17 October 2010

Striking over retirement is like...

Today we went into Bordeaux to watch some movies and as part of the French national tradition the streets were crowded with poor deluded people "manifesting" for keeping the retirement age at 60.  I'm sorry, is there something I don't understand? You're demonstrating to have a higher tax burden? What's worse is that these people have convinced young folk to join in - people who will be paying for the organisers' extended retirement. Singapore has just abolished statutory retirement and while I'm not saying that's right either, this seems to be more ridiculous. Some of the people were chanting that they wanted no change! LIFE IS CHANGE!

I am not an economist and might probably have it completely wrong, but it seems to me that if you have an ageing population and a very good public health service, coupled with an increased life expectancy, isn't it only logical to expect people to contribute to the state's coffers for a little longer? Otherwise, where is the money going to come from to look after the aged, to pay for retirement funds and healthcare if it's not taxes? So, fine, the current generation want to live forty years sponging off the state and leave their kids and grandkids picking up the bill? I think that's disgusting, particularly at a time of financial crisis in the world.

The retirement age was set at 60 in a time when people were expected to live to 70. Now, someone living to 100 is less miraculous an event and will become more and more commonplace over the coming years with improvements in healthcare and if people still want to retire at 60 they'd need to pay as much in tax as they receive in their pay packet to fund it! I'm sure they'd complain about rises in income tax, or VAT.

This is not my most thought out blog post but I am severely pissed off with a whole bunch of French people today (and on all the other days where such retirement strikes occur). For me striking over the retirement age is as stupid as complaining your car's new square wheels don't roll very well.

1 comment:

Wilshin said...

I agree with you that the system needs to be reformed, but part of the story is also the government's encouragement of a switch to the development of private pension funds in France, one of the largest of which just happens to be run by the president's brother. You scratch my back....

Now, what's happening about those books :-)