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February 23, 2005



There is a presumption in what you write that all people living in Britain over the last half century could have found jobs that would have paid them enough to make adequate provision for their retirement. But is this so? Will a market economy produce jobs paying enough to make such provision? This is not an anti-capitalist point. A 20-something in a job interview is going to discount his/her needs as a 70-yr-old. The prospective employer has every incentive to encourage short-termism in employees so that they accept a wage that seems fine for the here and now, but may be insufficient to fund prolonged savings.


If people survived on a low-pay job they can survive on a small pension.
I was having similar thoughts sat on the toilet last night: we have a duty to support the young because we must give them an opportunity in life; we have less duty to the elderly since they have had their opportunity in life.
As ever S&M you do an excellent job on the economics of the issue. I was more concerned with it from my own 'philosophical' viewpoint. I considered the elderly women when brushing my teeth (Considering pensions on the toilet is one thing, considering elderly women is quite wrong!). If they were married they should be living off their husband's income; if they divorced, they probably took 75% of his wealth anyway; if he has died, they probably are amongst the legion of millionaire pension-aged women in the UK. Plus, we have had equal opportunity since say 1975, so for a woman of 65 she hasnt been dramatically prejudiced over her total working career.


Hang on, I'm looking forward to my winter fuel payments: how else will I afford to jet off to Madeira in January?

Gorse Fox

Could I respectfully point out that the one thing that pensioners are limited to is an income fixed by the state, and the inability to supplement it further through work (after all they are retired!).
The iniquity of the system is that whilst the government condescends to increase the pension by some small amount each year, this bears no relation the degree to which council taxation increases. Therefore, pensioners become steadily worse off.
I am not a pensioner, but the logic of the proposal seems clear to me. Though the LD idea of a local income tax may be better still.


In recent years, the government's been significantly increasing the state pensions.

Council Tax is a payment-for-service just like any other - where that service expands or increases in inefficiency, the cost to the consumer goes up too. We should tackle the underlying causes of the increasing costs, not palliate its impact.

The Lib Dem idea is a bad one. First, because it would make residential property almost wholly untaxed (good dodge for rich people). Second, because we already have a marginal rate of 41% kicking in at less than double average earnings - let's not make it worse.


I'm worried for places like Worthing, where I live. If there is a preponderance of pensioners in a town, then the remaining younger people will have to pay more to cover the shortfall. This will drive young people, who are already loathe to stay because councils pander to the grey vote, away. Thus eroding the tax base further...

On the flip-side, perhaps councils would be encouraged to cater services more towards younger people and families so that they don't lose revenue. It's hard to get them to pay attention to decrepit playgrounds and dogsh** covered playing fields right now.


I have a question about the 'grey vote'. We do not let children vote why? Is it because we consider them too young (implication: stupid) or is it because they don't pay taxes? Maybe we could apply the same rules to the over-65s, the unemployed, ex-convicts, and any immigrants?
[I am being half-serious, so any half-serious responses are most welcomed!]

James: if you worry about Worthing, give a thought to places like Frinton-on-sea! Brighton is the complete opposite, maybe Britain's "youngest" city.

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