Friday, 1 April 2011

Golden (Plated) Oldies

Another little economic rant today; very much along the lines of my last carp. It appears that the concept of basic budgeting is not the only thing beyond the grasp of the Opposition, almost anyone in the Question Time audience and most of the panel, and much of our innumerate population (so much for "education education education"). No, it also seems that we are soon to break into civil war (my favourite ancient Greek verb ever, incidentally - fancy having a single word for it) over pensions.

On a side note, is it just me or is Question Time a test? See how long you can watch the neutral BBC debate programme (filled with 95% Labour supporters, 95% of the time situated in Labour heartlands and with almost all of the panel being slightly further left politically than Lev Davidovitch Bronstein) before hurling something at the screen in disgust at its horrific bias and catering for dull-witted morons to read out the latest meaningless soundbites from Labour. Just a thought.

The unwashed masses (that's us) are all (well, enough to make a lot of noise) up in arms over proposals being bandied about over the last month or two (going a way back into my clippings now - must endeavour to stay more current) to contribute a little more to our pensions. Yes folks, it seems we are somehow bemused that we might need a little more money in the pot. We are talking about pensions designed to take people from retirement to their graves in non-extravagant comfort when that period was on average a matter of a handful of years. Just 50 years ago, an average male life expectancy was about 68. Next year the ONS will publish the next decennial report and will show that statistic to have risen to about 78.

10 years - not much you might think. Well, actually if you're working on funding only 3 years (65-68) on average, paying for 13 years (65-78) is an increase of over 300%. So, to be clear, we would want somewhere around 3 times the money to pay for it, and the complaints are coming over just a 3% increase in contributions.

I would go back to my slightly patronising bit I like doing about either paying more for something expensive or getting a cheaper version but it was in my last post and I don't want to hammer that point. Oh no, actually it turns out I do… Who wants a smaller pension? No-one? Didn't think so. So, you'll all be happy with paying a bit more for it? No? Oh, you must want general taxation to rise to pay for it? No? Oh, you must want the money to come from the alternative that Ed Miniband cracks on about; let's ask him exactly where that is. Sorry, he seems to have slipped out. I guess we could all just vote Labour and get Ed Balls to pull it out of a hat. A smug hat. With nothing to be smug about. Yes Dave, he is indeed the most annoying person in politics.

So there we go, just another little post pointing out what you hopefully already know. There isn't enough money to pay for the same standard of living for an ever-increasing amount of time. This problem will only get worse. The only options are more money into the fund or less money out, yet they ignore the obvious and complain in their droves that they want more for less - and I don't think that's what the Tories meant by that pre-election mantra. Look left and right of you on the tube, the bus, the street, in the shop; there's a good chance that you are looking at someone who complained about this and therefore who can't do maths. And their vote still counts as much as yours.

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