Wrong Way Down a One-Way Street

Can I just say that this is a lot of insanity? The incoming French president is already restoring the 60-year retirement age for many workers. Down from a whopping 62.

Look, I guess we’d all like to retire at 60. In fact, I’m doing my best to achieve this goal personally. I have no problem with anyone retiring at any age provided they can pay for themselves. But when you’re talking about the government setting the retirement age, what you’re really talking about is the age at which people can collect government pensions. In which case, it’s just silly to talk about a 60-year-old retirement age!

People live a HELL of a lot longer than they used to. The birth rate is a HELL of a lot lower than it used to be. Govenrment debt is a HELL of a lot bigger – as a percentage of GDP – than it used to be*.

Reality is reality. The system was built with a much lower number of retirement years in mind, and with a much higher worker-to-pensioner ratio in mind. Retirement ages around the world should be rising, not falling. This is especially true in European welfare states. I don’t think this is going to end well.

* Admittedly, for a certain definition of “used to be.” If we’re counting the WWII years, then public debt has been much higher just about everywhere, but that was followed by a firm commitment – which largely succeeded – around the world to pay it all back. No similar commitment exists today.

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