,300 in 2009. [Median income is a dividing line, with half the population making more than that and the other half less.]

But the gap between rich and poor skyrocketed during that same time.

The already huge income difference Canada's wealthiest 20 per cent held over the neediest 20 per cent almost doubled, from $92,300 to $177,500.

And the richest of all benefitted the most. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives determined that the top one per cent got one-third of all income gains in Canada from 1997 to 2007.

All this spells increasing inequality in Canadian society -- too few people enjoying too much money while others barely get by.

Shawsome pension!

Let's put a face to these statistics.

If you have Shaw Cable you may have noticed the price has gone up steadily over the past few years for basic and additional services.

My cable bundle has jumped from $45.95 in 2004 to $64.95 today. That's a $19 increase, or 41 per cent, in seven years or almost six per cent each year.

But average wages have only gone up by about half that amount -- between 1.8 and 3.3 per cent annually. And many workers in the public sector have faced no wage increase the past few years.

So why have Shaw's prices increased at more than double the rate of workers' wage increases? Here's one likely reason.

Shaw Communications chief executive officer Jim Shaw recently retired at the age of just 53.

His pension is $16,000. A day. Every day of the year. That's almost $6 million annually.

Jim Shaw - ex-CEO Shaw Communications

Add in his brother Brad, the new CEO, and father J.R. Shaw and the total retirement bill comes to $147 million, according to the company's own books.

Kind of makes B.C. Ferries CEO David Hahn's $315,000-a-year pension after 10 years at the top look like peanuts -- but it isn't, because over 60 per cent of Canadians don't even have workplace pensions.

How's your pension doing?

That means -- unlike Hahn and the Shaws -- ordinary folks depend on the Canada Pension Plan, which pays a maximum of about $11,500 a year and an average of just $6,000, and any personal savings for their retirement.

But a third of working-age Canadians don't have a Registered Retirement Savings Plan or similar investments. And those with an RRSP will only get on average less than $300 a month when they finish working.

Yup, it's true. You're poorer than you think.

Now go pay your cable bill and jump on a ferry -- but try not to think about whose pensions you're really investing in!



Anonymous said...

Bill, columns in need of improvement.

Cdn. Centre For Policy Alternative is a left wing NDP supportive think tank.

In regards to CEO salaries, they aren't a large chunk of annual profits, and are governed by shareholders.

Would agree that many are excessive, but this is what the shareholders approve.

You can also look at Glen Clark's salary. Is it excessive for this once who hated capitalists?

Also a rise like that in your Shaw bill, is this basic cable or are there additional channels?

Let's examine what Jim Sinclair receives in relationship to lower levels of union scale.

terrence said...

Boycott Shaw - cancel your Shaw cable and Shaw phone if don't approve of the Shaw clan pensions.

There are lots of other choices. And, there is very little worth watching on TV anyway, so can it.

Anonymous said...

This commentary has just confirmed my decision to cancel Shaw Cable Yesterday, we were talking about Shaw's unilateral practice of changing channels lineup, piling garbage instead of PBS (recall channel 43)or taking away channel 38 and offering nothing. Then, prices increases without notice, etc and etc. I am forwarding this article to my friends at the party yesterday. It is time to show this provider that they are wrong with this practice. Good for you, Bill and many thanks for this article.

Mike said...

What Bill forgets to mention is that Shaw doesn't only keep their jobs in Canada but they also pay their employees generous wages.

Other companies such as Telus (which Bill appears to use for internet service), on the other hand, lock out their union employees and send jobs overseas to places like Indian and Pakistan whenever and wherever they can.

Bill also fails to mention that the cost to Shaw in providing those channels may have increased and, just like embedded PST and other such costs, those increases ultimately get passed on to the consumer. There is never one solitary reason for those kinds of price increases despite what he might say.

That being said, he will also be the first to tell you that BC's economy is failing because of the HST and the HST alone. Nevermind the fact that we are in a GLOBAL RECESSION that appears to be heading for another downturn.

Bill Tieleman said...

Mike - last time I looked, Telus was unionized. But many Shaw workers lack union representation. You can find out more about organizing efforts at Shaw at: http://shawvalues.com/

Unknown said...

It seems they (who?) needs a scientist to explain this phenomenon,
The rich get and the poor get poorer.

Because the rich , thier business is to grow thier wealth.
The poor , thier business is to buy that flashy motorcycle, or that PS4 pr that toy.

The poor are "consuming" and when they consume who earns the profit ? the poor? No, It is the rich , because they own every thing, at the most what to do you own? A mechanic shop? But you are still a consumer (of tools, softwares, services etc)

Think this way, do not think people interms of how much they own (wealth)
but how much monthly surplus they produce (Income minus expenses if positive is surplus dumbass people)

Another stupid thing people dont understand is "poor getting poorer" - it is just the wealth produced by a group divided by the number of people in the group. Which means the population is growing but not the surplus.

But in terms of total wealth produced by that group, ???

Better you eat that burger...and wipe that drool from your mouth...retard